Eat Out Top 30 Restaurant shortlist 2017: Why is JAN restaurant missing? Chefs Luke vs Liam, breaks its own eligibility rules on three restaurants!!!


It is not the first time that Eat Out has broken its own rules in choosing the chefs eligible for the previous Top 20 Restaurant lists (until 2016, The Pot Luck Club of Chef Luke Dale-Roberts having been snuck in, when it had only been open for 11 months and two weeks in 2014), and this year the same has happened in the Top 30 list for the first time. Three restaurants had not opened by 1 November 2016, the cut-off date for eligibility for the Awards this month, according to Eat Out’s own rules, yet are included in its shortlist! Missing from Eat Out’s List is JAN Restaurant in Nice, our country’s best South African restaurant, and awarded a Michelin-star in 2016 and in 2017! 

Eat Out has not announced why it chose to increase the list to thirty ‘Top Restaurants’, its wording in its announcement, and why it waited so long to announce the list, when the shortlist has always been released in October. The Top 30 Restaurant shortlist for 2017 is as follows, and was announced earlier today:

#.  Camphors at Vergelegen in Somerset West

#.  Chefs Warehouse & CanteenEat Out must have been scraping the barrel this year, awarding this restaurant Best Tapas restaurant in the Eat Out Everyday Eateries Awards a few weeks ago, as well as a finalist for the ‘Top Restaurant’ Awards! How can one restaurant feature in two sets of restaurant awards, at such different levels of awards? Chef Liam has made it into the top Finalist list in the past two years, but has not made it into the Top 10 list in 2015 and in 2016. One would have thought that he would have declined the Award nominations by now, to save himself and his team the embarrassment!!!  This restaurant should not be in the shortlist!

#.  Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia –   This restaurant opened on 23 November 2016, Emma informed, after checking with a colleague. This restaurant should not be on the shortlist! 

#.  DW Eleven-13 in Johannesburg

#.  Faber at Avondale, outside Paarl 

#.  Fermier, in Willows, Pretoria

#   Foliage in Franschhoek, the only restaurant in the village to make the list, in part due to chef changes at Grande Provence and The Kitchen at Maison

#   Foxcroft in Constantia 

#   Greenhouse in Constantia

#   Hartford House in the Midlands, KwaZulu-Natal

#.  Indochine at Delaire Graff

#   Jardine Restaurant in Stellenbosch

#   Jordan Restaurant in Stellenbosch 

#.  La Colombe in Constantia

#  La Mouette in Sea Point 

#   La Tête on Bree Street, not eligible to be shortlisted, as the restaurant opened after the Eat Out Awards in 2016, a bizarre move in that Chef Giles Edwards cooked at the Award event without having opened his doors. This restaurant should not be on the shortlist! 

#   Luke Dale-Roberts @ Saxon in Johannesburg.

#. Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House in Stellenbosch

#.  Marble in Johannesburg

#.  Mulberry & Prince off Bree Street

#.  Overture outside Stellenbosch 

#   The Pot Luck Club in Woodstock

#   The Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West

#.  Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient outside Pretoria

 #   The Shortmarket Club off Bree Street

#   Terroir outside Stellenbosch 

#.  The Test Kitchen in Woodstock 

#.  Thali Indian restaurant in Gardens, which opened at the ‘end of November’, its Chef John van Zyl told me!  This Restaurant should not be in the shortlist! 

#.  Wolfgat in Paternoster. 

Restaurants which should have made the Top 30 Restaurant shortlist, but did not, are the following:

#.  JAN restaurant in Nice, which has been operated by South Africa’s Best and most Proudly Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen!  There is nothing in the Eat Out rules to prevent JAN from being in the 2017 Top 30 Restaurant shortlist, other than the cost of flying the judges there to evaluate the restaurant!

South African focus continues to grow at JAN Restaurant in Nice, soon to be joined by MARIA!

#.  Benguela on Main in Somerset West

#.  Tokara in Stellenbosch 

#.  Pierneef à La Motte in Franschhoek. 

#   Karoux in McGregor, which has regularly won Best Bistro and /or Best Country-Style restaurant in the Eat Out Best Everyday Eateries awards in the past few years. 

#   Locanda restaurant at Villa 47.

A month ago we predicted the Top 30 shortlist as follows: 

Eat Out Top 30 Restaurant shortlist 2017 : a prediction!

A number of restaurants are not eligible for the Top 10 Restaurant Awards this year due to chef changes in the past twelve months:

#.  Grande Provence: Chef Darren Badenhorst has left, to open his brand new Le Coin Français in Franschhoek. Chef Guy Bennett has taken over as Executive Chef

#.   Delaire Graff: Chef Michael Deg left the main restaurant at the end of September. He has moved to Cavalli Estate.  Chef Kieran Whyte of Charango has taken over the Kitchen. 

#.  The Stack: Chef Warwick King moved to Delaire Graff a few months ago. Chef Jason Kosmas is the new Head Chef.

