Cruise and cui­sine

With a choice of three restau­rants and three ves­sels, Wa­ter­front Char­ters of­fer a tai­lor-made din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence, writes Bianca Cole­man

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

HERE’S some free ad­vice: never pass up the op­por­tu­nity to hop on a sun­set cruise; now there is more rea­son to do so.

Wa­ter­front Char­ters has teamed with three restau­rants to of­fer a more or less tai­lor-made cruis­ing and din­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. A surf and turf, if you will. You can take to the ocean on your choice of vessel from the fleet, fol­lowed by lunch or din­ner at Greek Fish­er­man, Melon­cino, or City Grill.

Serenity One is a new sail­ing cata­ma­ran; Esper­ance is a clas­si­cal twin-masted sail­ing schooner; and the South­ern Cross is a fun cruiser based on a sturdy trawler de­sign. I’m no good at maths, but I’m sure some­one can work out the num­ber of dif­fer­ent op­tions with these boats fol­lowed by a steak, Mediter­ranean or Ital­ian meal in the af­ter­noon or evening.

The only prob­lem I can see is the weather. It can be sunny and still in the morning, but by cruise time that darn south-easter can be howl­ing. It doesn’t mean you can’t go out, just that the boat you choose will pre­fer to stay safely in the har­bour while you board one of the oth­ers.

This is what hap­pened to us last week. We went out on Serenity One a few months ago. She’s a beauty and sta­ble. The crew of hand­some, friendly young men seem to have glue un­der­neath their feet, but the rest of us needed to brace our­selves or risk lurch­ing over­board.

Any­way, the point is, on that calm morning we chose Esper­ance to try some­thing dif­fer­ent, but by mid-af­ter­noon the wind had other ideas and we ended up back on Serenity One. Part of the trip was un­der sail which was ex­hil­a­rat­ing.

For most of the day the weather had been over­cast with high cloud cover but Cape Town didn’t let us down. It cleared shortly be­fore the sun went down, leav­ing wispy streaks spread across the sky which lit up in spec­tac­u­lar red and or­ange and pur­ple fash­ion as the sun dipped be­low the hori­zon. Those pho­tos got lots of likes.

Some­thing to re­mem­ber is it is al­most al­ways chilly out there so wear some­thing warm.

The bub­bly flows freely and the crew go about their sail­ing du­ties in be­tween keep­ing your glass (is a plas­tic glass still a glass?) filled.

One of them, a de­light­ful young man named Kyle Walder, blushed fu­ri­ously when I waved him over for a top-up, but then set­tled into some light ban­ter with us when I joked that Justin Bieber fol­lows me. As if. I blocked him ages ago.

The cruise lasts for 90 min­utes be­fore Serenity One glides back into her berth at Quay Four. .

We strolled back to the mall side of the Wa­ter­front where there is ex­ten­sive con­struc­tion work go­ing on, ap­par­ently through the night even. The even­tual re­sult will be cov­ered din­ing ar­eas for the restau­rants, but for now there are a lot of dead ends.

We picked Greek Fish­er­man for our din­ner – I hadn’t been there for more than three years and it’s changed quite a bit. The menu for cruis­ers is set with a choice of starters and mains, and a dessert. Drinks and gra­tu­ity are not in­cluded in the deal. By the way, a tip is au­to­mat­i­cally added to the bill, so look out for that.

I be­gan with mus­sels in tomato sauce with feta served with tri­an­gles of warm pita bread, and my friend tucked into spanako­pita.

We fol­lowed with beef and chicken sou­vlaki re­spec­tively, served with chips.

These are not huge main cour­ses but the beef was divine. We shared dessert of crumbed phyllo pas­try with or­ange and yo­ghurt served with ice cream. A third op­tion for starters and mains are Greek salad and line fish with le­mon but­ter, rice and spinach.

The ver­dict is this is a su­per fun ex­cur­sion and I wouldn’t mind try­ing out an­other com­bi­na­tion or two.

Maybe I’ll even get onto Esper­ance next time.

There are var­i­ous price pack­ages de­pend­ing on the vessel, restau­rant, and time of day (lunch or din­ner) so go to www.restau­rant­boat. or www.wa­ter­frontchar­ters. to find out more, or pop in at Wa­ter­front Char­ters at Shop 5, Quay Five at the Vic­to­ria & Al­fred Wa­ter­front, tele­phone 021 418 3168.

The Greek Fish­er­man of­fers a set three-course menu for the cruise and dine ex­pe­ri­ence.

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