Last night Eat Out presented its 2016 Western Cape Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Everyday Eatery Award winners, the second year that the awards have been presented provincially (previously presented nationally), and are less controversial than last year, with one exception! Continue reading →
Today the inaugural ‘2016/2017 Gourmet Guide: Top South African Restaurants, their Chefs & Recipes‘ was launched at the Good Food & Wine Show. Twenty one top restaurants were honored with one or two plates, acknowledging them as the best restaurants in our country.
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Yesterday it was confirmed that Chef Luke is opening Short Market Club on Shortmarket Street, in a pedestrian section of the street next door Continue reading →
I had heard from restaurants that a new ‘Gourmet Guide‘ is to published, with a listing and evaluation of our country’s Top 100 restaurants. The evaluation of the restaurants is to be done on the basis of the Michelin-system, with unidentified ‘inspectors’ visiting restaurants Continue reading →
It was a surprise that the Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2016 South African Restaurant Guide was launched on such a low-key level at the Platter’s Wine Guide launch in Cape Town on Thursday evening. They might wish that they hadn’t launched it at all!
Publishing Editor JP Rossouw showed us the cover of the book briefly when he revealed the new blue cover of the 2016 Platter’s Wine Guide. That was it! Last year the Restaurant Guide (with twenty 5-star restaurants then) was surprisingly Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to iFix at the V & A Waterfront and its Manager Jo Robinson, for his service recovery after receiving the Sour Service Award last week. He called me last Friday, and apologized profusely for his staff letting their side down. He encouraged me to call him directly for any future problems. I told him about two sticky keys I have on my laptop, and he told me to bring it in, despite the company not working on Samsung laptops. They cleaned the laptop, but could not get the two keys fixed. However, he showed me how to set up the on-screen Continue reading →
Serendipity led me to Carne Bistro on Kloof Street last night, bumping into the Friedman family, which was eating there while I was heading to Manna Epicure next door. An invitation to join their table led me to experience the new Carne Bistro, which opened in September. The space was previously Caffe Milano, which was a favourite for their Eggs Benedict, and for the excellent service from its previous manager Charlene, who now works at the main Carne on Keerom Street.
I had not been back to the original Carne restaurant, after the exposé on this Blog about owner Giorgio Nava’s misleading claims about his beef, lamb and game being organic and coming from his Karoo farm. Nava saw the light, and removed the claims from his menus and website a year later. The restaurant (with 95 Keerom) has never made the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist since then, despite being one of two favourite chefs (with Chef Luke Dale-Roberts) of Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly! Nava wins a more recently created Eat Out Best of Award every year, alternating between Best Italian for 95 Keerom, and Best Steakhouse for Carne. This yearshould be a 95 Keerom year!
Some interior changes were made to the restaurant, but not really visible nor obvious. Wall shelving has been removed, and the wooden buttermilk vessels which were used as decor at the Mozzarella Bar Continue reading →
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: Continue reading →
Yesterday I was invited to attend the judging of the Cape Finals of Season 3 of Ultimate Braai Master held in the parking area of The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront. Not only was it a good way to catch up with a number of chefs who judged the Cape Finals, but it was also an opportunity to meet Cooked in Africa Films producer Justin Bonello.
Justin chatted to blogger Thuli Gogela of Mzansi Style Cuisine Blog (she appeared in the Bloggers episode of season 2 of MasterChef SA) and I as the judging came to an end at the Finals. One sensed his overriding passion for food, which has grown into TV production, with 21 productions to date, including two previous Ultimate Braai Master seasons, two seasons of Charly’s Cake Angels, as well as ‘Seasons at Terroir‘, which was launched last week and focuses on Chef Michael Broughton, and his restaurant Terroir at Kleine Zalze. Justin denied that Terroir not making the Top 20 Eat Out restaurant list last November was a blow to their production, saying that Chef Michael’s food is beyond Top 10 competitions, clearly a fan of the chef’s food. He is fascinated by the revolution of growing one’s own vegetables and herbs, and proudly showed me a photograph of his vegetable garden at home, out Hout Bay way, which will become the subject of a TV series ‘Green Time’ at the end of 2015, with seven pilot projects of vegetable gardening at schools being developed. Continue reading →
After two disastrous years, New Media Publishing was brave enough to take stock earlier this year, and asked the industry what it wanted in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards. Last night that hard work paid off, with a new venue for the event, a slick and short presentation, new Awards introduced, and three new restaurants making the Top 10 Restaurant list. The surprise was the emotion which the chefs expressed when receiving their plaques, challenging MasterChef SA Season 2 on tears!
We were one of the interviewees, meeting with Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, its GM Aileen Lamb, MD Bridget McCarney, and Director Irna van Zyl. We were forthright in our feedback and suggestions, including that a team of judges would be needed again (we suggested Garth Stroebel, and have yet to meet him!). We fed back that the preferential relationship with Luke Dale-Roberts in TASTE magazine (also published by New Media Publishing, and of which Abigail is the Food Editor) was unfair towards all other chefs, by featuring him every month – we were told that Woolworths had a contract with him, and therefore he received the coverage in the magazine. This contract was terminated earlier this year, which is excellent news. Other recommendations can be read here. Flowing from the interviews and discussions with previous Top 20 chefs and restaurant managers, owners, and suppliers, as well as media representatives and bloggers, New Media Publishing allowed restaurants to apply to be included in the Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant List, which was selected by a Continue reading →