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You can ring my Beluga

Since its relaunch in 2006, Beluga has grown into one of South Africa's top restaurants.

Even though my friend and I had an early dinner reservation on a public holiday, the cobbled outdoor terrace was packed when we arrived. We took refuge from the autumn chill by sitting inside the 100-year-old building that houses the main restaurant. The wooden interior and dim lights give the space a warm and intimate feeling.

You can ring my Beluga

Part of Beluga's popularity must be due to its constant meal specials, which currently include half-price sushi on Sundays as well as two- and three-course set menu meals for R135 and R179. But instead of going for the sushi and dim sum, like I fondly remember eating there with some friends a few years ago, we decided to explore the restaurant's fine-dining roots.

Our attentive waiter was very good at making recommendations. For starters, my friend opted for the spice-fried baby calamari with crispy pickled vegetables and spicy peanut dressing ("needs sauce," he said) while I went with the de-shelled Thai prawns. For the main course, he went for the linefish while I had the miso-marinated kingklip. Both were served on thick beds of mashed potatoes, making the meals memorable for being filling rather than knockout delicious.

All good things come at a cost

Of course, all good things come at a cost. The total for our meal (which included corkage on a bottle of wine) was R428. But, thanks to a fortunate combination of an Entertainer Cape Town voucher and points on Beluga's loyalty card, there wasn't much left to pay.

It'll be interesting to see how Beluga continues to expand and develop, considering that it recently opened restaurants in Joburg and Pretoria. More than that, its association with The Caviar Group's Food Studio should lead to exciting culinary developments from the experimental kitchen.

So don't be fooled by the marketing campaign and pictures in the menu or on the walls; Beluga isn't only for young, white girls. You just might like it too.

Beluga Waterfall - Official Opening from The Caviar Group on Vimeo.


Beluga is located in Cape Town (+27 (0)21 418 2948/9), Joburg (+27 (0)10 596 8970) Pretoria, and Durban (+27 (0)31 584 7430). The restaurant is open daily from 12pm to 11pm. Go to www.beluga.co.za for more details.

About Eugene Yiga

Eugene graduated from the University of Cape Town with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano. He then spent over two-and-half years working in branding and communications at two of South Africa's top market research companies. Eugene also spent over three-and-a-half years at an eLearning start-up, all while building his business as an award-winning writer. Visit www.eugeneyiga.com, follow @eugeneyiga on Twitter, or email moc.agiyenegue@olleh to say, um, hello.

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