Tag Archives: Caprice

Patrón Perfectionists 2019 SA cocktail competition finals has highest number of female finalists, but won by Cause & Effect mixologist David van Zyl!

On Thursday evening I attended the 2019 Finals of the Patrón Perfectionists tequila cocktail competition at Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen and Cape Brandy Bar in the Waterfront, after a first part of the event had been held at Foliage in Franschhoek earlier in the day. Despite the largest number of female finalists over the past three years of the South African participation in the competition, the 2019 SA finals was won by David van Zyl, mixologist at Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen! Continue reading →

Soccer World Cup 2014: where to find the screens, snacks, and Schnapps!

Cocoa Ola World Cup flags Whale Cottage PortfolioThe Soccer World Cup 2014 has kicked off, and one would have thought that Cape Town restaurants and pubs would have shown more ‘gees’.  We have only seen one restaurant on Kloof Street ‘advertising’ its soccer allegiance, with three flags on the outside of Cocoa Oola   In general the soccer event appears to be a damp squib for locals.  A number of restaurants are offering free viewing, some with special menu items that reflect the countries playing on the day.

Check the closing times of the restaurants and pubs before choosing them, as their licence will influence how late they are allowed to stay open. It is surprising how hard it is to find Soccer World Cup 2014 information on the websites of those restaurants and bars attracting soccer fans. We will update this list as we find new information about offers linked to the Soccer World Cup 2014:

*   Mondiall – this restaurant is commendable in being one of the most creative and focused on the Soccer World Cup 2014.  Each day it chooses a lead game, offering a tapas dish and a main course from the countries, with a complimentary drink,  of each of the two teams playing each other on the day, at a cost of R180.  For today, for example, with Germany playing Portugal, the German tapas dish offered is potato soup with crispy pork and chives, while the main course is Bratwurst, and the complimentary drink a CBC Weiss.  The PortugueseMondiall Baked Camembert tapas is peri peri chicken wings, the main course a prego roll, and the complimentary drink sangria. The country dishes for the chosen matches over the next ten days are as follows:

17 June:   Brazil versus Mexico

18 June:  Spain versus Chile Continue reading →

Charlize Theron puts Cape Town on the map in ‘Mad Max:The Fury’!

Charlize Theron is causing a stir in Cape Town, currently filming the latest ‘Mad Max: The Fury’. She is attracting attention at local eateries, with her ultra-short hair, and her baby Jackson and mother Gerda in tow.

Charlize has been seen eating at Bistrot Bizerca, Beluga, and Café Caprice, and drinking imported champagne, a shame given our country’s excellent bubblies, as will be on show at the Cap Classique and Champagne Festival in Franschhoek on Saturday and Sunday.

South Africa is increasingly attractive to international film makers, and the new ‘Mad Max’ movie is one of the largest productions to be filmed here.  ‘Safe House’, with Ryan Reynolds and Denzel Washington, was almost exclusively filmed in Cape Town, whereas ‘Mad Max’ has been extensively filmed in Namibia.  Other big film productions have been attracted to our country’s beautiful locations, competitive pricing, favourable exchange rate, and talent , which have also included ‘Chronicle‘, ‘Blood Diamond’, and ‘Lord of War’.  The film industry generates R7 billion per annum to the economy. The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) incentive makes it 40% cheaper to shoot in South Africa than in Europe, reports the Sunday Times, encouraging large-budget international film and TV productions, which not only create employment for our film industry crew, but also help to market our country to cinema goers around the world.

The Cape Town Film Commission has seen a 20% increase in enquiries for film and TV shoots in the past year, and the Cape’s film industry was valued at R5 billion in the past financial year.  With the Cape Town Film Studios, and its abundance of beautiful location, Cape Town could become one of the top five film production locations, according to the Cape Film Commission CEO Denis Lillie.

Having actors like Charlize Theron in Cape Town, snapped by the paparazzi and featured in international magazines, as well as their roles in international movies, are excellent opportunities for Brand Cape Town to be marketed internationally.

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

Restaurant Review: Orphanage cocktail emporium key to class, quirkiness, and social responsibility!

