The Freshest Fish in Cape Town.

IMG 14521 225x300 The Freshest Fish in Cape Town.

Paul Joubert with his sun Justin, with their catch.

My mission; to find the freshest fish for sale in Cape Town.  

Friends and contacts made helpful suggestions. Kalk Bay?, Willoughby’s? certain supermarkets?  a fish shop in Woodstock?  

So why the urge to find out more about fish?  

Perhaps it had to do with having eaten fish most of the time on my recent trip to Spain, or perhaps I’m bumping into more people who are consciously eating more fish for health reasons.  

I wanted to find a great independent fish monger, and really get my teeth stuck into fish in South Africa.  

So after checking, cross checking, asking and generally rooting around I plumped for one; Southern Cross in Tokai.  

This is the fish shop mentioned most by top chefs when you ask them ‘where do you get your fish supplies?’  

Southern Cross seems to come out top of the list.  

Before chatting to the owner, Paul Joubert, I decided to shop there a few times. Ok, you can call it spying. What impressed me was the quality of the produce and the honesty of the staff. They were all clearly able to identify what was fresh, flash frozen and frozen. There was no fudging on the answer.  

So after a few visits I felt it was time to talk to the owner.  

Chatty, friendly and evangelistic about fish, Paul Joubert eats fish four times a week and grew up in a fishing family.  

Fish Kalk Bay The Freshest Fish in Cape Town.

Kalk Bay - a landing point for freshly caught fish.

He’s been running Southern Cross for three years. In the past he spent 10 years being a commercial fisherman. He used to fish for squid and tuna in the Southern Atlantic.  

‘Look, people are uncertain about eating fish. Even people who eat it are uncertain about how to cook it.’ He’s on a roll. He continues; ’Not enough people take the time out to find out how to cook it.’ As we’re chatting customers come trotting in and out.  

Paul gives a friendly wave to each and every one. He explains; ‘I like the one to one relationship I have with customers, that’s important to me.’ His mobile rings. It’s a supplier offering tuna off the Japanese boats which are docked at Cape Town Harbour.  

Paul explains. ’90 % of all tuna in Sushi bars right now is frozen and is coming off the Japanese boats.’ As if on cue, a staff member of one of the biggest fish sushi operations in Cape Town arrives asking about Tuna, Paul explains all he has is frozen, guy in blue tee-shirts says no problem, and says ‘ I’ll take it and defrost.’  

Paul looks at me. ’There you go. I wonder do their sushi customers realise that the fish they are eating has been frozen’. ‘And of course’, he adds, ‘all salmon eaten in Cape Town is Norwegian and farmed.’  

‘People don’t know where their fish comes from but I have to say my customers do want fresh fish.’  

Fish The Freshest Fish in Cape Town.

The Galijoen, a protected species and South Africa's national fish.

According to Paul the Carte Blanche expose last year pushed his customers to become even more knowledgeable and inquisitive about what fish they eat.  

That TV programme showed that restaurants were selling and serving fish, claiming it was one variety when it was another.  

‘The customers did not know the difference, and this demonstrates a lack of awareness and knowledge’, said Paul.  

And what about the top chefs that Paul supplies?  

‘Oh, they like to try out new fish. Every single one of those chefs I deal with complies with the Sassi Code, and won’t cook anything off the red list. I do think that the orange list that has been created is a bit of a grey area. When do those fish move to the red list? Or go green? I’m shocked to think there are certain fish we can’t eat anymore.  

The mussel cracker is on the red list. What a beautiful fish. Then there is the national fish of South Africa, the Galijoen, that’s on the red list. Look at what we’ve done. When we started out fishing we didn’t know what we were doing. I wonder about how much damage I caused during my years at sea?’  

 And what does Paul think of frozen fish? ‘Certain species are taken out of the water and flash frozen. If done correctly it can produce an incredible product. But you have to defrost correctly, slowly, in chillers.’  

Fish sardines1 The Freshest Fish in Cape Town.

Sardines.

Still, I’m not convinced. I want fresh fish. So what does that mean? Paul gets started, listing out the fish I need to look out for. ‘You have to go for the daily fish catch. So that means cape salmon, kob, red roman, yellowtail. You can get fresh tuna, but only in summer. Then there’s snoek. That’s an amazing fish feeding thousands of families up and down our coast. It’s bony and strong flavoured, and some people look down their noses at it.’  

His top selling fish from his shop is kingklip as number one, then Gurnard, and finally tuna.  

So what’s Paul’s favourite fish to eat? ‘It has to be Cape Salmon. I love to bake it with a bit of olive oil, thinly sliced onion and tomatoes some Feta cheese and coriander. Put it on a baking tray. Put it into an oven at 180 degrees for 10 minutes covered. Take the tinfoil off and put back in for 5 mins. I serve that with roasted vegetables and potatoes wedges. I want people to understand what they are eating, and to enjoy fish. It’s a healthy way of eating. Winter or summer, it doesn’t matter’  

As I walk away from this ebullient fish monger I get the feeling I’m going to be seeing a lot more of Paul at his shop.  

