Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Hooked in Takoradi

 Captain Hook's Legendary Fish Platter

Long journeys suck. Long journeys in the heat suck even more. Long journeys in the heat on endlessly bumpy roads suck the most. But when a long journey in the heat on endlessly bumpy roads have a pit stop at Captain Hooks… well, that's a journey worth making.

Since I started coming to Ghana a couple of years ago, I have grown to love the local fare, and have found the best food to be outside the capital, especially along the coast. The one thing I really look forward to is our visit to Captain Hook. This normally happens on the way to Axim or Cape Cost (West coast of Ghana). The journey can take anywhere from six to nine hours, and because of this we tend to start our trip early in the morning. By lunchtime we’re lagging, cranky and bored of hearing the loop on the World Service. The only thing saving our sanity is to know we have a Captain Hook fish platter to look forward to. A Burger King at a service station on the M1 in no match for what is probably the best pit stop lunch there is. A no frills indoor/outdoor establishment, the restaurant is popular with South African expats working in the mining and oil industry that dominates the port city of Takoradi. For that reason the menu is very South African friendly, with such brands such as Red, Savana Dry, Castle and Amstel dominating the drinks menu.

South African Friendly Menu

The fish platter is ordered and the wait begins. This is not for the impatient. We have waited up to an hour before. Beer after beer after cider after beer, the wait is agonising. It’s almost temping to order a few things to nibble on, but one has to remember the immensity of what is about to bestow the table. Before the platter emerges from the kitchen, selections of condiments are placed before us, almost as a test of willpower. Trust me when I say, it is futile, and a great waste of suspicious pink liquid. The only condiment worth really paying any attention to is probably the chilli salsa, but then again that's a given for a chilli lover.

Condiments for the Platter

The platter is a thing of beauty. It is hard to describe the feeling you get when seeing all the fish cooked in a variety of ways and served in such a generous manor. I suppose a rough sense of emotions can be described as: overwhelmed, hungry and a little bit delirious! I’m a great fan of seafood platters, and have had ordered many over the years, but I have never had a platter that I’ve been in awe of. The variety on the platter gets me excited and a little confused, because I just don't know where to start! The rice and potatoes are a nice little addition, but honestly, I feel are as pointless and as much of a waste of space as the condiments. So this is what goes on a Captain Hook Fish Platter:

1.     Grilled rock lobster with garlic and parsley butter
2.     Grilled Chab Mackerel
3.     Grilled Tilapia with Tomato
4.     Red Snapper in a spiced batter
5.     Potatoes & Rice
6.     Curried Grouper and peppers
7.     Steamed Fish in butter, garlic and ginger
8.     Steamed Snapper in a garlic butter sauce
9.     Tempura Prawns

I thought it'd be interesting to show the before and after of a Captain Hook Platter. It gives an idea of what is most enjoyed… but also shows how gluttonous two people can be over a four person platter:


A Captain Hook Fish Platter leaves one feeling stuffed, happy, and well…. still delirious. Finishing the last leg of the journey is easier, mainly because we’ve fallen asleep, and know that when we wake up it will be to a beautiful golden coast beach like this one.

Cape Coast 

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