The most unusual name for a classy cocktail bar must be that of newly opened Orphanage on Bree Street, which is on the corner with Orphan Street, a street name I had not noticed previously. I was impressed with its elegant and classy interior, unusual cocktails and other drinks, and interesting value for money food.

As I was driving to the Labia cinema last Saturday, I drove past the former Rhubarb Room space, and saw the new brown painted exterior, with candle-holders outside attracting one’s attention.  With the front door open, one could also see a massive chandelier, which runs along the length of the room.  I stopped to take a quick interior photograph, and returned after the movie, when the venue had filled up a little more, its first day of opening to the public and also the birthday of Johnny Friedman, the owner of the building and a partner in the business. Manager and co-partner Raymond Endean seemed a bit hesitant about sharing information initially and about letting me have a menu to take along for this story, but mellowed as more guests arrived and all appeared to be running smoothly.

The massive chandelier dominates the interior, almost detracting from the massive wooden bar running along the length of one wall.  On the opposite side are striped couches with coffee tables, creating sections, as well as a collection of high bar tables and stools.  More seating is available in the little courtyard, which one had not noticed before.  In the far end a DJ had set up his equipment, and played mood music, which became progressively louder, but did not overpower the conversation.  He was later joined by saxophonist Jamie Faull, and they performed together.  Jamie plays his sax on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. The staff wear amazing outfits, with waistcoats, black pants, Orphanage aprons with the key logo, and bowler hats, and are all very friendly and eager to serve.  There is low lighting, despite the chandelier, with many candles.  Cleverly the high table tops have been cut out to hold a bucket, into which a candle had been placed.  If one orders sparkling wine or white wines, it becomes an ice bucket, a clever touch, as it is space-efficient too.  A chest of drawers allows one to store one’s left over bottle for a next visit, and hence the key is the symbol printed on the brown serviettes, on the business cards, and is incorporated in the design of the menu too. The decor design was done by Inhouse architects. A large rectangular serviette contains the Inox fork and unbranded knife in a brown sleeve, with the key logo, brought to the table on a silver tray. Everything is printed on brown paper, with the key logo, and even the bill was presented in a brown sleeve. They purposely try to steer away from what everyone else does, wanting to be unique.

The first indication I had that things are different at Orphanage was when the cappuccino was served in a ‘blikbeker’, the sugar sticks being served in a smaller size.  Raymond explained that he managed Asoka Bar for seven years, and Eclipse and Caprice in Camps Bay prior to that.  The idea behind Orphanage is to go back to the time of the Prohibition, to create the feel of a ‘hidden bar’.  In deciding on a name, they were aware of their location on Orphan Street, also the home of the St Paul’s Church across the road.  A dreadful influenza epidemic swept through the region in the early 1900’s, leaving many children in the Cape orphaned.  Children would come to the church for food, giving the street its name, and Reverend Sidney Warren Lavis helped set up the first ‘orphanage for boys’ in Cape Town in 1919, called the St Francis Childrens’ Home, in Athlone. The placemat proudly shares: “ORPHANAGE are very proud supporters of the St Francis Children’s home that we derive our quirky name & rich heritage from.. because this type of tomfoolery has a social conscience too”. R15 of the ‘More Tea Vicar?’ drink of Finlandia vanilla, rooibos syrup, cranberry, and lemon, which costs R55, is donated directly to the St Francis Children’s Home. In December and January R 10 will be added to every bill, to donate to the St Francis orphanage.  The Rector of St Paul’s blessed Orphanage on its first day of opening. Raymond said that they understand that the name is controversial, as showed when we Tweeted about it.

