The Oxford Dictionary tells me that ceviche is “a South American dish of marinated raw fish or seafood” but, frankly, I don’t think that definition does ceviche much justice.
Last week I was treated to lunch at the (quite) newly opened Ceviche Bar in Woodstock. I was unreasonably excited to go, not only because I am a fish fan, but also because I’m a fish purist. I’ll explain. Although I’m a pescatarian, I don’t eat fish regularly (Save Our Seas, endangered fishies, and all that stuff.) So, when I do eat it I’m rather particular: the fish should be super-fresh and, if possible, raw.
Chic retreat in Woodstock
Found on the first floor above a coffee roastery, and entered through a clothing store that echoes the white-on-white look of the restaurant above it, Ceviche feels like one of those Scandi-chic Pinterest boards – clean, breezy, light and bright; a quiet retreat within the hustle and bustle of Woodstock.
We are welcomed by owners Dylan Norton and Tamryn Bruinders, and while Tamryn briefs us about what ceviche is, where it comes from, and why this Latin American dish is so unique and amazing, chef Dylan heads to the kitchen to sharpen his tools.
Pure and simple
The menu is everything I want in a menu: two breakfast offerings are available till 12, and seven lunchtime options, two of which are vegan (and involve ingredients such as shitake mushrooms, lime, spring onions, cucumber, capers, coriander and sesame seeds). Tempted as I am, I’m here for the fish.
Ceviche Primo (lime-cured kingklip served with fennel, chilli, spring onion and sesame oil) is their signature dish, having garnered a cult following at various markets around Cape Town. But Tamryn has other plans for us today, namely Ceviche Mango, Salmon Tiradito, Charred Corn and a new salmon dish they are working on for their Winter menu.
The Ceviche Mango (lime-cured kingklip served with mango and sweet potato al dente, topped with red chilli and coriander) is zesty, fragrant, fresh and instantly satisfying. The Salmon Tiradito (orange- and lime-cured salmon) is served on a bed of julienne cucumber and topped with sesame seeds, spring onions, chilli, soya sauce and lime.
We inhale the charred corn – which is hearty and simple in that way that only corn can be. And then comes the “mystery” dish – thick chunks of salmon topped with spring onions, sesame oil and pomegranate seeds, served with a dollop of Asian mayonnaise. Totally sublime!
Ceviche and no chill!
All dishes are served with side portions of black pepper, soya sauce and a spicy, aromatic relish that was surely made by the God-of-all-Relishes. It’s actually Dylan’s homemade chilli paste, aptly called No Chill (and is available for purchase at The Ceviche Bar from 1 May 2018).
As much as kingklip is chef Dylan’s white fish of choice – a gold standard of fish if you like – Tamryn and Dylan understand that many diners are more comfortable eating raw versions of “traditional” fish, such as Norwegian salmon.
If you’re looking for a light meal that’s packed with nutritional value and fresh ingredients, The Ceviche Bar is the business.
Tamryn and Dylan are not only warm, super-efficient and friendly company, they’re also avid seafood lovers and visibly love what they do. They’ll be introducing alternative ingredients like scallops, oysters, locally sourced rainbow trout and Patagonian squid as they create dishes for their new menus.
Opening times Monday – Friday, 12pm – 4pm
Tuesday & Thursday, 6pm – 10pm
Contact 063 223 5551, email@example.com
Where to find it 103 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock