SeaBreeze Fish & Shell continues operating while the owners await SA visa renewal in Scotland, Chef Alex Grahame cooking at Balmoral Castle!



I became aware of a change at SeaBreeze Fish & Shell on Social Media, when Chef Alex Grahame started following me on Instagram, and I received a Like request for the restaurant’s Facebook Page, after the latter had been hacked, and they lost all their Friends.

Following Chef Alex on Instagram, I noticed his posts advertising for kitchen staff at the restaurant at Balmoral Castle, the Queen’s summer residence in Scotland.  Now being completely curious, I messaged him and called the restaurant.

I wrote a Review about SeaBreeze after it opened in 2017.

Restaurant Review: Seabreeze Fish & Shell offers variety of Africa-sourced fish dishes at reasonable prices!

Manager Micaela told me that she is running the restaurant on behalf of Ruth and Alex Grahame, who have returned to Aberdeen in Scotland.

Chef Alex wrote a detailed reply, outlining how Ruth and Alex will run SeaBreeze from a distance, and sharing the news that the couple will open a South African wine shop called SugarBird Wines in August. A feather in the cap is that Chef Alex has been appointed as Head Chef to open the new restaurant at Balmoral Castle since the beginning of this month.

Chef Alex’s detailed reply follows:

Hi Chris,

Lovely to hear from you, we’ve been following your stories from lockdown, congrats on coming through it with a smile and a step!

Along with many restaurants in Cape Town we’ve had an incredibly difficult time over the last 15 months; during the first lockdown we pivoted to selling fresh fish and shellfish from the restaurant which helped keep the lights on (literally just paid the electric bill!) and provided a valuable service to those customers who wanted fresh fish when the shops were shut.

We also had hanging over us that our Visa’s we came into SA on in Jan 2017 were expiring in May 2020 and we even though we started the extension process in 2018 to be able to remain permanently, with Home Affairs & the DTI closed and not moving forward with applications during lockdown we were aware that our ability to stay legally would be in jeopardy at some point so It gave Ruth and myself time to look at how we could develop what we do as we knew this wouldn’t be over quickly.

With this in mind when we reopened in September 2020 we started preparing for having to leave SA when our Visas expired. We were delighted to promote my Sous Chef Bett to Head Chef in October, she’s been with us since we opened in 2017 and has been my right hand woman for 2 years, we hired a great Sous Chef, Caron, who joined us from Café Boheme in Sea Point and have 2 great FOH managers in Hazel who joined us from Upper Bloem, and Micaela who joined us from Carne. We now have a wonderful team of 4 great women who deliver great food and great service daily. We’ve managed to retain 19 of the 29 staff that we entered lockdown with in March last year, although they are still on reduced hours as we’re not yet back to our 7 days a week opening. We speak formally to the management team once a week (gotta love Zoom!) but we end up whatsapping daily anyway!

As for Ruth and myself we’re very excited to be opening a new wine shop and tasting room in Aberdeen (Ruth’s home city) with a focus on the great wines of SA. We’ll be importing directly from at least 10 different estates in the Western Cape and acting as agents in Scotland for some of them, as well as offering a tasting room experience similar to what you may find in the best winery tasting rooms. We’ll be offering comparative tastings of SA vs the rest of the world, having a big push for Cap Classique, and offering paired tastings as well. We’re aiming to open in early August, and it will be called SugarBird Wines.

I’m also delighted that I’ve been appointed as Head Chef to open the new restaurant at Balmoral Castle, Her Majesty The Queen’s Summer residence, which i’m doing right now. We opened on May 1st and then close on August 1st when the Castle closes to the public when Her Majesty is in full residence.

Our plan is to spend part of the year in CT, early Spring and Autumn so we can work with the team at SeaBreeze and support them, and also taste and buy for SugarBird Wines at the same time. We’ll be back once SugarBird Wines is up and running and we can travel to and from SA without quarantine.

For us the biggest areas of happiness have been the continued support of our local customers and suppliers which vindicates our decision to focus on locals when we opened in 2017. In June it will soon be our 4th birthday and now more than ever we want to say thank you to them for seeing us through the last 15 months and looking forward to winter ahead. We have some great permanent promotions for them that we’ll be launching over the next month.

So in short! We still own SeaBreeze, we’ve made it through lockdown, we have a wonderful team that we trust explicitly to carry on delivering a great experience and we have great customers that we appreciate. We continue to support SA 100% and look forward to bring more SA estate wines to the UK and we’ll be back soonest.’


Good news is that Cape Town’s specialist fish restaurant remains in the capable hands of Ruth and Alex Grahame.


SeaBreeze Fish & Shell, 211 – 213 Bree Street, Cape Town. Cell 074 793 9349 Facebook: SeaBreeze Fish & Shell Instagram @seabreezefishandshell


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide


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