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

House and Leisure (South Africa) - - Contents - TEXT NATALIE ROOS PRO­DUC­TION GEMMA BED FORTH PHO­TO­GRAPHS TOBY MUR­PHY

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

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