And the Academy Award goes to…

If the Academy Awards did restaurants The Harbour Club would definitely be one to put your money on to take home the gold this weekend.

Perfectly renovated and with unparalleled views of the Three Cities, The Harbour Club makes for a stylish afternoon in the spring sunshine
Perfectly renovated and with unparalleled views of the Three Cities, The Harbour Club makes for a stylish afternoon in the spring sunshine

After being in bed for a week with tonsillitis, I joined some friends for lunch on Sunday afternoon at The Harbour Club. Having been generally healthy for the last ten years or so I forgot how nice it is to just forget about all responsibilities for a few days and not feel guilty about doing absolutely nothing.  Nothing but get lost in a world of movies and with it being Oscar season and all, there were plenty of great choices.

Having not seen another human being nor heard the sound of my own voice I trundled off the Valletta to meet some friends with a head coloured by Hollywood. I arrived at The Harbour Club a little late - the movie I was watching that morning was longer than I anticipated - on a day in February we use to make foreign friends jealous of island life - 23 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. I was really glad to have made the effort to get out of bed.

Having not really participated much in the decision about choice of restaurant, I knew nothing about the place. When I arrived I was pleasantly surprised. Right on the waterfront of Barriera Wharf, the gunpost has been spectacularly restored, with the bathrooms in a pretty gabbana just outside. As the day was so perfectly sunny I sat at a table outside, with friends dressed in pastels and large sunglasses next to a table of international artsy types sipping bourbon and ginger ales, jazz tunes wafting out of the well-hidden speakers. Even the waiting staff were well-dressed, polite, efficient and good looking. I felt like I was watching a movie. If the food was as good as the ambiance then this was definitely going to be one my new favourite restaurants!

A few negronis on ice were in order in the blissful sunshine and we were served an interesting Parmesan pannacotta topped with poached pears. The menu is short, fresh and Mediterranean. Choice, fresh ingredients cooked using simple methods for a tasty and hearty meal. For starters the choice was soup, carpaccio, smoked salmon or pasta, with an interesting vegetarian dish of millefoglie of vegetables with a hazelnut pesto. We went for a selection of starters including home-cured smoked salmon and paniciotti filled with scallops and prawns served in ginger butter, fresh tomato and basil leaves.

For mains there was a mix of lighter fish dishes and more hearty meaty ones. Seven spice, slow-cooked lamb shank on a bed of pureed turmeric potato was favourite on our table, as was in the entire restaurant as we grabbed the last three. Every dish is cooked to your liking, whether the salmon or the steak.

Desserts were simple, with some interesting flavour combination -  a blueberry and white chocolate cheesecake.

When we were finished with lunch, we didn't feel like we were ready to go anywhere and asked to be taken on a tour of the rest of the restaurant. There are tables inside for when the weather is a little less co-operative and downstairs a stage for jazz events to commence in March.

We had a few more drinks from the bar upstairs which offers a great selection of whiskies and Belgian beers among the usual stuff. All in all it was a fantastic afternoon that would have exceeded expectations if I had any to begin with.

If the Academy Awards did restaurants, The Harbour Club would have definitely been one to put your money on next week. I will most definitely be back time and time again.

As The Harbour Club has just opened they do not have fixed opening times just yet and open either for lunch or for dinner depending on the day, so calling ahead is advised.

The Harbour Club

4/5, Barriera Wharf,


Tel: 79222332