Gorgeous George Hotel and its GiGi Rooftop Restaurant & Bar simply…Gorgeous, bowled over by the design, differentness!

How does one summarise Cape Town’s newest trendy hotspot that is a 32 bedroom Hotel, a rooftop bar with a resident mixologist, and a restaurant with Chef Guy Bennett at the helm, located in an area in which such an offering is not expected, that is simply gorgeous? The Gorgeous George Hotel, and with it the GiGi Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, will bring the Cape Town city centre alive again, an area that has not seen any innovation in quite a while. Continue reading →

La Paris Bistro dishes up generous winter comfort food and live music on Friday evenings!

I have visited La Paris estate outside Franschhoek a number of times since it opened towards the end of 2017, but never in the evening. I was invited by Chef Nico Vorster to try the evening fare and live music of the La Paris Bistro last Friday, the only day of the week on which the restaurant opens for dinner.  We loved the good music, and the cosy comfort food. Continue reading →

Three Potters and a Painter serves top restaurants, leaves its legacy in clay!

Last week I visited the home and studio of Three Potters and a Painter outside Stellenbosch, on my way to Franschhoek. I had first come across their ceramic work at Gåte restaurant, especially loving a black and white plate used in one of their dishes. They create works that bridge the gap between traditional design and contemporary innovation, with the aim of leaving their legacy in clay! Continue reading →

Franschhoek Literary Festival 2019 brings writers to book!

I have spent the last three days in Franschhoek, attending its very successful Literary Festival, for the first time as a book writer myself. I found it insightful, and loved meeting some authors in person, their personalities shaping what they write, and the characters in their books. Continue reading →

Sweet Service Award goes to Woolworths; Sour Service Award goes to Standard Bank!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Woolworths, for opening a long-awaited branch of its FOOD store in Camps Bay yesterday. The retailer handed out rusks at the traffic light, to attract attention to the store opening, and offered early bird shoppers R50 discount vouchers. The Manager of the store Lee Worship and the Foods Manager Gary Arendse were friendly in welcoming us to their new store. We as Camps Bat residents are delighted to have the store in walking distance. Continue reading →

Cape Town and Winelands Restaurant trade slows down at start of winter, yet exciting restaurant news lying ahead!

Winter is on our doorstep, the start of a long difficult trading period for our restaurants, with little news usually of restaurant developments. But not so this year!

The most exciting news of the year is the planned opening in November of the next level restaurant of former Gåte Chefs Rikku O’Donnchü and Warwick King in Cape Town. They are already enticing diners with their SŸN pop-ups. Details below. 

Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen has announced the opening of a new KLEINJAN restaurant in the Tswalu Kalahari next year and a JAN Innovation Studio in Cape Town. The Grande Roche is being redone, with new owners, a new restaurant Viande, a new Chef Patron, and a new cocktail bar. Details are below. 

Gigi’s Restaurant has opened in The Gorgeous George Hotel in Cape Town, with Chef Guy Bennet at the helm. 

Restaurant openings

#   Chefs Rikku O’Donnchü and Warwick King have left Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock wine estate, creating the SŸN Group, and are to open a new restaurant in the Cape Town city centre in November. 

Rockstar chef team leaves Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock wine estate, set to open new doors in Cape Town!

#  Bones Kitchen & Bar has opened in the Palms Design Centre in Woodstock. It is owned and owner-managed by well-seasoned restaurateur Rudi Minnaar.

#  Stargarden Boutique Café has opened in Fish Hoek. 

#. Michael Townsend, founder of the Harbour House Group but no longer with the Group, has opened Cowboys & Cooks Steakhouse & Bar in Sunset Beach. He has also bought Sevruga in the Waterfront. A third restaurant, in Sea Point will open in September 2019. All three restaurants are/will be operated by Cowboys & Cooks CEO Stuart Bailey.

New Cowboys and Cooks restaurant operations and consultancy group starting to cook up a storm!

