Claim it now to manage your contact information, photos and menus whenever you like.
Good ingredients and skilled cooking make up for the shopping-mall ambience of this dependable Cape Town institution.
A shopping-mall restaurant, with most of its seating in the concourse with a view of the make-up counter at Clicks, and a reputation for being pricey, has quite a lot to prove foodwise. At Willoughby & Co, the red velvet rope is a fixture, suggesting that a table here is worth waiting for, and so it proves to be. It isn’t a long wait, either: Tables are turned over so efficiently that you’re shown to yours with your glass of complimentary midrange sauvignon blanc (your reward for getting in line) still held awkwardly in your hand. Indeed, everything speaks to efficiency, from the brisk, friendly service to the nicely timed interval between courses.
Food at Willoughby & Co is served from three kitchens – Japanese, sushi and seafood. The seafood is as fresh as you’d expect from a restaurant with a widely respected sushi menu, and it’s expertly cooked, but the culinary fireworks happen on the Japanese side. Mixing them up turns into a test for your palate: Will you ruin your meal if you have the tempura after the chowder?
Highly recommended: The tofu miso (Japanese soup made with soya bean paste and tofu seaweed), the clean and simple introduction to absolutely any meal, and the nicely balanced flavours of the tempura-fried sweet-and-sour kingklip. And an honourable mention, thanks to the expert cooking of quality ingredients, to the prawn cocktail – fresh, plump prawns and creditable Marie Rose sauce on an uninspired heap of lettuce.
Ordering the fish curry requires a surprising amount of diner input. Offered a choice between kingklip, kabeljou and yellowtail (check the blackboard for catch of the day), kabeljou is the way to go; but you may want to choose Cape Malay over Green Thai, a sloppy portion of perfectly cooked fish in an over-sharp grey mush that begs for the relief of, say, a sprig or two of fresh coriander.
A lunchtime-friendly wine list offers well-priced by-the-glass options, among which the Stone Town rosé should receive your serious consideration.
With three kitchens to time your orders and shoppers straying onto your path, this has got to be the most challenging waiting gig in town. The training is famously rigorous and it shows, in a good way.
Willoughby & Co is nearly always packed, and because tables have been arranged to make maximum use of the available square metreage, it feels that way. Aim for a table on the perimeter and make up our mind to enjoy some people-watching.
Refuelling during a hard day’s shopping, or ahead of catching a movie.
Eat Out critics dine unannounced and pay for their meals in full. Read our full editorial policy here.