Yesterday I posted an overview of the Media Visit day we spent in McGregor for Wacky Wine Weekend, my first taste of the wine event covering the Robertson Wine Valley, which continues until the end of today. It is the 14th Wacky Wine Weekend. I was unable to ascertain where the ‘Wacky’ part of the event name comes from! Continue reading →
The first event I attended of the Hermanus FynArts Festival on Monday evening was the Festival Gala Dinner, being a highlight in that I was able to attend it, and in meeting Benguela Cove owner Penny Streeter! The Festival is a jam-packed celebration of art, food, music, and culture, running over a ten day period! Continue reading →
The winners of the inaugural Rosé Rocks competition have been announced, with Tamboerskloof Katharien Syrah Rosé 2015 named the overall winner.
The 160 Rosé and MCC Rosé wines were evaluated by a panel of judges, which was chaired by Woolworths’ Allan Mullins. Wines were tasted blind, without information provided about the vintage, wine estate, and technical analysis. The results were audited by Grant Thornton South Africa. Continue reading →
Last week I ate lunch at Mondiall twice. The first was a family lunch, and the second was an invitation to try the new Winter Menu at Mondiall and to meet new Chef Riaan Burger, who has been at the restaurant for six weeks. The experiences were chalk and cheese. Mondiall has been repositioned as a French Brasserie, serving ‘refined comfort food’, rather than as an around-the-world restaurant when it opened.
The family lunch followed the scattering of the ashes of our late mother, which we had done in Table Bay on the yacht IQ, which moors outside Mondiall. I was very disappointed with the lunch, which was a special group menu, a reduced version of former Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s menu. Chef Riaan was not working on the Freedom Day public holiday, owner Patrick Symington was not there, and Reservation Manager Mandy Smith whom I had dealt with in making the booking and discussing the menu, was not there either. The let-down was the waitress, and poor communication between Mandy and the Manager Franco. The food quality was not as expected either. I admire Patrick for proactively sending a sms to ask how the lunch went, and I told him about my disappointment. What was amazing was the glazed pork belly, offered as a Tapas dish, served with crackling, and a honey soy glaze. This dish remains on the new menu. Continue reading →
What a surprise to read this morning that Chef Peter Tempelhoff, co-owner of Mondiall Restaurant with Patrick Symington, is leaving his own restaurant, to focus more time on The Greenhouse and the other restaurants in the McGrath hotel portfolio!
The announcement was made via Eat Out, and Chef Peter is quoted as saying: ‘Along with the sudden death of one of my greatest mentors, Liz McGrath, a few weeks ago, has come a change of thinking and a new challenge. My role in the three Relais & Chateaux hotels of The Collection by Liz McGrath has become more important than ever before, as I have been offered a more significant role within The Greenhouse and the company… a challenge I cannot ignore. Continue reading →
Jardine at Jordan Manager and former Sinn employee Riaan Moll told me recently that Chef Thomas Sinn, once an Eat Out Top Restaurant Chef, has closed down all his restaurant interests in Cape Town, and has opened Rivendell Restaurant on the road to Hermanus, near the turn-off to Kleinmond and Arabella. On our way back from a trip to Hermanus my colleague and I found an oasis of food, in the middle of nowhere, offering a whale of a good value.
Rivendell is referred to in J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, ‘Lord of the Rings’ amongst others, and means ‘deeply cloven valley‘, referring to the Bot River valley lying between two mountains. The wine estate Rivendell is owned by Austrian couple Heimo and Maria Talhammer, and they invited Chef Thomas to open the restaurant on their farm three months ago. The restaurant building is set back on the estate, and is not visible from the road to Hermanus. It was previously the tasting and functions venue, but the Continue reading →
I last visited Creation more than two years ago, when I wrote a story about the Hermanus Wine Route, which had been launched in 2011. Since then a number of changes have taken place, new chef Warwick Taylor offering even more heavenly food to match the heavenly Creation wines, living up to promise made in the Tasting Menu heading: ‘Original, distinctive flavours. Exceptional, harmonious matches’!
