Oh Harbour House. How I love thee! I’ve eaten at both their V&A and Kalk Bay restaurants often and every single time the food has been sublime, so I had great expectations for their new-ish Constantia kitchen and it didn’t disappoint. Also, the fact that it’s close to me (I live in the burbs) is terrible news for my wallet because I’m now itching to go back for more.
If you’ve yet to go, it’s in the same building where Constantia Nek used to be, Cape Town’s oldest restaurant. Right next door, you’ll find La Parada which means it’s the ideal spot for a Friday or Saturday night dinner because you can then amble across for a post-dessert cocktail. But let’s talk about the food!
Harbour House now have a new a la carte menu and everything I got try was delicious. Like, literally, everything. There wasn’t a single plate that couldn’t get a two thumbs up!
To start, my aunt (my hot date!) and I ordered the beetroot carpaccio (R90) and fish cake (R85). The beetroot dish rocked my world! Think thinly sliced beetroot with crispy deep-fried goats cheese truffles, sliced pears, seared orange segments and toasted hazelnuts. Every single mouthful was perfection and I liked that it was filling but not heavy and, thanks to the crispy-coated fabulously fluffy warm goats cheese, it’s the kind of salad you could happily order in winter.
Much like the carpaccio, the fish cake, which was made with hake, also presented beautifully. I liked that it was gorgeous and golden on the outside, but flakey and moist on the inside. Again, it was just enough to get your tummy excited about great things to come and the fruitiness of the mango salsa was a lovely accompaniment to the fish.
For mains, my aunt ordered the sirloin (R185 for 200g), asked for it to be served rare and got it exactly the way she liked it. A lifelong carnivore, this woman grew up on a sheep farm in the Karoo and I get nervous when she orders meat in restaurants because this is her ‘thing’ and she’s not often impressed. I could also hear my dad’s voice in the back of my head going ‘you don’t order meat in a seafood restaurant and vice versa’, so I briefly wondered if it would appease my ‘steak snob’ aunt but shouldn’t have worried. She hoovered down every single scrap while I, who prefers meat medium-to-rare, gleefully shaved off the sides and made a mental note to bring my steak obsessed flatmate to Harbour House for her birthday.
As for me, I had the yellowtail (R205) and it was next level amaze. I now feel self-conscious because this review has gotten extremely gushy but it was legit one the nicest lunches I’ve had in a while. I don’t have a lot of time left before I head off to Thailand but if I can squeeze in a last meal before I go, I want it to be at Harbour House, mostly because I want more of the yellow tail that I can’t stop thinking about. It was such a simple dish – fish, mash and veg with a poached egg on top – but the quality of the fish itself, and how it was cooked to perfection without a drop of dryness (if you’ve had a ‘too dry’ game-y fish before you’ll know its horrible and can’t even be rescued with a lemon shower) is what made it so fantastic.
After our mains we were both pretty full but, as you know, we’ve all got a separate stomach for dessert so we tried the Amaretto pana cotta (R65) and apple ‘surprise’.
I managed to grab a bite of the panna cotta, which was served with freshly squeezed orange juice, before my aunt demolished it (‘she declared it ‘Wonderful! Lovely and light! A very nice finish!’) before getting stuck into my apples. If you’re a fan of warm, baked apple pie (i.e. a human being with taste buds), I think you’re really going to like it. Warm, crispy, sugary slices (like l’il baby donuts!) drizzled in custard = Yes, please!
Anyway, if you’re on the quest for yum, like dining in gorgeous surroundings with professional, friendly service and have a penchant for a killer good yellowtail (possibly the best in town!), please know that you’ll most definitely find it at Harbour House in Constantia.