Last night I attended a Communal Dinner at Salushi Asian restaurant in Claremont, the first trial dinner to which 20 writers had been invited. They will be held every Wednesday evening, and are called #WolftrapWednesdays, the wine being sponsored by Boekenhoutskloof’ Winery’s The Wolftrap.
Coming from the other side of the mountain, I struggled to find Salushi, which I could not see from Protea Road, being set back. I also did not pick up that one had to enter via the building in which the restaurant is located, and not walk to where the branding is visible. Luckily one of the staff saw me looking lost, and came to my rescue, guiding me through the correct entrance to the building, and then entering the restaurant to the right. One communal table had been set up for 20, with bottles of The Wolftrap, and communal platters being circulated in sections.
Co-owner Grant Isaacs, who is the grandson of the late oldest pharmacist Mr Isaacs who operated on the beachfront of Camps Bay for years, explained that the concept of Communal Dinners is to allow Capetonians to meet others, our city having a reputation of being cliquey, and it being difficult to meet others as a result, something which I never experienced when I moved here 25 years ago. It would be interesting if Atlantic Seaboarders met more Southern Suburb Capetonians, as the mountain does divide us. Grant told me that he would circulate us during the course of the dinner, to expand the number of persons we would meet, but this did not happen, but is planned for future Dinners. The other guests at the table I knew were Inge Hoffmann, the Brand and Marketing Manager of Boekenhoutskloof Winery, who invited me to the dinner, and Marvin Leugering and Kayli Levitan of The Food Blog, having met Marvin at the launch of Reverie Social Table two weeks ago.
The luck of the draw with a communal dinner like this is whom one sits next to. I could not have been luckier, sitting next to comic Angel Campey and Let’s Sell Lobster Sales Manager Africa Maximiliano Perez. Angel was entertaining when she told us about the Comics Choice Awards held recently, at which Trevor Noah won the Comic of the Year Award, as well as another, and while he could not attend to receive the awards, he was ragged with some disrespect in both award presentations, reflecting the levels of professional jealousy amongst comedians.
Sitting next to Max was ironic, as we had a lovely chat throughout the whole dinner. Max’s employer also owns The Roundhouse, a restaurant I have never been to due to a snub the Camps Bay Guest House Association received at the hand of its owner Fasie Malherbe when they first opened. Last week a friend wanted to take me along to a dinner she was invited to at The Roundhouse, but the restaurant Operations Director Zaid Adams told her that she could not bring me as her guest! It is no surprise that The Roundhouse has fallen off the restaurant visibility list in Cape Town, it not being spoken about and not having made the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist in years! Max grew up in Mendoza in Argentina, studied law but broke off his studies to work in Relais & Chateaux hotels in Patagonia and in Brazil. An extended holiday in Italy followed. He joined Singita in Zimbabwe, and it is here that he met Let’s Sell Lobster co-owner Dale den Dulk, who offered Max a job at his company in Cape Town, being a two-week project which has led to a 3-year stay, and his promotion to Sales Manager for all of Africa. The company has created Lobster Inc, and has changed its training model by teaching accommodation staff in-house via a series of e-learning video modules. The company is spreading internationally, its Head Office being based in Geneva now, and offices in Dubai, Hong Kong, Amsterdam, in New York shortly, and in Brazil next year, the latter likely to be headed up by Max. They have signed up 15000 properties around the world, including Marriott, Hilton, Kempinski, the Intercontinental Group, to name a few.
We tried a vegetarian spring roll; calamari with a strong bite of chili; delicious prawn, cheese and coriander spring roll; Thai chicken spring roll; a selection of sushi, including Smileys Smoking Sensation with smoked salmon and prawns, vegetarian rainbow rolls, and Joseph’s Cucumber Roll, costing R68 for 6 pieces; Bon Bon’s Gift fashion sandwich wrapped in seaweed and topped with mayonnaise and caviar, costing R54 for 9 pieces; ended off with deep-fried Lindt chocolate balls with ice cream.
Salushi Communal Dinners on #WolftrapWednesdays will offer a free welcome drink of The Wolftrap Red, White, or Rosé, and the special Value Menu, from which one can order on an a la carte basis. The Value Menu is usually available on Mondays to Sundays from 12h00 to 17h00, and on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday evenings, to which Wednesday evenings is now added for the Communal Dinners. I enjoyed the evening and meeting such interesting fellow guests, the good service, and the dishes we sampled at the #WolftrapWednesday Communal Dinner.
Disclosure: we received a bottle each of The Wolftrap Viognier Chenin Blanc Grenache Blanc 2014 and Syrah Mourvèdre Viognier 2014.
POSTSCRIPT 17/10: The day after meeting Angel Campey at Salushi, I saw her gracing the cover of Get It, sadly the last issue of the glossy local magazine. She has a radio show on 2Oceansvibe, has an Honours degree in Film & Media from UCT, and has traveled in the USA, UK, and Asia.
Salusi, Intaga Building, corner Protea and Corwen Roads, Claremont, Cape Town. Tel (021) 671-4271. www.salushi.com Twitter: @Salusi
Boekenhoutskloof Winery, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-3320. www.boekenhoutskloof.co.za Twitter: @TheWolftrap
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whalecottage.com/blog Tel 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@WhaleCottage Facebook: click here