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“Leave your egos at the door!!” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Hook, Line and Sinker

Hook, Line and Sinker
Ranked #3 of 10 Restaurants in Pringle Bay
Certificate of Excellence
Cuisines: Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Local cuisine, Special occasions, Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Parking Available, Reservations, Seating, Serves Alcohol, Wheelchair Accessible
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
19 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
“Leave your egos at the door!!”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 5, 2014

Reading reviews of various places we've visited, it becomes clear that the review says more about the reviewer than the place they are commenting on. Many of the reviews on Hook, Line and Sinker typify this. There is a built in arrogance in many diners towards serving staff and chefs which comes across in their attitude as soon as they walk into an establishment-" we are the customers ergo we are always right" That will get you nowhere with the likes of Stefan whose USP is the quirky way he runs his establishment-note "His" establishment, no-one else's-his place, his rules-take it or leave it. Of course, if you want to dine at some of the best restaurants in the world ,eating pretentious, over- priced, over-hyped nouveau cuisine food, served by obsequious, deferential but remote, unfriendly staff,then a place like Stefan's would be a huge culture shock .If ,on the other hand, you want delicious, freshly prepared unpretentious food you will have a great time .My husband and I have been to H.L.and S. three times- in fact one of the reasons we went back to Pringle Bay was to go to Stefan's; not once have we had anything other than a great time there with no trouble at all from Stefan or Jackie- that's his wife, by the way. We were greeted like old friends and treated as such. The food was delicious- we had a beautiful fish soup to start, with bread and salad, and then the most delicious steaks cooked to perfection .Dessert was crème brulee, torched by Jackie to give a lovely crunchy topping.Treat him in a friendly, pleasant and polite way, and you will have no trouble at all from him. Just remember, they both work extremely hard and all they want is to serve you delicious food, and be appreciated . Each time we have been there has never been any trouble from any of the 4/5 tables- there has always been a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. I asked Stefan why he thought he got some bad reviews- he simply said he expected "Please" and "Thank you's" and to be treated in a nice way- simple really.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
1 Thank suethesunworshipper
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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223 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
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Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Stellenbosch, South Africa
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
“The food's alright if you can stomach the cook and his staff”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 27, 2014

Oh what a story. The food was alright, but the staff were unbelievable. It’s really hard to explain why I gave them a `terrible’ rating without hearing the full story, so if you’re planning on visiting the restaurant, you may wish to read on and see whether it is to your taste or not.

My girlfriend and I were invited out by my mother to this restaurant that she's heard of from her friend. “Oh, the fish is amazing – it’s this tiny little place in Pringle Bay – you’ll love it!” we were told, and like the good old foodies that we are, we decided to make a booking and head through.

Now, firstly they don’t take walk-in’s (fair enough, they’re a tiny restaurant), but they expect you to call the day before to confirm your booking. I’ve eaten at a lot of really top restaurants in my life, and whilst this struck me as both strange and mildly arrogant, I shrugged my shoulders, called on Friday and went through.

We were told to arrive between 7 and 8 – everything at the restaurant is cooked on an open fire, so it’s important that they get the food orders in before the wood runs out, apparently. We arrived, and were pleasantly surprised to find a small and cozy looking wooden building. Six tables surrounded the perimeter of the chef’s workspace, a quaint, charming environment, with candles and old wooden tables to set the mood.

We were shown to our table, sat down and waited patiently to be served. Although the place had only six tables, there were two waitresses serving. For the life of me, I can’t remember whether they had names, so for the sake of the story, we’ll refer to them as Gertrude and Grizelda.

Gertrude was married to the owner – a rather large, wild looking man with glasses, sweating profusely from behind his wooden countertop. Gertrude herself looked pleasant enough but lacked in some basic mannerisms. She appeared to be in her mid- to late forties, with dark hair and a strong stature. Grizelda was a tall, thin woman, dark-haired and younger than middle-aged, but with an aura of profuse irritation and displeasure clouding her countenance.

We’d been waiting a while for drinks (my girlfriend won’t drink white wine, and we wanted some water anyway), so I stood up and asked politely whether we could get a menu, and perhaps a few drinks for the table.

Clearly, this was insulting – they didn’t have a menu – and the audacity of asking for drinks seemed to shock them.

