On Saturday I attended the opening of the new Art Gallery and Sculpture Park at Benguela Cove outside Hermanus, with 40 sculptures by master sculptor Anton Smit spread around the wine and residential housing estate. The local Sculpture Park flows from a collaboration between Smit and Benguela Collection owner Penny Streeter to create a Sculpture Park at its Leonardslee Lakes and Gardens in the UK. Continue reading →
Last Saturday I had to be in the ‘Deep South’ of Cape Town, attending a media breakfast at the new Tintswalo at Boulders in Simonstown, so decided to have lunch at Stargarden Boutique Café in Fish Hoek whilst I was in that part of our city. The ‘Boutique Café’ descriptor in the name gives it away, a creative Eatery serving creative dishes. Continue reading →
When I visit Franschhoek, I love to revisit the shops in the village, and am always on the lookout to see what is new. A surprise discovery was the new Café Roca in the village, a hidden gem tucked away behind an art gallery, formerly the home of the now defunct Melissa’s. I loved it so much, that I went back on three consecutive days, Continue reading →
Since selling my guest houses I have stayed at a mix of self-catering and guest houses in Franschhoek, and have been very disappointed. Franschhoek Boutique Hotel GM Llewellyn Lambert took pity on my Franschhoek accommodation experiences, as documented in Sour Service Awards on this Blog, and invited me to come and stay at the hotel. He had showed me around just after it was completed a few months ago, but this was my first stay.
Looking for a coffee shop in Hermanus over lunch yesterday I popped in at Just Pure The Bistro, located within a showroom that sells the Just Pure pure skin and body care range. I had no intention to write about my sandwich and coffee stop, but the dreadful service from the staff and owners compelled me to write a review.
The balcony has a fantastic view onto the ocean, and the ocean was particularly rough yesterday, with massive waves, making it a pleasure to sit outside. I used to love going there when Bellini had its art gallery and coffee shop in the same space. I walked inside the shop, not having been there for some time, and saw that the Just Pure showroom still looked the same, found a Cape Times on a table, and chose a table to sit at outside. I was not welcomed by any staff, and saw a waitress yawning as I wanted to ask her for a table. She brought a menu and I placed my order of a glass of ice, a jug of milk, and an espresso, wishing to make my own iced coffee, and a glass of ice water. She brought the ice on a saucer, and there was no glass into which I could pour all the ingredients. She returned with the same number of ice cubes in a glass, so I had to send her back to fill it up.
I chose to order a ‘Country Loaf’ sandwich, from the ‘Gourmet Open Sandwiches‘ section, with tomato, mozzarella, and avocado, which I asked to be toasted, and expected a seed type loaf. The waitress returned, after having taken the order, to double check that I wished to only have one slice , described confusingly in their menu as a half portion (R49), two slices being a full portion (R65). It took at least half an hour to be served, but it gave me a chance to read the newspaper, and to catch up on Social Media, having spent about two hours driving to Hermanus. What I was served was an attractively presented but non-gourmet plain slice of Continue reading →
For the first time in the ten years of wine production, Saronsberg invited a group of wine writers to a tasting of its wines, followed by lunch at the Cape Grace Hotel. Saronsberg, with Rijks, is synonymous with Tulbagh.
Saronsberg was bought by Nick van Huyssteen in 2002, previously being the Twee Jonge Gezellen farms, which they renamed after the mountain in the area. A year later a large part of the then fruit farm was destroyed by a fire, making them start from scratch and planting vineyards on 51 hectare of the farm, making Nick’s dream of a wine farm come true, necessitating the building of a cellar. The day-time heat in Tulbagh was taken into consideration in the design of the cellar, we were told, to cool things down. Two years later they made the first wines.
It was the wedding of a niece three years ago that brought me to spend a Continue reading →
I had eagerly awaited the opening of the Cavalli Estate on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, its majestic entrance having been completed about two years ago, and having heard a number of times that Chef Henrico Grobbelaar would be heading up the kitchen in the Equus restaurant. Its Equus Tasting Room, Gallery, Boutique, and Restaurant opened a month ago, its 54 thoroughbred saddlebred horses, and olive and vine plantation make up the Cavalli Estate. It must be the largest Winelands tourism offering in terms of size and facilities offered.
Horses dominate everything at Cavalli, the Italian name for the animal, and the racehorse stud was developed while the Equus centre was being built. The stud is the main reason for the estate’s existence, and one passes the large stable building as one drives to Equus, with fynbos evident in the gardens landscaped by Keith Kirsten, who also did the Delaire Graff gardens. I had been invited to be shown around by mother and daughter Gundel and Annette Sogor from Gordon’s Bay, who had been to the tasting room before, but had not yet eaten at Equus. Arriving separately, we each shared how unprofessional the welcome at the security entrance as well as at the parking had been, and Lauren Smith, owner’s daughter, architect, and Operations Manager of the estate, made quick work in having the problem addressed and the outsourced security men replaced.
The Equus building is vast, and consists of a massive art gallery, a boutique, Continue reading →
* Babylonstoren is expanding its offering of fruit and vegetables, by now growing various varieties of mushrooms in its Mushroom Cellar.
* Eurostar is to introduce a London – Amsterdam route from 2016, a four hour journey.
