A cliff enclave – Fick’s Restaurant

No visit to the seaside town of Hermanus is complete without a walk along the clifftop path, from where whales can be watched, huge swells from the Southern Ocean observed crashing against rocks that have withstood the weathering of aeons and the champagne sea air inhaled. After just such a walk, and feeling a little peckish but not in the mood for a large lunch, we took ourselves off to a rocky inlet in Westcliff where Fick’s Restaurant sits snugly on the surrounds. A little reminiscent of the Italian Riviera, it is easy to imagine yourself there as you sip cocktails on couches under white umbrellas, well out of sight of the town on top of the cliff, but the sea that was thundering up the narrow enclave and crashing over the wall of the little pool was anything but Mediterranean in colour or temperature. The pool was built in the 1920s after the bay was cleared of a large pointed rock by blasting, making it possible to put up a wall so the locals could swim safely. Despite this, bathing is considered dangerous in rough seas.

The restaurant has no indoor seating and depends very much on the weather for operations. No reservations are taken and it’s first come, first served. I would suggest it be avoided in season. However, on this day it was just perfect – a scattering of patrons, some kids in the pool until the waves started to break over the wall and delightful company. The pinchos menu is quite adequate to enable a choice of dishes to be shared between the table, and so we all got a sample of more dishes than we would have been able to consume or afford individually. These are mini-plates, rather like tapas, and it was a pleasant experience to enjoy a casual but tasty snack lunch in such beautiful surroundings. Prices range from R55 for patatas bravas to R135 for lamb rack cutlets, with some interesting items such as flash-fried cauliflower (deliciously different) and salmon ceviche (declared decadent). An extensive wine list and cocktail menu will suit all comers. Regrettably we ate it all before thinking to take photos.

Highly recommended – best time in my opinion is: a windless day out of season, at high tide!

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