The road to travel to Creation was never in great condition, having been a gravel road 7 km before the entrance to the wine estate. They were very excited when the Western Cape province announced the tarring of the road to Caledon, and 3 km of the untarred section had been tarred when the construction contractor went bankrupt, a huge frustration for Creation. A number of months have gone by while the province appointed a new contractor, and work has finally commenced again, it taking ten months for the road to be completed, owner JC Martin estimated. The road currently is in a worse condition than it was on our last visit, in terms of its surface, with more accidents on the road, and having a stop/go system in place. Co-owner Carolyn Martin said she is placing pressure on the Western Cape Minister of Transport and Public Works Robin Carlisle to get things moving. Creation will have to possibly change its entrance once the tarring is complete. Despite the poor condition of the road, it was a surprise to see the car park at Creation completely full, Carolyn’s marketing of their wines and the Tasting Room being so excellent that tourists as well as Johannesburg and Pretoria locals come anyway.
I thought I had arrived without being recognised, but Carolyn had seen me (I was sitting with my back to the desk) and she called JC to come and say hello. JC was busy in the cellar with the preparation for the start of the harvest the following day, but made time to chat, reflecting how good they are in connecting with their customers (we stock their Whale Pod range) and visitors. JC said that the harvest is only 3 – 4 days later than last year after the wet winter, and that they have some botrytis, which his staff is picking out. He expected the harvest to take a little longer this year, being 3 – 4 weeks, depending on the weather. He shook his head, almost in disbelief, Continue reading →
Still in shock about the rude treatment I received from the owners of Just Pure The Bistro in Hermanus two days ago I went to the very Bavarian-looking Dorf Krug and found a haven of friendliness and good wholesome Bavarian food.
Outside on the terrace they have placed Bavarian-coloured barrels, which attract attention to the cottage building. The interior is not German at all, other than the Deukom German TV channel broadcasting the Winter Olympics, and the tables and riempie chairs do not suit the theme. The odd Bavarian and German flag can be seen. Very large paintings fill the walls, but do not link to the Bavarian theme. The name was puzzling me, being the ‘Village Jug’ directly translated. I was told that the owner, Dr Brigitte Riedelsheimer, is a Bavarian swallow living in Düsseldorf and at Arabella. She has owned the property for some time, having leased it to a second hand furniture shop previously.
The outside seating area behind the building was a complete contrast, with long tables and benches with cushions covered in the Bavarian blue and white, and plants softening the edges. A massive mural of a Southern Right whale is in the parking area, painted by a Bot River artist. The delightful Continue reading →
Yesterday was a picture perfect day to try out the new Summer menu of new Executive Chef Christo Pretorius at Azure restaurant at the 12 Apostles Hotel, at the invitation of its GM Horst Frehse. The amazing view of the Atlantic Ocean is brought into the restaurant and reflects in the menu too.
Chef Christo was promoted when Chef Henrico Grobbelaar left the hotel to head up the kitchen at Equus restaurant at Cavalli Estate in Stellenbosch a few months ago. He had previously worked at De Huguenot (no longer operating) with Chef Tanja Kruger, and at the Cape Royale before joining the 12 Apostles. He travels overseas every year, to experience international cuisine. He acknowledged that he is nothing without his team, and that he delegates to his staff, mentors and trains them. Chef Christo focuses on ingredients that are seasonal, and sources them as locally as he can, the game coming from Uitenhage and Oudtshoorn. Only green-listed SASSI fish is served. He has a good relationship with his suppliers, and knows that they will assist him when he has urgent requests. His focus at Azure is on ‘flavourful food‘. Horst shared that they have had very good feedback about Chef Christo’s menu, and that the chef comes out of the kitchen as much as he can, to meet the guests and to obtain their feedback. Continue reading →
Yesterday Blaauwklippen celebrated the 30th anniversary of its popular Blending Competition, and it was a day filled with celebratory balloons and nostalgic reflections of the heritage of the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition on the 331 year old wine estate in Stellenbosch. The competition has helped to demystify wine and make it more accessible to wine drinkers.
I have attended the Blaauwklippen Blending Competition (which they refer to as BBC) for a number of years, but had never seen so many guests before, 70 guests seated in the Barouche restaurant, many of whom having links to 1984, the first year of the blending competition. Blaauwklippen MD and Cellarmaster Rolf Zeitvogel reflected on the world 30 years ago, Apple having launched its Macintosh PC, Archbishop Tutu receiving the Nobel Peace Prize, Mrs Margaret Thatcher becoming Prime Minister of the UK, and Nelson Mandela seeing his wife Winnie for the first time in 22 years. Through a number of speakers, we heard about the history of the blending competition, having been the idea of Angela Continue reading →