Waterkloof Beef and Langoustine TartarEat Out has just announced its Top 20 list, communicated very oddly (and inconveniently) by individual Tweet to each of the Top 20 restaurants.  As can be expected, there are some surprise additions and omissions on the list.  Stellenbosch and Cape Town are in direct competition, with six Top 20 Finalist Restaurants each.  The 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Top 10 Restaurant Awards will be presented on Sunday 16 November.

New entrants to the list are La Mouette, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, The Pot Luck Club, and The White House at Dear Me.  The latter restaurant’s addition to the list is a surprise, given that it is only open twice a week, on Thursday and Friday evenings.  Eat Out judge Andy Fenner supplying the restaurant from his down-in-the-dungeon Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants ‘butchery‘ on Church Street makes this nomination a conflict of interest!

Returnees to the list, after being eliminated last year, are Mosaic at The Orient and Terroir.

Omissions from the list, surprisingly, are Burrata (Best Italian restaurant last year), Indochine (very good score in Top 20 last year), Azure at The Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Equus at Cavalli, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Springfontein Eats,  and for many, The Foodbarn.

*   Ineligibilty due to chef changes are Delaire Graff Restaurant, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Pierneef à La Motte, Hartford House, and Babylonstoren, as well as La Colombe, due to its venue change and long closure as a result.

Last month we asked if Eat Out had enough Top 20 Chefs to fill its list, given that six previous Top 20 restaurants have had chef changes in the past few months.

The Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant list is as follows:

Stellenbosch:  Tokara, Jardine at Jordan, Overture, Rust en Vrede, Makaron, and Terroir.

Cape Town:   The Greenhouse, La Mouette, Planet Restaurant, The Pot Luck Club, The Test Kitchen, and The White Room

Franschhoek:   The Tasting Room, The Kitchen at Maison, Bread & Wine

Johannesburg:   five hundred, DW Eleven-13

Pretoria:   Mosaic at The Orient

Hermanus:   The Restaurant at Newton Johnson (the first Top 20 Restaurant in Hermanus!)

Somerset West:  The Restaurant at Waterkloof (photograph above of beef and langoustine tartare, served for lunch yesterday)

Interesting is that the Eat Out judges agreed with us that Mondiall was not eligible for inclusion, given Chef Oliver Cattermole’s recent departure.  One wonders how many restaurants have been included to fill holes on the Top 20 list, as more and more chefs became ineligible for inclusion, given the many chef departures this year.  Bread & Wine and The White Room certainly look like list fillers!   The hardest challenge for Donnelly this year will be whether she can show her admiration and adoration for Luke Dale-Roberts in giving him Top 10 for both of his restaurants!

In its blogpost to announce the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist late this afternoon, Eat Out announced a new additional ‘Best Of’ Award, being that of ‘Best Everyday Eatery‘, in addition to Best Steakhouse, Best Asian, Best Italian, Best Country-Style, and the Boschendal Style Award. Grolsch is sponsoring the Best Service Award, San Pellegrino the Chef of the Year award, and Nederburg The Rising Star accolade.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com  Tel (021) 433-2100.  Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook:  click here