Be sure to check out Cape Town’s newest seafood restaurant, Galjoen.

Restaurateurs Neil Swart and Anouchka Horn of Belly of the Beast fame have bought the same sense of culinary focus to Galjoen, where the spotlight falls squarely on sustainably caught South African seafood.

“People come to Cape Town and eat imported seafood, and that just makes no sense to us,” says Horn. “You should be eating the fish that’s from our own oceans, so from the beginning we decided we’re not going to cook with anything that’s imported. No prawns from Vietnam. No salmon from Norway. No calamari from Argentina.”

Freshly steamed Saldanha Bay mussels, white wine and Parsley sauce, pickled onions, Parsley oil, Parsley micros, fennel flowers

Just don’t ask for Galjoen!

Perhaps ironically, the one fish you’ll never find on the menu is the namesake.

 Galjoen is red-listed by SASSI, and cannot be sold commercially, but for Horn and Swart the name was a matter of pride.

“In all of our cooking we really celebrate South African produce and South African recipes, and by naming the restaurant Galjoen we wanted to both raise awareness of our national fish and spark a conversation with our guests around sustainability in seafood,” says Swart.

Galjoen offers a curated set menu experience. You arrive and trust you’ll be served awesome seafood under the guide and culinary expertise of Head Chef  Isca Stoltz.

Yellowfin Tuna Sashimi, Roasted Garlic Aïoli, Grated Bokkom from Abalobi, Caramelized Ginger dressing, Chive flowers, spring onion micro, nori foraged from Scarborough

“With every single plate we really put the focus on the ingredients,” says Stoltz. “Everything we do in the kitchen is to make them shine.”

“One of the dishes that will always be on the menu is our own version of the humble fish and chips but given our own interpretation and a bit of flair,” says Stoltz with a smile.

Fish of the Day served with caper & lemon butter

Crispy pomme anna with a salt & Vinegar seasoning & brown sauce

“We cook the fish, whatever is fresh that day, over open coals with lemon butter. It’s a plate that’s meant to transport you to eating on the quayside, with all those wonderful flavours of salt and vinegar and fish and potatoes.”

4 Hour Braised Octopus, Romesco sauce, red pepper & celery gremolata, chive oil, Octopus, marmite, crispy onions, Nasturtium flowers.

The interior was created by Annelise Vorster, owner of Studio NAN, and Yolandi Vorster of YV Ateljee. The name ‘galjoen’ derives from the Dutch word for a galleon sailing ship, and the duo drew on these two inspirations in creating the look and feel of the restaurant.

“We wanted to bring a distinct nautical feel to the space, but without being too overt,” says Annelise Vorster.

Balcony balustrades remind one of a ship’s gangway – or perhaps a fishing net – while eagle-eyed diners will notice the fish-eye mosaic that gazes up from the entranceway.

Roasted sweet potato custard, seeded rusk crumble, green rooibos ice cream, honeycomb, brandy glaze, kataifi nest

Local ceramicist Amelia Jacobs created the bespoke crockery for the restaurant, and fired the glazed bricks cladding the pass and banquette seating. In their shimmering shades of green and black, they’re reminiscent of a galjoen beneath the water. Don’t forget to look up, where the ‘barnacles’ beneath the mezzanine floor suggest diners might be beneath the waves, while out on the balcony a striking mural by Adele van Heerden brings the dramatic Cape shoreline to an inner-city setting.

Pair all of that with the culinary journey created by some of the best chefs in the city, and Galjoen offers a truly immersive South African seafood experience.

For bookings, visit www.galjoencpt.co.za.

Lunch at R550 per person : 12h30pm : Wednesday to Saturday

Dinner at R750 per person : 18h45pm : Tuesday to Saturday

*Chef Stoltz and her team cook a multi course menu and hence, the restaurant can unfortunately not cater for: dislikes, low carb, vegans, onion, garlic, alcohol, coriander, black pepper, butter, cream, soy, sugar, and egg allergies*

Galjoen is located at 99 Harrington Street, Cape Town