Den Anker: a Cape Town institution with a Belgian flavour
Image source: Den Anker
With a premium view of Table Bay harbour and Table Mountain, you’d expect Den Anker to be overpriced and underwhelming. But with over 21 years of experience welcoming South Africans and homesick Belgians, Den Anker is nothing like other shorefront restaurants resting on their laurels (and the spectacular views).
The restaurant features a comfortable bar island, bedecked with dozens of imported beers on tap. The warm wooden bar welcomes you, and compliments the diners in the room rather than competing for space and attention.
The menu is Belgian bistro, with a strong emphasis on fresh seafood. Smaller bites of Cheese Croquettes or Bitterballen are essential to begin the meal. The Seared Sesame Tuna starter was perfectly cooked on the crust, giving the seeds a smokey flavour, while the deep pink flesh remain tender and succulent.
Main course was a whopping 2 kg of fresh West Coast mussels prepared Belgian style, steamed in beer and fresh herbs. Mussels can be misleading, because after all, isn’t at least half the dish just shell? Tender, juicy and fresh - the mussels were delicious. We gulped down one after another, overwhelmed by flavour.
The mussels are part of their Perfect Share Winter Special meals, which offers three choices of main courses for two to share. Choose either the 2kg mussels, fish and chips or a 600g sirloin - all served with a glass of Jordan wine or a Anker Brew beer.
Alas, we soon found ourselves defeated, so much so that we couldn’t finish the house-made pomme frites (skinny fries) and the luscious Belgian style mayo. Our waiter, smiling, cajoled us into sharing a vanilla creme brulee, which was creamy and smooth with the perfect sugary crust. Despite being satisfied after all the food, we couldn’t resist a spoonful or two.
The wine list is jam packed with some of the Cape’s best loved wines, all at very reasonable prices. A glass of white wine is available for less than R40, and the beer catalogue is so extensive that it demands its very own, seperate menu.
With a location that is impressive, even for this born and bred Capetonian, I honestly did not expect much from Den Anker. However, I was delightfully proved wrong, with their warm and professional staff, delicious food and excellent value. Den Anker is sure to become my regular Waterfront destination for a sundowner beer outside on the deck or a meal with friends.
A restaurant that trades for more than two decades is doing something right, and Den Anker is indeed doing a lot of things very well.