Tag Archives: Bay Hotel

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 23 of Level 3, 23 June 2020.

 

Tuesday 23 June 2020, Day 23 of Level 3, after 66 days of Levels 4 and 5. 😷

Corona Gratitude 🙏

#Grateful for a beautiful sunny day, feeling warmer than the 17C weather forecast of my Weather App; for two lovely walks through Bakoven and a Camps Bay one; for seeing Reinard Gerber, GM of the Bay Hotel, whom I didn’t recognize with his mask on after not seeing him in three months, at Sunset Sessions, which they are reopening in the next few days; for bumping into local Rick Jackson, having just returned from his holiday, and into Howard, who I see almost daily on our walks in opposite directions in the main; for finally hearing from the Western Cape Provincial Department of Economic Affairs and Tourism, three weeks after I emailed a lady working there all the papers we were told to send to her, so that we can receive our Tourist Guiding Badge and card…. it’s getting closer to the end now 💙; for getting a Sorbet appointment on day 1 of reopening today….; for Minsky being a good lady today; and for feeling fit and healthy. 🙏💙 Continue reading →

Corona Virus: Cancellations of events and temporary closures of Tourist venues and restaurants!

South Africans are still reeling after hearing the speech broadcast by President Cyril Ramaphosa yesterday evening in how the government is implementing measures from today onwards in combatting and containing the Corona Virus in our country, with drastic consequences for every one of us, including every business. News of the first event cancellations and temporary restaurant closures is being announced already. Continue reading →

Time Freight Sweet Service and Tour HQ Sour Service Awards!

Time FreightThe Sweet Service Award goes to Time Freight, and is nominated by Marilyn Levin.   She wrote: I would like to nominate Lizette Groenewald from the firm Time Freight for your Sweet Award. She went out of her way to help me with an article I purchased through Groupon and went well beyond the call of duty – tracing the cupboard and keeping me informed as to its whereabouts. What a pleasure dealing with such an accommodating lady!’ Continue reading →

New metered Taxi policy for Cape Town, without Tourism industry input!

Metered Taxis Cape TownGood news in a City of Cape Town weekly newsletter is the development of a by-law intended to regulate the metered taxi industry in Cape Town, which has got out of hand in the operation of its service.

The City’s by-law is intended to regulate fares, ‘pick-up conditions’, safety, vehicle standards, and to set minimum service standards, intended to be implemented over the next three years.  In developing the new strategy, the City of Cape Town consulted with the Western Cape Metered Taxi Council, and did a comparative study of international best practice in cities such as New York, Dublin, Sydney, and Nairobi.

The City had set a moratorium on issuing new taxi licences until yesterday, and now all new applications will be evaluated against the new metered taxi strategy.   Included in the strategy is addressing the following concerns regarding the industry: Continue reading →

Cape Town and Winelands Restaurants open their hearts for Valentine’s Day!

The list of Valentine’s Day specials will be updated as we receive new information:

Cape Town

*   Café Chic, Gardens: 5 courses R290.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   Richard’s Supper Stage, Sea Point: Glass of sparkling wine, Show, 4-course buffet  dinner and a rose.  R400 Tel 076 1444 809

*   Richard’s Bistro, Sea Point:  3-course lunch with glass of sparkling wine R150.  Tel 076 1444 809.

*   Five Flies:  3 course menu plus glass of bubbly plus glass of wine R360   Tel (021) 424-4442

*   Diemersdal Farm Eatery: 8 tapas dishes plus bottle of Diemersdal Rosé R250. Tel 079 917 2797

*   De Grendel Restaurant:   4-courses R550 excluding wine, and R650 with wine pairing.  Includes a complimentary bottle of De Grendel Rosé  Tel (021) 558-7035

*   Pepper Club on the Beach, Camps Bay: Glass of sparkling wine, and 4 course dinner R405.   Tel (021) 438-3174

*   Sinatra’s, Pepper Club Hotel: Glass of sparkling wine and 3 course dinner plus movie R375.  Tel ()21) 812-8888

*    Five Flies: glass of sparkling wine, wine with main course and 3 courses R 360.  Tel (021) 424-4442

*   La Mouette: 4 courses R350/R550 with wine.  Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Signal, Cape Grace:  ‘Feast’ R385.  Tel (021) 410-7099

*   Bay Hotel, Camps Bay: 4 course dinner and live music R 395.  Tel (021) 430-4444

*   Bardelli’s: 3 course meal and glass of bubbly R160.  Tel (021) 423-1502 and (021) 683-1423.

