Entries tagged with “Bon Appetit”.


The explosion of restaurant openings in Cape Town and the Winelands in September is flowing into October too. Last month saw the opening of Tiger’s Milk Kloof Street, Marrow, Davy Croquettes, The Yard, Schoon de Companje in its new premises, Pierino Penati at Villa 47, and Firefish, amongst others. 

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously, and welcome such news.

Restaurant Openings

#   Tiger’s Milk has opened its restaurant and Bar Splendido on Kloof Street and Rheede Street in Cape Town (photograph) (more…)

The Cape Town restaurant scene has been buzzing this month, with a number of new restaurants opening, and an e-mail exchange creating the biggest restaurant stir ever experienced in the city.

The opening of the Cape Quarter extension on Somerset Road in De Waterkant has seen two restaurants open in the centre to date: Cru Cafe, a restaurant which has created “its own terroir” in the centre, says director Elsie Pells, in serving a selection of 150 wines hand-picked by Pells, a Cape Wine Master.   Voila, an all day breakfast and light meal restaurant, owned by the owners of Wakame, is a friendly addition, with cakes, muffins, croissants, fudge, toffee apples and many more treats prepared on site.   A clever touch is that glass domes presenting the treats are placed upon stacks of cookery books!  Downstairs, at the entrance, is an Andiamo Espresso, which is a sister coffee shop to the one in the original Cape Quarter, but on a very much reduced scale, only selling coffee, ice creams, juices, sandwiches and muffins.  It belongs to the same owners as the amazing Spar Gourmet Food Store at the entrance to the center.   Vanilla will open at the end of the month, and is owned by father and son duo Nigel and Simon Newhouse from Tuscany Beach in Camps Bay.   It will be the lead restaurant in this centre, with 180 diners catered for on two levels.   The chef  Evan Coosner worked at Reuben’s  and Ginja previously.   Kuzina – Greekooking, LAZARI, and BICCCS (Bread, Ice Cream, Cakes, Coffee, Croissants, Sandwiches) are restaurants still set to open in the centre.    To celebrate its opening, the Cape Quarter has organised a Food & Brandy Festival on 13 and 14 November, with Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris, in conjunction with the Alchemy of Gold (Klipdrift, Flight of the Fish Eagle, Oude Meester, Nederburg, Uitkyk and Van Ryn’s brandies), talking and preparing food all day long.

The talk and tweet of the town has been an e-mail exchange between Cormac Keane, owner of new restaurant Portofino, and a client, who cancelled a 5 pm dinner reservation one hour before time of arrival.  Keane expressed his frustration to the client in no uncertain terms and with true Irish directness.  The client was not happy with the replies he received from Portofino, and made contact with some websites that had written favourable reviews of the restaurant, including WhaleTales.    He also sent it to a hip website called 2oceansvibe, which decided to post the e-mail exchange on its blog, leading to an outburst of mainly critical and at times extremely crass and defamatory attacks against Keane.  On the other hand, many readers of the exchange admired Keane for standing up to an inconsiderate customer, and lauded him for his bold and direct stand. The end result:  the customer has gone into hiding, and has requested that his name be deleted from the exchange on the 2oceansvibe website.  For Portofino, it has meant a fully booked restaurant ever since the e-mail exchange was circulated around the city, reinforcing that there is no such thing as bad publicity!   The WhaleTales’ review of Portofino, which was written shortly after Portofino opened, was offered as a link in some of the website comments, and the review attracted more than 2000 readers in the past week, a record readership.   A vindictive customer tried to show up what he felt was a rude restaurateur, and got more than he bargained for.  Instead of spreading the word to prevent others from going to Portofino, he has done the restaurant the best possible favour by creating wide-spread exposure for it, a bonus for a restaurant which only opened 6 weeks ago, and now has become the best known restaurant in town!   Portofino is not the first restaurant to have told a customer to not return: Le Quartier Francais, Carne, Beluga and Sevruga are known to have done so too!    Carne and Le Quartier Francais are finalists for the Prudential Eat Out Top 10 restaurant awards, and it begs the question whether such poor restaurant customer care should make them eligible for such a sought-after award.  