He is passionate about his product. I’ve bought all the fresh fish I can from him over a number of weeks. Mussels, mackerel, kingklip, hake and swordfish. I’ve tried them all.  

I’m hooked.  

Southern Cross Seafood Deli  

Paul Joubert  

Shop 13 Westlake Lifestyle Centre  

Westlake Road  

Westlake  

021 702 3922  

079 887 9050

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43 Responses to “The Freshest Fish in Cape Town.”

  1. How do we contact Southern Cross fishery,we are desparate to get hold of FRESH fish and mussels and prawns???thank you so much.

  2. Mari says:

    Hi Clare

    Just to let you know Ocean’s Edge has opened up next to La Mouette in Seapoint. They remind me of a proper fishmonger as you would see in London. State of the art fridges / tiling, the works. No expense spared here when it comes to presentation and preservation of their produce.

    You might want to check them out as well? Henry now chooses his fish there fresh on the day, lovely selection and not too pricey either for the quality which is top notch!

    Kind regards
    Mari

  3. Clare says:

    Mari,
    Thank’s for that, I will definitely check it out. Will need a decent lunch afterwards, hmmmm where to go? Heard there is a new bistro sort of place opened by a young South African lady and her English chef husband. Great value for money and log fires with fantastic food. Oh yes , it’s La Mouette……….Good luck with the Springfield Wine Tasting.

  4. Clare says:

    Hi Brittany,
    I have just posted the contact details for Southern Cross.

  5. jenny johnson says:

    Hi ,
    The above on fish has me turning to the pork we eat

    I have been worrying about the state of pig farming in Cape Town and indeed S.A. I have sourced free range pork from a farm in Ashton. It has a totally fantastic policy. I visited and saw the piglets running about. The mums and some babes in the required arks, with the regulation straw. It got me to worrying as i saw Jamie Olivers programme on the state of pig farming in Europe. I phoned Woolworths and asked (waiting for a reply) why you can purchase free range everything but not pork. I phoned Joostenberg and asked the pig manager if his pigs were free range. He said no. I then asked if the mothers were in pens that so restrict them that they cannot turn around. He said yes!!!!!!!!!! This is all very disturbing. I love pork but am seriously thinking of going off it if we are rearing our pigs this way. DO you have any information on the pigs we are eating.

  6. Clare says:

    Hi Jenny,
    The news is not good. I’ll be doing a story soon on Pork in South Africa. Firstly, there is no organic pork in SA. Secondly, the SA Pork Producers Association SAPPA, does not have a policy on free range production. Consequently the pigs are reared indoors in factory like conditions, a bit like battery chickens. This accounts for 99.9% of pork produced in SA. More at a future date.

  7. Michael says:

    Even though I don’t drive an Audi, the above reminds me of the joke: What are pigs with springs on each trotter? “Foursprung Pork Technique”!

  8. jenny johnson says:

    michael ???

  9. Mari-Lise says:

    Hi Jenny – I saw the Jamie Oliver programme on pig farming as well and it was really disturbing for me to watch. I never even thought that pig farming in SA will be similar, very, very naive of me. I never new this kind of farming exits and I am sure there are a lot of people out there that didn’t watch the Jamie show and do not know what’s going on.

    Clare it would be great if you can investigate this and give us some options on free range pork. We need to educate people on where there food is coming from (I include myself into this)! Wouldn’t it be great if we can get the support of some of our Top SA chefs on this!

  10. Tandy says:

    that is great to have a decent fishmonger near you. Did he tell you who he gets his fish from?

  11. Chris says:

    Freshest fish in Cape Town is at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

  12. Clare says:

    @Chris. Of course you are right. But electric eel or shark does not tantilise my taste buds.

  13. Clare says:

    Hi Tandy,
    Paul says that 50% come from Trawlermen and fishermen directly. The other 50% come from the processors, mostly from Hout Bay and around Cape Town Harbour.

  14. His fish is great! We used him for our Rosh Hashanah catering last year and was very impressed. Service was good and Paul is a pleasure to deal with.

  15. Liz says:

    I’m not sure why you are shocked that there are fish we can’t eat anymore. Over fishing is a real thing. It’s too bad there are huge trollers out in the oceans ruining it for all the local fishers.

    Thanks for the article

  16. Paul says:

    Hi Clare,
    Thank you so much for the article. New customers are calling daily. What a boost!!!

    Thanks again
    Paul

  17. Clare says:

    Paul, Delighted for you, you deserve it. Keep those fishies fresh!!!! Clare.

  18. Neil Norman says:

    i use paul for my restaurant, and the quality is always fresh and impeccable!

  19. Jacob Trask says:

    Freshest fish in cape town is definitely in kalk bay.

  20. Rudi says:

    Where can I buy fresh fish in the northern suburbs?

  21. Clare says:

    Rudi, I actually don’t know, apart from the fresh fish counters in the Pick n’ Pays of this world. If you find a place please let me know.

