Bob Tickler invited Conchita and her family and the Rusters to Conchita’s favourite restaurant Baia, a Portuguese fish restaurant in the Waterfront Mall and overlooking Table Bay. It’s peak season and only through Conchita did we obtain a reservation.
Things got off to bad start when the Turkish waitress with a resemblance to Cameron Diaz made that great error of elaborating the specials. It’s like a person over-trying to impress at the start of a meeting then fading fast. She lost her audience but worse when the sparkling wine arrived it was warm. The brother of Conchita complained, another bottle arrived and then he complained again about the the delay in ordering. By this stage the poor girl was a bundle of nerves and we had a tense atmosphere at table. I’m told that the South Africans are far more forward than us Brits. When the food came it was simply delicious. I had a sea food bisque. It could have done with a splash of brandy and been a touch more piquant but as a connoisseur of this soup it passed muster with me. Then I ordered the local fish delicacy – king clip with crayfish Thermidor. Again exceptional and I had a helping of the calamari too, which were fragrantly fresh. I finished with sorbet drizzled with the remains of the sparkling wine which no one had served. We had two bottles of Verglegen Chardonnay Reserve, one of the the best local wines and vineyards. The bill came of £35 per head, just less than you would pay in any London restaurant but this is one of Cape Town’s finest. Perhaps the service was below par but the restaurant occupied three large spaces was full to bursting so I will make allowances.
Bob Tickler kindly invited me to his box yesterday. I don’t know much about cricket but I have been complimented by the way by various players over the years on how I deal with the rising ball!!! The thought of a day with a dish of Lamb was too good to resist. In the hotel the Brits either wore those uncordinated striped short sleeve shirts and shapeless slacks and sandals or the England or travel tour shirt. Either way they did not send this girl reaching for her mascara.
Even I could identify something special about Ben Stokes dispatching the ball to all parts abetted by his fellow red-beard Jonny Bairstow. The transfer coordination to and from Newlands was not all it might be and its struck me how long cricket matches are.
We had all our creature comforts but for the South African fans in the sun it must have been brutal. However just as the Barmy Army flourish in conditions of adversity the singing of Amla’s Army never relented.