The drinks list has a number of Orphanage branded wines, and Raymond told me that sommelier and consultant Kent Scheermeyer is helping them to source two red and two white wines, as well as a sparkling wine.  He wasn’t sure where they were coming from, but the Pinot Noir will be from De Grendel, and Mullineux will supply a red blend.  The cocktail list was compiled from a study of bar trends and 200 cocktails were evaluated. Most have a quirky name, and are served in quirky ‘vessels’ too, such as a fine Victorian tea cup.  A cucumber Martini is served with a cucumber sandwich on the side.  Interesting is that a drink is named after the police commissioner in the Western Cape, Hilton Hendricks, who arrived for the birthday party too, with his bodyguards, who (surprisingly) were very hesitant to share his first name.  Moët & Chandon costs R800, Ruinart R1000, Dom Pérignon R1800, and Krug R3600.  &Union beers, Grolsch, Peroni, and some commercial beers are available.  More than twenty cocktails, with interesting names, many related to the name of the establishment (e.g. ‘Innocent Orphan Annie’) cost between R35 and R65.

The menu will be changed every three months or so, and is restricted to only ten items at the moment. It is the domain of Chef André Hendricks, with consultant chef Mac Mulholland, who has worked with HQ, Asoka and Tank.  A kingklip carpaccio (‘Fishy on my Dishy’ – photograph right) sounded unusual, and was exceptional, drizzled with lemon and olive oil (R50).  I was less impressed with ‘Rabbit Food’, with too much rocket, and little asparagus and aged pecorino (R45). Other tapas options are Cauli-fritters (R40), ‘Crayfish Signature’ (R95), ‘Milanese Chick Chick’ (R65), ‘Octopus Crunch’ (R55), and ‘Little Lamb Buns’ (R60).  One senses that the team had great fun in coming up with the names.  One can also order platters of mezze or charcuterie (R95 each), and cheeses (R75), olives, nuts and truffle chips, or a dessert (at R35 each) of ‘pineapple thins’ or ‘Molten Coco Loaf’, which turned out to be a lovely chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream. The dessert and the salad were served in bowls set inside wooden blocks, again an interesting and unusual presentation.

Raymond said that they are almost purposely ‘anti-marketing’, wanting to grow their business on the basis of word-of-mouth, on the strength of their service, which was friendly and kind. I was lucky that charming and passionate co-owner Katie Friedman was at Orphanage too, and that she spent time with me to give me more background to the establishment. She has worked in marketing film production companies in the USA, and her business card describes her as the ‘House Marketeer’. She emphasised how blessed they are to have St Paul’s as their neighbours, and that they can contribute to the work that they do for the St Francis orphanage.

Orphanage cocktail emporium is a definite must-see and try, and a convenient stop before and after a night out, with ample parking at night.  It is a classy place to visit, fun and quirky, and having a drink there has a social benefit too.

POSTSCRIPT 5/4: A lovely 26°C evening, at the start of the Easter weekend, was a good opportunity to go back to Orphanage.  I couldn’t believe that it was jam packed outside, and some customers said they had come because of this review.  Co-owner Katie Friedman came to chat and thank me for the review, and told me that next summer they will do breakfast (with porridge options) and lunch too. She also said that they will be open every night of the week now. I tried their crayfish buns.

POSTSCRIPT 18/4: Talk about customer service.  On a last visit I asked if Orphanage had Bailey’s or Cape Velvet, and they told they only had Amarula.  When I went back to re-photograph the kingklip carpaccio in better light tonight, Raymond proudly showed me the Bailey’s they now stock!

Orphanage cocktail emporium, 227 Bree Street, corner Orphan Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 424-2004. www.TheOrphanage.co.za Twitter:@OrphanageClub  Monday – Sunday 17h00 – 2h00, Fridays from 15h00.

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

Restaurant Review: Valora brave new city class!

For all the doom and gloom in the hospitality industry at the moment, it is refreshing to discover a new restaurant in the center of town, that has raised the bar with a slick and chic new establishment. Valora Café, Restaurant and Bar opened on Monday, where L’Aperitivo used to be, next door to Skinny Legs & All.  Valora means ‘brave’ in Latin, and is one of a number of exciting city centre restaurants to open in the past few months, which include Roberto’s, Dear Me, and What’s On Eatery.

