Julie Carter has had her Ocean Jewels stand at the Neighbourgoods market every Saturday since it first opened 7 years ago. It’s a foodie landmark and you’d be hard pressed to find someone in Cape Town who doesn’t know about her famous Tuna burger. She also does beautifully fresh things with Salmon and makes a Yellowtail spring roll that’s nigh on impossible to resist. All this, with her bubbly personality thrown in for good measure.
Jules sources her fish locally from around the peninsula with a guy in every port (her dad’s a commercial fisherman) and don’t try visiting Kalkbay harbour with her as you’ll never get away! Julie knows everyone in the industry, from fishermen to award winning chefs and is the tie that binds local, sustainable fishing with conscientious consumerism.
As an extremely dedicated SASSI participant, Julie takes the responsibility of sustainable eating from your shoulders. Nothing irks her more than the sight of red listed fish for sale or on menus. This is why I support her: buying from Ocean Jewels takes the thinking out of ethical eating.
At the end of last year Julie became a much smaller fish in a much bigger pond, opening her first permanent shop/ diner at the Woodstock Exchange. Only three months in and the place is packed at lunchtime, with regular customers popping in daily for fresh fish.
Julie serves her market standards at the shop (Tuna burger, Tuna noodles and Tuna salad) as well as a couple of new dishes more conducive to a permanent kitchen. Fishcakes and Yellowtail spring rolls remain standard issue.
As popular as both the shop and her Neighbourgoods outlets are, Julie’s fresh fish clientele continue to receive the personal attention they have come to depend on. Julie sends out twice weekly emails to all on her mailing list with availability and prices. Orders can be mailed or phoned through and deliveries are done on a Thursday. Once you’re on Julie’s mailing list, she’ll take care of all your fish needs.
I stumbled upon my friendship with Julie at the first ever Starlings food market*, back in the winter of 2011. She ignored my protestations about not being able to cook fish and sent me packing with a piece of Angelfish and the link to a recipe on her blog. Since then she’s taught me to sear Tuna, cook Prawns (properly!) and braai Yellowtail. Julie is determined that her top class product receive the attention it deserves and it’s common practice for her to interrogate clients regarding their cooking methods before agreeing to part with her quality produce.
Julie’s the real deal. She’s honest, loyal and hysterically funny and she adores what she does. She gets a kick out of sourcing the freshest fish at the right time for the best price and if the quality is off or the market price too steep, you’ll just have to go without. The customer may be king, but freshness and sustainability will always come first at Ocean Jewels Fresh Fish.
*Julie no longer sells from Starlings Market due to time constraints imposed by her new venture
Ocean Jewels Fresh Fish
66 Albert Road
Mon – Fri: 9am to 5.30pm (lunch from 11am to 3pm)
Cell: 083 582 0829
Old Biscuit Mill
Saturdays 9am – 2pm