Taste 7 unique dishes (+ a surprise) at Taj Cape Town’s signature eatery
Have a Break at Bertha’s Restaurant
Sitting on the edge of the water at Simon's Town harbour, Bertha’s has become a bit of an institution
It’s a scorcher and we’re stuck in traffic on Boyes Drive. One of the things you’ve got to love about Cape Town, though, is that the exquisite views make up for most minor mishaps.
The Navy Festival in Simon's Town usually draws quite a crowd and this time one of Germany’s largest war ships is docked in the bay. When we finally arrive at Bertha’s restaurant, way late for our booking, the friendly staff just laughs it off and sorts us out with a table. Almost all of their customers got stuck in the traffic today.
Just Nuisance cocktails and war ship views
We’re happy to sit down at a table on the wooden deck overlooking the harbour; the war ship looming over the festive yachts. A cold glass of bubbles wins over a Just Nuisance cocktail (named after the only dog ever to be enlisted in the Royal Navy) from the extensive list and quickly takes the edge off the heat.
My lunch partner, Alan, suggests sharing fish cakes as a starter and it ends up being dense with fish and thoroughly flavourful, especially with the sweet mayonnaise-y tartare sauce and fresh-fresh salad of curly lettuce, cherry tomatoes, onion and slivers of cucumber.
Great value seafood platters
Mains are a bit more of a difficult choice. Calamari steak, chicken kebabs or a rib burger... The speciality is seafood however and the seafood platter sounds promising – prawns, mussels, calamari and fish for only R99. However when I catch a glimpse of the sushi arriving at the table right next to us I have second thoughts. The Italian at my side chooses sole Florentine.
Meals at Bertha’s are generous and well presented. My seafood platter arrives garnished with crisp rocket while Alan’s sole is adorned with creamy spinach and served with tender vegetables in a butter sauce.
A popular wine list that suits the pocket
The wine list reads like a collection of some popular local favourites, Two Oceans Sauvignon Blanc, Graca, Fleur du Cap Light, Boschendal Blanc de Noir, Nederburg Baronne, Landskroon Shiraz and Beyerskloof Pinotage. There are also treats such as Vergelegen Vin de Florence, Springfield Whole Berry and Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir. We decide to go for Durbanville Hills, which never ceases to please.
After a long afternoon of sun, seafood and Sauvignon Blanc all that is left on our table are heaps of mussel and prawn shells and two satiated diners. There’s no space for a chocolate brownie, ice cream with toffee sauce or malva pudding from the dessert menu but an espresso sets the mood for the long drive back.
Bertha’s also does lovely breakfasts (from 7am) as the sun rises over the ocean and on Friday nights live music creates a bit of a buzz while the lights sparkling on the water mirror the night sky. Combined with a leisurely stroll through Simon’s Town or day with penguins on Boulders beach, Bertha’s makes for a lovely lazy day - any day.
The South African Sustainable Seafood initiative (SASSI) aims to inform and educate the seafood trade, including restaurant s and seafood lovers on marine conservation issues.
By Lize de Kock
For more about Cape Town’s abundant offering of fantastic restaurants, visit our Eating Out section.