A Fishy Story

‘They say fish should swim thrice. First it should swim in the sea, then it should swim in butter, and at last, sirrah, it should swim in good claret.’

Jonathan Swift; Polite Conversation (c. 1738)

Waterfront Charters established their ‘Cruise and Dine’ combo outing a couple of years ago, and this has proven to be one of our guests’ favourite adventures. The combination of a relaxed cruise aboard a luxurious yacht followed by a gourmet meal at a top V&A Waterfront restaurant is probably one of the finest outings locals and visitors alike can experience in Cape Town, and despite the lockdown effect of 2020, Cruise and Dine has remained a firm favourite Waterfront Charters experience.

Of course, tastes differ, so right from the outset we arranged to partner with three of the V&A’s most popular eateries; Meloncino, The City Grill and The Greek Fisherman. Whether it was seafood, meat or vegetarian options our guests were looking for, they were catered for. But we weren’t done just yet: there was one further mouth-watering option we wanted to explore, and it was right next door to our office on Quay 5: the sublime Sevruga Restaurant, with their amazing sushi platter. The Coastal Cruise Sushi Cruise and Dine was created, and has already become a sought after adventure, both culinary and cruise-wise. An hour’s gentle cruising aboard either Enigma – our motor powered catamaran – or Serenity One – our classic sailing catamaran – along the coastline, followed by a full 14 piece sushi platter at Sevruga.

The restaurant’s opulent setting features exquisite panoramic views of the harbour, and the newly renovated interior offers intimate seating with a magnificent American walnut bar counter and solid wooden floors, that is in contrast to the semi-outdoor seating for more of a relaxed feel, that boasts natural light and outdoor plants. You can choose where to relax – that’s one of the delights of the Cruise and Dine experience: from start to finish you have a variety of choices to conjure up the ideal outing for you and your lucky guests.

Sushi has become something of a favourite with discerning diners over the past three decades, and there are many people who see themselves as experts in the field of sushi consumption. We know that at Sevruga the most fastidious of diners will be enchanted by their platter, and we are very happy to be able to offer the sushi option on our Cruise and Dine menus. But did you know that ‘sushi’ was not actually the raw fish dish that we enjoy today? It was initially a traditional Japanese dish of prepared vinegared rice, which frankly, doesn’t sound too appealing. Accompanying the rice (sometimes sugared or salted – or both) were a variety of ingredients, like slivers of cooked meat, vegetables or raw fish. The taste of the vinegared rice with fish must have been intriguing to Japanese pallets, as they started to store salted fish (‘narezushi’) in the vinegared rice for months at a time. Interestingly, when they finally ate the pickled fish, the rice was tossed out, which seems to have been a waste. Nowadays we know that this type of preservation as lacto-fermentation, and it prevents fish from spoiling.

As with all things great and small on our planet, the sushi process evolved over time. There are records from the Muromachi period (1336–1573) that show the continual addition of extra vinegar, which shortened the curing time of the salted fish: so much so that it was eventually abandoned altogether and the fish eaten immediately – with the rice by stage. This ‘primitive’ sushi became known as oshi-zushi, and chefs started shaping the helpings with bamboo moulds. Then, during the Edo period (around1600 to the mid-1800’s) fresh fish was served over the vinegared rice, introducing a whole new taste sensation. Nigirizushi was born, although the dish was originally termed Edomae zushi as it used freshly caught fish from the Edo-mae (Edo or Tokyo Bay); the term Edomae nigirizushi is still used today as a by-word for quality sushi, regardless of its ingredients’ origins. Sushi may only have picked up in popularity late in the 20th century, but there are references to it dating back to 1893 in a book called ‘A Japanese Interior’. It mentions sushi as ‘a roll of cold rice with fish, sea-weed, or some other flavouring’, not the greatest advertisement for food we have ever seen.

You’ll find Edomae nigirizushi  at Sevruga, natch. Whatever the hazy, vinegary origins of sushi, the delicious meal that it is today will please the most demanding of palates. And there is no better way to build up an appetite than a sea cruise – put the two experiences together and you’ll have a perfect combination. We sail at 11h30, 12h30 and 13h30, ensuring that you and your guests can plan your day around this amazing event.

Book online for the ultimate sea experience!