“Well, what do you want?”. Scorn, and poorly masked displeasure marred the face of Grizelda.

“Do you have Ice Tea? And some water please?”, I asked, ignoring Grizelda, and speaking instead to the chef.

“Of course we have Ice Tea. And water. We’ll bring it to your table”, he boomed. He has an impressively loud voice, although the acoustics of the building may have helped. The place really is tiny.

To be honest, he actually said a lot more. I think he took a couple of minutes to tell me that they had Ice Tea. And water. I really can’t remember what he said, I zoned out a bit and sat down after about a minute of being shouted at, preferring the casual conversation of my wine to the beratement of the chef.

Eventually Gertrude returned with the Ice Tea and water, feigning the busy night and their being understaffed for the wait. All 6 tables were full, and the two waitresses were under abnormal duress.

Gertrude then proceeded to explain why they didn’t have a menu, and how instead we had several options to choose from. We decided to forgo the starters (an option of “salad”), and chose a selection of fish to share between us. Their options were fairly diverse, provided you eat fish and aren’t adverse to prawns (it’s a fish restaurant, so you shouldn’t be there if you don’t, I guess). Each option was cooked in a separate manner, some with cheese, some with a variety of spices – I can’t remember most of the details but the food sounded appetizing. The attention to detail was impressive, but Gertrude’s patience was not.

My mother asked about some of the recipes. She’s a fabulous cook, and she and my father were diplomats back in the day. Notions regarding the procurement of fresh fish come naturally to her, but were poorly received by Gertrude. Apparently anyone curious about where they get their fish is not welcome at the restaurant, and mild curiosity about what company in Norway delivers fresh salmon within 24 hours of being caught to a tiny restaurant in Pringle bay is not a common, or vaguely tolerated question.

Gertrude, now even more agitated that my mother would prefer not to have cheese on her fish, became increasingly rude and more flustered. Her husband, the chef, seemingly sensing this, appeared and had a brief but vocal argument with her, culminating in the line, “my fire is dying – go get the damn wood”.

The chef then proceeded to take our order – we chose Yellow Tail, the 24 hour old Norwegian Salmon and Angel Fish (for those wondering, Angel Fish is a pretty common name, referring to several different fish around the world. The local kind is a small, thin, flat, silver-scaled fish, very tasty when pan-fried and about R25/kg at the local supermarket).

We went back to our wine and conversation, a little startled at the nature of this restaurant. My mother and my girlfriend were surprised and slightly offended by the manners of the staff, but at that time I wasn’t too fussed. I figured they were just having a bad day, or perhaps it was just the charm of the place.

After a while, Grizelda appeared to give us bread.

“Incoming”, she yelled, dumping three plates and some olive oil at the end of the table, along with a fairly small baguette. She then left, but not before informing us that butter wasn’t available on account of the oil being brought.

“We don’t DO butter. We specially bake this bread ourselves – there’s oil and balsamic on the table”.

I suppose we were rude for asking.

No matter, the bread was nice. It tasted suspiciously like the bread that I bake myself using ready-made dough from the supermarket, but on account of our hunger, it was quickly devoured between the three of us.

I suppose we weren’t really learning at this place, because we were then foolish enough to ask whether we could have more bread. The answer, in retrospect, rather unsurprisingly, was no. But it wasn’t just no. It was a capital, headlight emblazoned no-no. The kind of answer you get when asking whether you can smoke at a funeral. The kind of answer you get when you’re critical of someone’s ethnic origins. The kind of answer you get when you do something you just, really shouldn’t.

“More bread? I’m sorry, but we only make one bread per table and … “. A monologue ensued, detailing the high overhead in baking enough bread, and the not-insignificant cost of a R7/kg bag of bread dough.

A couple was sitting at a table next to us. They were clearly on a serious date (they seemed to be dressed for the opening gala dinner of the Presidential Inauguration), and they had been watching in quiet bemusement at what I’m guessing must have been one of the most strange and unexpected meals of their lives. When you read about this place online, it does sound rather romantic.

The chef finished ranting, and the couple were kind enough to offer us the rest of their bread. We declined on account of its apparent worth.

My mother at this point was not amused and wanted to leave. My girlfriend was inclined to agree, but I, being a great fish lover, wanted to stay and see what the fuss about the restaurant was all about. The reputation of their fish was good and I really wanted to see what it was like.