*   5Rooms, The Alphen hotel: 3 courses R295.  Tel (021) 795-6300

*   Orphanage:   3 courses of ‘rude food’, and a ‘love potion‘ R250.  21+ year olds only. Tel (021) 424-2004

Franschhoek

*   Reuben’s: 5 course dinner R320  Tel (021) 876-3772

*   Noble Hill, R45: Picnic basket to share for lunch, with complimentary bottle of Mourvèdre Rosé R295.  Free pink strawberry cake for main course lunch ordered.  Pairing of pink salmon blinis and Blanc de Blancs R265 for two.  Tel (021) 874-3844.

*   Grande Provence:  4 courses with extras plus a glass of wine on arrival R495   Tel (021) 876-8600

*   The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz: Glass of Colmant MCC on arrival, 3 courses R 350. Tel (021) 876-2729

*   The KItchen at Maison: 4 course dinner R425.  Tel (021) 876-2116.

Somerset West

* Waterkloof: 6 courses R 500 without wine pairing and R650 with wine pairing.  Tel (021) 858-1491

Stellenbosch

*   Hartenberg: Picnic plus glass of Villiera Brut Rosé and a bottle of wine  R 190.  Tel (021) 865-2541

* Cuvée, Simonsig:  6 course dinner paired with wines R 385.  Tel ()21) 888-4952

*   Wild Peacock Emporium: 3 course dinner paired with L’Avenir wines R320.  Tel (021) 887-7585

McGregor

* Wahnfried: classic Merchant Ivory love story ‘A Room with a View’ – cost R0, including a glass of MCC.

Tel 072 601 1616

Hermanus

*   Creation: 7-course tapas menu, each paired with a Creation wine R100.  11h30 – 19h00.  Tel (028) 212-1107

Plettenberg Bay

* Cornutti: 3 courses R320.  Tel (044) 533-1277

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter;@WhaleCottage

‘Clifton Shores’ reality TV show of Cape Town: beauty on the beach!

Last night the new 13-series reality TV show ‘Clifton Shores‘ premiered on Vuzu to mixed reaction, locals slamming the production on Twitter, yet the beautiful shots of Clifton were praised from a tourism perspective.

‘Clifton Shores’ documents the ability of a bevy of beautiful American lasses to adapt to ‘survive’ in Cape Town, said executive producer Quinton van der Burgh, reports the Cape Argus. He explained that they cast the girls in America, on the basis of not only their beauty but also their brains.  Katy, Kathy, Destiny, and Jamillette were selected and came to Cape Town last year for the filming, being joined by local lasses Raquel, Rikki, and Claire, as well as local lads Quinton, Brett, Toby, and Steven.  The unique idea for the series came when Van den Burgh, billed as a ‘coal mining magnate’,  was driving between Johannesburg and the coal mines, looking to get away from the ‘black’ in his life, he explained!

They were accommodated in a Clifton mansion, and had to work for Van den Burgh, playing the role of a billionaire businessman.  They had to use their social skills to raise funds for a charity, and to host parties. No script was used. ‘We just started rolling and the drama comes as we go along. It is as real as we get’.  For example, one of the girls is fired. He said about filming locally in Cape Town: “It is a brilliant idea because everything happens in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. So we see them work and play in a city that allows both all year round” .

