Today we’re heading up South Africa’s West Coast to the idyllic village of Paternoster. It’s about a two hour attractive drive from Cape Town to this little heaven, a picture in blue and white.
Paternoster is, quite simply, my kind of place. There are sweeping, white sandy beaches that are practically deserted, endless ocean views and the prettiest of whitewashed, beach-side houses. And there are a lot of fabulous restaurants when you bear in mind the size of this town – it’s really not big. Which makes for an incredible foodie choice.
Lunch with views
Several of Paternoster’s fabulous restaurants have fabulous views. Just perfect for a lingering lunch overlooking the ocean. Gaaitjie is an old fisherman’s cottage right on the beach and I always request the same table on the verandah beach-side. Their fishy specialities are sublime – even today when the town was suffering from load shedding (which means there’s no electricity) – they managed to provide a wonderful selection of dishes.
Like the seared tuna – so good it almost made me want to cry. The freshest of tuna, perfectly seared and served with scattered sesame seeds and spicy mayo. Just heavenly.
The Masala prawns are always a favourite. Plump and spicy prawns served on a bed of the most delicious savoury rice. Finger licking good!
For mains the beautifully cooked fresh line fish – today it was Kob (also known as Kabeljou) which is a firm, meaty white fish with a gentle flavour. Served with tatziki, salsa and creamy, spicy lentils. How I love it when every element of a dish is exactly what I want.
Gaaitje is the sort of restaurant I could eat in every day…seriously. I’m happy from the minute I walk down the hill to this little beach side heaven and I never want to leave!
Our lovely Leeto lunch
Leeto also has spectacular beach views, albeit of a different beach. Life is definitely a beach in Paternoster! Their cauliflower soup with a dash of truffle oil was served topped with wild mushrooms. The silkiest soup I’ve tasted for a long time – and that truffle flavour. What a treat!
The luscious prawns were served on a citrussy veloute with grapes and pineapple. So beautifully fresh and zesty and prawns don’t get better than this.
I was definitely having a line fish sort of weekend. Again opting for some kob – it’s totally my favourite at the moment (clearly!). This time served with a delicate lime butter and possibly the best vegetables I have ever had in my life. The delicacy of the asparagus, pea and courgette mix was so incredible.
Leeto is a little more formal that Gaaitjie, it’s good to have the mix, and has become another regular favourite of ours.
The Noisy Oyster (what a great name for a restaurant) sits in the centre of town so doesn’t have a sea view. It does have a real beach vibe inside though, and the most excellent food and service. Perfect for dinner – you can’t miss the view when it’s dark after all.
There was happiness all round with a mix of fish, seafood, meat and pasta dishes. I loved my fresh mussels served in a flavoursome wine sauce. Oh and the oysters were fab, too.
It’s cocktail o’clock
This year we visited Crayfish Wharf for the first time. And much to our delight, as well as visiting the some quaint little shops selling locally-made produce (and buying some) we also discovered – you’ve guessed it – some more restaurants.
With an already full dining calendar we decided to sample the drinks at The Hungry Monk. I certainly started something by ordering a Bloody Mary while the rest of the party tasted the local craft beer.
The arrival of this masterpiece of a Bloody Mary elicited gasps of delight all round. No surprise there, it’s so stunning. And beautifully flavoured too with a perfect chilli bite. The waiter actually brought me a knife and fork to eat the vegetables – there was literally half a cucumber immersed in there!
Having witnessed the Bloody Mary spectacle we decided we simply had to revisit to try out more cocktails. We were rewarded with this fabulous Margarita – made with all fresh ingredients and decorated with the juiciest of melon slices.
Another regular pilgrimage is to See Kombuis (it means Sea Kitchen) for beers on the beach. This ramshackle little establishment where the seats are boats on the beach sits at the entrance to Tietiesbaai. Easy to while away hours here with your feet in the sand gazing across the azure sea.
What delights we enjoyed over our weekend Paternoster vigil. We did also pop into the Panty Bar for more chilled beer and loved the lattes and freshest of ciabatta from the Paternoster Xpress. But there’s still plenty more to try.
So, here’s to next time and widening my knowledge of one of my favourite places in the entire world. Paternoster rocks.
Where to stay
There’s a wide range of accommodation on offer. We’ve stayed in B&B’s previously but this year rented a beach house. Right on the beach. Fabulous. It was great to have facilities to cook ourselves – we had both an indoor and outdoor braai – and chill in our own space.
How I miss the view from that verandah.
We booked through Stay in Paternoster who have a wide range of properties to suit all needs.