Another restaurant that is on the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant shortlist is The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, which has demonstrated its arrogance almost since its inception, stating at the outset that its goal is to become the best restaurant in Africa.  A response of the owner Fasie Malherbe to a customer comment on the Eat Out website is a scary reflection of what one might encounter at this ‘Big Brother’ restaurant: “every guest that has ever walked through our door and dined with us is on record to the extent that I will outline your exact time of arrival, what you ate, what you drank as aperitif’s, digestif’s wine that was served to you, the guests comments made on each dish, positive or negative feedback, special dietry (sic) requirements, the guest interaction between staff is noted, what car you drove, whether you smoked or not, how many times you went to the restroom and any other details that we could use to ensure that when you return that we may ensure consistency in offering or if you have complaints as we have here that we have all our ducks in a row and can learn from the ordeal”!

Bruce Robertson, the previous owner of The Showroom, which is where Portofino is now located, has confirmed that the Franschhoek restaurant that he is consulting on is that of La Motte, which is due to open in May.   The wine estate has just opened its new tasting room.   Robertson is also working with Warwick wine estate outside Stellenbosch on their gourmet picnic offering, which will be available from 1 December.  Robertson is also a gourmet food tour guide now, and he led the editor and 8 readers of USA foodie magazine Bon Appetit around the culinary delights of the Cape, including Reuben preparing a meal at Boekenhoutskloof in Franschhoek; a winepairing dinner at Grand Roche with Cederberg Wines; a malas tasting at Paul Cluver matched to organic farm foods; a seafood braai paired with Hamilton-Russell wines at Birkenhead in Hermanus, with the Southern Right whales frolicking in the ocean as a backdrop; and an interactive Cape Malay cooking demonstration with Cass Abrahams and paired with L’Omarins wines. 

OYO, the restaurant in the V&A Hotel in the Waterfront, is offering a crayfish special at R 185 for 500 grams.  A choice of hot or cold crayfish is offered.  Sister restaurant SALT at the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay is also offering this special.

Alle’e Bleue wine estate has opened its beautiful top class winetasting room, and has a new outside courtyard restaurant seating about 80 linked to it, serving only five options:   Flammkuchen, Bobotie, a cheese platter, a chicken/spinach salad and a mixed grill.

Delaire Graff has made three changes after only being open for four months:  its prices have increased, its staff have changed, losing their exceptional Maitre’d, and their menu has changed.   Read a report on the latest visit here.

New Italian restaurant Alla Posta is to open at 51 Kloof Street shortly.  It will not only offer Italian delicacies, but also Italian furniture, decor and books, and show Italian movies.

Two new restaurants are set to open in Franschhoek soon, both owned by one of Franschhoek’s largest retail and hospitality landowners Robert Maingard.   In the old station building once hosting the Tourism Bureau, a sports bar is set to open, while a creperie should have opened a few months ago already close to the Huguenot Fine Chocolate shop.   A Franschhoek branch of Gelato Mania, which already exists on Somerset Road, in Green Point, opened recently and is tucked away alongside Col’Cacchio.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio www.whalecottage.com

The authoritative Bon Appetit magazine, which is an important source of food information for its American readers, recently brought a delegation of readers to the Cape in conjunction with the USA offices of S A Tourism and AuthentEscapes, and was hosted by Cape Town Routes Unlimited.

Heading the Bon Appetit group was Victoria von Biel, the publication’s executive editor.  A welcoming reception was hosted for her party at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl.

In March the publication featured Cape Town, with a pic of Camps Bay beach and the Twelve Apostles as its main photograph.   It recommended the restaurants Biesmiellah, Bizerca Bistro, The Foodbarn, Bukhara, Anatoli, Caveau, and the Olympia Cafe and Deli as its “picks”.  One hopes that the magazine’s restaurant recommendations will improve after the latest visit. 

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio www.whalecottage.com

More restaurant opening and movement news continues to reach WhaleTales.