When the meal eventually arrived, it really wasn’t bad. The platter was presented well with a fair portion of each fish. Chips and rice accompanied it, along with a detailed explanation of the fish’s origins and pairing from the chef. Apparently they blanch the chips to reduce the fat content, and they were presented unsalted, accompanied with a serving of rice.

The chips and rice were unremarkable, but the fish, I must say, wasn’t bad. Look, it’s not on par with what you would get in a 3 star hotel, or in an upmarket restaurant in Cape Town, but as far as the three restaurants in Pringle Bay are concerned, it’s pretty good. The 24-hour old Norwegian Salmon was delicate and softly flavoured, decorated with a soft sauce reminiscent of parsley. The Yellow Tail was soft, evenly spiced and particularly succulent (many places tend to overcook yellowtail – it loses a lot of flavor and feels like cement in your mouth when it’s dry). The Angel Fish wasn’t great but then it’s a cheap fish, and we were stupid to order it.

The yellowtail, in particular, impressed me. I cook a lot of fish, and order it when I can. Given the location of the restaurant and questionable evening we’d had thus far, I was delighted to enjoy a fish that was palatable and likely better than if I had made it myself (I really wasn’t expecting much at the point at which the fish arrived). I’m not entirely sure what spices the chef used but it was good. There were traces of lemon, strong salt flavours and hints of some herb – all actively enhancing the slightly savoury flavour that you'll only find in yellowtail. Not bad, considering everything else.

The meal finished, relatively uninterrupted, and I for one was placated. My girlfriend and my mother were still steaming a little, but overall I think we all relaxed a bit. We chatted, and after a while I felt the urge to use the bathroom.

I asked Grizelda where the lavatory was, and she laughed at me, as though my urges were ridiculous. I suppose people don’t use the bathroom wherever she was from, but she eventually deigned to point me in the right direction, accompanied by an unmindful sneer.

I returned to my girlfriend, at which point my mother opted to also go make use of the apparently tabooed bathrooms. We relaxed, chatting, whilst Grizelda and Gertrude moved around the six tables, offering coffee and a list of several desserts. We were skipped by Grizelda, who was apparently waiting for the return of my mother, and we watched as she moved around the place, sneering the dessert list at the other customers. After the extensive burden of retrieving the orders of the other two tables under her care, Grizelda returned to us, demanding where my mother was.

We explained that my mother was in the bathroom, and after understanding that normal people have bodily functions, Grizelda proceeded to ask us whether we would like coffee, rolling her eyes when my girlfriend declined. This annoyed me, mostly because I would have enjoyed a cup of coffee, but I was apparently ineligible if my girlfriend didn’t want any. I let it pass, instead wanting to hear the dessert descriptions.

Three items followed, a crème brûlée, something called a `wicked chocolate pot’ and something else. Probably ice cream, but I can’t remember. At this point my mother returned, and on the account of her not being at the table at the time, asked Grizelda to repeat the menu.

We really weren’t hitting it off with these people. Grizelda was unusually offended, informing my mother that she ‘had just told us’.

“Well, I wasn’t here. I was in the bathroom. I want to hear the deserts, could you please repeat it?”

It really wasn’t unreasonable, and she said it nicely. Hell, I don’t think my mother could be rude to anybody. She spent 30 years in the diplomatic service so I doubt that she didn’t observe some form of etiquette.

Grizelda rolled her eyes again, and then quickly snapped the menu back to my mother. She didn’t articulate well, and tumbled over the ‘wicked chocolate pot’ part of the menu. My mother then asked her to repeat the name, and then asked what was in it.

“Don’t you know what a crème brûlée is?” demanded Grizelda.

My mother visibly gritted her teeth, and then said, “No, the other one – the chocolate thing”.

At this point Grizelda did the unforgivable. She put her hands on the table, leant forward into my mother’s face, eye’s glaring, and hissed in a soft mocking voice, “Little. Chocolate. Pot”.

My blood boiled. My stomach curdled. Rage flared up in my core that anybody would have the audacity to respond to a simple question from a lady like that. The fact that the little lady was my mother was far more than I could handle, and I snapped.