Van den Burgh explained that he has made the series to be successful amongst American viewers first and foremost, to make it financially viable, having had to make this choice early on in his production.  Two American networks have expressed interest in the show.  He proudly praised the marketing role of the series: “Also, there is a need to show Cape Town as a tourist destination and, judging by the way the ladies have fun, we are doing a good job in marketing the place” .  The stars of the series were filmed around Cape Town, at the beaches, and even attending the J&B Met earlier this year.  The video for the series shows some clips, including lots of footage of the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay in the background to Clifton Beach, abseiling down Table Mountain, paragliding down Lion’s Head, flying over the Cape Town Stadium and V&A Waterfront, and also moves to the Palace of the Lost City, where they do game viewing, and ride elephants.

The Cape Town tourism industry should be grateful for Van den Burgh’s decision to shoot the series in Cape Town, and choosing Clifton (one of the top ten beaches in the world, he motivated).  One hopes that it will be sold to American networks with good audiences, to encourage them to visit Cape Town and its ‘Clifton Shores‘!  The reality TV series (see trailer) comes one month after the Bollywood movie ‘Cocktail’ was released internationally, having been predominantly shot in Cape Town too.

POSTSCRIPT 4/9: Last night we watched the series for the first time, being the third episode.  It showed the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, at which a meeting was held, paragliding down Lion’s Head, beautiful Table Mountain, a township, and a show at the now ex-Vaudeville. A surprise was that the episode was only 30 minutes long.

‘Clifton Shores’, Vuzu (DStv channel 123), Tuesdays at 21h00. www.cliftonshores.com

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Cape Town Hotels more optimistic about this winter than in 2011!

A year ago we first conducted a survey of top-end hotel rates in Cape Town.  We repeated the survey in August 2011, and in November 2011, to track hotel pricing trends. Ellerman House has re-established itself as the most expensive Cape Town hotel, starting at R 4590 per room, and the Peninsula All Suite Hotel remains the least expensive 5-star hotel, at R1200 per room, the same rate as November 2011 and lower than a year ago.  The hotels in Cape Town appear more confident about the coming winter season, judging by their pricing policy, only half of them having decreased their rates relative to the past summer.

The survey found that the average rate of the sixteen 5-star Cape Town hotels surveyed is R 2780 per room, just under R1400 per person, an average decrease by 23% relative to the November 2011 rates.   Across all 29 hotels surveyed, the average rate per room is R 2297, or just over R 1100 per person, 21% lower on average than in November. The most expensive Presidential Suite is at the One & Only Cape Town, at R58541 per day, a rate which has not changed since November.  Interesting is that larger top-end suites seem to have seen rate increases, while the standard rooms are more likely to be discounted.

Once again it was interesting to hear how the calls were handled, most hotel reservation departments asking careful questions, to identify if the caller was a travel agent/tour operator or a corporate caller, the questioning being very specific in this regard. Holders of a Protea Hotel Prokard would have had different rates quoted.  Few hotels called had a rate sheet from which to quote immediately, having to access their computer for the ‘best available rate’ information, costing time, one hotel putting the call on hold to piped music while they did their rate calculations.  The poor quality of the call handling and quoting by the hotel Reservations departments must be a concern for their bosses, quoting odd rates (i.e. not rounded off) very quickly, making it difficult to understand and record them accurately; interrupting while one was still speaking; inability to understand and hear the request, having to repeat the dates, and the number of persons;  the question ‘group or individual’ is asked bluntly, without explanation; not all hotels quote rates with breakfast included, despite being asked for this rate (Protea Hotels quote room only, and seem surprised when asked to add the breakfast rate); The Protea Hotel group quotes day by day rates, and the reservations staff struggle to quote an average rate, making it tedious to obtain quotes from them, as they have to quote the average rate and then add the breakfast rate. The Portswood/Commodore Hotels, Bay Hotel/Village & Life, and Newmark Hotels group have the same switchboard for different hotels, and even if one dials the specific hotel selected, one is asked which hotel one wants to book at!  For hoteliers it must be frightening to hear that not one of the 29 hotels called had a call to action, in encouraging one to make a booking, given that Cape Town has the best hotels in Africa.

