The 2015 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards have been announced, the Western Cape (39) having a small head start over Gauteng (33) in the number of restaurants on the list of 89 restaurants in total. Five new restaurants have been added to the list: 95 Keerom, Delaire Graff Restaurant, Kitima, and Makaron at Majeka House, all in the Western Cape, as well as The Leopard in Johannesburg.
Restaurants that were eligible to receive an American Express Platinum Fine Dining Award have to accept the credit card as payment, and have to accept a booking for four by a Platinum Card holder within four days of booking. Excellence, creativity, and offering guests an exquisite culinary experience are evaluated.
New head of the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards is Tamsin Snyman, who also is the Africa and Indian Ocean Islands chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards. She has taken over the Awards management from Victor Strugo, who had been involved for the past 16 years.
Nedbank Head of Corporate Card Services Pamela White said about the awards: ‘The awards continue to reflect the country’s rising culinary spirit and serve as a catalyst in championing the enhancement of the fine dining industry and experience in South Africa. As the exclusive issuer of American Express in South Africa, we are honoured to be associated with this initiative as it not only celebrates South African restaurateurs but also promotes fine dining’.
Last year the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards list had 95 restaurants, the Western Cape list having reduced by four restaurants on the list, despite having added four new restaurants, therefore a total loss of eight restaurants. Western Cape restaurants no longer on the list this year are La Colombe (probably due to the long period of closure and its new premises not yet operating), Zachary’s, Bukhara, Bombay Brasserie at The Taj, Savoy Cabbage, Kurland Hotel Restaurant, Constantia Uitsig (closed down), and Serendipity’s. The reason for the restaurants dropping off the list may be the tough economic climate, some of the restaurants purposely no longer accepting Amex credit cards due to their high merchant commission rate, or they have been judged to no longer meet the standards. Missing from the Western Cape list altogether but being in a Top 20 Restaurant league are The Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club, The Kitchen at Maison, Equus, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Tokara, Burrata, Springfontein Eats, Indochine, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, and Jardine at Jordan.
The 2015 Award winners are:
- Johannesburg (27): Balata, Bellagio, Bellgables, BiCE, Butcher Shop & Grill, Café del Sol, dw eleven-13, Five Hundred, iL Tartufo, Jazz Maniacs, La Campagnola, La Cucina di Ciro, La Scala, Le Soufflé, Mastrantonio, Neh!, Osteria Tre Nonni, Red Chamber, Roots, Sel et Poivre, Signature, Sophia’s Bistro, Thava, The Leopard, Wangthai, Wombles, Yamato
- Cape Peninsula (17): Aubergine, Azure, Bistro Sixteen82, Bistrot Bizerca, Buitenverwachting, Catharina’s, The Foodbarn, GOLD Restaurant, The Greenhouse, Haiku; il Leone, Kitima, Myoga, Nobu, Planet Restaurant, Signal
- Cape Winelands (16): 96 Winery Road, Bosman’s, Bread & Wine, De Grendel, Delaire Graff Restaurant (photograph of Huguenot Cheese Brûlée above), Fraai Uitzicht 1798, Grande Provence, Makaron, Mimosa Lodge, Overture, The Pavilion, Pierneef at La Motte, Reuben’s (Franschhoek), Rust en Vrede, The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, Waterkloof
- KwaZulu-Natal (8): Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse, Hartford House, Harvey’s, Ile Maurice, 9thAvenue Bistro, Roma Revolving Restaurant, Spice, Sugar Club
- Garden Route (6): La Locanda (George), Zinzi (Plettenberg Bay), Serendipity (Wilderness), Transkaroo (Great Brak), Pembreys (Knysna), The Orchid Room (Knysna)
- Pretoria (6): La Madeleine, Brasserie de Paris, La Pentola, Mosaic, Ritrovo Ristorante, Zemara
- North West (4): De Hoek (Magaliesberg), Rambling Vine (Magaliesburg); Silver Orange (Hartbeespoort), Stef’s Kitchen (Hartbeespoort)
- Free State (2): De Oude Kraal, Seven on Kellner
- Eastern Cape (1): Hacklewood Hill (Port Elizabeth
- Klein Karoo (1) Su Casa (Oudtshoorn)
- Mpumalanga (1): Zest (Nelspruit)