“Excuse me? Could you repeat that?” I said. Loudly. In a very, very angry manner. The entire restaurant fell silent and turned to look at me. I could feel my face, red from anger. I could feel my eyes bulging in my skull. My entire being was shaking with rage. Apparently I don’t handle watching my mother get insulted and belittled by a waitress well.

I stood up, looked Grizelda dead in the eye and shouted at her. I demanded to know what made her think she could talk to my mother in that fashion. I wanted to know where she got off, and how she expected us to sit there and listen to her be so rude.

In the course of this, my girlfriend went outside to calm down. As far as her meeting my mother was going, it probably wasn’t an ideal introduction.

My mother was suspiciously calm and unsurprised, anticipating, I suppose, my reaction as only a mother can. In retrospect, this surprises me, seeing as I think I’ve gotten that angry about three times in my life.

Grizelda ran to hide between the chef and Gertrude. She looked close to tears, but I really wasn’t in a position to care. My soul was trapped in a flurry of emotions, mostly anger, and I wasn’t going to back down. I couldn’t.

I began loudly arguing with the chef, who sought to inform me that if I don’t like the service then I should leave. I agreed that I would but I told him that the behaviour of the two witches was unacceptable, and I demanded to know what their problem was. The chef then defensively stated that “lots of people complain about our service but we’re still always full booked”.

Two points, illustrating two very important facts. One, that we obviously weren’t the first people to get a little agitated with their behaviour (hence the title of the review), and two, that they believed that limiting their clientele to be able to occupy only six tables lead them to credibly believe that they are actually running a successful and reputable restaurant.

Disgusted and disappointed, I turned to leave, to find my girlfriend coming in looking like she also planned on saying a few things. She’s Afrikaans, with a uniquely powerful temper, and she let this chef have it, both-barrels, in pure, unadulterated Afrikaans. He said little, waited for her to finish and then said the worst thing possible – “I don’t understand you”.

You see, the chef was Afrikaans – as were Gertrude and Grezelda – and they spoke Afrikaans constantly in the background. Upon hearing this, my girlfriend, looked him dead in the eyes, and pointed back to my mother and,

“Is dit want hulle is Engels?” <Is it because they’re English?>

A question that caused the chef to react as though he’d just been slapped in the face. I don’t think he’d expected this, and seeing his reaction, clearly realized that we were more than just a little insulted.

We left. We paid for the meal (not cheap) but we skimped on the tip. Somehow, I felt that a service charge wasn’t warranted.

My only regret was that my father wasn't there. I don't think his temper would have survived as long as mine. Although, a part of me feels sorry for the kind couple that offered their bread. Shame, I think they must have had the worst date ever.

If you can stomach the staff and the chef, you may enjoy the Hook Line and Sinker. The food isn't bad, but honestly, you can get better fish for cheaper at the Kleinmond Harbour.

Good luck to any who may venture there. Don't bring your mother.

  • Visited January 2014
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
18 Thank Chris F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Somerset West, South Africa
Level Contributor
155 reviews
127 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 86 helpful votes
“What a joke..”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 13, 2014

Me and my wife were invited by friends to this “place” . All I can say,... is that this is one big show. Can only seat about 24 people and it is difficult to get a booking, but if there are only so few seats , it is no wonder. The food is so so...the owner is arrogant..part of the “show”. Sorry to say, but this place for sure rates as one of the worst I have ever visited all over the world. To cut a long story short.. not worth writing a review on. The people giving this place a “bad” review on Trip advisor...is soft on them. It is a disgrace.

  • Visited December 2013
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
4 Thank Bankiesa
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Delicious steak, prawns and seafood...”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 2, 2014

Hook Line and Sinker was incredible and we loved it so much we went 3 times in 5 days to try the different options, steak and prawns night, fresh catch of the day and the fish and chips lunch... A must for anybody who loves good fresh food, prepared perfectly in rustic surroundings. We went to many fantastic restaurants in the Cape during our 2 week stay, but for us the 3 meals we had a Hook Line and Sinker were a true highlight of our trip.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank Craig M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Johannesburg
Level Contributor
32 reviews
9 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
“A fun place”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 23, 2013

This restaurant is quirky, casual and fun, especially the owner Stefan who is larger than life with a big personality. The menu is limited, but what we tasted was great, especially the fish - very fresh and tasty.

Visited December 2013
Helpful?
Thank AngelaPhilip F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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