#  The new Cowboys & Cooks restaurant group is to open a Cowboys and Cooks restaurant in Stellenbosch; The Backyard BBQ in various locations; Cabron Tex Mex restaurants in Durbanville and Stellenbosch, alongside the Bree Street Branch; and Viva Tex Mex in Kenilworth. It has taken over Slug & Lettuce, a Gastropub franchise with six branches, for which a new look and menu will be developed, starting off in Durbanville. 

#  Chef Jenny Morris has opened Yumcious Durbanville.

#  The Skotnes Restaurant has opened at the Norval Foundation, with Executive Chef Phil de Villiers, previously of Primal Eatery. 

#  Paris Café has opened in Green Point.

#  The La Colombe Group has taken over the bar and restaurant at Le Quartier Français in Franschhoek, called Protégé. Stephen Raaff is the Head Chef.

#  Back’s Bar has opened on Main Road in Paarl, where Juno used to be. 

#   Chef Reuben Riffel has opened Reuben’s at The Capital Moloko in Johannesburg, his first Gauteng restaurant. 

#   A new breakfast and lunch eatery Reuben’s & Co Café has opened at Val de Vie, in conjunction with Chefs Reuben Riffel and Richard Carstens. 

Reuben’s & Co Café far more than a Café, the Val De Vie resident dining room!

#  Chef Jarryd has opened So Cal (for South California), a Bar above Charango on Bree Street. 

#  VIXI Social House has opened on the corner of Strand and Bree Street. 

#   Chef Bertus Basson has expanded his restaurant empire, opening Eike by bertusbasson as his  fifth in Stellenbosch. 

#  Bao Down Restaurant has opened in Oranjezicht. 

#   Upper Bloem has opened on Main Road in Green Point, where Maggie’s Café used to be, a joint venture between Chefs Henry Vigar and Andre Hill of La Mouette. 

#    TOSSD Salad Bar has opened on Sloane Square in Gardens, Cape Town. 

#   Chef George Jardine has opened Restaurant Seven with George Jardine in Somerset West.

#   Safari #7 Somali take-away restaurant has opened on Long Street. 

#   No 89 has opened on Bree Street.

#   Sans Ethical Green Grocer Deli has opened in the Artem Centre in Sea Point. 

#   Pauline’s Stand Up Coffee Bar has opened in the Artem Centre in Sea Point. 

#   Victoire Boulangerie, Pâtisserie, and Bistro has opened in Speakers Corner on Church Square, a joint venture between Chef William Galzin of Montpellier and Drikus Hancke of Cape Town, a former Melissa’s franchisee. 

#   Chefs Luke Dale-Roberts and Ryan Cole have opened Salsify @ The Roundhouse in Camps Bay.

#   Crayfish Wharf has opened in Paternoster.

#  Grande Provence in Franschhoek has opened The Bistro as an extension to its Tasting Room.

#   Garden’s Club has opened where Chalk & Cork used to operate on Kloof Street. 

#   The Santé Wellness Retreat & Spa restaurant has opened in Klapmuts, with Executive Chef Terrence Ford. 

#  Osetra has opened in Kalk Bay.

#   The Commissary has opened next door to The Shortmarket Club, with Chef Wesley Randles and Simon Widdison, under the mentorship of Chef Luke Dale-Roberts. It is a no-reservation, back to basics offering. 

#  Seattle Coffee Company has taken over the coffee shop at Exclusive Books in the V&A Waterfront. 

#  Chef Seelan Sundoo has opened Chicha in Sea Point. 

#   The Harbour House Group has bought Mondiall in the V&A Waterfront, and has turned it into a La Parada. 

#  Chef Peter Tempelhoff has opened FYN Restaurant and bar in Speaker’s Corner on Church Square. Jennifer Hugé is the new GM, and Ashley Moss is the Chef, moving across from the Greenhouse. 

