de see kat in paternoster

Many years ago, I had a wealthy Somerset West based client who had built an upmarket weekend getaway house in Paternoster. He had continuously invited me to come over for a weekend. I never quite got round to taking up the invitation until September 2022, some 13 years later. He was long gone by then, but Paternoster still seemed to be living on eternally in his absence.

What immediately struck me, upon arrival in Paternoster, was the sight of many blokes hanging around on street corners and opposite our digs at the Paternoster Hotel, who all seemed to have taken the weekend off from their lucrative Valhalla Park tik (meth) gig and traded in the Barry White pipe for contraband kreef (crayfish) sales. The “kreef”, “kreef”, “kreef” refrain belted out from their collective passion-gapped mouths like lyrics from Michael Jackson’s “Beat it”.  

After a late afternoon leisurely walk taken along the rugged main beach, which was picturesquely lined by a strip of architecturally symmetrical fisherman cottages, it was time to think up plots and plans for dinner. Mr TripAdvisor – usually a good determinant of quality on account of honest user-based reviews of food venues – told me Paternoster had built its own local version of “The Waterfront”. This was to be a charming quay of sorts lined with various restaurants. I booked dinner at a well-reviewed venue called “De See Kat”. 

After a few pre-dinner drinks had at the Paternoster Hotel’s theme bar called the “Panty Bar” – because its ceiling was lined wall-to-wall with female knickers off all sizes, hues and states of freshness; some were threadbare; others soiled; even a few racy numbers were straight off the set of the Crazy Horse Revue Bar in Paris and definitely smelled of victory rather than desperation – we had gotten our blood/alcohol level right below the obligatory legislated Paternoster redline limit of almost shit-faced. Google Maps directed us splendidly to De See Kat: go out the parking lot, turn left, follow the winding road for 800m, and then turn right.       

De See Kat was located in an elegant and stylishly renovated fisherman’s cottage. From the moment we arrived, I knew this was going to be a classy eating venue – just from the way the maître d’ led us to our table to settle us in; to the delightfully friendly service delivered by our waitress and the silver fox owner who, with his eagle eyes, never missed a thing; who diligently prepared the LED lamps in advance of load-shedding; and who made a point of going round to each and every table to speak to his guests. Silver Fox had a light touch, yet you could sense he ran the kitchen like a slick military operation and there’d be hell to pay if a staff-member stepped out of line. 

The menu was extensive, and we settled on salmon sashimi and Patagonian squid and tentacles with pineapple, chili and garlic salsa as starters; mains were deep-fried baby sardines served with artisanal bread and pan-fried chicken skewers served with a satay sweet chili sauce drizzled with sesame seeds, all washed down with Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc and Altydgedact Pinotage. Dessert was straight up vanilla ice cream and hot chocolate sauce.  We were stuffed. 

While watching the sun set majestically over the bay, with night falling like a curtain being closed across another unique African day and a bonfire being diligently lit by Silver Fox, I repeated my mantra: 

“In keeping with my ideology of supporting local SA operations in small towns, I will continue on my journey to find the promised land. The future of SA is now a foreign country – they’ll do things differently there”.  

Contributed by:
Barry Varkel, an attorney of the High Court of South Africa and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of England and Wales.
Author of Nigiri Law and Goy Vey


  1. I had been to Paternoster and this place is one of a kind. What a delightful place and if you have the opportunity to go with Mr. Varkel you are certainly one of the lucky ones as I am.
    Thank you for the brilliant read Barry , you know how to make a place Sparkle!

  2. Sounds like a treat, thanks Barry.
    When I was young like you, I visited the Panty Bar, even met a lovely lady picking up her daily Quart of Black Label on her way to work… 8:45am!


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