Ever since I started my “real” career, talking about those early days, starting my own wedding coordination consultancy, I have ever so often heard the name CodFather, especially from my overseas clients, that dined at CodFather in Camps Bay.
During my recent visit to Jozi, for Absa Champagne Festival, I was so thrilled when my travel companion booked us at Sandton Skye luxury apartments, for the additional night that we planned to stay – a last minute decision. During check-in, I saw it, right there.. The sign, in a curly font, reading The Codfather.
The night before, was a long one, as The Aleit Group coordinated, executed and perfected The Absa Champagne Festival, for three consecutive evenings. This event was hosted at Inanda Polo Club. It was the day after the event, and we were tired (and starving) and made dinner reservations right there and then.
A while after being seated, and on the second glass of Wildekrans Sauvignon Blanc, I had to learn that I do not have all my ducks in a row. Heel deurmekaar, as the Camps Bay restaurant, and this one, are two completely unrelated “Codfathers”…
It was just before our meal arrived, our lovely waiter, shed some light on the history of The Godfather, Sandton. Jabulani is an older gentleman, reminding me of gents that I have worked with during my early career days. I was young and inexperienced then, at just 24 years old supervising waitrons of 50 and older, trained and employed by Cape Sun in Strand Street, Cape Town. This was during the lay-out and running of the prestigious Nederburg Wine Auction. Ons praat nou van die nineties hoor. Gryskop omies, van die Flats, Mitchell’s plane, Delft, en al daai areas. Well groomed, and taking pride in their career as professional waiters. Net soos in Europa.
Jabulani tells me the story….and he frowns hesitantly when I asked for specifics of these occurrences. He explained that The Codfather in Rivonia Rd / First Avenue, launched twenty years ago, and after a fire, they set up shop in the building that we were dining in and staying at now.
The look and feel of the restaurant appealed to me. Clean, minimalist, edgy and modern. Also, it feels very safe, as you are greeted by friendly security (if you greet first), when walking past the reception staff of Skye, on your way to the restaurant. At the entrance we were met by a lovely hostess. Nie haar naam gekry nie, want ek het te veel na haar mooi tande gekyk. Laaaaaaang hare – maar seker nie natuurlik nie.
After we have ordered our mains, a lovely memory popped into my mind. About my dad, and his lovely gesture, saying Bon Voyage to me when I left for a gap year in London at the tender age of nineteen. Jis, ek het hard gewerk … dag en nag gewaiter om daai vliegtuig kaartjie betaal. Sou 1 jaar gaan en was terug drie maande later, maar dis ‘n ander storie vir ‘n ander dag. Wil net bysê, ek dink dis soms beter om sonder geld en die mooi groot te word, en eerder jou mooi te vind, in dit wat werklik vir jou mooi.
Terug by die Bon Voyage oomblik, die dag voor ek gevlieg het.. Port Gordon Restaurant, in Gordons Bay. Julle, ek kon nie ophou eet nie. I felt like a prince with a sea harvest of food, on the one platter – dimensions – 30 cm by 10 cm – each inch covered with the freshest and tastiest seafood you could ever find. En dié was immers nog ‘n posh restaurant ook. I clearly recall how the coral pink crayfish, flamingo pink prawns, and all other fruits of the sea I could think of, was proudly displayed on a bed of Basmati rice.
The Codfather came the closest to echoing one of my most treasured memories – reminiscing about a dinner of over twenty-five years ago.
The things that made me feel good instantly included: The menu with the light wooden cover. The freedom to choose where you wanted to sit; inside or outside. And surely I chose to sit could to the pool, feeling as if we are on a foreign island, even if we were in the centre of Johannesburg.
When we checked in to our apartment and made the reservation, we did pop in to check out the vibe. It’s definitely a day venue with a crystal blue pool framed by massive umbrellas. But was smashing even in the evening; the ambience and also the overall comfort and personal space allowed between tables. A downside was the massive umbrella stands and closed umbrellas next to the outer rim of the area where we were seated. Made me feel, as if I am attending an event, where all the guests have left a few hours before. Visually a sore eye, and also, taking quite a bit of space on the one side of our table.
The langoustines looked at me. Jabulani said, if there eyes do not smile at you then you’ll still smile when you take a bite. Thought that was rather cute, coming from a guy that could be my dad.
The menu item we embraced, read as followed:
Grilled Baby Calamari, Line Fish, Crab in Garlic Cream Sauce, 4 Queen Prawns, 2 Langoustines, Octopus, Mussels, Crab in Garlic Cream Sauce, completed by the sides of Garlic, Chilli, Peri-Peri and Lemon Butter Sauces.
The Fish on the line was Red Snapper. What a delicate texture, thin yet tasty and it was lying at the bottom of the pan that hosted all the seafood. So I think the heat may have made it more well-done,
The 2 Langoustines – perfectly blackened at the top edges. The Mussels was cooked in diced onion, garlic and touch of ginger, if my palate sums it up correctly.
During the meal, I especially liked the moist hand towels our guy brought at that perfect time, when Aleit was getting stuck in… net vingers en hande en kos.
And the cherry on top, not for me, but for my guest, was the “Boozy Gelato” with chocolate fondant for dessert – don’t ask, rather check it out for yourself. This was the highlight of the experience. Perfectly baked fondant with crunchy rind and mellow filling. And the spoonful of Lemon Tequila Sorbet pushed this past incredible.
Selfs vir my, as dit mind blowing.
So make sure, when you visit that sous chef Nicole, makes a turn at your table, and whisk you off to her ice cream station to twist your rubber arm. She will be right by your side, when you taste, every single gelato on display. And be warned, it is CREAMY and yum yum yum.
And I hate to end negative, but breakfast the next morning….ai ai ai.
En die volgende oggend, pop ons in vir ‘n vinnige ontbyt, voor gym. Toe kry ons nou vir… lets call her – “Pricilla” wat duidelik nie ‘n goeie “aand” gehad het nie.
And I did something, that makes me feel slightly good about myself. For this first time in my life, I immediately, there and then, asked if I could be served by someone else.
So in the end I am grateful for Priscilla, as she has taught me something. It showed me, that should you have a feeling that you and a waitron will not get along and they may spoil a breakfast, lunch or dining experience; politely ask that you get served by someone else.
Want op daardie vroeë stadium van die dag, kon ek nie deal met ‘n houding en oë wat gerol word, gepaardgaande met ‘n frase wat lui: “Die cappuccino word vars gemaak, Dit vat tyd okay”. En dit na ek lank terug georder het en met ‘n glimlag net wou opvolg.
In conclusion: The Codfather and its sensational seafood, will definitely see me again, very very soon.