Tofu crunch and supreme vegan roll at Beluga

Opened in 1999 in a century-old Foundry building, Beluga restaurant was part of the urban revival of the Green Point – Prestwich Street area. A media quarter had sprung up and so had hotels. As its name suggested, Beluga was going to be upmarket, even opulent, bordering on nouveau riche had it not been for the historical building with its thrilling, giant art deco lights.

Since 1999 its fortunes have waned and waxed. It had a makeover in 2006, and it is under new management now. Beluga is a popular and dependable place. The accommodating waiting staff are renowned for their friendliness.

A frozen margarita looks good but…

Summer afternoons or evenings, the courtyard is packed with people sipping cocktails, diners competing with the red-winged starlings that are always on the lookout for an abandoned morsel. The Sunday all-day, nearly half-price special on sushi, dim sum and cocktails is an excellent deal. On my last expedition to Beluga the classic martini was first-class, but the margarita was hopeless.


Good news is that  Beluga specifically caters for vegans, with a submenu and other dishes clearly marked vegan. The gyoza (a Japanese dumpling) are vegan. For sushi I can recommend the supreme vegan roll with avocado, cucumber, pickled vegetables, vegan mayo, and wrapped in bean curd. Even better is the tofu crunch roll with tempura tofu, avocado, cucumber, red pepper, sesame seeds, vegan mayo. Sadly the wasabi paste is anaemic, something one has begun to notice in a number of Cape Town sushi restaurants.


On the regular menu are two acceptable and competent vegan dishes, but nothing to write home about: the “pretty plate” is tempura tofu, seasonal roast vegetables, spinach, pak choi, and sweet soya sauce; the vegan pesto panzerotti is with spinach and sweet potato, drizzled with olive oil, garnished with basil, chilli flakes, and pine nuts. My panzerotti hadn’t been drained properly so there was too much water in the plate. I advise one sticks to Beluga’s vegan Asian dishes. I look forward to another lazy Sunday afternoon of cocktails and nori rolls.

the vegan “Pretty Plate”

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