The Sweet Service Award goes to the A4 Arts Foundation, which I discovered on Buitenkant Street whilst going for a walk near The Fugard theatre last night. Despite being past 19h00, I was allowed to enter to view the exhibition, and then was offered a glass of Boschendal red wine as well as a bag of popcorn, a generous way to kill time whilst I was waiting for the show to start. The staff were very friendly and the exhibition impressive. The Foundation website describes it as ‘a free to public not-for-profit laboratory for the arts of Southern Africa’. Continue reading →
I drive down Rose Street in Bo-Kaap almost every day, and have been watching the slow progress made in a restaurant opening in what was one of my favourite coffee stops. After about six months of Haas having moved out, Batavia Café opened two weeks ago.
Old Haas fans may be disappointed with the lightweight decor, and design items for sale, following a similar concept as Haas in promoting not only its food at the Batavia Café, but also design in the Batavia section, by Cape Town designers such as Issa leo (menswear), Lazuli (womenswear), BO.NE nature made (African animal skulls), work by artists Annette Visser and Ina Grobbelaar, Gruparte (graphic posters and prints), and Oh dear Megan (jewellery designer). The first floor which housed the Haas ad agency has been let. The seating area in the little courtyard offers the most privacy. Many mixed-colour bunches of flowers, or a single stem in a Continue reading →
An unusually high number of new restaurants has opened or will do so in the next month or two. There have never been so many chefs leaving their employers to start their own restaurants, or to join other employers! This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* Kokkedoor judge and Chef Nic van Wyk and Roxy Laker have opened bistro 13 at Stellenbosch Vineyards (Welmoed) (photograph)
* Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.
* The Butcher Shop & Grill has opened next to Sotano in Mouille Point.
* Michael Townsend (who own the La Parada, Lucky Fish, Harbour House emporium) has opened Tiger’s Milk in Muizenberg, the venue having previously been earmarked for a steakhouse.
It was a call from Nick, who handles Social Media for Haas Collective, an advertising agency, art and interior decor consultancy, and coffee shop, that motivated my colleague and I to return to the new Haas building on Buitenkant Street yesterday, to write this piece.
Haas became a firm favourite when it first opened more than three years ago on Rose Street, giving life and energy to this Bo-Kaap street, being a convenient stop with parking usually available and devoid of parking marshalls. It became a second office (even though wifi was always problematical, with changing passwords) and a welcome meeting place, all first-time visitors being impressed with the art-focused interior. The food was always secondary, prepared from a kitchen across the road in a rented building, adjacent to where the Haas advertising agency had its offices too, in addition to the upstairs offices. Service deteriorated over time, as the waiters became more arrogant and slack, jiving in the entrance section, talking noisily, and not proactively following up with the kitchen. Inge has been the only efficient manager on the coffee shop side of the business, but Continue reading →
* The influential Huffington Post has published a fantastic article about Cape Town, entitled ‘15 Reasons Cape Town should be No. 1 on your travel agenda’, and has already achieved 749 Facebook likes, 211 Facebook shares, and 473 Tweets in the past 24 hours. The list of reasons includes its location; ‘some of the most picturesque beach communities you’ll ever see’, featuring a photograph of Clifton; beachfront bars, showing a photograph of the view onto Camps Bay beach from the now closed-down St Yves; 3000 penguins at Boulders Beach; the Sea Point swimming pool; the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden; the V&A Waterfront ‘tourist trap‘ but meaning it in a positive way; ‘the weather is almost too perfect’, with a photograph of the Twelve Apostles with a heavy South-Easter cloud!; Long Street not being as over-crowded or over-priced as Bourbon Street; the Royale Eatery, well-known for its burgers and thick milkshakes; colourful Bo-Kaap; the Neighbourgoods Market; ‘breathtaking universities‘; and braai’s, at Mzoli’s in Gugulethu in particular. The Stellenbosch Winelands and shark cage diving in Gansbaai are also recommended.
* TripAdvisor has found that user searches for South Africa are increasingly terms such as ‘museums‘, ‘luxury’, and ‘wifi’, while ‘safety’, wildlife, and ‘animals’ are less often searched than before.
* The 2014 World Cup, due to kick-off in Brazil on 12 June, could be headed for chaos if the threatened strike by staff of the LATAM airline group servicing most of South America is not dealt with before then. It is estimated that 300 international and 750 regional flights could be affected if the strike takes place.
* Century City is to complete a new Conference Centre by the end of next year. The CCCC will have 20 venues which Continue reading →