Enjoy calamari at Clive’s Chokka Block

2018-11-29 06:01
With his 28 years of experience in the seafood industry, Clive Canter created a tasting that showcases St Francis Bay’s most famous asset: calamari. Photos:MONIQUE BASSON

With his 28 years of experience in the seafood industry, Clive Canter created a tasting that showcases St Francis Bay’s most famous asset: calamari. Photos:MONIQUE BASSON

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ENJOY some of the best calamari at Clive’s Chokka Block in St Francis Bay: a beautiful restaurant situated at Port St Francis.

With his 28 years of experience in the seafood industry, owner Clive Canter, who took over the restaurant 18 months ago, wanted to create a tasting that showcases the town’s most famous asset: calamari.

And his newly established ca-lamari tasting - local and impor-ted - does just that.

Canter is one of only three restaurants in St Francis Bay too serve local calamari. “Very few South African squid end up in local shops and restaurants,” he says. “Even though it is one of the best-tasting calamari in the world.

“It is all exported, mainly to Europe, where they are prepared to pay top prices. In turn, South Africa imports lower quality squid at a lower cost.”

Calamari Tasting

The tasting is much more than just the actual tasting of calamari.

Before diners experiment with the different versions of calamari on one plate, Canter gives a short and insightful talk about calamari, including the history and industry. He furthermore debunks myths, and show diners how to clean (quite easy), dissect and prepare calamari.

And the best way to prepare and cook calamari?

“The secret lies in the ‘dryness’ of the calamari,” says Canter.

“Firstly, ensure that all the excess water is removed - take a rug and lightly rub it over the calamari. Add flour, garlic, salt and pepper . . . and give it a gentle shake.

“Flash fry the calamari in pinging hot sunflower oil for about 25 seconds to 30 seconds. Grilling it, takes about a minute to 90 seconds.

“The secret of calamari is to never over-cook it.”

Then it is time for the tasting: rings (local and imported), strips, heads and wings (not widely made, but delicious and crispy).

“When I bought the restaurant, and put the wings on the menu, the local people looked at me and said this Durban-boy did not have a clue what he was doing,” says Canter.

“All the local restaurants, who did not know how to clean it, used to put it aside for bait.

“For me the wings are the best part of the calamari.”

What you need to know

To enjoy some of the world’s best calamari, will cost seafood-lovers R100 per person.

Contact Clive Canter at 082 576 0192. Alternatively, send an email to canterfamily@hotmail.com.

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