Summer lunching at Harbour House

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AS a Capetonian who is accustomed to the beauty of our Mother City, I feel it’s good to take a step back now and then and look at it through the eyes of a visitor.

The V&A Waterfront is a great place to do that, with its views of the working harbour, yacht basins and Table Mountain. I often try to imagine what it must be like to see it for the first time. Breathtaking, I should think.

Harbour House, on the water’s edge of Quay Four, is a fantastic spot for a summer lunch, with its menu which has a strong focus on seafood. Starters, for example, include oysters, smoked mackerel pate, scallops, fishcakes, calamari, mussels, and a seafood stack comprising salmon tartare, tempura prawns, caviar, avocado mousse, cucumber, coriander and sweet chilli sauce. I’m almost sad I didn’t order it but I was sidetracked by the sushi menu and my favourite – salmon roses.

“Shall we order to share?” my friend asked. “Heck no,” I said. “I want my own.” She laughed and said she felt the same way. Thank goodness. It’s never a good idea to get between me and my salmon roses.

The sushi bar offers California rolls, fashion sandwiches, rainbow rolls and sashimi as well as prawn kisses (avo roses with prawn, sesame, sweet chilli and teriyaki), deep fried futo maki, crunch rolls, and new style sashimi. Fifteen and 30-piece platters are available, either mixed or salmon or tuna only.

It’s very tempting to gorge on sushi, but we restrained ourselves and ordered our main courses from the menu which has an entire page dedicated to linefish. Choices include swordfish, kingklip and Norwegian salmon for some dishes, yellowtail and hake for others, prepared in a number of ways. For example, parsley risotto with hollandaise sauce, preserved lemon and semi-dried tomatoes. Salsa verde is with garlic mash, green beans, a soft poached egg and aioli; the miso glazed option is served with a scallop, asparagus, grilled prawns and edamame beans.

My friend selected the first one on the list – artichoke and leek ragout, crispy fried artichokes and tomato mousse – with swordfish, which was just perfectly moist. It’s so easy to go over the edge with this fish and have it end up dry. The accompaniments complemented the swordfish well.

There are several salads on offer, from a simple dish of heirloom tomatoes with feta, pickled onions, black olives, basil aioli and herb croutons; to miso glazed strips of sirloin steak on a bed of cabbage, radish, cucumber, coriander, with soy lemongrass dressing, crushed cashews and sesame seeds.

Being in a mood for something light, I had the prawn salad. Miso is in this one too (currently an ingredient I can’t get enough of, eating out or cooking at home), along with pickled ginger (like you get with sushi), mint, chilli, papaya, avo, coconut flakes and lemon grass all on a bed of leaves. The prawns were firm with the requisite snappy bite and had been relieved of their heads and tails (which makes them so much easier to eat as part of a dish), but I was a bit disappointed there were only three, because they were that tasty.

We shared a dessert of chocolate cremeaux (pictured above) which was dark and dense, topped with coconut cream mousse, passion fruit sorbet (which is sunshine in a spoon), and hazelnut praline and toasted coconut flakes bringing the texture. It was a delicious blend of richness with the freshness balancing it all.

Harbour House is open daily from 9am till midnight; for reservations call 021 418 4744 / 021 418 4748 or email [email protected]

PHOTO CREDIT: BIANCA COLEMAN ©

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