How good are locals with sea food?
THE best in seafood cuisine, whether you are in the mood for a light snack or a dish with all the trimmings, Ocean Basket restaurant located in Windhoek’s Town Square needs little introduction.
The place is normally bustling with seafood lovers from all walks of life and most inviting is the aroma of seafood that engulfs the whole Post Street Mall around Town Square.
Ocean Basket restaurant is one of the biggest South African seafood chains around the country.
At Town Square, the restaurant is divided into three portions: the outside, decorated with piped wooden chairs and tables; inside there is a more serious environment with wooden chairs and tables; divided with “Balustrades” that resemble the barricades found on seafronts to give customers the feel of being near an ocean. And there is the balcony, which has the best view of the busy Windhoek street life outside from the restaurant.
Meanwhile, the seafood menu is quite exciting. Their starters range from olives, feta, Tzatziki, Tarama, village salad, calamari salad, fisherman’s salad, village table salad, haloumi to calamari, Portuguese Sardines and Garlic Mussels.
The main menu comprises calamari steak, linefish fillet sole, prawn special, kingklip, king prawns , fish and chips, seafood platter for one, seafood platter for two, and seafood combos.
They also offer a range of sushi dishes which I admittedly was not brave enough to try, so I stuck to the ship platter for one, with some prince prawns, mussels’, fried fish, chips and calamari.
Naturally, I am not a big seafood fan, and as a rule having hailed from the northern regions of Namibia, red meat is normally my favourite.
So as expected, it was my first time eating at Ocean Basket let alone try out seafood, although I have tried prawns on two previously occasions.
Their calamari was cut into small pieces and looked more like round macaroni although the taste differed and my colleague had to come to my rescue as I tried hard to figure out the difference.
It should not be surprising that I felt so low when my colleague pointed out that the white round things that I was eating were not macaroni but calamari. She was a lady for that matter, but I would not let it go, I explained to her that usually I dined at restaurants that sell dishes other than seafood cuisines.
But if you ask me what I think of seafood cuisines right now, I will tell you that they are fantastic and I would love to try them again. However, next time I go there I will act as a veteran as I know what to eat since I have memorised the menu. Lol
Most locals say they are allergic to seafood, hence most of the kinsman who were at Ocean Basket that day, opted for the usual fish and chips.
I like the general service they offer at Ocean Basket, which is conducted swiftly and timely. The platter for 1 that I went for came in a large stainless steel, animal friendly, and feeding frenzy trough, encouraging one to ditch the cutlery, roll up your sleeves and get it all into the mix.
The prince prawns were split in half making it easier to remove the shells without a struggle. The fish tasted good and the other sea stuff was well cooked true to the word.
Complementary bread and dips were true to their Cypriot origins and tasted marvellous. Because they were warm the butter melted into the slices thereby make the bread the best one can have in a Windhoek restaurant.
However, I find it a put off that the restaurant does not have televisionscreens for companionship as one is bound to stay long at this eatery. Television sets would do. Just like at some eateries such as Spurs.
Restaurant Manager, Pieter van Schalkwyk, says Namibians are now starting to take a great interest in seafood cuisines, although the majority that frequent the restaurant are European tourists and Angolans.
“Seafood is healthy, and we want to see more Namibians trying our cuisines. However, an early interest in seafood is normally influenced by the environment in which the individual grew up.”
He says that people from the coastline regions are more likely to favour seafood cuisines while those from the north and central regions of Namibia normally prefer beef and steaks.
Pity, the north and central have the largest population of Namibia.
Ocean Basket, as a brand, has strongly entrenched itself into the hearts and minds of southern African consumers in the last 15 years, with 133 Outlets throughout sub-Saharan Africa.
In terms of the sub-continent’s Seafood Restaurants’, Ocean Basket is by far the market leader with approximately 40% of the total branded seafood restaurants, which generate in excess category.
The brand says it has an average of a million customers visiting its seafood outlets monthly although I doubt if most of these are locals.
For those who have not tried seafood cuisines yet, I challenge you to visit Ocean Basket. It is “the best feeshing spot in the world”. PF