PINPOINT Already the catch of the season, Seabreeze on Cape Town’s Bree Street is a fish-lover's delight
SEABREEZE FISH & SHELL IS CAPE TOWN’S COOL NEW URBAN SPOT IN WHICH TO ENJOY SIMPLE BUT GREAT SEAFOOD IN RELAXED SURROUNDINGS
In the middle of a row of hip bars and eateries on Cape Town’s trendiest culinary strip, a vibrant blue building is the home of the latest cool kid on the Bree Street block – Seabreeze Fish & Shell restaurant. For a city in dire need of a place to eat deliciously unfussy seafood in a laid-back setting, Seabreeze is a most welcome breath of fresh ocean air.
On a mid-winter Wednesday afternoon, it already boasts several occupied tables – not a common sight in a city that’s heavily reliant on summer tourists. The interior is as bright as the walls outside, with an air of informality, and just a twist of urban cool. Though the space indoors is small enough to feel intimate, there are several different areas, including an oyster and Champagne bar, and a marble-topped rum bar with comfortable bar stools and a liquor collection that would make Captain Jack Sparrow green with envy.
Owner duo Alex and Ruth Grahame hail from the port city of Aberdeen in Scotland, and have brought with them a passion for locally sourced ingredients and elements. It was during a visit to the Mother City that the couple were inspired to drop anchor here and create a space for its residents to celebrate the Atlantic’s daily catch. ‘ We were here last January,’ says Alex, ‘and assumed there was going to be amazing seafood, but we soon realised that Cape Town was underserved for fish restaurants. We wanted to open a seafood place for locals – one that’s not just about calamari and chips or prawns with rice and lemon butter; there are plenty of those. We wanted it to be a little more sophisticated.’
These brand-new locals are also focused on being proudly, well, local. ‘For us, it’s all about sourcing within the region,’ says Alex. ‘Everything on the menu is from local harbours. Our wines and MCCs are South African and all of our cutlery and crockery is sourced here. We just don’t see the point of French Champagnes when the quality is so good over here.’
The rum bar looks set to be a real City Bowl hot spot this summer, not least because it’s something new and different. In line with the global trend for artisanal gins, Cape Town has seen a boom in the spirit’s production – as well as in gin bars. But according to Alex, South Africa’s sugar-cane industry provides the ideal product to create rum that is equal to anything coming out of the Caribbean. ( You heard it here first.)
The Seabreeze cocktail menu is a celebration of the classics, with a few refined options thrown in for good measure, and it’s a good idea to start your visit by browsing the menu over one of its offerings – or glass of white wine, of course.
The starters and small plates consist of a selection of never-frozen seafood ranging from freshly shucked oysters to a pint o’ prawns. The excellent dressed oysters come with choice of pickled beetroot, amasi and cucumber or chilli nuts, balsamic and spring onions – both are superb.
For mains, the tuna burger is already a House and Leisure favourite, although the squid-ink tagliatelle with prawns and the classic fish and chips also have their dedicated fans. The dessert list is small and perfectly formed, too. In short, this might just be the beginning of a beautiful friendship… Seabreeze Fish & Shell, 211-213 Bree St, Cape Town; 073-058-0164. seabreezecapetown.co.za