Visiting The V&A’s Den Anker
If, like me, you’re a fan of Leonardo DiCaprio and proudly watched Blood Diamond, then you’ll probably remember the scene where Jennifer Conelly received that heart-wrenching phone call while lunching in none other than the V&A Waterfront’s Den Anker. Sure, Blood Diamond may have been eons ago, but Den Anker is still there, proudly holding its fort as one of the finest Belgian restaurants with the best views in town.
I visited Den Anker on a Saturday afternoon for a leisurely late lunch, and found incredible charm in their warm and friendly space. The whole restaurant is lined by giant glass windows, ensuring that you have the best views on all sides, looking out on both the waterfront and Cape Town’s beautiful mountains.
To start our lunch experience, the manager, Brandon, decided that we absolutely have to try one of their Belgian beers. We warned him that neither my sister nor I actually like beer very much, so he chose to serve us a Liefmans Fruitesse, a delightful red beer that tastes of mixed berries. I’m not sure ‘real’ beer drinkers would find this quite as delightful, but we certainly loved it, so much so that I would actually go back and order another one.
Brandon also served us a Kwak, which comes in a traditional glass with a bowl-shaped bottom. Apparently the glasses are extremely expensive, and so Den Anker makes you take off your one shoe as a deposit, which you’ll get back as soon as they get the glass back. I’m assuming this is meant to be humorous, but being forced to take off one’s shoe on a rather cold day is a sense of humour I don’t really appreciate. But if you don’t mind it, then go ahead and enjoy. This is a very ‘beery’ beer though, so not so good for non-beer fans.
Food-wise, we started off with a taster of their sesame tuna, which was absolutely divine sushi-style tuna with wonderful flavours. We then proceeded on to our starters, for which we shared both the lobster bisque and the Os a Moelle, basically, bone marrow. The bone marrow (which comes with toast) was lovely at first, but then it got a little too fatty for me. That said, the portion is generous and tasty and this is an absolute delicacy, so it definitely gives you the taste of something unique. The lobster bisque was full of flavour and absolutely lovely, but unfortunately doesn’t look so great on photos, so you’ll just have to go try this one to see what it looks like.
After starters we had a traditional Belgian berry liquor as a palate cleanser (which reminded me of German schnapps; lovely), and then moved on to our mains. My sister enjoyed the Steak au Poivre ‘Den Anker’, which is the restaurant’s signature steak, while I enjoyed the Kingklip ‘Den Anker’ (you guessed it, the restaurant’s signature seafood dish). Both were lovely, grilled to perfection, soft and succulent. My sister likes her steaks well done and she was absolutely blown away that Den Anker managed to get it perfectly well done throughout – even though it was such a thick cut! So thumbs up for that.
I really, really wanted dessert. The restaurant’s chocolate mousse has been staring at me for ages, but, alas, after all that food I was just too full to enjoy a rich dessert. But to have a sweet nibble I tried their Fruitesse Sorbet, which is a sorbet made from the Liefmans Fruitesse beer. This was lovely – sweet but not too large a portion. And at R20 this is definitely a happy ending to a meal!
I thoroughly enjoyed Den Anker – it’s a beautiful place with, as said, probably one of the best views in town, and the food will make you want to come back for more. For further information, check out their website or give them a call on +27 21 419 0249.
We’ll be back soon with more foodie reviews! Don’t forget to check out our first recipe of our gluten-free feature tomorrow! Until then, happy munching!
Review Date: July 2016