Yesterday afternoon WineMag presented its first Merlot Report in a number of years, an evaluation of 67 entries. It was motivated by the Merlot Forum, and the results of the Report reflected that wines in the category are ‘good‘, but can improve greatly, according to WineMag Editor Christian Eedes. The ceremony was held at Asara wine estate outside Stellenbosch. Continue reading →
I love seeing how restaurants can reinvent themselves, and often a new chef can be the catalyst. Chef Archie Maclean has been at Catharina’s for about four months, and has gone back to the history and origin of Steenberg wine estate and its first owner Catharina Ras for inspiration for his creative new menu. Continue reading →
The turnout at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa this afternoon, for the farewell tribute to its Executive Director Horst Frehse, was testament to his popularity and the respect in which he is held, it was clear to see by all who attended. He is one of two iconic hoteliers to retire this year.
‘Mr Frehse‘, as he has always been respectfully addressed by his Continue reading →
Two iconic hotel leaders, Clive Bennett from the One & Only Cape Town and Horst Frehse from the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, are going into retirement, a massive loss for the Cape Town hotel industry. Both Hotel GMs crossed paths when Frehse took over Bennett’s job at the Twelve Apostles in 2010.
Cigar-smoking Horst Frehse was synonymous with the Grande Roche in Paarl Continue reading →
About two weeks ago we received the media release announcing the South African winners of the Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism awards. On Friday the awards were officially handed over at the Tuscan-inspired Waterford Estate, which won the South African leg of the competition.
I had never been to Waterford Estate before, at the end of the Blaauwklippen Road in Stellenbosch, and it is a surprise to see the Tuscan-design buildings once one has passed the ponds, parking amongst the fruit trees. We were told that the wine estate had been in an almost derelict state when it was bought by Jeremy Ord, and built into the magnificent estate it is now over about 12 years. Sustainability of all natural resources is important to the owners and staff, and the ponds collect all waste water, which is recycled, we were told by Cellar Master Kevin Arnold.
Prior to the Awards luncheon, invited guests were able to enjoy a Wine Drive or to walk the Porcupine Trail. We enjoyed a glass of sparkling wine by KWV, found our names on a Continue reading →
While Vergelegen may have been disappointed in not scoring a 5 star wine at the Platter’s South African Wines 2014 on Friday evening, the wine estate must have been in seventh heaven to have done so well at the Great Wine Capitals Global Network Best of Wine Tourism Awards for South Africa, for which the winners were announced on Thursday at a gala dinner in the Napa Valley. Vergelegen won in the Arts and Culture as well as in the Restaurant categories, and performed well in four further categories. The award-winning performance makes Vergelegen the South African Best of Wine Tourism winner for the third time, having last won in 2009.
In addition to winning two categories outright, Vergelegen came second in four out of a total of seven categories: Architecture and Landscapes, Innovative Wine Tourism Experiences, Sustainable Wine Tourism Practices, and Wine Tourism Service. It is Camphors at Vergelegen, one of two restaurants on the wine estate (with Stables at Vergelegen Bistro, a more casual daytime restaurant), that is recognised in the Restaurant award. The seventh category (Accommodation) was not entered, as this service is not offered.
Vergelegen joins nine other winelands region winners this year:
* Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco in Rioja, a museum and winery complex, celebrated for its Enoturismo y Experiencias that offers a wide range of exhibitions, courses and other innovative experiences
* Château de Rouillac, that dates back to the 19th century when it Continue reading →
* The Legatum Prosperity Index shows that most African countries, including South Africa (now in 77th position) have declined in prosperity in the past year. The most prosperous countries are, in order, Norway, Switzerland, Canada, Sweden, New Zealand, and Denmark. Both the USA (11th) and UK (16th) have slipped on the Index relative to last year, particularly the former.
* World Travel Market, one of the top three travel and tourism exhibitions, and taking place in London from Monday – Thursday, will boost the UK economy by £160 million, and deals to the value of £2 billion are expected to be signed amongst the 50000 attendees.
* The Gfk Consumer Climate Europe is measuring a small upturn in the economic outlook for the European Union countries, signalling that the worst of the economic crisis in Europe may be over.
* Ebony Gallery on Loop Street is exhibiting Grace Kotze’s ‘Within’ exhibition from 7 November – 4 December. (received via e-mail from Ebony)
Wild Peacock Food Emporium hosted a lovely homely evening on Thursday, with 24 food and wine lovers spoilt with a French themed dinner, and a tasting of six French wines led by Great Domaines’ Derek Kilpin.
Costing R250, the French evening was attended by representatives of Waterkloof and L’Omarins wine estates, and Den Anker restaurant, amongst others. Creating 2 adjacent long tables covered with red and white check table cloths, there was a cosy atmosphere and buzz.
Derek grew up on an apple farm in Elgin, and studied B.Sc at Stellenbosch University. He worked at Waterford and Asara wine estates before moving to Dublin, to run a wine shop belonging to Vaughn Johnson. From there he moved to London, working at Fine and Rare Wines, and thereafter at Decorum Vintners. The weather made him move back to his home country, and he joined Great Domaines in Johannesburg, a company importing French, Italian, and Spanish wines.
The white wines we tasted were
* William Fevre Chablis 2010: Derek said this is one of the most respected domains in Chablis, and is excellent when paired with summer seafood, oysters in particular. The price is R229.
* Bouchard Pere et Fils Bourgogne Chardonnay 2010: This wine has been fermented in stainless steel, with only 15 % in barrels. The producer is a big company, having invested heavily in a new cellar, and has ‘revolutionised‘ the quality of its wines, according to Derek. The price is R 189.
* Bouchard Pere et Fils Meursalt Les Clous 2010: This wine is fermented in wooden barrels. Cost is R429.
The starter course was a lovely French onion soup served with crusty bread, prepared by new Wild Peacock chef Liesel Potgieter, previously with Knights Catering. She has most recently been a menu consultant to a clinic for eating disorders.
The French red wines we tasted were:
* Bouchard Pere et Fils: Bourgogne Pinot La Vigne 2009: Derek said that 2009 was one of the best vintages in Burgundy in the past ten years. Matured in stainless steel. Strawberry flavour. R209 per bottle.
* Domaine de Saint Cosme Cotes du Rhone Rouge 2010: The 15th generation of the family owns this estate, wines matured in old cement vats, ‘fresh pure Shiraz’. Costs R195.
* Domaine La Roquète Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009: a blend of 70 % Grenache, 20 % Shiraz, and 10% Mourvèdre, costing R439.
A Châteauneuf-du-Pape blend is made of up to 18 varieties, including Piquepoul Blanc, Grenache Noir, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Roussane, Cinsaut, Terret Noir, Counoise, Muscardin, Piquepoul Noir, Vaccarèse, Bourboulenc, Clairette Blanche, Clairette Rose, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, Picardin, and Piquepoul Gris. Grenache Noir is predominantly used in red and white wine making in this appellation, about 3000 hectares in size, according to Wikipedia.
Great Domaines supplies Wild Peacock, Aubergine, The Saxon, Rust en Vrede, amongst others. Derek spoke about ‘value for quality’, saying that below R150 per bottle South African wines offer exceptional value. However, above the R250 price point French wines often offer better value.
Wild Peacock Products was established 21 years ago as ‘purveyor of fine foods to the hospitality industry’ by Sue Baker, as a wholesale supplier of restaurant delicacies, starting with oysters initially. The company stands for offering ‘Fine Food, Fine Quality, Fine Service’, sources sustainable products, and builds long term relationships with its suppliers and clients. It now supplies leading restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands with duck, pigeon, guinea fowl, quail, charcuterie, cheeses, Valrhona chocolate, rock lobster, mussels, salmon trout, caviar, snails, truffles, Italian pasta, olives, olive oils, farm butter, and much more. Two years ago they opened the Wild Peacock Food Emporium, run by daughter Sarah, stocking similar products to buy over the counter, as well as wines. They also serve breakfast, lunch, and snacks throughout the day, and dinner on Friday evenings.
