To find a place for lunch in George where franchises abound is easier said than done if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary. Tired of braaivleis every night at our house in Great Brak River, we choose the rainy day of our golfing long weekend in the Southern Cape to eat out.
“No,” says Ingrid when we park at a recommended Italian. There are only two cars parked outside. “This does not look right.”
She remembers something about a second The Fat Fish that had opened in town recently, so we start the search. It’s easy enough to find it on Google Maps, but after we’ve been around the block about three times, we eventually stop, park the car, ask around and walk in the rain until we find the friendly building behind another on the premises of a previous Italian, La Locanda.
The interior is happy and light, and with the rainy weather, we are only too pleased to find a table next to the fireplace and a menu in the form of a newspaper full of silly facts, games and jokes such as, “Dyslexic man walks into a bra…”
Erna and B decide to go for the buy-one, get-one-free special of the fried fish and chips (R99 for the two). I ask, as always, about the most popular dishes and consider parmesan-crumbed kingklip or panko hake with gruyère potato bake, but decide in the end on the healthier and lighter Norwegian salmon on egg noodles with steamed greens. Ingrid chooses the grilled hake.
For starters we try two salmon roses each, which are beautiful and fresh, served on a wooden plank.
Our waitron, Yolandy, is full of information about the restaurant. It opened in November and is a sister to the original The Fat Fish in Plett. Take note: Not a franchise. The owner/chef spends a day or two every week in the restaurant in George. They have seating for about 120 people, 70 of whom can fit inside, where there are four seating areas, two with fireplaces.
I love my salmon and find the egg noodles light and tasty. “What’s in the sauce?” Erna asks. Ingrid takes a guess of soy, ginger and lime. “The fish is really white and firm and the batter not too thick. It just needs some mushy peas,” says Englishman B about her fish and chips. “Mmm, very fresh and flaky,” Erna concurs.
Ingrid tastes the mayo and thinks it comes from a bottle, but before she can ask, Yolandy has been to the kitchen and returns with the news that it is freshly made. Ingrid decides the fried fish is better than the grilled hake.
“Now what is this thing with lipstick?” asks B when Ingrid does a perfect ‘lippie’ at the table. “The thing is,” says Erna, always the style guru, “you can do it anywhere, but you have to make as if you have a mirror. Even if you don’t have one.”
Now that’s what I call an interesting style tip.
We leave happily after our hazelnut meringue with fresh berries that we share amongst the four of us. The last item on our list is to cross the single-spoor bridge back to our house on The Island at Great Brak River. Always a bit of a challenge, but if you grew up with the bridge like Ingrid did, you’d be an expert – which is why I decide that she has to drive my car back when it’s time to leave early on Monday morning.