  22. Mike says:

    The best outlet for fresh fish in the northern suburbs of Cape Town is without doubt, Fish for Africa, located in Monte Vista.
    Can’t supply address or contact detail, but this surely can be sourced from Telkom or other sources. An outlet was recently opened within the Super Spar at Paddocks Centre (Milnerton), but this desperately lags in comparison to their Monte Vista outlet.

  23. Paul says:

    Hi Claire,

    Do you have any idea where I can source baby patagonian calamari tubes from, its eems you cant find thus anu=ywhere in CT anymore?

    Thanks
    Paul

  24. [...] it’s off to top fishmonger Paul Joubert at Southern Cross Seafood Deli in the nearby Westlake Lifestyle Centre to see what’s good today.  The service is knowledgeable [...]

  25. Talia says:

    Hey anyone know of a brilliant fish deli in the southern suburbs? I’m not keen on the frozen fish in pick n pay and other retailers…

  26. Clare says:

    Talia,

    Southern Cross in Tokai…….

  27. Carolina says:

    Thank you very much for your informative article.

    We are going to open our deli in Strand. With a Sushi Bar.

    I phoned Southern Cross and Paul was very very kind. Helpful, open and also very informative.

    How lovely!

  28. William Michelson says:

    For those who are searching for good natural pig farming I read recently of a breeder somewhere near Hermanus who is very highly rated by top Cape Town restauranteurs. Feeds them with acorns,remember as a child in Claremont filling sacks with them which were collected by hawkers. Think it was a food critic in one of the local food columns.
    Hope this is of assistance!

  29. Juhan Kuus says:

    PLEASE, where in Cape Town can I buy salted herring that used to come in wooden vats? Christmas coming up and I reckon it’s my Dad’s last. He comes from Estonia (right next to Russia)and in my youth, Black Bread (Wieners Bakery)and good Swiss cheese was the norm in our house.

    Please help. Juhan Kuus. 082 071 3917.

    Juhan Kuus.

    03/12/2011.

    Thanking you in advance.

  30. Clare says:

    Juhan,

    Call Paul Joubert in Southern Cross – he’s the fish expert. Homan Saffarian is a good man to call in Sloppy Sams. Newport Deli in Moulie Point even serve it. As they have a large Jewish clientele they must have regular supplier. Failing that call John or Lynne in the Main Ingredient. All these people can be found courtesy of Google.

  31. Chris says:

    Hi, have you tried The Little Fisherman for great fresh fish in Cape Town?

    There is a shop at the High Constantia center and another in Lakeside located at the old bakery. They have a web site and I guarantee you will not be disappointed.

    Regards

  32. Clare says:

    Thanks for the tip. I passed the other day and they were closed, but I’ve made a note to go back. What green list sassi fish do they stock, Chris??

  33. vicky says:

    paul says that we only get farmed salmon in ct. does anyone know where one could get wild. the reading i’ve done says farmed salmon is no good for us or our environment.

  34. Jaquiline Fredericks says:

    Good day Clare.
    Thank you so much for your article!
    It has been most helpful and very informative. I am looking forward to my first experience at Southern Cross.
    Thanks again :-)
    Jaquiline

  35. Ronel says:

    Thanks for this article. I just called Paul and he reminded me that they also have a shop at Palmyra Junction in Claremont. 0216715002. They also have fresh oysters.

  36. Caroline says:

    A little-known secret in Cape Town:

    If you love Norwegian salmon and believe as I do that it’s the best food on earth, the place to get it is Scansa Trade in Montague Gardens.

    (Scansa = Scandinavia South Africa.)

    Scansa gets it straight off the plane from Norway and supplies the businesses that supply most Cape Town sushi restaurants.

    http://www.eatout.co.za/Stores-Markets/563/Cape-Town/Fish/Scansa-Trade

  37. Adriaan says:

    Hi, can you recommend the best place in Cape Town to sit in for poached/smoked salmon?

  38. Clare says:

    Call Paul Joubert in Southern Cross…………

  39. nuraan says:

    hi goodday wud u beable to help me im looking for kingklip bladder to buy cud u please let me now

    nuraan

  40. Desiree says:

    Do you know where can I find fresh crab in Cape Town?

  41. NORMAN says:

    pse I urgently need fish for sushi smoked salmon etcetera for a very large top restaurant in cape town.
    pse call urgently at 0832797319 now pse

  42. Suganthiran govender says:

    I am from durban ,want to buy fish,prawns,crabs,dryfish,etc at wholesale price.

  43. Elize Beltrame says:

    Hi Capetonians
    I am an ex-Capetonion foodie living in East London. After years of not being able to buy decent fish in shops here (with that method, the ‘freshest’ would be Woolies, probably caught somewhere on our coast then sent to Joburg to be packaged and then sent back to the shelves in our store!) we actively sought out better methods to get hold of fresh fish. We now deep sea fish in a friend’s boat, have a spear fisherman friend who shares his catch with us and collect our own mussels, crabs and oysters (with permits). We love it and it’s better and cheaper than what we get in any fish shop anywhere. Go forth and gather!

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