Beluga is Back!

After months of dangling the carrot and whispers of a reopening, Beluga has finally relaunched its new location at Makers Landing, V&A Waterfront.

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Before the pandemic, Beluga was one of those rare places still thriving after 20+ years of business; for me, its closure hit harder than most. I was OBSESSED (OBSESSED!!) with their Tofu Crunch, and its existence burnt a big hole in my wallet during its reign.  

beluga makers landing cape town vegan

Now I can become OBSESSED all over again!

Walking into the new space has flashes of its previous incarnation. Tables adorned with white tablecloths and staff wearing familiar uniforms felt like a hug from an old friend. The big difference is the view! The red brick warehouse feel has been replaced by a picture of the harbour and the ocean. I loved the old feeling of the previous location, and this is brighter and airier.

beluga makers landing cape town vegan

Fans will be pleased to know that their daily specials are also back!

Reduced-priced sushi, cocktails and dim sum from 2 pm-6 pm every day, which we made use of this during our return.

I ordered a strawberry daiquiri mocktail (R25), and Bae had a mojito (R55) before I pretended to look at the menu, knowing full well what I would have a double portion of since about four days ago. I also ordered some chive and vegetable dumplings (R30). Bae also ordered the dumplings, a Tofu Crunch (R65), and the Fiesta (R65).

beluga makers landing cape town vegan

Before that arrived, we indulged in another fan favourite that wouldn’t be Beluga without it – the complimentary bread basket! All of the bread in the previous Beluga was vegan, but they’re still working on the recipe here, so make sure you check that the bread is vegan when it arrives. The kitchen made a plan for us.

Beluga bread with oil and balsamic (chef’s kiss)!

beluga makers landing cape town vegan

The dumplings arrived and were light and delicate. It could be smaller than what I remember, but still delicious.

beluga makers landing cape town vegan

Then the main event. As Delwyn, our superb waiter, moved towards our table with the Tofu Crunch, music most likely composed by the genius brain of Hans Zimmer began playing in my mind. The lyric “Please let this be good, PLEASE let this be good” looped to the music. Seeing Tofu Crunch again was like waiting at airport arrivals and seeing a loved one appear from beyond the screen.

As my hands trembled and my chopsticks chattered, I carefully pinched a piece between my utensils with hope and the desire for this to be as good as before.

Bae looked at me. Weirdly.

Bells chimed, angels sang as the first piece was devoured, the haze of apprehension was lifted, and the world became familiar again.

beluga makers landing cape town vegan

Nothing has changed, and Tofu Crunch remains as spectacular.

As you were.

Bae said the Fiesta was a nice comparison to the Tofu Crunch in terms of texture, flavour, and lighter than its Tempura-ed(?) big brother.

beluga makers landing cape town vegan

Now…can you believe this? With two pieces of Tofu Crunch left, I admitted defeat! Bae was incredulous and insisted that after enduring the many conversations and references of the dearly departed Tofu Crunch over the past couple of years, we couldn’t leave any, so he made sure to polish them off.

After a bit of rest, we decided to try the new vegan dessert on the menu, a Persian Orange and Almond Cake.

An orange and almond sponge, soaked in orange syrup and served with coconut ice cream. I enjoyed it, and Bae loved it!

beluga makers landing cape town vegan

He commented how nice it was to see something so different on the menu as the vegan dessert option.

Service throughout was excellent, and I noticed how the floor staff welcomed, greeted and acknowledged each customer that arrived or was leaving, regardless of whether they were serving them. It’s not something you see much of in Cape Town, but that extra touch goes a long way and leaves a lasting impression.

My only apprehension about the new Beluga is the location, of which there are pros and cons. Parking is more accessible than before, and it’s free for the first 3 hours, and it’s safe. The view will be a draw card along with everything about the Beluga menu that people loved before.

But Makers Landing is part of the V&A complex that we still need to familiarize ourselves with. It opened just before the pandemic and has fought hard and, to a certain extent, struggled so far to become a destination for locals and returning tourists to experience. Maybe it needs some more ruthless marketing from the V&A. Also, I didn’t notice any signage for Beluga at the main entrance or lower floor of Makers Landing, but perhaps that’s coming. Adding Beluga as a tenant will bring more people to that side and contribute towards a thriving social space.

To all who contributed to the return of Beluga – Thank you! I’m thrilled that you’re back.

NB: All the prices mentioned are the Daily Special (2 pm-6 pm).

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1 response to Beluga is Back!

  1. Esther Haines says:

    Thrilled to have my favourite restaurant back! Went on Sunday and it was indeed just as good as I remembered. Thank you for the heads up. ❤️ ❤️ ❤️

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