Klein Genot is ending its relationship with Mark Radnay, of the Overture partnership with Top 10 chef Bertus Basson, after a one-year marriage, due to the restaurant not being financially viable, says Basson.   Angie Diamond, the owner of the luxury 5-star Klein Genot boutique hotel and winery called WhaleTales to say that she is taking over the Genot restaurant, with a name refinement to Genot Restaurant Cigar Bar, from 1 November, and is celebrating the opening with a Frank Sinatra tribute evening on 5 November, and a jazz evening on 6 November.    Diamond says her new restaurant model is Baia, the upmarket seafood restaurant in the V & A Waterfront, but at far reduced prices.  Starters range in price from R 38 for sardines to R 68 for parma ham and melon, with mussel and prawn starters costing R 58.   Salads average R 48, and the fish main courses range between R 78 for the calamari and sole to R 98 for baby kingklip.   Meat dishes range from R 78 for a spatchcock chicken to R 138 for rack of lamb. Pasta dishes are available at R 48 – 58, and desserts cost R 48 each.  Live music will be offered on Friday and Saturday evenings.   The restaurant is also offering a new service to guest houses, with complimentary transfers to the restaurant.   Genot is also offering picnic baskets, to be enjoyed at 20 picnic spots along the riverbank of the wine estate.

Overture restaurant on the Hidden Valley wine estate outside Stellenbosch is going from strength to strength, and chef Bertus Basson says a younger more affluent clientele is booking at the restaurant.   A sommelier starts at Overture at the beginning of October.   The sister catering company has been awarded the catering for all events at Lourensford, and will be moving its operation to the Somerset West wine estate.

Chef Bruce Robertson has revealed that two of his current restaurant consulting projects are for two hotels managed by Queensgate Holdings.  The Upper East Side Hotel is opening as a 4-star conference hotel in Woodstock in May 2010, and Robertson is setting up a 260-seater restaurant and kitchen.   He is also setting up the 160-seater restaurant and kitchen for the hotel Queensgate is opening in Pearl House on Adderley Street,   Furthermore, Robertson is setting up a gourmet picnic service at Warwick Estate in November, according to a recent tweet from Mike Ratcliffe (“Gourmet picnic project with Chef Bruce Robertson taking shape”).   About the Franschhoek restaurant that he is helping to set up, Robertson is staying mum, only revealing that it is on a wine estate.   Robertson has also become a gourmet tour guide, and has teamed up with Bon Appetit magazine and Ryan Hilton from AdmiralityTravel to bring tour groups from the USA to South Africa, with Robertson taking them to unusual gourmet highlights, including slowfood, outstanding herb gardens, wine biodiversity, and cooking for his guests.

More than seventy restaurants received 2010 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards this month, 13 of these going to new restaurants winners, reports TravelWires.   The new restaurant winners in the Western Cape include Bizerca, Gold, Salt, The Pavilion in Hermanus, Grande Provence, and Rust en Vrede.  Those from other parts of the country, receiving the Awards for the first time, include Mastrantonio, Osteria Tre Nonni, Sel et Poivre, Harvey’s, Roma Revolving Restaurant, and Orange.   The Award winners are judged on the basis of cuisine, service, wine list, decor, ambiance and overall excellence and consistency.   Standards are checked regularly, says American Express.

The Caviar Group of restaurants, which already includes Beluga and Sevruga, as well as the Caviar deli in the V & A Waterfront, is opening its first non-caviar named restaurant, to be called Blonde.   Its newsletter is keeping the location of the new restaurant a secret, but hints at the decor and style as follows:  it will be a 120-seater restaurant offering ‘fine-dining cuisine’, and will only be open in the evenings.  It is in a Victorian building, it has a ‘seductive interior of bar and lounge’, it has ‘couches covered in rich fabrics, the gorgeous wooden floors and high ceilings, to the crisp white linen, designer chairs, beautiful staircase, and romantic balcony”  They gush on : “One thing’s for sure.  Blonde will be in a class of its own.   We love Blonde!”   It refers one to the website www.blondedining.co.za for more information, but there is none!  Caviar’s design agency Malossol has tweeted on Twitter that they are currently designing a Caviar “group menu”, which means that Blonde could be opening soon.