* Xolani Mancotywa, Sommelier at the Saxon Hotel, has reached the Finals of the international 2013 Best Young Sommelier, having won the South African title. He is competing against eleven other such country winners in Washington on 18 October. The competition is sponsored by the Chaîne de Rôtisseurs, a global gastronomic society.
* An innovative way of attracting business into the city in the evening is First Thursdays, the 20 or so city centre art galleries staying open until 21h00 (some even later) on the first Thursday of each month, Continue reading →
Notorious Neil Pendock is launching his Pendock Wine Gallery at the Taj Cape Town hotel at 18h00, to many a most unusual move, in a minute space which would not allow more than a handful of persons to move inside the gallery at any time. The Gallery concept and its link to the hotel’s Mint Restaurant is as quirky as Pendock is.
The roughly 2 by 4 meter space is half of the Edit[ed] hotel shop, and once inside Pendock’s Wine Gallery one can see inside the shop through a glass door, a design weakness, as it does not match the less-is-more sparse design of the Gallery. Six ornate shelves will hold a bottle of wine each, according to a monthly theme, September being dedicated to Pinotage, but the choice of six is not explained, other than space constraints. However, Pendock does pride himself on his selection, in that the six (Black Elephant Vintners, Diemersdal, Manley Continue reading →
It’s the low key openings, without fanfare, that are often the most exciting. Luvey ‘n Rose on Rose Street in Bo Kaap opened earlier this week as a coffee shop, art gallery, antique shop, adding wines once the liquor licence has been approved, and soon to be a permanent artist’s residence too.
Owned by Ignatius Claassen, an erstwhile actuary who decided to go it alone and start a completely different business, the business is located in a historic pink painted three storey building on Rose Street. Ignatius cannot find the date of the completion of the building, but it is sturdily built, and he does know that there was a workshop downstairs, a button factory in the middle, and that it had an apartment on the top floor. In the early days, when Cape Town’s cobble stone streets were tarred, the building was owned by a shoe and trouser tar-protection clog manufacturer.
Ignatius grew up in Despatch in the Eastern Cape, and took art as a school subject until Std 7, and says that he can draw and paint. In the army (he was part of the last intake) he made money from his army friends by drawing them, which portraits they sent to their girlfriends and parents, as they could not send photographs in those days. When some starting receiving what he called ‘Dear Johnny’ relationship-ending letters, they felt that the drawings were jinxed, and so a promising art career came to an end. However, Ignatius’ interest in art never waned, and he bought works at auctions, from art galleries, and from artist friends directly in Stellenbosch, Cape Town, and in Johannesburg where he lived for part of his career. A short-lived guest house career followed, until he sold two properties, moved to Cape Town, found the property, and put his money into art and antiques. It was meeting up with his school friend Paul Noppe Adams that was a sign to change direction, and his children living in the Cape that made him settle in Cape Town. He and Noppe live in the building, and Ignatius’ neat bedroom (reflecting his army training, he laughs) is open to view, as is the bathroom, as they contain art works that are for sale too.
Ignatius is quite philosophical about art, saying that one buys a work because of an emotional bond that it creates with the purchaser. He buys works that appeal to him personally, that he would want to hang in his own home. He will sometimes buy a piece for the concept, and not for its beauty, he said.
The first two floors are filled with art works from artists such as JH Pierneef, Walter Battiss (left), Shaney van den Bergh (photograph right, unusual in being painted on woven paper strips), Penny Siopis, Peter Clarke, Paul Emsley (once an art lecturer at the University of Stellenbosch and now lives in the UK, whose recent portrait of Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, was controversial), Wayne Barker, Stanley Pinker, and Alexandra Ross. A table is dedicated ‘as a shrine’ to the late David Botha, with prints and drawings available for sale. The third floor will be dedicated to the use of a studio apartment for a promising artist, and the first resident will be Johannes Phokela, a Soweto-born Masters in Painting graduate from the Royal College of Art and one of the artists chosen to represent our country at the International Venice Biennale later this year. The view from his apartment is onto Table Bay harbour, and onto the colourful Bo Kaap, a stimulating inspiration for the artist.
The two floors are filled with an array of furniture, none matching, but forming clusters of seating, firstly available to buy, but also to invite one to sit down, to meet with friends or with clients and colleagues, over a good cup of Deluxe coffee (made in a mean-looking Sevruga coffee machine) and a Cuban cigar, with Buena Vista Social Club or Cesaria Evoria as background music. The windows are big and let in light, uplifting in the winter months to come. The latest newspapers are available, as are art books for one to peruse.
They are not offering a restaurant service, but have partnered with Jason’s on Bree Street, in carrying his menu. At a R15 surcharge paid by the customer, the order is collected from them by scooter and delivered back, it taking 16 minutes from placing the order to the BAB (Bacon, Avo, and Brie) sandwich (R55) being delivered. On the coffee table where we sat was a book called ‘No, It Is’, in which William Kentridge sketches have been printed inside over the book copy.
Luvey ‘n Rose is sure to become cult. It is laid back, friendly, and a most unusual environment in which to meet others, or just to have a quiet moment away from others!
Luvey ‘n Rose, 21 Rose Street. Bo Kaap, Cape Town. Cell 0835577156 Facebook page. Monday – Sunday 7h00 – 18h00 (opening times variable, to be adjusted once the liquor licence has been received). Wifi to come.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www,whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage