When I first saw that the Palmyra Junction Shopping Centre in Claremont had opened, I was annoyed. “We don’t need any more malls,” I muttered as I drove past and in theory it’s true.
However, it turns out Palmyra Junction holds a hidden gem beneath its slick consumer veneer. The Southern Cross Seafood Deli is a special little place with a homely, welcoming feel and will delight avid sea food lovers.
Everybody seems to know about the Southern Cross already. It’s getting a reputation as the best little seafood shop in town and it’s rumoured that this is where a lot of chefs buy their seafood; the best kind of recommendation any food shop could ask for.
A little questioning revealed that the Southern Cross takes great care in buying fresh fish. They make sure that all the vessels they buy from are licensed and that they comply with the SASSI code to ensure that the best possible product is sold at the deli. In a country where the once abundant fish stocks have been heavily depleted by foreign trawlers this is a very important point.
The owner is a fisherman himself and takes delight in educating his patrons about the fish they are buying. He runs a tight ship and the staff are helpful and friendly – something which always adds to the experience.
There is a great seasonal selection of fish available (never been frozen) from the daily catch, like Cape salmon, kob, yellowtail, line fish, snoek and also fresh tuna available in summer. Frozen items include langoustines, clams, prawns, oysters, shell fish, and scallops.
Not only can you buy delicious fresh or frozen seafood but you can also enjoy a delicious meal at the deli. There is an array of choice from the sushi or cold tapas selection to skillfully prepared hot dishes (You can also order the more traditional fish and chips.)
I decided to try the Southern Cross deli for breakfast with some friends. The breakfast menu is served until 12 noon daily, which suits me perfectly on a lazy Saturday morning. I ordered the pink lady, which is smoked salmon on rosti with a poached egg topped with horse radish mayo. My girlfriend ordered a very different meal; the prawn fooyong, which is a flat omelette with prawns, spring onion, soy sauce and sesame oil.
Others in our little Saturday morning breakfast club ordered the Junction breakfast comprising of fried eggs, bacon, sautéed mushrooms and grilled tomato. This of course was enjoyed with a good cup of coffee all round.
The lunch menu has a great variety of light meals and more hearty winter warmers to choose from. There is a delicious selection of sandwiches like the Po’boy which is marinated hake cubes, crumbed deep fried and served on focaccia with mixed salad greens and topped with tartar sauce.
There’s also a prawn Caesar wrap with mixed salad leaves, tossed in Caesar dressing with anchovies parmesan shavings croutons topped with grilled prawns in a tortilla.
The cold tapas selection is appetizing and great to share as a starter. There are fresh mussels with tomato chilli and coriander or seared hake with roast tomatoes. The deli also serves a great hot tapas platter for R110, Which includes a combination of mussels, salt and pepper squid, and garlic prawns.
There is also a fantastic sushi menu with a surprising addition that I just have to try; eel sushi. You can order eel maki, California rolls or fashion sandwiches.