Upper Bree Street in Cape Town is turning into a proper foodie hot spot, with colourful restaurants all serving up their own unique flavours. New to the family is SeaBreeze Fish & Shell, a bright and airy seafood spot that is all about the freshest produce.
“Cape Town overflows with spectacular seafood and our focus is to create a restaurant celebrating all that wonderful fresh produce,” say owners Alex and Ruth Grahame, a British duo who left Scotland for Cape Town, having owned and operated the renowned Hornblowers seafood restaurant in Gourdon. “Whether people pop in for a bite to eat during their work day, some oysters and fizz after work, or decide to linger longer over our dinner options, we want each dish and experience to remind people what great seafood is all about.”
I attended the launch party of SeaBreeze earlier this year where we got to fill up on bubbly and oysters (those poor oyster boys were shucking at lightning speed to keep up), as well as a few other bite-size versions of their dishes. While fun, it’s often tricky to get a feel for the food from these types of events and so I left off my review until I could go back for a proper sit-down.
A few weeks ago we had a perfect afternoon in town and decided to head over for a quick lunch.
The space is really beautiful. The soft blue exterior instantly drew my eye, bringing to mind the calm of a beach house, filled with fresh coastal air and tranquility. Outside they have a long bar setup where you can enjoy some oysters and bubbles for lunch or sundowners. There are a couple of tables outside on the porch, and inside they’ve created a spacious, refined interior with soft blue and crisp white against blonde wood.
The restaurant is spread through a couple of rooms, the largest being the front dining area that also houses the oyster bar. At the back there is a smaller, casual seating area, a tiny outside courtyard (for smokers, I think) and then there’s a second back room with a more intimate dining setup.
Overall there space is exactly what I have in mind when I think of an chic seafood restaurant. It is modern, elegant, and simplistic; a place where you can have a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or Brut on a summer’s day.
For me, the biggest draw card at SeaBreeze is their oysters. They are currently running a daily happy hour special, either from 12:00 – 13:00 or from 17:00 – 18:00, where you can choose Knysna or Saldanha oysters at R10 a shuck. It is the perfect excuse for a lunchtime or afterwork outing.
When we went for lunch I opted for the Tuna Burger, which I would definitely go back for. I ordered the meat medium rare, and it was perfectly soft and succulent, pressed between a lightly toasted bun with a few simple garnishes to compliment without overpowering the seafood. This was served with some crispy chips, and I ordered a side of mayo as a dip.
The husband went for their Angelfish, served with Chakalaka vegetables and aubergine chips. It was perfect. The sauce as packed with flavour with a soft zing without being too spicy, and the fish was perfectly prepared.
Their menu has some really interesting variations on classic seafood dishes. While they have your standard hake & chips, there’s also a Fish Curry Bunny Chow, Saldanha Bay Mussels in a Cape Malay Sauce and Squid Ink Tagliatelle with Prawns.
They also do a collection of small plates (or starters) that include grilled prawns, langoustines, ceviche and smoked snoek that is served with a dougnut and tomato jam. When I go back I’ll probably order a couple of these to really get a feel for their flavours.
They have a nice variety of drinks on offer at SeaBreeze. Try one of their signature rum cocktails, crack open a craft beer or order a glass of wine. They serve very yummy MCCs like the L’Ormarins Brut, Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel, Graham Beck Brut Rosé and De Grendel Brut. Their wine list is equally stunning with options from Creation, Iona, Springfield and De Grendel.
Our waiter was very friendly, with a good knowledge of the menu. The restaurant wasn’t very busy when we visited and the service was a bit slow, but it wasn’t too bad to sit outside in a patch of sun while we waited.
SeaBreeze isn’t cheap, but they’re not overly pricey either. Their small plates start at R60, and their big plates at R95, with most priced around R130. There’s also a small selection of desserts for around R45.
They are also running an Oyster Happy Hour every day at R10 bucks a shuck, from 12:00 – 13:00 and 17:00 – 18:00 every day.
SeaBreeze Fish & Shell is located at 213 Bree Street, Cape Town. It is open Monday to Saturday from 12pm until 9.30pm.