There is nothing more appealing to me than sitting at the edge of the ocean eating something that recently came from it.
This charming little place right on the seemingly endless beach at Melkbosstrand is a treasure not to be missed. It is a favourite of the locals, many of whom come here as a ritual, always asking for the same table and always eating the same food. The deck outside is much vied for and just the place to soak up the last rays of a perfect day as the sun sets into the Atlantic. You can almost hear it sizzle—well, almost. They have been here for more than 20 years and have weathered as many storms as the Atlantic which lies before them.
Obviously the thing to eat here is fish in its many guises. Unlike many other fish restaurants, here all the fish tastes different. To start, try one of the West Coast mussel dishes, plump and drenched in various sauces. My favourite is the richest, with garlic, blue cheese, cream, and bacon bits, served with crunchy toast to mop it all up. Other starters are spicy prawns with a real Cajun bite, calamari tentacles or strips, deep fried or grilled, oysters and various superbly fresh salads. I have watched the staff go down to the ocean and get buckets of sea water to keep their oysters as fresh as can be.
The line fish is brought in daily and is never frozen. It could be blue nose, Cape salmon, Dorado, or whatever is running but it will be fabulous. One can have it done with lemon butter, creamy garlic, or Moroccan, with harissa paste, tomato and capers, magnificent, especially with a fairly gamy fish that can stand up to those powerful North African flavours. The evening we went the special was the most perfect piece of fresh yellow fin tuna, a chunk seared all over with a soft middle, served with the most exquisite lemon butter sauce, a masterpiece of tangy lemons, rich cream and butter –heaven on a plate. The other dish we had was the calamari tubes and tentacles, perfectly grilled—one more minute would have been fatal—also in the same irresistible lemon butter sauce, which they should bottle and sell but that won’t be the same will it? The cooking is done by the owners themselves, two brothers, Ricky and Jason, and they are all over the place taking a personal control of things, so refreshing.The freshest vegetables, which are made right in their kitchens and not delivered by some factory truck, with fabulous chips, make excellent foils for the rich fish dishes. I might have problems with logic, and reality, but I know a good restaurant when I see one.
They don’t take bookings for lunch, so go early, or better still, go during the week, when the heat is off and you might even be able to sit on the much vied for open deck. Or make a booking for the evening. Check out current times on their website.
CAFÉ ORCA 88 BEACH ROAD MELKBOSSTRAND PHONE O21 553 4120