FYN Restaurant legal settlement win-win for Chef Peter Tempelhoff and WhaleTales Blog!

#   Bobo’s Brasserie has opened in Mouille Point, where Pepenero used to be. 

#  Roca Café has opened where Melissa’s used to be in Franschhoek, open from midday to 21h00, and serving Tapas. 

#   Chef Chris Erasmus is said to be opening a restaurant at Haut Espoir, with Chef Nick Oosthuizen in the kitchen.

#  Riverine Rabbit has opened where ASH used to operate, by Chef Ash Heeger. 

#  Chef Ciska Rossouw has opened Loaves in Salt River, no longer operating Loaves on Long. 

#   BOCCA has re-opened on Bree Street, with new owners Guido Brambilla and Adnana Blaj

#   Haus & Laib Deli has opened in the former Eurohaus space on Loop Street. 

#  Chef Matt Manning has opened Grub & Vine Restaurant on Bree Street.

#   Anni’s Gourmet Pancakes & Belgian Waffles has opened in Franschhoek.

#   Vadas Smokehouse and Bakery has opened at Spier, taking the place of Hoghouse, which Chef PJ Vadas no longer appears to be associated with. 

#   Syrup Breakfast is opening on Bree Street.

#  The Creamery is to open a branch in Durbanville Village Square. 

#  Macau has opened in the former Savoy Cabbage space. 

#   The Hungry Monk has closed in Greyton and moved to Paternoster. In its place, a Portuguese/Mozambiquen restaurant will open in Greyton. 

#  Bush Café has opened as a safari-style restaurant in Gardens 

#  Charlie Bistro & Bar has opened in Gardens. 

#   Myog frozen yoghurt has opened as a pop-up in Camps Bay.

#  Chef Liam Tomlin has opened Brugarol in Barcelona, with Chef Angelo Duarte Scirocco in the Kitchen. 

#  The Harbour House Group has bought The Lookout Deck and Equinox in Plettenberg Bay. 

#  51 has opened in McGregor.

#  GiGi Restaurant under the helm of Chef Guy Bennett has opened in the Gorgeous George Hotel in the Cape Town city centre. .

#   Wingerd Vista has opened in the space of Dirtopia Restaurant on Delvera Estate outside Stellenbosch, a joint venture of Janine van Zyl of Cold Gold and Vanessa of Die 

#   The Dark Horse Rooftop Bar has opened in Kloof Street. 

#  Bootlegger Café & Grill in Constantia has changed its name to Botanicum Café & Grill, now 50% owned by Bootlegger and 50% by Mark Botes. It opened in March. The website is not yet operational.

#  Jewells is opening at Spice Route, with Neil and Tina Jewell. 

#   Marilyn’s is to open next door to Café Roca Speakeasy in Franschhoek in May, as a champagne and oyster bar, and Sushi restaurant. 

#  The Fat Man Restaurant has opened in Old Road Wine, in Franschhoek. 

#  The Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl has new owners, will expand the size of the former Bosman’s restaurant, will rename the restaurant to Viande, with Chef Patron Pete Goffe-Wood at the helm. 

Grande Roche Hotel wakes up from a long sleep, revitalizes with new owners and consultant chef!

#   Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen is to open KLEIN JAN in Tswalu Kalahari, as well as a JAN Food Innovation studio in Cape Town. 

Michelin-star JAN restaurant gets a younger brother, KLEIN JAN to open at Tswalu Kalahari; to open JAN Innovation Studio in Cape Town!

Restaurant closures

#. The Ritz is closed, and with it its Top of The Ritz and CASA restaurants. 

#   Olami on Bree Street has closed down. 

#  The Restaurant at The Nek, with Chef Duncan Laity, has closed, six weeks after opening. No ‘Manley Magic’ could make this restaurant work. 

#  Beleef in Franschhoek has closed down. 

#  Bertus Basson @ Spice Route has closed down outside Paarl. 

#   Primal Eatery has closed down. 

#  The Melting Pot has opened as a pop-up where Marrow used to be on Loop Street. 

#   Thai World has closed down in Harfield Village. 

#   Open Kitchen has closed in McGregor. 

#   The Mess has closed down in The Rockwell. 

#   Delmar has closed down in Camps Bay. 

Chef changes 

#   Chef Evan Coosner has left Open Door/Bocca/Burrata, and is now a consultant chef.

#   Chef Archie MacLean has left Catharina’s and moved to Coco Safar. He has since left Coco Safar, and is said to have joined Café Bon Bon in Franschhoek. 

#   Chef Guy Clark has left Tintswalo, now consulting. 

#   Carmen Rueda is the new Pastry Chef of Coco Safar, formerly from El Bulli and The Fat Duck.

#   Chef Richard Carstens has left Tokara Restaurant, and now is part of a restaurant consultancy with Chef Reuben Riffel, called Riffel Carstens.

#   Carolize Coetzee has been appointed as Executive Chef at Tokara, moving from Dornier wine estate.

#  Christian Hellinger is the new Chef at Holden Manz

#  Chef Sebastian Smith from Nom Nom/Benguela on Main has moved to Pierneef à La Motte. 

#  Chef Matthew Ambruster is the new Head Chef at Hartford House. Former Head Chef Chris Papyannis is to open his own restaurant in Mooi River.

#  Chef Guy Bennet has left Grande Provence and has moved to Gorgeous George Hotel.

#  Nicole Killian is the new Head Chef at Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock. 

#   Chef Marvin Robyn is now heading up the kitchen at Grande Provence in Franschhoek. 

#   Chef Peter Tempelhoff is the new Consultant Chef to Ellerman House. 

Chef Peter Tempelhoff marriage to Ellerman House two months after divorce from The Liz McGrath Collection!

#  Chef Peter Tempelhoff has left Greenhouse and the Liz McGrath Collection, to concentrate on his  FYN Restaurant., 

Chef Peter Tempelhoff leaves Greenhouse and The Liz McGrath Collection quietly!

Restaurant changes

#. Culture Club Cheese has changed into Vredehoek Slow Food Club.

Please share news about restaurant openings and closures with me at chrisvonulmenstein@gmail.com

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein

Grande Roche Hotel wakes up from a long sleep, revitalizes with new owners and chef!

The Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl was the epitome of hospitality many years ago, German-owned and  with cigar-smoking Hotelier Horst Frehse at the management helm. Its Bosman’s restaurant was our country’s number one for many years, until its star faded, Frehse left, and For Sale signs were seen for many years. Now the hotel is in new local hands, the name of the restaurant has changed, and it has a new Chef Patron to redevelop it! Continue reading →

Sweet Service Award goes to Café Roca Speakeasy; Sour Service Award goes to Discovery!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Café Roca Speakeasy in Franschhoek, with excellent service on my recent visits to it in Franschhoek, first for a Tapas lunch and writing of a new chapter of my SwitchBitch Book 3, then returning for live music played that evening. Owner Craig Sherril offered to sell my SwitchBitch books at the restaurant, a very kind gesture. He also showed me the new Marilyn’s Champagne and Oyster Bar as well as Sushi restaurant he is opening this month, next to his Café Roca Speakeasy. 

Continue reading →

Review: ‘Lessons from the Frogs I’ve kissed’ real and gripping, Cape Town author Krystal Kolnik finds her prince!

It was on Facebook that I saw an invitation from Krystal Kolnik that she was offering her book ‘Lessons from Frogs I’ve kissed’ for Review. Having written two books in the last two years and in the midst of my third ‘SwitchBitch’ book, plus the intriguing title, made me contact Krystal. I read the book on the rainy Election Day, and could not put it down until I had reached the last page, it was so gripping and real. Continue reading →