After months of waiting, Ficks Restaurant at the historic Fick’s Pool officially opened its doors on Friday, 6 December.
While the first guests were enjoying their meals and a sundowner, owners Joke, Just and Daan Gonggrijp welcomed Paralympian tennis and table tennis gold medallist Monique Kalkman to the venue. She was the first disabled person to make use of the brand-new assisted wheelchair ramp offering people with disabilities access to the beautiful Fick’s Pool.
This newest addition to the Hermanus restaurant scene is set to charm diners not only with its delectable Pinchos menu but also with its unique setting right on the water’s edge. Pinchos (or ‘pintxos’) is pronounced “peen-chos”. (In the Basque region of Spain, the “tx” combination is pronounced like the “ch” of cheese.)
The Gonggrijps, who also own Dutchies on Grotto Beach, are ecstatic about their latest project.
The first steps towards creating this “little gem” were taken two and a half years ago when the Gonggrijps tendered for an outdoor restaurant, which Just jokingly refers to as “just a posh name for a pop-up restaurant – that means that if it rains the restaurant is closed”. He says the three main objectives that guided them through the design process for this historic landmark was to keep the pool open for public use, to retain the history and sense of place of Fick’s Pool and to preserve the natural environment.
“Because the decks of the restaurant are higher than the pool, they do not hamper anyone wanting to enjoy the water,” adds Joke. “It is much the same as at Dutchies, where you can enjoy a delicious meal and the beach and ocean at the same time.”
The concept of the restaurant is based on a ‘Pinchos and Wine Bar’, with all but one of the wines served being local. The drinks menu also features locally produced gin by renowned winemaker Alwyn Liebenberg of Lieben Wines.
The food on offer includes small plates of borlotti bean salad with avo, apple and boerenkaas, duck breast with orange and green olives, beef steak fillet with chimchuri dressing and deep-fried cauliflower with romesco sauce and aioli.
Joke explains that the Spanish word ‘pincho’ comes from the verb ‘pinchar’ which means ‘to pierce’. It is used in certain parts of Spain to describe bite-sized eats that were usually pierced with a cocktail stick, although it is now used for any small plates of food.
The word appealed to Joke because she had fond memories of family vacations in Spain, and especially “the tastes of Spain”, and also because she is known to always “pinch” Just’s food off his plate when they dine out – much to his annoyance. But now at Ficks, everyone can “pinch” and share food from their variety of small plates!
The existing ablution building, which was rather an eyesore, has been renovated and remodelled into a brand-new kitchen, with public restrooms at the back. The decks wrap around Fick’s Pool, hugging the cliff face, with an outdoor wine bar and a stage area under a Bedouin tent where musicians can perform. The pool and the area surrounding it have been thoroughly cleaned up. The surroundings are now spotless and the water crystal clear, promising to be the perfect place from which to watch the sun set over Walker Bay.