A fresh new vibe at the historic Constantia Nek restaurant with Harbour House and La Parada.
The iconic buildings of the old Constantia Nek restaurant needed major TLC when the Harbour House Group took them over in 2015. A year later they have been re-invented as two very different spaces, both retaining the elegant bones and features of the original heritage buildings. The Harbour House restaurant is serene, white and clean with big windows looking out over the Constantia Valley; La Parada is all wood, thatched ceilings, exposed stone walls and old-world Spanish posters with a vibey atmosphere around the sheltered courtyard.
La Parada is the perfect place for Hout Bay and Constantia residents to meet halfway for casual lunches and impromptu sundowners, with live music and dancing on weekend nights. Their signature tapas menu for both Bree Street and Constantia Nek has been recently updated by new chef, Martin Senekel with generous plates full of Spanish-inspired flavours. The stand-out dish for us was the grilled calamari with warm cucumber and tomato salad – light and fresh. A satisfying pork belly and a creative seared tuna with olives, green beans, citrus and anchovy dressing completed our starters. Sitting out in the courtyard with palm trees swaying and refreshing cocktails in hand, it was picture postcard summer living.
Moving through to the adjoining Harbour House restaurant for the rest of our meal, the calm ambience of high white ceilings and stunning view out over the Contantia Valley vineyards set the tone. The menu reflects the quality seafood theme of its sister restaurants in Kalk Bay and the V&A Waterfront, and the specials chalkboard had us deliberating between four signature linefish dishes, each one a classic in its way. The angelfish with a creamy dill sauce was our winning combination, delicate juicy fish complemented by a subtle dill sauce and rosemary potato bake. The kingklip with orange beurre blanc wowed the eye with a plating worthy of an impressionist painter at sunset, and popping flavours of orange, sage and artichoke were an inventive and lively contrast to the fish.
It was hard to justify dessert after all that, but the dark chocolate torte with salted caramel popcorn was irresistible and the fresh fruit sorbets were beautifully light and refreshing – a perfect end to an indulgent summer lunch.
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Words: Kit Heathcock
Images Micky Hoyle