If you ask 10 people which is the best restaurant for sushi in Cape Town, 5 of them will probably say Willoughby’s in the Waterfront. I have eaten at this restaurant quite a few times as my family likes to eat there when they visit from PE. However, as they haven’t visited for a while, I haven’t been to Willoughby’s for a while. In fact I haven’t been since they renovated, which is quite some time. So, seeing as I was at the Waterfront this evening I thought I would test this famous sushi.
I’ve actually never had sushi at Willoughby’s before. I normally have the calamari starter and the linefish main (R95) (or the combo) because they are always excellent. My mother loves the clam chowder and for good reason. The seafood is fresh and well prepared and the portions are generous. This time I sat at the funky new sushi bar and had the Rainbow Nation Roll (R79 – 8 pieces) and the Salmon Roses (R36 – 2 pieces). I washed it all down with a glass of the Goats do Roam white blend (R24). I quite like the way they have numbered the wine varietals and then used the numbers to recommend wines for each dish. The fish was fresh and the sushi looked well made, but I didn’t really enjoy it. The pieces of rainbow roll were so big I looked like I was trying to blow up an invisible balloon each time I put a piece in my mouth. Which also meant that it took ages to chew the sushi enough to swallow. I realised then that I don’t really like having sushi in my mouth for longer than a few seconds. The salmon roses were a more reasonable size, very salmony, only a little rice which is how some people like them. I would have preferred a bit more rice, and a bit less salmon.
Everyone has different taste when it comes to sushi. I’m not saying the sushi wasn’t good because it was, I’m just saying it wasn’t the way I like it. I love the sushi at Just Sushi in Simonstown and the sushi at Wakame, so use that as a gauge for yourself. While we are on the topic of sushi, I want to talk about the ubiquitous Kikkoman soya sauce. Most of the bottles near me were the green capped low sodium variety, so I asked them to bring me the red capped one. I was then informed that they are all the same, they refill them with one type but she wasn’t sure which one they used. I know a lot of people like to use the low sodium soya sauce, but do they realise the low sodium one contains preservatives while the normal one is preserved by the sodium? If you’re worried about the amount of sodium you are consuming, use less soya sauce! By the way, is soya sauce made from GM soy (I see there are organic soya sauces available on supermarket shelves)?
Also on the topic of sushi, did you know that disposable chopsticks are one of the major causes of deforestation? Hundreds of millions of chopsticks are used around the world every day. Asian countries have been trying to get the population to carry their own plastic or stainless steel chopsticks around with them. With the rising popularity of sushi and Asian food here, we need to be aware of this. I see that Wakame has changed from disposable chopsticks to funky looking red chopsticks. I wonder if this is for environmental reasons, cost reasons or just to be different?
Back to Willoughby & Co, after my meal I took a little walk around to see what they had done with the renovations. They have expanded the inside massively and it now contains counter seating for quite a few people, several kitchens, a starter buffet and a deli. Some of the foods on the buffet looked quite appetizing, I think they were charged at around R35 per 100g. The deli had some appealing items but not much that I hadn’t seen elsewhere. They had some spanish chorizo (Portuguese chorizo is easy to find and much cheaper, but not as nice), edamame beans and scallops, all of which are quite difficult to find. There was also a large selection of frozen and fresh seafood and shellfish.
Sitting at the counters inside is not as comfortable as sitting at a table and it is quite cramped, but at least you are removed from the bustle of shoppers walking by. That is the big disadvantage of Willoughby’s, that the seating is located in the middle of the walkway. But then again, some people like the hustle and bustle. It doesn’t really bother me too much unless I am wanting something intimate.
Willoughby & Co
021 418 6115