It was a multi-Award day on Monday this week, with both American Express (for the Western and Southern Cape), as well as the Gourmet Guide (National) announcing their 2020 Restaurant Award winners. A week earlier American Express had announced its Gauteng, Free State, and KwaZulu-Natal Awards. There were many similarities in the winners, yet some strange winners in the American Express Dining awards documented in this post. 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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Earlier this year I was shocked to see that the La Motte Culinary Director (and wife of its red wine maker Edmund Terblanche) as well as Kokkedoor judge Hetta van Deventer had reviewed De Warenmarkt for Eat Out. Now it appears from the new Eat Out 2016 magazine that she reviewed a number of Franschhoek and other Boland restaurants (many on wine farms too) that are in direct competition with Pierneef à la Motte restaurant!
At the time that I saw the De Warenmarkt review by Van Deventer I Continue reading →
The Eat Out judges are doing the rounds in evaluating our country’s Top 20 restaurants, from which they will pick their Top 10 Restaurants for 2015, to be announced at a Gala Lunch at Mistico Equestrian Centre outside
Paarl on 15 November.
Last year a number of restaurants made it to the Top 20 shortlist, possibly by default, as the largest number of chef changes ever took place in 2014, making the restaurants linked to those chefs ineligible to be considered for an Eat Out Top 10 award. This affected Hartford House (Chef Jackie Cameron starting her Jackie Cameron School of Food and Wine), Delaire Graff (Chef Christiaan Campbell Continue reading →
After a one year absence, the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide is back, with a new name, new sponsor, new editor, and a new methodology of recognising top restaurants. Restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands still dominate the 5-star restaurant list by far, with 13 out of 20 restaurants in the Western Cape, out of 300 restaurants evaluated in total!
Yesterday ‘Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2015 South African Restaurant Guide’ was launched in Johannesburg, now sponsored by Diners Club, the same company also sponsoring the Platter’s by Diners Club 2015 South African Wine Guide. Anna Trapido has been the editor for just more than half a year, writing individual reviews about restaurants on their website, and has compiled the new Guide, awarding twenty restaurants with 5 star ratings nationally, another change, as the Rossouw’s restaurants only achieved a maximum of 3 stars in the past, when it was run by previous owner JP Rossouw. The publication format now matches that of the Platter’s Guide. A 5-star rated restaurant is defined as a ‘consistently superlative restaurant in its category – with no/almost no issues’! To obtain a 5-star rating the restaurant had to achieve a score in excess of 90%, errors in food being unbalanced, or wines and foods not matching, counting against a restaurant, for example. Every element of the restaurant visit, from making the telephonic booking to the departure, was scored. All meals were paid for by Anna’s reviewers, all largely unknown Continue reading →
In the past week three further Top 20 Restaurant candidate chefs have announced their resignation, making the restaurants at which they work ineligible to be nominated for the 2014 Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist. This year is the most volatile we have ever seen as far as top restaurant chef departures go, opening up the opportunity for a fresh 2014 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards list.
The latest chef resignations are the following:
* Chef Oliver Cattermole left Mondiall Kitchen & Bar two weeks ago, today joining the Leeu Collection as its Executive Chef for its five star Dassenberg Estate hotel and Rusthof Country House in Franschhoek, both opening next year. Chef Oliver has worked locally at Dash at the Queen Victoria Hotel, the Le Franschhoek hotel, and Mondiall, as well as internationally at Ivy Restaurant, La Gavroche, Novelli, and at Cannizaro House hotel.
* Chef Brad Ball, who helped open Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg, leaves in two weeks to start up what sounds like a collective of three restaurants at Pedlars on the Bend in Constantia
* Chef Christiaan Campbell leaves Delaire Graff Estate, after opening up the main restaurant more than Continue reading →
The invitation I received from new Babylonstoren Food & Beverage Manager Simoné Rossouw did not reveal what a special honour it was to be invited to the third anniversary celebration of the innovative wine estate, with a top restaurant, boutique hotel, wellness spa, wine tasting and shop, and retail outlet.
We met outside the retail area, which has been expanded to add the shop which originally was located opposite Babel restaurant. Owner Karen Roos (with husband Koos Bekker) has created the most amazing transformation of the wine estate, which had commenced behind the scenes three years prior to their opening, with their GM Terry de Waal and his team planning and implementing their future direction. Karen is one of the most stylish South Africans, having won most stylish dress awards when they were still awarded, and having been the editor of Elle Decor.
We were welcomed with three drink options, being home-made ice tea with waterblommetjie, mint and lime; melon and mint cordial with fresh thyme; and strawberry and rose geranium with lavender and lime. Alternatively one could drink the Babylonstoren wines. On the table was the most interesting ‘pick up sticks’ presentation of smoked salmon and Serrano ham bread sticks. The new Spa will be the reason for a future visit, as I never saw it, being distracted with the extensions to the retail building. Continue reading →
For the first time in the history of the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards two restaurants belonging to one owner have been nominated for the honoured list. Both Delaire Graff Restaurant and Indochine, under the direction of Chef Christiaan Campbell, made it onto the Top 20 shortlist, which Eat Out announced yesterday. We are delighted with our best ever Top 20 Restaurant shortlist prediction score, in correctly guessing 18 out of the Top 20 shortlisted restaurants.
The Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant Awards shortlist contained a few surprises, leading one restaurant representative to comment that despite the new judging system and panel, little had changed in the shortlist, with only two newly opened restaurants included, being Camphors at Vergelegen (Chef PJ Vadas) and five hundred (Chef David Higgs). Surprises were the following:
- The non-appearance of Terroir and Mosaic at The Orient, both restaurants having made the Top 10 Restaurant list last year. We have been critical of Terroir’s perennial appearance on the Continue reading →
It’s that time of the year again, and this week Eat Out will announce its shortlisted Top 20 Restaurants for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards 2014. The judges have been furiously eating their way around the country, and top restaurants are licking their lips in the hope of cracking the Top 20 list, from which the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants will be announced at the gala dinner in the V&A Waterfront on 10 November.
Given the turmoil in the judging of our country’s Top 10 restaurants in the past two years, Eat Out publisher New Media Publishing communicated with the industry, and invited past Top 20 chefs and some restaurant owners to chat about what they want in restaurant awards. The overwhelming majority of respondents requested a panel of South African judges (British blogger ‘judge’ Bruce Palling used last Continue reading →
On 28 September 2008 we posted the first blogpost on this WhaleTales blog, not knowing where this journey would be taking us. Five years and close to 2000 blogposts later, we look back as well as forward.
I had set myself a goal of blogging daily, and while I question my wisdom at times, it has kept the rhythm going, and forced me to find material to blog about. My biggest fear is that I will run out of things to blog about one day!
The statistics from Google Analytics help in casting an eye back: in the five year period we have achieved 1,4 million pageviews, with 759452 unique readers. We were a Finalist for the SA Blog Awards’ The Most Controversial Blog in 2010, and try to stay true to this accolade. We have reached the 5th position on the amatomu.com Popular South African Blogs list. We have been included in the 100 Great SA Travel Twitter Feeds.
Many of the most popular blogposts Continue reading →