Text and photographs Ed Jenkins
Regular visitors and residents agree that The Tug Restaurant holds a special place in their hearts, evoking memories of the good food and happy occasions they have enjoyed there. The old tugboat, hauled through the dunes from Walvis Bay in 1993, has come to represent Swakopmund for a generation of diners.
Last year saw an extensive renovation to the facility. Additional seating and a new kitchen were provided, and the already panoramic view of the coastline was expanded. General manager and partner Brett Southworth recently completed an appraisal of the menu. The traditional seafood dishes will remain, new varieties of pastas will be introduced, and the choice of game fish and game meat will be enlarged.
“We recently added a gemsbok steak dish and a gemsbok ‘surf and turf’ selection,” he reports. “Both have been well received.” The ‘surf and turf’ includes a queen prawn and a Patagonian baby squid, stuffed with creamed spinach or chilli tomato pesto.
The new menu, which will be put into practice in May, will include swordfish, fillet of tuna steak, and prawn linguine. “Our goal is to continue to offer the freshest seafood, cooked simply, at affordable prices. Our oysters are grown locally, in Walvis Bay, and the lobsters come from Lüderitz, or alternatively from the Cape. We also serve fresh Swakopmund River Valley asparagus when in season. It has developed a cult following, as the brackish river water imparts a very distinctive taste to the spears.“
The wine list, already extensive, will be expanded to feature new selections from South Africa’s finest wineries. Most are moderately priced, and chosen to suit a variety of tastes and pocketbooks.
On a foggy, chilly night, I sat by a window, watching the surf pounding against the rocks. I selected a dozen fresh oysters, a fillet of sole, and a crème brûlée, followed by a cup of exceptionally fragrant coffee. Simple, fresh, and surprisingly affordable, I can’t imagine that The Tug will lose its mantle as the best restaurant on the coast any time soon…
A skinless fillet of sole, rubbed with olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and spices, and cooked in a very hot wok. Served with fresh Swakopmund River Valley asparagus (in season), parsley and baby potatoes, it is a simple, yet elegant choice when paired with a fine white wine.
WHERE AND WHEN
The Tug is located at the jetty, in central Swakopmund.
This article appeared in the May’12 edition of FLAMINGO Magazine.