Restaurant design: nautical elegance meets coastal chic at Galjoen

Cape Town-based restaurateurs Neil Swart and Anouchka Horn of Belly of the Beast, have opened a brand new seafood restaurant called Galjoen, placing an important emphasis on sustainable consumption and fishing.

Tucked on the bustling East City Harrington Street, Galjoen’s tongue-in-cheek name highlights the fact that you will not be finding this SASSI red-list fish on their ever-changing, seasonal and conscious menu.

galjoen in cape town
“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.”

Run by head chef Isca Stoltz, she hones in on childhood memories from the beach, time spent in Mozambique, foraged and self-caught seafood and a passion for freshness and respect for the environment and the origin of the food used.

galjoen in cape town
Studio NAN, the design team used to conceptualise the space, drew on these elements for creating the restaurant. Annelise Vorster of Studio NAN and Yolandi Vorster of YV Ateljee created a striking, pared-back dining area with an underlying nautical theme. Juxtaposing a light industrial decor scheme with a hint of coastal motif, the concept is subtle and doesn’t detract from the food, ensuring guests are in a beautiful and comfortable space.

“We wanted to bring a distinct nautical feel to the space, but without being too overt,” says Annelise Vorster. “It’s relaxed, and tongue in cheek. It needed to have a bit of a twist.”

galjoen in cape town
The tiny nods and homage paid to sea life are carefully crafted around the restaurant, from striking balcony balustrades, fish eye mosaics, rich wooden tables reminiscent of ship galleys, and ceramic light fittings designed by Amelia Jacobs to mimic traditional buoys used by local fisherman. Barnacles’ beneath the mezzanine floor create an underwater feel, while out on the balcony a seascape mural by Adele van Heerden brings the dramatic Cape shoreline to the space.

This article first appeared in VISI.

Images: supplied


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