Sometimes, there’s no need for a dinner plan or reservation. Our visit to Fisherman’s Plate in Cyrildene is a case in point. We’d simply been in the area and a friend had suggested going there. At first there was apprehension about the choice of venue and cuisine. But that was short-lived.
Tucked away in the heart of Chinatown in the east of Johannesburg is the Fisherman’s Plate. It’s an unassuming restaurant on the main drag in Derick Avenue and devoid of any neon sign trying to lure you in through the doors. It’s decor is equally colourless.
But then this is the kind of place that isn’t trying to be pretentious, it is all about the food. And the best way to enjoy the offering at Fisherman’s Plate is with friends seated around an array of dishes all lined up on the Lazy Susan.
With drinks orders done and food orders being asked for, there wasn’t much time to figure out what to have so it was left to the leader of our mission to decide which plates should make their way from the kitchen. It started with spring rolls with sweet and sour sauce and then included all of beef, prawn, chicken and pork dishes with plenty of steamed rice as well.
A particular favourite within the group was the Three Cup Chicken. Why it’s named that I’m not quite sure but it was packed with flavour with cloves of garlic and plenty of ginger found in the serving dish once the poultry had disappeared. Another popular choice was the pork ribs, the sticky sauce clinging to what rice was left in bowls the meat sliding right off the bone.
The deep-fried garlic prawns had just the right amount of crunch with a bit of heat provided by the combination of garlic and chilli. And just when we all thought that we may have had enough to eat, our order of sizzling steak arrived. It immediately announced it’s arrival as it continued to sizzle on the hot plate before we all tucked in.
Tender strips of meat with a sticky sauce with onions, carrots and green peppers accompanied this dish with yet more steamed rice. By then we’d had enough and even though desert of bow-ties was offered, neither of us could muster up the courage to take on the sticky, sweet, syrupy delicacy.
Price wise, The Fisherman’s Plate is seriously reasonable with our total bill, which also included a vegetarian version of sweet and sour chicken, the chicken swopped out for some version of soya or tofu shapes, came to just over R600 including a tip. Not bad for a table of five. Had we decided to imbibe on the saki it would likely have been more but none of us were really up to it on a Sunday evening.
If you’re a fan of Chinese cuisine then The Fisherman’s Plate is well worth a visit, even if for the experience of visiting this unique part of Johannesburg. Don’t be put off by the surroundings. Park your car on the main drag and make your way to the restaurant. Perhaps stop off at any of the Chinese supermarkets on your way out if you feel inspired to repeat some of the foods at home.
I shared pictures of the experience on my Instagram stories and received an inbox message from a friend saying that the crab was a must at The Fisherman’s Plate. Sadly, I only saw the message once we’d left but it’s something to try on the next visit. Another dish that comes highly recommended is the steamed fish.
Have you been to The Fisherman’s Plate before? What did you think of it and of the visit to Chinatown? Be sure to add your thoughts in the comments. In case you haven’t yet, please go like my Facebook Page and go follow my account on both Twitter and Instagram.