The first consideration is the price and because it’s during the off-season, if you do your homework you’ll find affordable accommodation and dinner options. The Marly Boutique Hotel and the adjacent UMI restaurant are the perfect hideaways now that autumn is here and winter is on its way. You don’t have to book into the hotel to get a booking at the restaurant, but the two complement each other to create a lovely weekend wind-down.
The Marly Hotel can be found on the Camps Bay Promenade – it’s a contemporary space with vintage charm.
The hotel rooms are on one floor of the building, there’s a reading nook and direct access to the Promenade if prefer not to stay snuggled up in your room. The sea facing rooms are the best because it’s the best view for sundowners. Because you’re at the beachfront make sure you’re wrapped up warm when the sun goes down.
There is not a splash of bright colour in the boutique hotel rooms – the colour palette is grey, white and a touch of gold in some of the details.
The best option for a winter’s night out if you’re at the Marley Hotel is dinner at UMI. Usually Japanese restaurants have only sushi, eel and fish on the menu, but not this one.
Fish is not my first choice for dinner but even I was excited when I saw that UMI has a special and well priced winter menu and a half price sushi menu.
Nothing on the half price sushi menu costs more than R75 and the average price is much lower. On offer is prawn tempura, nigiri and fashion sandwiches including salmon, tuna and prawn. The sushi on offer is good quality, but there are other stand out dishes that I enjoyed much more.
The butternut soup is a great starter if you need some warming. It’s a generous portion and not too spicy.
A surprise was the chicken katsu curry which was an unexpected delight that you wouldn’t expect to find at a Japanese restaurant. The chicken is atop a bed of rice which sits neatly on a curry that I thought was going to be watery, but it wasn’t. I pre-judged the plate and was taken aback by the flavour and texture of the curry.
I also wanted to try the beef, so I ordered the Beef Teriyaki but it was not as tasty and was a bit underwhelming. You expect the beef and pork dishes at a Japanese restaurant to be as much of a knock-out as anything else on the menu, including fish dishes.
The special winter menu has two course and three course options, making it good value for money. You get a choice of three starters, mains or desserts and there’s a variety to choose from.
Just because it’s colder outside doesn’t mean you have to ignore the cocktail menu - while all the usuals are offered, the fruity mango cocktail packs the best punch.
The ambiance at UMI is relaxed and the decor is full on Japanese, the seating ranges from intimate to big tables ideal for sharing.
The outside terrace is definitely not an option for dinner because the cold sea breeze doesn’t get tolerable, but the warm meals and drinks will compensate for that.
UMI and the Marly Hotel are worth checking out, especially if you’re looking to break away for a weekend to somewhere no one else would think of going when it’s typical Cape Town autumn weather.