#.  The Kitchen at Maison: A Top 10 restaurant in 2016, but no longer eligible due to Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg leaving at the end of October, to open Janse & Co in Cape Town in December. Chefs Warehouse at Maison opens in December. 

#.  Rust en Vrede: Top 10 last achieved in 2015. Chef John Shuttleworth has left, to return to the U.K., and has been replaced by Head Chef Fabio Daniel.

The following restaurants opened during the course of the last year, but did not meet the opening deadline of 1 November 2016, to be eligible for the Awards this year: Reuben’s Franschhoek, Thali, Chef’s Warehouse Beau Constantia, La Petite Colombe (taking the space of the former Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français), Tintswalo, and La Tête.

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Twitter: @Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram:@chris_ulmenstein


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8 replies on “Eat Out Top 30 Restaurant shortlist 2017: Why is JAN restaurant missing? Chefs Luke vs Liam, breaks its own eligibility rules on three restaurants!!!”

  1. Richard Holmes says:

    Hey Chris…

    As far as I can see on the EO website ( the criteria is simply that the restaurant must have been open “since November 2016” … it doesn’t say “by the 1st of” or similar.

    While opinions may differ on who is worthy of inclusion (I think Chef’s Warehouse at Beau Constantia is superb), it seems that they are within the rules.

    I also agree with EO that JAN shouldn’t be included… as wonderful as his food may be, this is a guide to restaurants in South Africa, for locals and visitors eating within our borders. I know of great SA chefs cooking in Cambodia and further afield, but it surely doesn’t really serve the reader to include them?

  2. dion martin says:

    …The establishment must have been open with the same highest-ranking chef since November 2016…

    Hi Chris

    This is the rules as per the Eat Out site. As Chefs Warehouse BC and Thali opened in November, the they are eligible?

    I agree re Karoux. My favorite restaurant.
    Regards Dion

  3. Ed says:

    Hi Chris…always interested in your comments. Please can you 100% clarify if the closing date for a nominated restaurant is before 1st November 2016 or anytime in the month of November 2016…ie cut off date is November 30th 2016?

  4. The problem with Eat Out is that they change their rules continuously yet they claim to want to maintain consistency in their Awards.

    The rule has always been operating from 1 November to 31 October, so I do not see why they should have changed it this year, other than to get all of Chef Liam Tomlin’s restaurants in this year. It would be unfair to other restaurants.

    JAN restaurant is not excluded, according to Eat Out rules, as. It does not state that it has to be in South Africa. It has four South African chefs and a South African Assistant Sommelier, stocks both French and South African wines, and has the most Proudly South African menu in the world!

    I will check with Eat Out re the time frame. As. I wrote, they allowed The Pot Luck Club in 2 weeks early in its first year of operation, and when I pointed this out to them, Chef Luke Dale-Roberts withdrew the restaurant from the Top 20.

  5. Sonia Cabano says:

    Hi Chris,it’s common knowledge that you’ve been banned from all of Liam Tomlin restaurants along with many, many other restaurants in Cape Town and the Cape Winelands. So,simple question: how are you able to judge whether a restaurant is eligible for inclusion on the list, since you’re not allowed to eat there?

    • You cannot resist stirring can you Sonia, despite an agreement between myself and your lawyer brother that you will stop harassing me on Social Media!

      Such a stupid comment, given that we have not spoken in years, so you would hardly be up to date on my restaurant bannings by weak egotistical chefs and restaurant owners who cannot bear the truth.

      Eat Out has rules as to how they chose their nominees. They are published on their website. I do not need to eat at a restaurant to know whether it makes the restaurant eligible for the Top 30 or not!

      You are banned from my Blog, and I will not entertain any further negative comments from you, until you have something more uplifting to say. What a sad person you are, having to continuously nit pick. Why do you read my Blog?


    I have to say it sounds like this lady has an axe to grind with Chef’s Warehouse! Then a bell rings………didn’t I read something a while back where she had slagged them off for having a dog in restaurant, (which I know is an untruth, as I have been in the shop where the dog is and it is NOT allowed in the restaurant). Plus other things. I then read a response where the owner Liam Tomlin put her right in her place and told her NOT to visit ANY of his establishments EVER AGAIN. Apparently she is as tight as a frogs behind, and NEVER tips the staff……….read this from Bertus Basson comments as well. The thing is you don’t have to wait a year to know that Liam Tomlins eateries are World class, just read every other thing written about them. OR better still try them for yourself. That food at those prices….really TOTALLY AMAZING! She would be better writing fiction novels, someone might take her seriously! AND SHE WON”T HAVE TO TIP!!!!!!

  7. Dear Phillip

    Your comment is defamatory, and I will disregard its Content. Liam is a bully!

    If Eat Out changes its rules to allow Liam Tomlin’s restaurants as well as La Tête special privileges of participation, this is wrong and unfair to every other restaurant nominee..

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