Wild Peacock Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Street, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 887-7585. www.wildpeacock.co.za Twitter: @WildPeacock Monday – Friday 7h30 – 18h00 (dinner Fridays), Saturday and Sunday 7h30 – 15h00.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
* Five Flies, Cape Town: 4-course dinner with ‘champagne and crackers’ R395. Tel (021) 424-4442
* Rick’s Café, Cape Town: 3-course dinner R195. Tel (021) 424-1100
* Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 4-course dinner R720. Tel (021) 437-9000
* Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: Dinner R300. Tel (021) 876-2738
* Catharina’s, Steenberg: 4-course dinner R695. Tel (021) 713-2222
* The Kitchen, Woodstock: 3-courses R300, main course plus dessert R245, starter plus main course R268. Tel (021) 462-2201
* Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel: 5-course dinner R890. Tel (021) 483-1000
* 96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course dinner R420. Tel (021) 842-2020
* Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House: 4-course dinner plus drink R 495 . Tel (021) 880-1549
* Haiku: Set menu from R195. Tel (021) 424-7000
* Bukhara: Set menu from R195 per person. Tel (021/ 4240000/(021) 882-9133/(021) 535-4444
* 1800, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel: Lunch Buffet with welcome drink, R280 per adult and R120 for children under 12 years. Tel (021) 430-0506
* Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch: 4-course lunch R755. Tel (021) 885-8160
* Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant, Franschhoek: 3-course lunch R400. Tel (021) 876-3961
* Monneaux, Franschhoek: 5-course lunch R 395. Tel (021) 876-3380
* Backsberg, Klapmuts: Buffet lunch and glass of John Martin Sauvignon Blanc R415. Tel (021) 875-5141
* La Mouette, Sea Point: 5-course lunch R350. Tel (021) 433-0856
* Allée Bleue, Franschhoek: 3-course lunch in Bistro and Wine Tasting Courtyard R250. Christmas Lunch Buffet in Main House Courtyard R250. Tel (021) 874-1021. FULLY BOOKED
* Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay: 3-course lunch R395 + 10 % service charge. Tel (021) 790-1036
* Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: Lunch buffet, eggnog, a gift, party hats, and crackers. R945. Tel (021) 437-9000
* Asara, Stellenbosch: Buffet Lunch R275; Christmas Lunch R450. Tel (021) 888-8000
* L’ermitage, Franschhoek: Lunch R350. Tel (021) 876-9200
* Rivendell Estate & Bistro, near Kleinmond: Sangria welcome drink plus Buffet, R300. Tel (028) 284-9185
* Rickety Bridge, Franschhoek: 4-course dinner R325. Tel (021) 876-2120.
* Charl’s, Blue Gum Country Estate, Stanford: 5-course lunch R395. Tel (028) 341 0107
* Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 4-course lunch R 245. Tel (021) 434-3004
* Bistro Sixteen82, Steenberg: 4-course lunch, R 425. Tel (021) 713-2222
* The Kitchen, Maison, Franschhoek: 6-course lunch R 650. Tel (021) 876-2116
* La Belle Café & Bakery, The Alphen Hotel, Constantia: 4-course lunch R 350. Tel (021) 795-6300
* Ben’s on the Beach, Strand: 3-course lunch R 195, 11h00 and 13h30 sittings. Tel (021) 855-7977
* La Colombe, Constantia: 4-course lunch R1100 + 12% tip. Tel (021) 794-2390
* Sofia’s @ Morgenster, Somerset West: 3-course lunch R400. Tel (021) 847-1993
* Two Oceans Restaurant, Cape Point: 3-courses R185. Tel (021) 780-9200
* 96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course lunch R420. Tel (021) 842-2020
* The Country Kitchen, Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek: 3-course lunch R320. Tel (021) 876-2770
* Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel, Franschhoek: 5-course lunch R 470. Tel (021) 876-876-2770
* Cape Town Fish Market, V&A Waterfront, Tokai, GrandWest, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Tyger Valley, Canal Walk: 4-course Christmas lunch R125. Tel (21) 418-5977
* Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 5-course Christmas lunch R495. Tel (021) 418-1466
* Ryan’s Kitchen in Franschhoek will be closed on 25 and 26 December.
New Year’s Eve
* The Restaurant @ Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch: Food & Wine Experience – eight latest vintages, each paired with a course. R395. Tel (021) 865-2022
* Chic Café, Gardens: 5 course dinner R450. Tel (021) 465-7218
* Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch: 6-course dinner. R1200. Tel (021) 885-8160
* Pepper Club on the Beach: 3-course dinner R850. Tel (021) 438-3174
* Cocos, Hermanus: 3-course dinner R500. Tel (028) 313-1178
* Five Flies, Cape Town: 4-course dinner plus glass of Pierre Jourdan and music R795. Tel (021) 424-4442
* Rick’s Café, Cape Town: Jazz, appetizer plate and glass of Pongracz R125. Tel (021) 424-1100
* La Mouette, Sea Point: 4-course dinner with welcome drink and L’Avenir Brut Rosé 2009. Tel (021) 433-0856.
* Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay: 3-course dinner R395 + 10 % service charge. Tel (021) 790-1036
* Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 5-course dinner plus glass of champagne R1650. Tel (021) 437-9000
* Asara, Stellenbosch: Dinner Buffet R345; Dinner at Raphael’s R950. Tel (021) 888-8000
* Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: Dinner R300. Tel (021) 876-2738
* Bertha’s, Simonstown: 3-course dinner, welcome glass of bubbly and jazz band R 350. Tel (021) 786-2138
* Black Marlin, Simonstown: 4-course crayfish platter, dinner and dance R 500. Tel (021) 786-1621
* Café Chic, Gardens, 5-course dinner R450. Tel (021) 465-7218
* The Conservatory, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, Constantia: 3-course dinner R1200. Tel (021) 794-2137
* Hildebrand, V&A Waterfront: 5-course meal, champagne on arrival, band R 1300. Tel (021) 425-3385
* Moyo, Bloubergstrand: African feats and music by CODA R595. Tel (021) 554-9671
* Oasis Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel: Buffet R650. Tel (021) 483-1948
* The Pepper Club on the Beach, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner and music R850. Tel (021) 438-9551
* Taste Restaurant, Somerset West: Dinner R385. Tel (021) 855-3686
* Ben’s on the Beach, Strand: 3-course dinner R245. Tel (021) 853-7977
* Bodega Restaurant, Dornier, Stellenbosch: 3-course meal, glass of Sterhuis Blanc de Blanc 2008 R380. Tel (021) 880-0557
* Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House, Stellenbosch: 4-course dinner, pre-dinner drink, live music, glass of champagne R625. Tel (021) 880-1549
* Moyo, Spier, Stellenbosch: cocktail, snack, face paint, African feast, entertainment R495. Tel (021) 809-1138
* Restaurant Mangiare, Capelands, Somerset West: 2-courses R190, 3-courses R240, 4-courses R 290. Tel (021) 858-1477
* Proviant Kaapse Tafel, Paarl: Spit braai, live music and bubbly R 195. Tel (021) 863-0949
* Pure, Hout Bay Manor: 6-course dinner R850. Tel (021) 791-9393
* Lookout Deck, Hout Bay: 4-course dinner and live band R300. Tel (021) 790-0900
* Freedom Hill Restaurant, R301, Franschhoek: Spit braai and music R 350. Tel (021) 867-0963
* Rocca, Cape Quarter: 3-course dinner R 400. Tel (021) 418-8000
* Pepenero, Mouille Point: 3-course dinner, glass of ‘champagne’ on arrival R 700. Tel 082 800 8542
* Zenzero, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner R 950. Tel 082 800 8542
* The Kove, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner R 950 with glass of ‘champagne’ on arrival. Tel 082 800 8542
* Paranga, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner with glass of ‘champagne’ R 1200. Tel 082 800 8542
* Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 4-course dinner with complimentary glass of MCC R 435. Tel (021) 434-3004
* French Toast, Bree Street: 3-course tapas dinner R 250. Tel (021) 422-3839
* 5 Rooms, Alphen Hotel: 4-courses R850. Tel (021) 795-6300
* Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 5-course dinner R750. Tel (021) 418-1466
* Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course dinner R750. Tel (021) 657-4545.
* Le Franschhoek Hotel: 7-course dinner R1150. Tel (021) 876-8900
* 6 Spin Street, Spin Street, Cape Town: 5-course dinner buffet and dance with welcome drink R450; cheese and dessert buffet R250. Tel (021) 461-0666
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
The first Café Extrablatt in South Africa and only the second outlet in Africa, on Main Road in Green Point, one of a collection of 55 franchise outlets in Germany, Austria, Turkey and Morocco, opened at the beginning of the month. It offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes and drinks, from early morning to late night, at the most reasonable prices.
Heading up the Café Extrablatt Cape Town is Guido Dierschke, a friendly proud company representative, who has worked for the company for seven or more years, in stores, in the head office management, and opening new stores. The first Café Extrablatt was opened in Emsdetten near Münster by Christoph Wefers with his brother Richard. The name relates to the Extra edition of newspapers, and a collection of Sunday newspapers was available when I visited. Magazines will be added too. The pay-off line ‘Das gewisse Extra’ (that certain extra) represents the restaurant’s ability to offer a special dish, and to have a special place in the restaurant for its customers, Guido said. In Germany there is an Italian style restaurant chain Scoozi and a Starbucks-style Voyton coffee take-away chain in the company collection, but these are not on the cards locally until the Café Extrablatt is running smoothly.
Being a franchise store, the interior decor reflects that of the German outlets. A lot of natural colours and materials are used, including leather for the chairs and couches, wood and marble for the tables, and the original wooden floors of the building have been retained to give it character. Woodbenders was used to make the furniture, and the colour palette includes leathers in orange, burgundy, green, brown and beige. Different table and seating styles are spread around the restaurant, upstairs and downstairs, to make seating sections, in which one can choose to sit, and to prevent the space from appearing as large as it is. In total the restaurant can seat 300 customers over the two levels (upstairs is for smokers), and there is seating outside on the street level and upstairs terraces too. There is a fireplace upstairs, each level having a large bar counter. The light fittings are unique to the franchise, and were made in Germany, being two styles. Downstairs in the bar area is a massive lamp made from copper pipes. On the other side of the restaurant and upstairs are ‘Tortenlampen’, designed to look like two-tier cakes. Wall lamps, with a grass look to them, are also uniquely made in Germany for the franchise outlets. There is a TV screen for matches downstairs. The location for events in the Cape Town Stadium is ideal, being across the road, and the Coldplay concert saw their first full-house. Staff wear black pants, the female waitresses white T-shirts and the males black ones, with a white apron. Cutlery is by Fortis Hotelware, cute mini salt and pepper pots are brought to the table, as are unbranded olive oil and balsamic vinegar holders, with paper serviettes.
Ryan Seale is the chef, having worked at events contract companies in the UK (Lord’s cricket ground, West Ham football ground), at Singita, and for a contract company doing the catering for the World Cup last year. His menu is largely that of the franchise, but with some additional dishes. All items on the menu are available throughout the day and night, with extremely long opening hours. A ‘German Corner’ pays tribute to the German heritage of the company, offering chicken schnitzel (excellent portion of two pieces, which I ordered with potato salad, but is listed to be served with a salad or chips, at an unbelievably low price of R35,95) and veal schnitzel at R49,95, Currywurst at R49,95, and Viennas and potato salad (made using Guido’s mother’s recipe, with apples and gherkins) at R35,95. A Breakfast Buffet with continental breakfast items, cooked breakfast as well as salads is offered at R79,95 from 8h00 – 12h00 on weekdays, and at R99,95 from 8h00 – 14h00 on weekends and public holidays. Individual breakfast items are also available, ranging from R32,95 for scrambled eggs to R45,95 for fried eggs, bacon and sausage. Many of the menu items offer a base item, with prices listed for additional extras and toppings. Bruschetta costs R 22,95 – R32,95, with tuna, ham and cheese options. Baked potato with sour cream costs R17,95, and chilli con carne, tuna mayonnaise, and salmon can be ordered as extra toppings. Pita breads with fillings cost around R40. There is meat (R45,95) and vegetarian (R39,95) lasagne, and Pick & Dips cost R11,95 – R29,95 for spring rolls, chicken strips, risotto balls and calamari. Burgers cost R39,95 – R49,95. Pizzas range from R35,95 – R67,95, and salads start at R27,95, peaking at R48,95.
Desserts are limited to Apfelstrudel at R29,95, and New York New York cheesecake from Chez Chez off Kloof Street, at R35. They also stock Eiszeit ice creams, and I had a wonderful strawberry sauce made by Chef Ryan with a yoghurt sorbet (R19 for one scoop). I had wanted to order the Apfelstrudel, but Chef Ryan came to the table, asking me not to, as he is only making his own from this week onwards. The cappuccino costs R16, and the coffee is by Hausbrandt. Asara wines (Ebony, Ivory, Fusion, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé) are offered by carafe (R32 – R38) or bottle (R90 – R120). Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine is offered by the glass (R32) or bottle (R155), as are Graham Beck (R195), Pongrácz (R175), and Veuve Clicquot (R550). Most beers cost R18, but Heineken costs R20, and beer on tap from Paulaner, Castle and Pilsner Urquell is available too. Cocktails and ‘mocktails’ are also offered.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage