Loved by many for its laid-back dining atmosphere and consistently good-quality seafood dishes, Ocean Basket is no doubt a South African treasure. It’s certainly a go-to restaurant for me, and my family when we’ve got seafood on the mind. Like many Ocean Basket fans, I know the menu backwards and forwards and always know just what to order when I sit down for a meal. Of course, even your old-favourite spots need a bit of shaking up every now and then, which is why Ocean Basket is livening up its tried and tested menu with a few new dishes for fans to salivate over this summer.
I popped into the V&A Waterfront branch for a taste of Ocean Basket’s new summer menu, which includes everything from new whole fish dishes to sushi inspired by South African flavours. We enjoyed a multi-course seafood feast and after sampling all the new additions to the summer menu I was beyond impressed.
Sea Bream steals the show
Undoubtedly the star of the new menu is the scrumptious Sea Bream which is served whole. Sea Bream’s dense, juicy white flesh has a satisfying meaty texture, a clean taste and a delicate flavour, making it the perfect choice for a whole fish dish. When it comes to cooking fish, the healthiest cooking methods help to limit the loss of healthy omega-3 fats and retain the most nutrients, which makes cooking a fish whole far superior to fish fillets. Keeping the body intact holds in the flavour and moisture better, and most importantly, you waste less of the meat.
Ocean Basket’s new Grilled Sea Bream (R155) is served with orange and caper sauce and a side of roasted vegetables for a light, but filling meal you won’t soon forget. I absolutely love this dish for those days when you are looking for a healthier option when dining out with family and friends. The grilled fish is still packed with flavour, and the orange and caper sauce brings a bright and fresh flavour to the dish that has you salivating with every bite.
If you want to indulge a little then you can also opt for the Fried Sea Bream (R155) which is served with a red pepper mayo and a side of your choice (roast vegetables, salad, or chips, and rice). The fried version with the red pepper mayo is indeed a winner if you’re after a creamy, moreish treat. Of course, the whole fish Sea Bream is also available grilled with Ocean Basket’s famous lemon butter sauce. This was my favourite version of this dish and is a must-try for anyone looking for something new to try, but with a familiar flavour.
If you’re really hungry then you can also opt for the Sea Bream Platter for One (R235) which offers a whole Sea Bream, calamari and 5 price prawns. It’s an indulgent seafood treat you won’t regret ordering! Once again, the platter offers a choice of sides for you to enjoy along with your seafood.
The lighter side of life
If you’re not too hungry or are after a light starter to get those taste buds ready for the main event, then you must try the new Panko Prawn cakes. This dish of juicy prawn meat, crumbed in a paprika panko crumb is served with a zesty mayo and is a delightful starter for prawn fans. These tasty little bites are also great as a snack if you’re enjoying drinks with friends and want something to nibble on.
Speaking of starters and light nibbles; the summer menu also offers a variety of exciting new salads and other starters. Try the Avo and Falafel salad (R70), Chickpea & Feta starter (grilled chickpeas in a red pesto sauce, topped with feta – R39), or the Loaded Halloumi (topped with fresh Med salsa – R67). All three flavour explosions are perfect as starters or part of a sharing Meze-style meal.
The new summer menu offers exciting new light dining options for seafood fans, as well as vegetarians and vegans who want to join their fish-eating friends and family for a meal without being condemned to eating nothing but lettuce leaves all night.
Sushi fans, rejoice!
The great news for sushi fans is that Ocean Basket has also enhanced its much-loved sushi platters with new offerings including Panko Zucchini California Rolls (R24 for 4-piece), Panko Prawn California Rolls (R35 for 4-piece), Med Salsa Gunkan (R19 for 3-piece) and Kingklip Futomaki (R45 for 6-piece). All the light summer flavours in a delicious mouthful of sushi rice.
I absolutely love the new Panko Prawn additions to the sushi menu, the satisfying crunch from the prawn brings a delightful texture to the sushi and the flavour combinations in all the Panko Prawn options are divine. The Kingklip Futomaki was another surprise favourite of mine, I wasn’t sure about kingklip in sushi, but it was absolutely divine and something I will definitely order again on my next visit.
If you’re after a sushi feast, then try one of Ocean Basket’s sushi platters for a taste of everything. The Chef’s Medley platter offers 3-piece Med Salsa Gunkan, 6-piece Kingklip Futomaki, 3-piece Panko Prawn Gunkan, and 4-piece Panko Zucchini California Rolls at R88. For vegetarians, the Green Supreme platter (R84) offers something completely different. You get 3-piece Med Salsa Gunkan, 6-piece Avo Maki, and 8-piece Panko Zucchuni Gunkan.
Cheers to good times
For dessert, there are the old favourites like the Baklava (R60 for 3-piece), or try the new Fruit Pops and choose between Berry, Passion Fruit, or Mango favoured ice lollies (R24 each).
Of course, you also need something to wash it all down and the new summer menu also offers an improved selection of great South African wines as well as chilled coolers in a variety of flavours. I love the new non-alcoholic blush cooler, which can be ordered for one (R40) or to share in a carafe (R115).
Check out the full Ocean Basket menu online here.
Review originally published on WomenStuff.co.za