Half the hotels have decreased their rates since November 2011, now quoting winter rates.  However, Steenberg Hotel increased its rate from November 2011, by 4%.  Interesting is the 36 % rate increase in the past five months for the African Pride Hotels 15 on Orange and Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa.  The Ambassador Hotel has increased its rate by 27 % since November 2011.  The Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge has been known for its competitive rates, but has increased them by 24 % for winter, and is no longer the cheapest hotel of those surveyed.      The largest rate decreases since November 2011 were by the V&A Hotel (45%),  Dock House (37%), and the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel (35%).  The rate of the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice increased by a dramatic 107% relative to last winter!  The Commodore Hotel (61%) and Portswood Hotel (45%) also increased their winter rates strongly. Interesting is that the Steenberg Hotel, voted the best hotel in Africa by Conde Nast Traveler readers, ranks 4th on price now,  having ranked at 10th position a mere five months ago.  The Protea Hotel-operated properties generally are at the lower end of the price ranking, being more attractively priced to fill their beds.

The rates were checked telephonically yesterday for today, for the next three days, i.e. 3 – 6 May per room for 2 adults sharing and inclusive of Breakfast per day, so as to compare the rates fairly . We added breakfast to the rates where these were quoted separately.   We have ranked the hotel rates from most to least expensive, and reflect the rate change on the lowest priced room relative to our survey for May 2011 in brackets:

Ellerman House, 5 star, R4590 – R14680. (The 3-room villa was offered at R45441 and the 5-room villa at R68000). Tel (021) 430-3200 (8% rate decrease)

Cape Grace Hotel, 5 star, R4555.10 – R15388 for the penthouse, Tel (021) 410-7100 (1% increase)

Mount Nelson Hotel, 5 star, R3730 – R11290. Tel (021) 483-1000 (24% rate increase)

Steenberg Hotel, 5 star, R3580– R14580. Tel (021) 713-2222 (Not included in May 2011)

One & Only Cape Town, 5 star, R3490 – R58541 for the Presidential Suite.  The non-South African resident rate starts at R4856 Tel (021) 431-5888 (10% rate decrease)

15 on Orange Hotel, 5 star, R2750 – R5370 for the one-bedroom penthouse, Tel (021) 469-8000 (1 % rate decrease)

Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, 5 star, R2650 – R3750.  Tel (021) 525-3888 (25% rate increase)

Commodore Hotel, 4 star, R2580 – R8040.  Tel (021) 415-1000 (61% rate increase)

The Westin Cape Town, 5 star, R2410 – R40000 for Presidential Suite. Tel (021) 412-9999 (19 % rate decrease)

Dock House, 5 star, R 2396 – R3115. Tel (021) 421-9334 (37% rate decrease)

Table Bay Hotel, 5 star, R2360 – R4760 for South African residents, R2840 – R6050 for non-South Africans. Tel (021) 406-5000 (25% rate decrease)

Twelve Apostles Hotel, 5 star, R2325 – R4565 for Bed & Breakfast, 3-course dinner, movie and popcorn, only for South African residents.  Non-South Africans pay R4165 – R8845 per room and breakfast.  Tel (021) 437-9000 (19% rate decrease)

Portswood Hotel, 4 star, R 2320 – R 3960.  Tel (021) 415-1000 (45% rate increase)

Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, 5 star, R2300 – R10000 for the Presidential Suite.  Tel (021) 430-0500 (35% rate decrease)

The Taj Hotel, 5 star, R2300 – R40000 for Presidential Suite. Tel (021) 819-2000 (5% rate increase)

Queen Victoria Hotel, not graded yet but seeking 5 stars, R2028 – R15000, Tel (021) 418-1466 (8% rate increase)

Bay Hotel, 5 star, R2000- R2800.  Tel (021) 438-4444 (25% rate increase)

Protea Fire & Ice Hotel, 3 star,  R1860 – R2110, Tel (021) 488-2555 (107% rate increase!)

Cullinan Hotel, 5 star, R1850  – R5159.  Tel (021) 415-4000 (14% rate decrease)

Victoria Junction Hotel, 4 star, R 1850 – R 2150 Tel (021) 418-1234 (10% rate increase)

V & A Hotel, 4 star, R1720 – R2170 . Tel (021) 415-1000 (45% rate decrease)

Ambassador Hotel, 4 star, R1590 – R2020. Tel (021) 439-6176 (17% rate decrease)

Winchester Mansions Hotel, 4 star, R1550 – R3550.  Tel (021) 434-2351 (5 % rate increase)

Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, 4 star, R1550 – R3220. Tel (021) 409-4000 (11 % rate decrease).

Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, no star grading, R1445 standard room, R1690 business suite. Tel (021) 406-1911 (12% rate increase).

President Hotel, 4 star, R1306 – R1723. Tel (021) 434-8111 (11% rate decrease)

Peninsula All Suite Hotel, 5 star, R1200 – R3490.  Tel (021) 430-7777 (24% rate decrease)

Vineyard Hotel, 4 star, R1165 – R4270. Tel (021) 657-4500. (Not included in May 2011)

Cape Sun Hotel, 4 star, R1160 – R5920 for Presidential Suite.  Tel (021) 488-5100 (23% rate decrease).

POSTSCRIPT 4/5: Two Cape Town hotels, the Alphen Boutique Hotel (not yet included in this survey) and the Queen Victoria Hotel, are the only two South African hotels on the Conde Nast Traveler Hot List of Best New Hotels 2012.  Frommers.com has selected Steenberg Hotel in its Top 12 ‘Best Vineyards Inns & Hotels around the World’, the only South African hotel on the list.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage

The Mussel Bar: ‘musseling’ in on Camps Bay’s Platinum Mile!

My colleague Charmaine and I were invited by The Bay Hotel’s Sarah Martin to try the newly opened Mussel Bar in Camps Bay on Friday, and we did so in the interest of being able to inform our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests about it, even though we both do not eat mussels.  While the small menu is very focused on mussels, there is enough to enjoy if one does not eat them, and more non-mussel items will be added to the menu over time.

The Mussel Bar space has been a street bar over the years, and attempts to be a ‘tourism bureau’ too, but it does not have any official accreditation.  The Bay Hotel belongs to Maree Brink, who also owns the large network of Village & Life properties in Camps Bay, the V&A Waterfront, Mouille Point, and De Waterkant, and therefore The Mussel Bar is one way of attracting new business.  In its favour counts the bus stop directly across the road for the Hop On Hop Off bus, and therefore we saw mainly tourists sitting there.  Bicycles are available for rent, and the operators of the cycle rentals sit at a table, hoping for business.

A water wall adds to the summery feel of the restaurant, and there are white tables and grey plastic chairs. Each table has an interesting magazine, including TIME, art magazines, etc.  A surprise was the disposable cutlery with a paper serviette.  The music was the only aspect of The Mussel Bar that we did not like, being very loud and heavy rock, not matching the light summery feel of the restaurant.

Despite not eating mussels anymore, I liked the focus of the menu on mussels, and the simple but fun menu with a large mussel, printed in black on thick brown board.  Quite simply, one can order snacks (biltong, nuts, olives and vegetable chips), at R15 – R18, and 500 gram (R75) or 1 kg (R150) of mussels.  The mussels are served with a beer sauce, hand cut fries, rosemary salt and aioli, on beautiful circular wood platters. Chef Laetitia Essau has been at the Bay Hotel for eleven years, and bakes the most delicious herb bread daily, and this costs R16, the idea being to dip the bread into the sauce.  Not listed on the menu is a daily cake and other sweet treats, which were Hertzoggies jam-packed with apricot jam and coconut, still warm as they came fresh out of the oven.

Cocktails cost R40 – R50, and we enjoyed a ‘virgin’ Strawberry Daiquiri, making it feel that we were on holiday.  Castle Lite, Windhoek and Heineken are sold for around R18, Darling Slow Beer costs R38, and five &Union Beers cost R32 – R38.  Sterhuis sparkling wine costs R40/R170.  White wines range from R30/R95 for Lands End Sauvignon Blanc – R 40/R170 for Teddy Hall Chenin Blanc; the red wine choice is Sgt Pepper Red Blend (R33/R100) and Hidden Valley Pinotage (R35/R120).  Coffee is by Origin, and The Mussel Bar staff have been for barista training.

It is becoming trendy for chefs to become consultants (Chef Reuben Riffel is a past master at this), and Chef Bertus Basson, a friend of Brink, was a consultant to the development of the Mussel Bar.  Chef Brian Smit, who started at Tides Restaurant a month ago and helped set up the Noisy Oyster in Paternoster five years ago, came to say hello, and brought us sample menus of the restaurant, which he changes daily. The Manager Carolyn was very efficient, coming to the tables all the time, checking that all is well.  She has worked at numerous restaurants, including the Sand Bar and La Vie.

The Mussel Bar, Bay Hotel, 69 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 438-4612. www.themusselbar.co.za Twitter: @MusselBar  Monday  – Sunday, 11h00 – 23h00

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards: Cape Town Gourmet Capital again!

Last night the country’s top restaurants and their chefs were crowned in the annual 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards, held at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay.  Despite controversial changes to the running of the Awards, most attendees appeared happy with the results, which saw Cape Town regain its crown as the Gourmet Capital of South Africa with five Top 10 restaurants, after a dip last year.  Stellenbosch has three Top 10 restaurants, and Franschhoek and Johannesburg one each, giving the Cape nine out of the Top 10 restaurants.

Eat Out Editor Abigail Donnelly came under fire this year, for announcing herself as the sole judge of the 1000 restaurants in South Africa, letting go of her fellow judging panel of Pete Goffe-Wood, Arnold Tanzer, and Anna Trapido, and instead relying on the 70 000 Eat Outreviewers’ posting on the magazine’s website, with the risk of them being open for manipulation, and not necessarily ‘fine-diners’. In the Eat Out 2012 magazine we received last night, 19 ‘reviewers’ were listed, being ‘these people ate their way around the country on our behalf’.  The reviewers include bloggers Andy Fenner and Dax Villenueva, as well as food and/or wine writers such as Graham Howe, Greg Landman, Fiona McDonald, and Clifford and Maryke Roberts.

The Cape Times on Friday described Mrs Donnelly’s judging criteria of the ‘hidden gems and forgotten favourites’ restaurants (this description was not a reflection of the Top 10 list): that the chef had been at the restaurant since last November (an exception was made with the Azure chef, who fell a few weeks short of this criterion), the owners and chef must be passionate about their business (odd in that Mrs Donnelly did not chat to all chefs of the restaurants that she visited, booking under a false name often), must be dedicated to ‘upliftment of the industry’ (a new criterion), the chefs must care about the sourcing of their produce, and the restaurant must be consistent in everything it does.  Food counts for 70% of the evaluation, and is scored on menu composition, seasonality, presentation, taste, price and value, wine choice, and dishes eaten.  Within menu composition, Mrs Donnelly evaluates choice, cooking techniques, variety of ingredients, and dietary requirements.  For seasonality, the variety of ingredients is evaluated, as is use of ‘local ingredients’, choice of fish, use of imported products, and out of season produce. Food presentation is judged on visual appeal, reflection of menu description, garnishing, and plates used.  Taste of the dishes is evaluated on balance, texture and complementary flavours.  Additional criteria are food and wine pairing recommendations, service levels, linen, cutlery, the bathrooms, reservations and arrivals, and the billing.  Interesting is that Mrs Donnelly says that 2011 is the ‘year of the egg and the wild sorrel’.  She adds: “Many chefs have displayed a strong sense of nature through foraging in forests or veggie gardens, and pure South African storytelling has also been celebrated”.

In the past the Top restaurant was usually awarded the Awards for Service Excellence and Chef of the Year too, but this year this was awarded separately, making the top accolade shared across three restaurants:

Restaurant of the Year: The Greenhouse, with Chef Peter Tempelhoff

Chef of the Year:  Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen

Service Excellence Award: The Roundhouse

The Top 10 Restaurants were announced as follows:

1.  The Greenhouse, with Peter Tempelhoff, Cape Town

2.  The Test Kitchen, with Luke Dale-Roberts, Cape Town

3.  The Tasting Room, with Chef Margot Janse, Franschhoek

4.   The Roundhouse, with Chefs PJ Vadas and Eric Bulpitt, Cape Town

5.   Overture, with Chef Bertus Basson, Stellenbosch

6.   Terroir, with Chef Michael Broughton, Stellenbosch

7.   DW Eleven-13, with Chef Marthinus Ferreira, Johannesburg

8.   Jordan Restaurant, with Chef George Jardine, Stellenbosch

9.   Nobu, with Chef Hideki Maeda, One&Only Cape Town

10.  La Colombe, with Chef Scot Kirton, Cape Town

The other restaurants that were Top 20 Finalists were Azure Restaurant, Babel, Bosman’s Restaurant, Hartford House, Pierneef à La Motte, Planet Restaurant, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Restaurant Mosaic, Roots, and Tokara.

The winners of the newly introduced Restaurant category Awards were announced at super-speed, and what was interesting was that no nominees nor finalists were mentioned per category (some had been announced for some categories in the Eat Out newsletter in the last few weeks), with the exception of the Boschendal Style Award. We requested details of the nominees of the categories, but were refused these, only being sent the Boschendal Style Awards nominees list.  No criteria were revealed for these awards, and seemed to be Mrs Donnelly’s personal pick:

Boschendal Style Award: Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House was the winner, a surprise in two respects – the R10 million newly constructed and decorated restaurant only opened its doors in September, a month before the Eat Out magazine went to print, and Mrs Donnelly is a consultant to the restaurant!  The designer was Etienne Hanekom, the art director for VISI, a sister publication to Eat Out at New Media Publishing!  The other finalists, out of 18 nominees, were Babel, Kream in Pretoria, Hemelhuijs, and, very surprisingly, The Test Kitchen!

Best Steakhouse: The Local Grill in Johannesburg (29 nominees)

Best Italian Restaurant:  No other contenders appear to have been evaluated, the award predictably going to 95 Keerom.  (The full list of Italian restaurant contenders was revealed today – 23/11)

Best Asian Restaurant: Kitima in Cape Town (no nominees list)

Best Bistro: Bizerca Bistro (43 nominees)

Best Country-Style Restaurant: A surprise win for the unknown The Table at De Meye, no nominee list having been revealed

City Press ViP Sunday Breakfast Award: Salvation Café at 44 Stanley in Johannesburg (this award was not pre-announced, and does not even appear in the Eat Out magazine with the other award listings).

The Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award : Garth Stroebel

In the past the food has always been prepared by Finalist chefs, and increasingly those invited to prepare the food were the ones that did not make Top 10.  However, this year each one of the invited chefs was from a Top 10 restaurant.  One admires the challenge of the chefs to prepare the meal for 360 persons, and Pete Goffe-Wood was the co-ordinator of the event on the food side.  Chef Peter Tempelhoff made the canapés, but these were not seen when Boschendal Grand Cuvée Brut 2007 was served on arrival.  The ‘bread’ came from Giorgio Nava, it was said, but was croissants and other sweet pastries from Caffe Milano, it appeared.  Chef Hideki Maeda prepared a baby spinach salad with dried miso and crayfish starter, which was paired with Groot Constantia Reserve White 2009.  This was followed by Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ Ballotine of rabbit and gammon, duck liver purée, red cabbage crumbs and relish, and Everson’s pear cider jelly, paired with Chamonix Chardonnay 2009.

Michael Broughton’s trompette dusted fillet of beef with cep butter sauce, baby beet, asparagus and parsley was my favourite, for its sauce in particular, paired with Kleine Zalze Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon 2009. George Jardine served his dessert of Valrhona Ivoire torte, raspberries and Ivoire chantilly on a slate plate, and this was paired with Jordan Mellifera Noble Late Harvest 2010.

The food and wine service has been disappointing for the past three years that I have attended the event, with serving staff contracted in, last night’s staff leaving much to be desired, there being no wine service initially, no ice buckets on the table for the white wine and water, and bottles arriving at the table but not linked to the course they were meant to be paired with, and other wines not listed on the menu arriving as well.  What the event needs is a Manager on the service side, walking the floor, to check on the satisfaction of the guests and the smooth flow of the event.  There were no steak nor fish knives, and many of the aspects which Mrs Donnelly mentioned as her criteria in judging the Top 10 restaurants were lacking on the food and wine side of the event.  The Eat Out Restaurant Awards should be a showcase of food and wine service perfection, at R1000 a ticket, but this has not been the case in the past three years, and particularly not last night.

The Eat Out DStv Food Network Awards did not award any Top 10 positions to any new restaurants, a disappointment, all restaurants making the Top 10 list having been on it before, with the exception of Nobu, but some with new chefs.  Some excellent chefs were overlooked, in our opinion, ‘safe’ selections having been made!. Perhaps a Top 20 finalist list should not be pre-announced, as was the case in the past. The Restaurant category Awards may need some consistency in announcing all or no finalists/nominees, and in providing a motivation why a restaurant has won a category.  Scope exists for different categories, while some current ones could be dropped. The conflict of interest by Mrs Donnelly acting as a consultant to restaurants cannot be acceptable.

POSTSCRIPT 21/11: On Twitter this morning, in reaction to this blogpost, there is feedback that The Table at De Meye is owned by an ex-photographer for TASTE magazine, a sister publication to Eat Out, and of which Mrs Donnelly is Food Editor.

Eat Out 2011: www.eatout.co.za Twitter: @Eat_Out

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

Rossouw’s Restaurants 2012: No superlative SA Platinum 3-star Restaurant!

JP Rossouw’s Restaurant 3-star list is usually published ahead of the Eat Out Restaurant Awards. and helped to serve as a predictor for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list.  This year it could not be used, as the Eat Out event is taking place a week earlier, and Rossouw Restaurants’ 2012 3-star list was only announced on Twitter for the first time yesterday, on the eve of the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards, taking place at the Rotunda at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay this evening.

Interesting firstly is that a Platinum Award for best 3-star restaurant has not been awarded by Rossouw, writing on Twitter that “Rossouw’s 2012 Platinum Award for standout 3 Star not awarded this ed. Changes & notable newcomers not yet achieved a track record” .  Yet stalwarts like The Tasting Room, Terroir, Overture have been consistent and around for some time.

Comparing Rossouw’s list of 24 3-star restaurants with the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant finalist shortlist of twenty, the following ten exclusions from Rossouw’s 3-star list are evident:  Tokara, Pierneef à La Motte, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Hartford House, Planet Restaurant, Bosman’s, Azure, Roots, Restaurant Maison, and Babel.  The ten restaurants that the lists have in common are Greenhouse, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, La Colombe, Nobu, Overture, The Roundhouse, The Tasting Room, Terroir, The Test Kitchen, and DW Eleven-13.  Bizarre is that Zachary’s at Pezula is included, in that it only operates two nights a week!

The 24 3-star 2012 Rossouw’s Restaurants are the following:

Western Cape:  95 Keerom Street, Aubergine, Bizerca Bistro, The Common Room, Greenhouse, Ile de Pain, Jordan Restaurant, La Colombe, Mariana’s, Nobu, Overture, Roundhouse, Rust en Vrede, The Tasting Room, Terroir, The Test Kitchen, and Zachary’s.

KwaZulu-Natal: 9th Avenue Bistro

Gauteng:  Butcher Shop & Grill, Cube, DW Eleven-13, Grillhouse, Ritrivo, and Thomas Maxwell Bistro.

Interesting is that two chefs have told me that recent reviews by Rossouw of their restaurants have appeared to settle old scores,  and that what Rossouw writes in his Business Day reviews often contradicts what he posts about the restaurants on his website or publishes in his book.  This is unprofessional behaviour from Rossouw, and may be a reason why his ratings and reviews have little significance.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage