Unwind and Dine at Leeto Restaurant in Paternoster
The West Coast has a charm like no other. Pristine white beaches, stretches of unspoilt rugged landscape and, of course, the endless blue of the Atlantic ocean. Throw in whitewashed fisherman’s cottages, laid-back locals and great food and you have all the makings of a wonderful day trip or stay over.
Chef Garth Almazan Heads up Leeto Restaurant
Chef Garth Almazan, previously of Catharina’s at Steenberg, relocated to the West Coast town of Paternoster a year ago with his wife Cecile. The two have quietly been working with property developers, Simone Jacke and Deon Brand, on the latest culinary addition to the coastline – Leeto restaurant, which is attached to The Strandloper Ocean Boutique Hotel (not to be confused with The Strandloper restaurant in Langebaan, to which there is no affiliation).
The restaurant’s name, pays homage to the San people of the area and although not a direct translation, the word Leeto is related to the idea of a journey and here at the restaurant, this is not only an ode to the culinary journey but the journey to this truly beautiful part of South Africa.
Inside Leeto Restaurant
The restaurant itself is stylish and beachy elegant in the way that only a West Coast establishment can be – simple, clean lines, unfussy décor and a view that speaks volumes.
With an outside deck that is positively drenched in early afternoon sun and abundant in fresh air and natural beauty, anything more would just be superfluous.
The menu is indeed a journey of flavours and textures of the area; ingredients are sourced locally, treated with the utmost respect and served in a way that highlights their best qualities. The food is beautifully presented and although complex, remains unfussy.
The dishes we sampled at Leeto were specially selected to showcase what the menu offers. After a first amuse bouche of fresh oysters, followed by a second – a beautifully balanced bite of fresh mozzarella and juicy baby tomatoes, we sat down to begin the lunch feast.
An Angelfish Tartare kicked off the tasting menu. This fresh, firm fish is ideal for this kind of raw preparation and worked well with a light dressing of Japanese mayo, completed by fennel oil and melba toasts. On the side, a crispy fried mussel to round of the dish.
The next fish course presented yellowtail in a creamy lime beurre blanc with asparagus and a golden prawn samosa. The dish had great texture and the flavour of that lime beurre blanc was the just the right balance of tart and creamy.
The meat course was a Springbok loin, served with sautéed mushrooms and gooseberries. The gooseberries added a tartness that worked incredibly well with the dish and felt like an inspired addition. The mushrooms were lightly pickled and marinated with a gentle touch of truffle oil. Truffle has a habit of being overpowering but it added just the right note of earthiness and richness to the Springbok, which is very lean.
A Sweet Note
Dessert on the menu spoke of chocolate, but before that even arrived we were privy to a very special miniature Kahlua Crème Brûlée – meant for us to just get a taste but left us wanting a whole big bowl more. The perfect balance of coffee and creamy vanilla.
The chocolate delice dessert had big shoes to fill after the brûlée and it delivered on all fronts. A perfectly smooth and set chocolate delice with berry jelly for freshness and caramel popcorn for crunch. One of those dishes that make you simultaneously happy to have eaten but sad to have finished.
Book Your Meal at Leeto
If you’re looking for a special lunch or dinner spot while visiting the West Coast, Leeto must be your go-to. The extremely attentive service, stunning setting and unpretentious yet elegant food will be a hit with locals and visiting guests alike.
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