With music by Cyndi Lauper, several Tonys and a Laurence Olivier Award
Black Marlin: restaurant hideaway at the edge of the ocean
Black Marlin makes the most of the pristine views and laid-back charm of the Southern Peninsula
Rounding Cape Point via Scarborough is one of the easiest ways to reach Black Marlin. After marvelous views of the Southern Peninsula, the flapping flags and signage are welcome landmarks on a forty kilometer stretch sparsely scattered with eateries.
Ample parking in the shade is welcome and at the sunny entrance we are greeted with a smile. Soon we reach a cheery Mediterranean-type terrace overlooking the ocean. The cameras of our tourist friends go Clickety-click while our shoes go a lazy clip-pety-clip on the paving.
Nothing but seafood, blue skies and a scenic coastline
Black Marlin is a secluded spot on the water’s edge, and has that pristine, refined natural charm that is so typical of the Cape Peninsula. Open since the mid 1960s, it’s idyllically set in a converted, colonial home on the skirts of Simonstown. It feels like it’s enveloped by nature. The panoramic view spans False Bay as far as Strand and Hangklip, underlined with aquamarine waters, outlined with jutting peaks and topped with endless blue sky.
Once seated, we relax into the rhythm of what is a somewhat a sleepy Sunday for us, and a sizzling, busy one for the friendly staff. It’s fast filling up with attractive array of locals and visitors in everything from Saris to faux-camo cargo shorts, relaxed, and mild mannered. Seems afternoons are the most beautiful (and busiest) times.
Then there’s the challenge of what to choose for lunch. Generally, I shop for my meals on other people’s plates. I spy The Marlin’s Specialty as it sashays on its way to someone else’s table. It’s a still life of steaming fish cubes wrapped in bacon on skewers. I almost want to ask them if I can have a taste.
Empty stomachs argue while we run our fingers down the menu, mumbling names like Seafood Platters, Asian Style Duck, traditional Malay Fish Cakes and Black Marlin Carpaccio under our breath like it’s a new language.
Good variety of food and wine for a versatile crowd
The combined effects of Mojitos, strong whiskey and thirsty sips of Durbanville Hills Sauvignon Blanc from an award winning wine list are wonderful. We end up sharing each other’s dishes. Behind us, a young, local, linen-clad couple share secrets. The usual accompaniments are welcome (baby potatoes, seasonal vegetables, chips, rice), but a streak of insight makes seafood separates optional.
‘Two queen prawns on the side, for me, please.’
(And later I’ll have some of my sister’s steamy, creamy mussels too.)
Silence descends on our corner of paradise while we tuck in. The Millers Point platter goes down surprisingly quickly especially considering that it’s piled high with battered hake, prawns, mussels and fried calamari rings. Fish Cakes are crisp on the outside, tender on the inside, and they’re gone in less time than it takes to say Malay. I take the longest, because my tender West Coast Sole is as big as my appetite. Besides, I have to help with those yummy mussels.
I mentally diarize a visit in winter on my way out and wonder if the planned cocktail bar with couches is going to turn the place from genteel to jolling. Between June and November you may see more than seals and dolphins from your seat. This is peak time for a visit from Southern Right Whales who make their winter home here. You’re guaranteed to see at least one shiny sea dog lolling about in the shallows below you while you swallow the view.
Note: Black Marlin could also be a lovely and easy going setting for a modest private wedding party (85-100 people)
By Jess Henson
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