Vitamin sea

We’re all for immune-boosting shots this winter, with vitamin sea top of our list. Be it a coastal escape or cookbook, a lunch fresh from our shores or the latest homeware, we guarantee our five marine-inspired favourites will have you hook, line and sinker.


Surprise is always on the menu at the largely crowd-funded Galjoen, chefs Anouchka Horn and Neil Swart’s ethically-harvested seafood restaurant. Serendipitous delights are plentiful, like a crumbed and deep-fried bread with ‘hidden’ snoek pate sandwiched within, or the umami flavour of octopus marmite, unexpected in a sashimi dish. And the chef patron partnership, along with head chef Isca Stoltz, are at it again – this time surprising Cape Town restaurant lovers with Galjoen’s Cape of Storms winter lunch menu. Offered Thursdays to Saturdays until the end of August, the team behind Belly Of The Beast have crafted a multicourse menu that celebrates fresh seafood in all its forms. “If it’s not ethically sourced from South African shores, you won’t find it on our menu,” says Swart, referencing dishes that may change based on what’s available from local merchants, and which includes savoury crowd-pleasers like said sashimi dish – yellowfin tuna, ponzu, orange, octopus marmite, spring onion, aioli and rice crisps. Complex as they may sound, flavours throughout the lunchtime menu are bold rather than fussy, and harmonise in much the same manner as ceramicist Amelia Jacobs’ gentle serveware and wall sconces do in the otherwise rather industrial interior. The Cape of Storms winter lunch menu is R550 per person, and booking is necessary.


“We immersed her in the ocean, pulled her out, immersed her once again. And she emerged looking like she’d stepped out of a salon, perfect!” says design entrepreneur Cara Saven of Cara Saven Wall Design. The she Saven’s referencing is the studio’s new collection of sixteen water-safe wallpapers, designed in collaboration with Shellegance founder Lucie De Moyencourt. Across an array of marine and coral colours, the wallcoverings showcase images of De Moyencourt’s decorative ceramic shells, and couldn’t be more on trend, given a growing global fascination with all things ‘crustaceancore’. From walls to tabletops, we’re equally enamoured with Pezula Interiors‘ selection of fish, oyster and crab platters (shaped or painted accordingly), as well as these Perch and Trigger fish plates (R980 each) that conjure memories of their mid-century vintage equivalents; because don’t all of our moms have at least one fish-shaped ceramic platter stored somewhere in her kitchen? and


If you’re looking to expand your knowledge of sardines (because what do we know about the salty swimmers other than that they’re usually tinned?), there’s no better place from which to witness the annual sardine run (mid-June to mid-July) off our eastern shores than from GweGwe Beach Lodge. Newly-opened, the lodge accommodates a maximum of 22 guests across nine ocean-facing suites, and is located in the expansive Mkambati Nature Reserve along the Wild Coast. Surrounded by a biodiverse landscape that offers grasslands, rocky shores, waterfalls, gorges, unspoilt beaches and seaside forests, GweGwe boasts coastal activities aplenty, anything from immersive sardine run viewing (by boat or scuba), to fishing, snorkelling, whale watching and kayaking. As if one could tire of all this, GweGwe’s offering extends beyond just the coast – consider it a ‘surf-and-turf’ safari where sightings of land-based wildlife (think an assortment of buck, zebra, and birds of all sizes and rarities) make mountain biking, hiking and nature drives a feast for the eyes.


Like proud parents, we’re always boastful when praiseworthy homegrown creations get lauded abroad, so we were delighted to spot local tech nonprofit, Abalobi, featured on The Guardian. The trio of apps, which take their collective brand name from the isiXhosa word for fisher, benefit not only fisher communities and fish fans, but marine scientists too. The Fishers’ app enables (and encourages) local fisher communities to upload details of their freshly-caught fish to a database. This can be accessed by restaurants, caterers and home cooks on the Marketplace app, off which one can purchase daily catches, delivered within a day (and with payments to fishers within two days). The Monitor app works with all this information to improve the management of fisheries and to further fish populations. Cofounded almost a decade ago by fisheries researcher Serge Raemaekers, fisheries manager Abongile Ngqongwa and former fisher Nico Waldeck, the nonprofit today collaborates with over 1 600 fishers across South Africa, and shares its tech with partner organisations across the globe. There’s never been more reason to visit and get cooking!


Lovers of la dolce vita that we are, it was love at first sight when, after a much-anticipated wait, we laid hands on Amber Guinness’s newest cookbook, Italian Coastal (Thames & Hudson). Following on the success of her debut cookbook A House Party In Tuscany, Guinness – born in London but raised in a farmhouse in Tuscany – recently launched Italian Coastal and describes it as inspired by the markets and food of summer holidays in the sunny Mediterranean. “It’s so varied, the nature is so vast, which makes you feel insignificant and aware of history,” the cook and author told an interviewer when asked about Italy’s coastline. “You feel this sense of people, recipes and ingredients moving around.” Sumptuous and sun-drenched, what’s not to like about the coastal cuisine of regions including Lazio, Campania and Northern Sicily? Fish and seafood fresh from the inky depths of the Tyrrhenian Sea make star appearances in Guinness’s recipe book cum memoir cum travelogue, including a seabass with pistachio and almonds, and a whole sea bream cooked ‘in parcels’ with lemon, thyme and olives. Take a moment while cooking such dishes to appreciate the book’s enchanting travel photographs, because aren’t such escapes what living la dolce vita is about?

words and production: Martin jacobs
photographs: karl rogers, Claire gunn, supplied

Latest stories in Culture.