Café Orca – 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. You can also watch the staff go down to the sea with buckets to gather sea water to keep the oysters as fresh as can be.
Obviously the thing to eat here is fish with a capital F. The various mussel dishes, nice and fat West Coast ones, have their devotees, but for my money the best is the one they call Blue Ocean– bacon bits, garlic, cream, and white wine—irresistible, especially with a glass of ice cold bubbly. Then there are the spicy prawns, with a bit of a kick, and, if you really must have meat, try the Springbok carpaccio.
The line fish varies as the seasons come and go but is never frozen. It could be Dorado, Cape Salmon, yellowtail or angel fish, sometimes blue nose, all available in various ways. My favourite is the Moroccan sauce, capers, tomatoes and just the right amount of bite to make it interesting. These strong flavours work well with one of the game fishes like yellowtail.
The Melkbos Platter, fried calamari, prawns, and hake is a favourite, especially with their famous chips, very popular with English visitors. The wine list has something for most tastes and pockets, service is smooth and friendly, with the owners, brothers Ricky and Jason, always there to see things are running smoothly.
So let down your hair West Coast style and unwind from the stresses that city living invariably brings.
No lunch bookings on weekends so make sure you get there early.
88 Beach Road Melkbosstrand, 021 553 4120
Words: Greg Landman