Ginja restaurant, currently located off Buitengracht Street, in a building which has not benefited the image of the restaurant, and once a national top 10 restaurant, is said to move to the building in which Nova restaurant was, on New Union Street in the City Bowl.

George Jardine of Jardines is said to be opening the new restaurant on Jordan Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, and to be moving to the Winelands, for a lifestyle change.

Allee Bleue’s plans to open a fine dining restaurant lower down on the Franschhoek estate appear to be on ice, due to the economic climate.   However, construction work on its second informal restaurant linked to its wine tasting venue, adjacent to the security entrance, is almost complete.

Few details are available about the restaurant which is opening at La Motte wine estate. About ten days ago Hein Koegelenberg, the owner, posted the following blog post: “Construction of La Motte’s restaurant and art gallery is coming along nicely on the grounds of the estate in Franschhoek….A bridge will connect the restaurant and the tasting room.  Whilst the team …is working hard to build the structure, other teams are equally busy to make sure that the restaurant and gallery are going to be world class and offer unforgettable experiences”. 

Reuben and Maryke Riffel’s baby daughter Latika was born last Monday.   Congratulations go to them from all at Whale Cottage.

DoppioZero in Main Road, Green Point, has an impressive decor, with the luxury of space.  It has opened a bakery in the restaurant, with breads, rolls, croissants, cakes and other sweet treats for sale.   The franchisor was hands-on in the restaurant last weekend, serving customers, and checking customer satisfaction, to ensure the success of this newest restaurant in the franchise chain, having opened less than 2 weeks ago.   An interesting and clever service offered by the restaurant is a “mess-bib”, Doppio branded, which is put around patrons eating pasta or any dishes with a sauce.

New restaurant Le Tique opens in the Sugar Hotel on Main Road in Green Point tomorrow.   Restaurant-lovers can pay R 250 each to attend the opening.  “Entice yourself with the finest gourmet from the earliest renaissance, contemporary twisted, French with a hint of European Influences. Featuring South Africa’s Finest Venison.  Platinum wines of this worlds, proudly South African viticulture. Bellini’s & cocktails to lure your fantasies” is the copy contained in the invitation.

Basil O’Hagan, whose O’Hagan’s pub chain was liquidated 8 years ago, is reinventing himself and has launched a new pub and restaurant chain called Brazen Head, with 23 pubs planned for the greater Cape Town area in the next ten years, including the city center, Hermanus, Paarl, Somerset West, George, Knysna, and Tygervalley.   An outlet is already trading in Stellenbosch, reports Cape Business News, and other Brazen Head pubs are already operating in Gauteng.

Bukhara was to have re-opened its restaurant in Burg Street, but the person answering the call yesterday said that there is no opening date in sight yet, it probably being another 2 – 3 weeks.   Bukhara is doing renovations and repairwork after a fire caused damage in the restaurant some time ago.   A restricted Bukhara menu is available at Haiku, the sister restaurant downstairs from Bukhara.

Late casualties of the credit crunch are Aqua D’or and the Franschhoek Water Company, both of which have closed down.  The Franschhoek Water Company was the supplier of the L’Aubade and Franschhoek mineral water brands.  Earlier this year the Franschhoek Water Company had handed over the distribution of its water brands to Aqua D’or, but took the distribution back when customers complained about the poor service from Aqua D’or. NOTE: SINCE THIS POST WAS WRITTEN, AQUAD’OR HAVE CONTACTED WHALETALES TO DENY THEIR CLOSURE.  THE INFORMATION OF THE CLOSURE WAS INDUSTRY TALK, AND WHEN THE COMPANY WAS CALLED FOR CONFIRMATION, THE SALES AND ADMIN DEPARTMENT LINES JUST RANG, WHICH WAS TAKEN AS A CONFIRMATION OF THE CLOSURE OF THE COMPANY.  EARLIER THIS YEAR AQUA D’OR FACED PROVISIONAL LIQUIDATION.   WE APOLOGISE TO AQUA D’OR FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE WHICH THIS POST MAY HAVE CREATED.

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