Struis Bay where you can dine in Irish style

Only four kilometers’ from L’Agulhas lies the coastal town of Struis Bay. Struis Bay Harbour is the home of the resident stingray, Parrie. Struis Bay is a popular holiday destination and internationally known as a popular kite-surfing destination.

Struis Bay is also where you will find your local Irish spot – the TMC (The Michael Collins Irish Pub and Grill). The owner, Riaan Lochner, is very proud of this establishment and explains that they tried to keep the feel and look of TMC as original as possible. Riaan’s wife is Irish and buying the pub in 2009 was an easy and obvious choice for the duo. With their star ‘Cowboy-burger’ and tasty Schnitzels, they keep the locals and visitors coming back.

The Pub and Grill was named after an Irish revolutionary, soldier and politician. He was a leading figure in the early-20th century for Irish independence. During the War of Independence, he was Director of Intelligence of the Irish Republican Army and government minister of the self-declared Iris Republic. He was assassinated at the age of 31. Still, till today, his name makes for controversy in conversations, hero or traitor – but still, a rich history.

The hospitality of Struis Bay and TMC does not escape you. The vibe is a friendly one and the menu does not disappoint. Well priced and generous portions is bound to make your pocket smile and Riaan explains that they have daily specials as well.

“We also offer free delivery withing a 10km radius.” -Riaan-

The establishment typically caters for ages between 20 and 40, but is not limited to host a family of younger, and older! The restaurant has a nice family friendly welcome feel and they can easily seat 100 patrons. The pub entertains with live music and karaoke evenings and Riaan jokingly explains that: “… we have seen 10 000 bodies in here last December.”

For Riaan consistency, good food and customer service is very important. Staying ‘on top’ of things is non-negotiable for this businessman.

“In this industry any problem that arises is something that has to be handled immediately.” -Riaan-

As a holiday destination, the town is bound to see its quiet times. Riaan admits that, although off-season is a very real situation, he can only thank and praise the locals for their support throughout the year. The biggest concern during off-season is to maintain the same level of service with fewer staff and a smaller income than the busier times. Riaan goes on to say that the transition from off- to on-season also comes with its own level of challenge.

“We have to appoint new waiters and staff and they have to learn quick. Customers expect a certain level of service, speed and experience, and we have to make sure that they get what TMC has become known for.” -Riaan-

The Irish way is very evident in the South-African situated Irish pub. You will know where you are the moment you walk in the doors of TMC. Guinness on tap, one of the few pubs offering this Irish drink tap. The cooking method of their ribs, fish-and-chips, and their famous beef pie, are all witness to the Irish cooking method they use to prepare some dishes. Riaan says they do play around with the menu every two years or so: “… changing one or two items, bringing back some …”

We chose a simple lunch of nachos and was pleasantly surprised with the taste and the helping. Enough to share, tasty and well presented. The nachos were well baked, but not too hard to bite and the black beans was a nice variation to the usual nachos dish style known to us.  Parking is safe, and sufficient and you can choose between seats inside the pub, outside or the separate restaurant area. Staff are well trained and friendly, with a long-standing history with TMC.

Visit The Michael Collins Pub and Grill in Struis Bay with your next coastal visit and be prepared to fall in love with the look, feel and taste of what they have to offer!

Annette Havenga – Happening News ©

Sources: Discover Cape Agulhas Tourism brochure, The Guardian and Wikipedia