Last week Elize Skriker and I went to the brand new La Parada Del Mar in Camps Bay, the 25th restaurant in the Harbour House Group we were told by Group founder Michael Townsend. We found a restaurant sizzling with good food, a fantastic view, and good service from friendly staff.
I had seen the photographs of the opening of La Parada Del Mar on Michael Townsend’s Facebook page, and was delighted that Michael was at the restaurant, as was DJ Rene Tanguy, who is creating such delight at sister restaurant La Parada at Constantia Nek on Sunday afternoons, with very danceable music!
I always tease Michael in asking him how many restaurants are in the Harbour House Group, and he estimated the number at 25. He told us that they had opened Tiger’s Milk in Stellenbosch the day before, and that they will open Tiger’s Milk in Illovo, Tiger’s Milk in Pretoria, Tiger’s Milk in Midrand, and Tiger’s Milk Smokehouse on Kloof Street. The Group has decided against investing in Dubai, but Michael will be traveling to Oman to check out the potential. Michael has always had a dream of opening a steak restaurant, and he will be traveling to New York to look at ideas. The Harbour House Group has recently taken over 26 Doppio Zero Piza e Vino restaurants, with 3000 employees.
The decor of the new La Parada is exceptional, a unique theme of pineapples in the furniture upholstery, and in the wallpaper. Much of the interior layout looks the same, but the decor effects are fresh and new. Lovely blue and white patterned tiles are on the steps as one enters inside the restaurant. The downstairs bar counter is new, with a quirky blue and white tile pattern. The chairs area mix of wood and white-painted ones. I loved the effect created with the removal of the former wallpaper, the wall having been left as it is. Seating against this wall has cushions with the pineapple theme. A selection of different lamps hangs over the tables in this section on the left as one enters. Over the bar counter crystal glass lamps are hung.
The staircase to upstairs is to the far right of the bar counter, and leads to a spacious second restaurant with another well-stocked bar counter, with blue woven cane high chairs. A number of longer tables quite close together seat patrons. The pineapple decor theme is brought upstairs, as wallpaper in a section further back, with mirrors over the wallpaper.
We joined Michael at his table. He ordered a very refreshing jug of lime, lemon, and water, and we had a selection of cappuccinos, my dry one being perfectly made. We were introduced to Chef Charles McDonald, who heads up the kitchen, and he sat with us for a while. He has worked at Cellars-Hohenhort with Chef Peter Tempelhoff, as well as at The Marine in Hermanus. He helped open La Parada at Constantia Nek, and cooked on the evening of its opening, a slick dinner which I was invited to attend. I saw Executive Chef Martin Senekal arrive, in charge of all La Parada kitchens.
The menu is printed on a white A3 sheet, and is the same as at all La Parada outlets. Elize and I ordered grilled calamari with warm cucumber and tomato salad, and salsa verde (R69); ham croquettes with mustard aioli (R68); and Patatas A Lo Pobre – Spanish poor man’s potatoes (R45), which Elize and I shared. Michael invited us to try his tapas dishes, the yellowtail A La Pancha served with a spring onion salsa, olive oil, roasted garlic, and crushed tomato (R120); and roasted pork belly served with rosemary roasted apple sauce, smoked paprika and honey glaze, pickling onions, and delicious crispy pork crackling (R79).
Other Tapas dishes out of the selection of fourteen are charred octopus (R78), seared sesame crusted tuna (R89), Spanish garlic mushrooms with poached duck egg (R70), mussels (R88), salt and pepper calamari (R69), pork rillettes (R65), marinated prawns (R89), crayfish (now on the SASSI red list, and therefore will be removed from the menu), lamb rump (R150), and prawn croquettes (R65).
One can also order larger plates to share: whole fish (R210), salt grilled prawns (R395), beef prime rib on the bone (R360), and seafood platters at R625 and R1250. As they have contained crayfish, the price will clearly be reduced. Nine side dishes include charred green beans and broccoli, butternut, a house salad, bread baked in-house, and two styles of potatoes.
Five dessert options (costing between R55 and R60) are Palmera biscuits, apple and walnut baked donut, baked vanilla bean cheese cake, coffee panna cotta, and churros served with a dark chocolate dipping sauce. Eliza and I skipped the desserts, but ordered one more round of cappuccinos.
I was delighted to hear DJ Rene and Michael discussing the possibility of a regular gig at La Parada Del Mar!
We were impressed with the good value for money which La Parada Del Mar offers. With its magnificent setting across the road from Camps Bay beach and friendly service, La Parada Del Mar will soon become a huge hit. The new restaurant joins the new The 41 and the new Melissa’s Mantra Café in offering visitors to Camps Bay an enjoyable value-for-money restaurant experience.
La Parada Del Mar, Victoria Road, Camps Bay. Tel (021) 286-2106 www.laparada.co.za Twitter: @laparada_za Instagram: @laparadaza Monday – Sunday.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog. Cell +27 0825511323. www.chrisvonulmenstein.com Twitter: @ulmenstein Instagram: @chris_ulmenstein