Last week a group of ten writers was invited to experience the recently upgraded Upstairs Deck, upstairs of the Harbour House restaurant in the V & A Waterfront. It specializes in small plate dishes, served in a generous size. It was a picture perfect day, the Upstairs Deck overlooking the yachts and boats which take tourists out to sea.We were invited by Manley Communications, and Harbour House Group Group Marketing & PR Manager Lisa Carey sat next to me, allowing me to catch up on the fast-growing restaurant group. It was obvious to see how popular the Upstairs Deck is, with many German visitors, despite there being little signage for the Upstairs Deck at the entrance to the Harbour House restaurant. We were told that the Upstairs Deck upgrade had been completed in November, and that the Deck will be enclosed for winter.
The Upstairs Deck has newly upholstered couches and seating in navy blue and white stripes. A long counter facing the Harbour, with bar stools, stretches along the length of the deck to the water side, at which one can eat, and enjoy cocktails as well as other alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. At our table places had been set, with a side plate, a material napkin, and chopsticks.
A number of cocktails were ordered by the writers, but I declined due to a heavy event day. They were kind to allow me to photograph their drinks: a frozen strawberry daiquiri (made with Havana Club anejone 3 Amos rum, strawberry purée spun frozen, with a hint of Citrus); a Bespoke Mojito (Havana Club anejo 3 Amos rum, sugar syrup stirred over crushed ice, with fresh mint, and lime splashed with soda); Mango Basil Julep (made with Black Bottle whiskey, basil and mango purée stirred over crushed ice and served with crushed black pepper); and a Strawberry Pimms Cup (the Pimms poured tall with strawberry purée, ginger ale, and garnished with cucumber and mint). Other cocktails which one can order are Whiskey Nut Sour, Margarita, Cosmopolitan, Classic Martini, Frozen Strawberry Daiquiri, Tame Mojito, Virgin Pina Colada, and a Virgin Strawberry Daquiri. Alcoholic cocktails cost R58 – R72, while the non-alcoholic ones are R45 each. Moët et Chandon is available by the glass, at R250. The winelist is extensive, and is the same as that of the Harbour House Restaurants in Kalk Bay, the Waterfront, and Constantia Nek.
Head Chef Sias Tabambi came to greet us, and talked through the outline of our lunch. A passionate waiter, whose name I did not get, introduced each dish to us. We were to be served salads, Sushi, sashimi, and desserts, to give us a feel for the small plate menu spread, and shared amongst us. The portions were very generous. Lisa said that the Harbour House Upstairs Deck food is Mediterranean-focused.
We were told that the Harbour House Group has its own fishing fleet, to catch the large quantity of fish it requires for its growing number of restaurants. Chef Sias recently became a SASSI trailblazer, supporting the sustainable use of seafood. No orange- or red-listed fish or other seafoods are served at any restaurants in the Group. No crayfish is currently served, the West Coast crayfish being red-listed. East Coast rock lobster may be sourced in future.
We started with salads, the Panzanella Salad (R85) being typically Mediterranean in its colorful presentation, being tomato-based, with three types of Bella Rosa tomatoes, in addition to Fior di Latte mozzarella, red onions, fresh basil, and croutons, with a sauce of the juice of the tomatoes. The Truffle Salad (R85) was made with cos lettuce, potato crisps, fried crumbed eggs, Parmesan cheese, black pepper, and avocado. Another salad offered is Endive Salad (R85). Parmesan fries are offered at R35.
Fish dishes followed, a spoil with a first platter of hake guijons, and calamari, marinated with garlic, and served with parsley, coriander, bayleaves, zucchini, lemon slices, a tartare sauce, and aioli. This was followed by a platter of crispy deep-fried prawns, served with garlic, zucchini, parsley, lemon, garlic, and aioli. Calamari costs R95, the Frittura Mista R145, and the deep-fried prawns cost R110. Goujons cost R75. The small plate section of the menu also offers gamefish crudo (R95), and beef carpaccio (R95).
On the Sushi side a generous platter of Futo Maki and Tempura 4 x 4s was served, with four teriyaki rolls and four rainbow prawn Tempura topped with crumbed Tempura prawns (R125). The Futo Maki was made with cream cheese, avocado, salmon, and seven spices sauce with sake (R115). The Tempura 4 x 4s had avocado on the inside, and extra seaweed on the outside, and were served with two sauces: teriyaki, and a seven spice mayonnaise. The platter offered wasabi too. This dish was so popular that seconds were brought to the table.
The Sushi Menu is the same at the Upstairs Deck as well as at the downstairs Harbour House restaurant. It is served American-style, with larger pieces, and more colorful. Sushi options include California rolls, fashion sandwiches, salmon roses, rainbow rolls, Maki rolls, hand rolls, seared Tuna with mango, rainbow prawn Tempura roll, teriyaki rolls, new style sashimi, Nigiri, oysters, and various platters.
The dessert was simple yet delicious, and well presented, a soft Dark chocolate torte with caramel and chocolate sauce, and salt topping. Normally the chocolate torte is served with vanilla ice cream. (R80). The dessert is only on the downstairs Harbour House menu, there being no desserts on the Upstairs Deck menu.
The Harbour House Upstairs Deck is a special eating venue, with lovely views onto the Waterfront and its boating services and birdlife. It offers large-sized small plate dishes, making a light lunch or pre-dinner or pre-show snack, and a range of cocktails to enjoy throughout the day and evening.
Harbour House Upstairs Deck, Quay Four, V & A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel (021) 418-4744. www.harbourhouse.co.za Twitter: @harbourhouseZA Instagram: @harbour_houseza Monday – Sunday.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: click here Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein