Tag Archives: Cafe des Arts

Can a negative review close a restaurant down?

 I saw an article by Post & Courier recently, randomly as I do not follow this publication, and was attracted to its topic, being the impact of restaurant reviews and their power to close a restaurant down. Being our country’s harshest restaurant reviewer, this got me thinking about why the top chefs in our country, including Giorgio Nava, Bertus Basson, Peter Tempelhoff, Liam Tomlin, and Scott Kirton & Co are so sensitive to constructive criticism by banning (or attempting to) me from their restaurants, yet new (to our country) chef Wunderkind Rikku O’Donnchü of Gåte Restaurant welcomes it so! Continue reading →

Are there too many new restaurant openings in Cape Town and Winelands?: November 2017!

The explosion of restaurant openings in Cape Town and the Winelands in the last two months is a concern to many, both as restaurant lovers, in that one cannot keep up, and as restaurant owners, as there is not enough business for everyone.

Last month saw the opening of Seta at Villa 47, Le coin Français by Darren Badenhorst in Franschhoek, The Bistro and Deli at La Paris outside Franschhoek, Chef Duncan Doherty’s Eatery at Colmant in Franschhoek, and Boschendal at Oude Bank in Stellenbosch, amongst others.

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

Restaurant Openings

#  Villa 47 has relaunched its Stuzzico and Restaurant restaurants, as SETA and Pierino Penati, respectively. The latter restaurant (photograph) has opened in conjunction with Italian Michelin star restaurant owner Chef Theo Penati. Continue reading →

Restaurant openings continue unabated in Cape Town and Winelands: October 2017!

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) Continue reading →

September explodes with new Restaurant Openings in Cape Town and Winelands!

After a quiet August as far as restaurant openings in Cape Town and the Winelands are concerned, September is seeing a number of new restaurants opening between now and the end of the month. 

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

Restaurant Openings

#   Roast & Co has opened alongside HQ, in the former Bizerca Bistro space, in Heritage Square (photograph) Continue reading →

New restaurant openings in Cape Town and Winelands continue in winter!

Tuk Tuk Beer vatsNew restaurant openings continue, especially in Cape Town, despite winter having arrived, and further restaurants have closed down.

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously.

Restaurant Openings

#   A Mexican-style tapas restaurant has opened inside Tuk Tuk craft beer microbrewery in Franschhoek (photograph)

#   Mulberry & Prince has opened on the corner of Bree and Pepper Street, with owners American Cynthia Rivera and local Cornel Mostert  Continue reading →

Sounds of silence at Franschhoek Boutique Hotel, central location, excellent service!

imageSince selling my guest houses I have stayed at a mix of self-catering and guest houses in Franschhoek, and have been very disappointed. Franschhoek Boutique Hotel GM Llewellyn Lambert took pity on my Franschhoek accommodation experiences, as documented in Sour Service Awards on this Blog, and invited me to come and stay at the hotel. He had showed me around just after it was completed a few months ago, but this was my first stay.

Continue reading →

New Restaurants still opening in Cape Town and Winelands, despite start of winter!

imageNew restaurant openings continue, especially in Cape Town.  Cape Town ‘s most successful restaurant opening, Locanda Restaurant at Villa 47 on Bree Street, has been followed by the opening of its new Stuzzico bar and small plate restaurant! Interesting news is Chef Ivor Jones’ departure from The Test Kitchen and his future plans (see POSTSCRIPT below).  Mulberry & Prince is an exciting new New York-inspired restaurant.

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously.

Restaurant Openings

#   Mulberry & Prince has opened on the corner of Bree and Pepper Street, with owners American Cynthia Rivera and local Cornel Mostert (photograph) Continue reading →

Leopard’s Leap launches Culinaria Collection, focused on food and wine pairing!

When superb wine marketer and CEO Hein Koegelenberg is involved in a project one can expect it to be of a superlative quality, reflecting La Motte’s slogan of ‘A Culture of Excellence’. So it was on Wednesday, when we were invited to attend the launch of ‘sister’ wine brand Leopard’s Leap’s new Culinaria Collection of six wines, a range developed on the basis of terroir, inspired by the regionality of French wines, and its suitability for different food types. Continue reading →

UCT College of Music Sweet Service and Café des Arts Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to the University of Cape Town College of Music, for its fantastic performance of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony on Monday evening, and for finding concert-goer Bettie Coetzee Lambrecht’s purse which she had forgotten at the ticket table in the foyer of the City Hall.  Receiving details of Gillian Lindner of the College of Music when she discovered her loss at a restaurant after the concert, Bettie called Ms Lindner the following day, and could claim the purse as hers on the basis of its description.  She Facebooked:Last time this happened was a decade ago in New York. Cape Town, I LOVE you as much as NY!’

The Sour Service Award goes to Café des Arts in Franschhoek, which started an sms smear campaign against a competitor restaurant/deli in Franschhoek.  Sacred Ground employed a baker previously working at Café des Arts, whereupon Café des Arts sent text messages to Franschhoek locals, requesting them to not support Sacred Ground! Staff moving between restaurants and other hospitality establishments is a natural occurrence, and is especially pronounced in Franschhoek.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Celebration: Reaching the milestone of 1000 blogposts!

Today we have reached an exciting milestone on our Whale Cottage Blog, in that this is our 1000th blogpost.  We thank our readers for their support in reading our blog, and for providing feedback, to help us improve as we developed over the almost three years. In numerology, 1000 symbolises multitude and perfection, we have learnt from Google, and we dedicate our next 1000 blogposts to be worthy of this definition.

Highlights have been making the Top 10 on the Most Controversial Blog category of the 2010 SA Blog Awards, achieving a cumulative unique readership of just under half a million in the last 16 months (about 30000 per month on average), and setting up the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club last year.

So what have we learnt about blogging and our blog in the close to three years:

*   Restaurant news in general, and reviews and special offers specifically have attracted the greatest interest on this blog.   Our most widely read restaurant reviews, since we went onto Google Analytics 16 months ago, are for Tokara DeliCATessen, Sotana by Caveau, Gaaitjie, Pierneef à La Motte, and Duchess on Wisbeach.  It was the enjoyment of writing the review of Portofino restaurant, owned by Cormac Keane, that got us started with reviews, and we have written more than 100 reviews since then.  We have seen negative reaction to some of these, and have been banned from the Caveau group of restaurants (including Sotano), the Caviar group of restaurants (Beluga and Sevruga), Opal Lounge, and Café des Arts as a result.  Restaurants generally are poor at Social Media, and only a handful blog and/or are on Twitter.  This means that a restaurant’s information most often is provided by a blog rather than by the restaurant’s own website, which can be to its advantage or diadvantage, depending on the reviews that are listed on the first page of Google.  Other highly read blogposts are the Winter and Summer Restaurant Specials lists, the Table Mountain vote for the New7Wonders of the World, Prince Albert and Charlene Wittstock’s visit to Fresnaye in January 2009, and the Disney service training programme instituted just days before the World Cup. 

*   Tourism topics have also attracted attention, probably because there are far fewer writers on this topic.

*    Word spreads quickly if a blogpost is controversial, and brings in new readers to the blog.  Despite all allegations to the contrary, we have never written a blogpost to be controversial.  It is the reaction to it by our readers that causes the controversy. 

*   Comments have become harder to manage, and increasingly cowardly commenters write anonymously to slate the writer of the blog or the subject of a blogpost.  If one deletes such comments, one is criticised; if one publishes them, one is equally criticised!

*   While blog readers enjoy honesty, and probably read this blog for it, those that are on the receiving end of it plus their friends do react with venom, rather than using the feedback to improve their service and quality. The nastiness in ‘unSocial Media’, our new name for it, has been shocking, especially in a campaign by David Cope on Twitter, where anything goes!

*   Blogging has become very competitive, as bloggers chase readership, and want to be the first to review a new restaurant.  Achieving a first page Google listing for a restaurant, for example, can attract readership over time to the blog by new users when they Google the name of a restaurant.    

*   Readership is disappointingly low on public holidays and weekends.  Saturdays have the lowest blog reading numbers, dropping by up to half of weekday readership. Our highest readership of this blog was on 16 June 2010, during last year’s World Cup, when a tag for ‘2010’ was widely linked to this blog, attracting 9000 page views on that day alone. 

*   Although most readers are unknown to the writer, one carries a huge responsibility in shaping people’s opinions through what one writes.   We try our best to remain objective in presenting information at all times.  We have been blamed for wishing to destroy restaurants and new initiatives, yet supply news about restaurant openings and specials all the time.  Attempts were made last year by Michael Olivier (Editor of Crush!), David Cope (The Foodie Blogger) and Skye Grove (Cape Town Tourism PR Manager) to have this blog closed down.  We moved our blog hosting to America, to prevent this. 

*   Information as well as images are most likely to bring traffic via Google to the website, followed by Twitter.   Facebook is far less likely to draw traffic.

*   The weekly Sweet & Sour Service are enjoyed by readers, and many readers read the blog on a Friday, to check who has received the Sour Award, and then catch up in reading the blogposts of the pevious week.  The Spar Sweet/Limelight Sour Service Awards attracted an unusually high readership, and still do.

Looking forward, we plan to continue being honest, no matter what the cost.  We will endeavour to remain relevant, and to remain heard in the increasing Social Media ‘noise’, as more and more blogs are started, and existing ones reinvent themselves.   We will try to write shorter blogposts!   We will continue helping others to become better bloggers, and will endeavour to never stop learning from others too.

Thank you 1000 times for your readership and support!

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