Let's get one thing straight: I am not a food snob. Great food experiences don't need to be expensive. A boerewors roll on the side of a rugby field can be just as rewarding as oysters and champagne. It's all about the timing. What you feel like. What you crave. Sushi. Dark chocolate. A fruit platter. An ice cold Jack Black. Mom's potato salad that doesn't quite taste the same when you make it. These are taste sensations that you need to fulfill expectations. On Saturday, after a solid run in the mountains, I felt like a nice piece of grilled fish and a salad. These were my expectations. The sun was out, I was feeling the summer vibe and I wanted to keep things healthy. After hearing from a sh*tload of people about what "good value"the Ocean Basket is, I stopped by for lunch. What a mistake. What a horrible, horrible mistake.
I had only ever been to the Kloof Street branch before (years ago) and wasn't bowled over, but let me tell you, the Claremont restaurant - and I use the word loosely - is a shocker. The Princess and I both ordered the catch of the day, Yellow Tail. I specifically asked for mine grilled but when it arrived fried and swimming in butter things were off to a shaky start. The side salad of chunky tomatoes, two olives, some feta and lettuce was tiny. I would later discover that it was the best part of the meal. My fish - despite the enormous amount of butter - was dry. There had been absolutely no effort made to fillet the fish and I literally had a bone in every bite. The Princess's fish was exactly the same. After a few bites I left mine and watched her soldier on. As she picked bones out of her mouth I assumed a crouching position, ready to leap up and apply the heimlich maneuver should she miss one of the smaller guys.
The meal was woeful. At R70 for a small fillet of fish I wouldn't say it was cheap either. A massive, uncompromising, read-it-and-listen-to-me piece of advice. Give Ocean Basket in Claremont a skip.
I was going to call Ocean Basket "The Fish Spur" in my heading when I started writing this piece but, thinking about it now, that would be a huge injustice to Spur.
If (for some reason) you want to check it out, it is at the entrance to to The Cavendish Link. Opposite Sumo...where I had to stop to get a smoothie on the way home.