Den Anker – The Perfect Food & Beer Pairing (Review)

I’ll be honest; I’m not a huge beer fan. I usually opt for vodka or a lovely, fresh mojito. But I do know Den Anker, a Belgian speciality restaurant situated in the beautiful V&A Waterfront in Cape Town, offers so many kinds of Belgian imported beer that there must be something there for me.

Having dropped anchor in our Mother City – their name means ‘it anchor’s’; – you can expect fresh crayfish and shrimp imported from Europe with traditional South African flair, plus prime cuts of steak and juicy Waygu beef burgers. And their velvet smooth chocolate desserts are certainly not something to scoff at either.

Den Anker is 25 this year and to celebrate is offering a steal of a deal in the form of a meal and beer pairing for only R125 until 30 September. Choose from one of five dishes and one of three beers. Each beer has been selected for its widely complimentary qualities, so whichever you choose, you cannot go wrong. I was hoping this would be the case for me too.

In being shown to our table by a friendly, smiling host, I immediately noticed that the waiters, strategically positioned throughout the restaurant, adopted the same posture, greeting and smiling at me as I walked past. The host pulled our chairs out for us and we’d barely gotten comfortable when another smiling waitress appeared with a tray of mini bread rolls – which were fresh and soft – and two sticks of butter. She introduced herself and told us about the special, reciting the meals on offer:

  • Mussels
  • Fish and chips
  • Risotto
  • Meatballs
  • Sirloin steak

Which could be paired with:

  • Duvel on tap
  • Liefmans Fruitesse
  • La Chouffe

Image may contain: food

image courtesy of Den Anker

Without us having to ask, she proceeded to bring us tasters of each beer. I decided on the steak and La Chouffe – a pleasantly fruity blonde beer, spiced with coriander and a light hop taste. I could handle this bit of bite – while my partner opted for the fish and Liefmanns Fruitesse – made from a blend of berries with a light and refreshing result. I’ll be honest; it tasted like a fresh berry cooler. That would definitely be my go-to beer! The Duvel had a strong hop character, which neither of us were particularly keen on, but if you like it bitter, you’ll love Duvel!

Our food appeared in no time at all and was absolutely delicious. The steak was cooked a perfect medium-rare – the standard for the special – already cut into small pieces and placed on a bed of fresh salad consisting of red onion, feta, cherry tomatoes, cucumber, walnuts and greens with a light balsamic dressing with skinny fries on the side. It also came with a small tub of butter, which I enthusiastically smeared on parts of the meat.

My partner’s fish was lightly battered and delicately crisp – it’s an art to get crispy batter without burning but Den Anker does it well! – with melt-in-your-mouth flesh inside and was served with skinny fries, a lemon wedge, butter and a tartare sauce that was not as tart as it was creamy and dusted with peppercorns for a rich flavour.

The Liefmanns’ berry flavour perfectly offset the light freshness of the fish and my La Chouffe made the perfect accompaniment for expertly grilled steak.

All in all, it was a wonderful experience – a delicious meal served fresh by friendly staff in an atmosphere of light chatter and laughter; signs of everyone having a good time. I would definitely go back and suggest you do too!

Take advantage of Den Anker’s 25th birthday deal today – it’s the perfect date night, birthday treat or if you just want good food at a great price.

Directions to Den Anker
V&A Waterfront
Cape Town
Call 021 419 0249

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