The sun is shining, there is still a holiday feel in the air, new year’s resolutions have yet to kick in, mention ‘fish and chips’ and somehow a feeling of the relaxed freedom of the holidays returns.
‘Fish and salad’ does not have the same hunger-filling sound as ‘fish and chips’. In these anti-spud days, it’s a relief to find that there are still local, authentic Banting-free establishments who proudly offer traditional fish and chips.
A three hour drive due South from Cape Town is Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. One can imagine these rough seas teeming with fish that are waiting to be caught and make their way onto grills or into deep fryers to satisfy hungry holiday makers.
In this part of the world there are a couple of fish and chip options. For atmosphere and setting first prize goes to Pelican Harbour Café established in 2003 at the Struisbaai harbour. The picturesque setting of multi-coloured fishing boats in the serene turquoise ocean with white sand dunes in the distance is reminiscent of Greece and no wonder there is a queue for a table.
In addition to traditional hake and chips they offer the Catch of the Day which might be Yellowtail or Cape Salmon. In addition they serve the best succulent calamari steaks, good value at R70 with a generous portion of chips. If you want to get takeaways, pop into Fish and More which is tucked behind the local mall in Struisbaai. The long queues are testimony to the quality of the crunchy golden chips and succulent fish whose generous portions are best eaten overlooking the 14km longest beach in Africa. They also supply whole fresh fish to be braaied at home as well as having a pop-up shop in the Struisbaai Beach parking lot.
Agulhas fisheries has long been popular with locals and it is to be found towards the tip of Africa opposite the Shipwreck boutique wine shop. The takeaway ‘Meals in a box’written up on the chalk board includes ‘snoek and chips’ for R42 and ’lynvis and chips’ for R53. You can even get ‘2 viskoekies and chips’ for R34.
Patience is the name of the game but well worth the wait and there are wooden outside tables with thatch rondavel umbrellas in the sheltered courtyard.
For a hip and happening vibey atmosphere with a sea view try Seagulls pub across the road who serve hake and shoestring chips with a garden salad for R60. Succulent calamari and chips are delivered in an attractive basket with plenty of tartar dipping sauce and our friendly waitress added to the pleasant experience.
If you are looking for something more upmarket, head to the Arniston Hotel where the Arniston Catch platter is a delicious seafood medley at Cape Town prices but washed down with a crisp local wine and an awe-inspiring view across the bay to the white washed fishing village of Kassies Baai. Expect calamari, prawns and the catch of the day with chips and a salad garnish.
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- Melissa Sutherland