Its hard to believe, but the West Coast crayfish was not always the sought-after seafood delicacy it is today. Once regarded as a pest, when they caught them in their nets fishermen would simply toss them overboard. Wagonloads of dead crayfish were collected and sold to farmers as fertilizer. It was only when markets abroad, France in particular, where they know a thing or two about good food, started to show an increasing interest in crayfish that fishermen began to can the product from 1890 onwards. The popularity of the crayfish now means their dwindling numbers have to be controlled, through strict quotas and seasons. Which is why the opening of crayfish season in November is a big deal on the West Coast.
Paternoster, in the heart of crayfish country, epitomises the wild beauty of the area, with its indigenous fynbos, sweeping white beaches, turquoise sea and craggy rocks which are home to the crayfish. And matching nature’s grandeur in every way is Abalone House, Paternoster’s first five-star boutique guesthouse. In the exotically appointed Saffron Restaurant, chef Darren Stewart creates exquisite world cuisine with an African twist. Locally sourced seafood features prominently in his kitchen so the once-humble crayfish will be celebrated for the duration of the season – which lasts until April next year – with a delicious three-course menu of a delicately flavoured seafood bisque followed by steamed West Coast crayfish with garlic, parsley and lemon butter accompanied by basmati rice and ending with a chocolate croissant pudding with homemade Strawberry King ice cream.
Inspired by the vibrancy of Tretchikoff, whose iconic colorful prints adorn the walls throughout the establishment, and the surreal beauty of orchids, Abalone House’s 10 magnificent suites are designed around a tranquil central courtyard, some of which enjoy sea views. Many suites also have private outdoor relaxation areas and there is even a rooftop Jacuzzi with a sea view – to relax after the work is done. Or guests can cool off in the elegant swimming pool, before enjoying a relaxing cocktail in the Africa Bar. In the guest suites, every creature comfort and business need has also been thought of and catered for. All are luxuriously appointed, air-conditioned and have flat screen televisions and cappuccino/espresso machines, stocked mini-bars, ipod docking stations, CD and DVD players and a digital weather forecast station. The extensive book and DVD libraries are available for the enjoyment of guests, and all suites also have built-in laptop safes.
Overnight guests can begin their stay with afternoon tea in the sun-splashed Orchid Room. With its garden and sea views, it’s a calm space to relax any time during the day too – reading, playing board games or gazing out to sea through the antique telescope. It is also where breakfast is served. Abalone House is offering a special crayfish season package which includes an overnight stay, afternoon tea, a three course crayfish dinner, and breakfast. For more information and reservations regarding this package call us today, we look forward to assisting you.