Long gone are the days when the sleepy seaside town of Paternoster could be referred to as a “charming spot on the up”. Its “up” has arrived, and, judging by the current boom of luxury properties and exquisite restaurants — the latest being Leeto — it’s safe to assume the boom will continue for quite some time.
Paternoster, meaning “Our Father” — a name the town earned from the heartfelt prayers of shipwrecked Portuguese sailors — has become an idyllic place of refuge for chefs, most of them bringing some much-needed attention to the uniqueness of the West Coast cuisine.
Recently Paternoster solidified its reputation as the Cape’s ultimate culinary seaside town when Kobus van der Merwe’s Wolfgat nabbed the 13th spot in the EatOut Top 20 awards in November — a remarkable feat for a dorpie of 2 000 people. While Paternoster has other notable eating haunts, including the restaurant at Abalone House, Noisy Oyster, and Gaaitjie — it is the newest kid on the block that has all foodie tongues wagging.
Leeto is the brainchild and childhood dream of celebrated local chef Garth Almazan, who many will remember from his 18-year tenure as head chef at Catharina’s, Steenberg’s fine-dining restaurant. After taking a fruitful creative break to explore and familiarise himself with the West Coast, its farms, and its vegetation, Almazan returned with an idea for a refined and contemporary West Coast-cuisine restaurant — think fresh seafood prepared in myriad ways, with the focus firmly on respecting the produce and never overworking the ingredients.
Almazan and his wife Cecile operate Leeto as a destination restaurant, in partnership with Simone Jacke and Deon Brand. Almazan, who trained under Garth Stroebel at the Belmont Mount Nelson, has always been a city chef, so a move to Paternoster has been a welcome departure.
“It’s been a wonderful culinary journey for me from the Constantia winelands to the wild, natural beauty of the West Coast. Here in Paternoster, we live close to nature and in harmony with the ocean,” he says. “The natural environment has been a great source of inspiration for what I cook. I’m excited to present approachable contemporary West Coast cuisine using local treasures from the sea, such as oysters and mussels, and sustainable fish like Cape bream.”
For your next staycation, or a chance to taste the best crème brûlée on the West Coast, Leeto awaits.