Paternoster Beach Front Dining at Leeto

Leeto springbok loin

There is a special kind of magic when a restaurant is birthed out of the lifelong dream of a couple equally invested in creating a sustainable, warm and inviting culinary experience. This is perfectly demonstrated by Chef Garth Almazan and his gorgeous wife Cecile with their magnificent Paternoster beach front restaurant, Leeto.

Leeto was opened in partnership with the owners of the 5-star Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel. It makes the most of its spectacular beach front and fynbos views with sliding glass doors that concertina inwards. So, on perfect summer days, you feel like you are virtually dining on the soft white sand amongst the seagulls, with the briny salty tang of the sea and the pungent scent of the fynbos adding to your sublime foodie experience.

The restaurant itself is bright and airy, filled with light. The white crispness of its walls and tablecloths and blonde wooded beams combine to create a sophisticated Scandanavian-esque ambience that perfectly accentuates the breathtaking views, while providing an equally inviting space on dreary rainy winter days.

Foodies are probably familiar with Garth from his 18 years as executive chef at Catharina’s. Leeto is the culmination of a lifelong dream – the name Leeto, meaning journey, is a homage to the Khoi (the original Paternoster settlers), as well as representing Chef Almazan’s personal journey, which has led him to running his own restaurant alongside his wonderful wife Cecile, who shares his passion and creative vision.

Leeto view

How’s this for a view?

Leeto bread

Fresh farm bread to start with

The Foodie Experience And Many Courses

On our arrival, we were greeted with a glass of Steenberg bubbles and the most perfect oyster I have ever eaten, served with a drop of Tabasco and a lime wedge.  Chef Almazan is passionate about sustainability and supports local fishermen, which is why Leeto is already recognised for its outstanding seafood.  We were also served a light and deliciously refreshing mini caprese salad, which set the tone for the decadent delights to follow.

Our first course was the West Coast mussels dish. This was served in a piquant malay spiced coconut cream and a tomato, red onion and coriander sambal.  You could taste the freshness of the mussels and the light sophistication of the malay coconut cream was superb (which I think can be demonstrated by the fact that when my take home jar tipped upside down into my bag I was far more upset about losing the sauce than the bag!).

Then came the next course. My wild mushroom tart not only looked like a work of art but was beautifully balanced. And it proved that vegetarian food has the capacity to be just as interesting as any other dish on a menu.

Our main course was springbok loin with sautéed wild mushrooms, asparagus, gooseberries, sweet potato puree, and pickled baby mushrooms. The sirloin was tender, moist and incredibly well seasoned, and the array of veggies was a perfect collaboration of tastes and textures.

Leeto oyster

Best oyster ever

Leeto salad

Simple and delicious salad

Leeto mussels

Hmmmm …. mussels

Leeto wild mushroom tart

Wild mushroom tart

Leeto

Springbok loin – how gorgeous does this look?

Sweet Endings

Chef Almazan squeezed in an extra rich and creamy coffee brulee (I tried not to weep with joy) before serving his chocolate delice, which is a combination of caramel popcorn, chocolate soil, and vanilla pod ice-cream. This is the perfect dessert for (anyone really but) people who don’t like sweet things as the flavours are rich and chocolately rather than super sweet.

Leeto really lends itself to a dining experience that is about laid back indulgence.  You want to be able to take your time to make your way through this incredible menu and savour the opportunity to soak up the ambience and have long lazy conversation in a space that has been created to support this kind of dining experience.

Just be aware that Leeto has a no-children policy. This is a yippee for parents and non-parents alike in my personal opinion – yes, I am a parent. So, if you are looking for a romantic day trip destination or are staying in Paternoster and want to treat yourself to one of the best experiences this foodie has ever had, I cannot recommend Leeto highly enough. From the exceptional food and the outstandingly friendly service to the beautifully paired wines and the most magnificent beachfront view, this spot has it all.

Head There Yourself

Travelling out to Paternoster is definitely an experience not to be missed. You can check out Leeto for all your seafoody needs – and more – while you’re there. For more information, visit the Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel website here and the official Leeto Restaurant website here

Have you been? Are you planning a visit? Let us know – we’d be keen to hear!

Written by Gill Eastwood
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Article Date: April 2018

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