I had noticed the sudden closure of L’Aperitivo a month ago, often driving down Loop Street.  I stopped to have a chat to Chef Andrew Mendes, while the renovations were taking place.  He told me that the restaurant would open on 1 August, and it did!  L’Aperitivo had a large counter, which took a lot of the relatively small space. The Valora counter is smaller, positioned at the back of the restaurant, and has a far more spacious feel about it.  One part of a wall is rough brick, and the rest of it is painted a light gold yellow, the back wall behind the bar is a deep burgundy, while the other two sides have glass windows, letting the welcome winter sun in on a very chilly day, with snow on Table Mountain.  I liked the interior design, understated, chic, with dark wood-top tables, chairs with a white/silver fabric, and bar chars in a light rose burgundy colour. The bar counter has gold design tiles on it.  The decor reminds one of What’s On Eatery and La Mouette. There is no clutter. The shopfitting and interior design was done by Ricci Cinti, who remembered me as his first boss of many years ago. His partner in Epic Ark designed the logo, which has a similarity to that of the Queen Victoria Hotel, giving it a classy feel.  Outside, modern grey garden couches, with a rope to demarcate the Valora space on the pavement, add further class to the establishment.  The owner wanted to create an interior that was ‘sexy and modern, finer dining, offering value for money’. The floor is a laminate that looks like it is made from old wine barrels.  I found it very hot inside, and the waitress switched off the heaters.

Valora has been opened by Mike Mouneimme, who was the operator of Caprice in Camps Bay for ten years, and is the cousin of Caprice owner David Raad.  The family is Lebanese, and this reflects in the Mediterranean style restaurant, which consists of a collection of Lebanese, Italian and Greek dishes.  Chef Andrew worked at Tuscany Beach for more than three years before joining Valora, and prior to this at the previous Avontuur restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, and at Superior Catering, which did the private catering for the Atlantic Beach Golf Club as well as for Pearl Valley.  He was not given much creative freedom at Tuscany Beach, and he is excited about the freedom to develop the menu. Andrew laughed when he said that the restaurant name comes from the bravery in opening a restaurant in these challenging times, and for the small kitchen space he has to cook in.

The cutlery is smart, being Fortis Hotelware, and I loved the special edition LavAzza Calendar 2011 cups with a gold design on them.  The Fortis salt and pepper containers have a yin/yang design, and a ceramic hurricane candle holder was on the table.  The paper serviettes do not match the interior quality, and Manager Lisa said that she is working on getting these changed to material ones.

The menu/winelist has a golden cover, with the logo, and looks inviting and classy.  Inside the pages are in burgundy.  The menu offers an extensive range of items.  For Brunch one can order a baked bagel with salmon and scrambled egg, French Toast, a health breakfast, or toasted Focaccia, all at about R50.  The salad choice includes Lebanese Tabbouleh and Fattoush salads, as well as Tuna, Greek, chicken, and beef salads, ranging from R58 – R78.   Roast beef, cheese and tomato, and spicy chicken sandwiches made with home-made bread cost about R60.  Eleven mezze choices range in price from R12 – R40, and include Lebanese flat bread, Baba Ganoush, aubergine, and Lebanese Kefta kebabs.  Starters included a beautifully presented Two Tone soup, recommended by Chef Andrew, being a clever design of two soups, presented in a yin yang shape, with a rich dark beef soup sprinkled with biltong powder, and a light truffle cream with a hint of chilli, with two prawns, which was served with toasted brioche, costing R50. I enjoyed the deep fried crispy Patagonian calamari rings served with a separate bowl of lemon butter sauce, slices of lime and a sprig of origanum (R40).  Other starters include snails, spicy chicken livers, and stuffed mushrooms, all costing under R50.  Six main courses include a 350 gram rib eye steak (R135), Turkish spiced fillet (R125), beef ragout (R98), Psarri Plaki line fish (R105), chicken Parmagana (R75), and grilled Patagonia calamari (R70).  Pasta includes wild mushroom, ravioli bolognaise, seafood pasta, and Namibian desert truffles, ranging between R70 – R110. The Valora burger costs R55, and a Prego Roll R75.  Desserts cost R50 and less, and include chocolate baklava, berry panna cotta and chocolate truffles.

A small number of wines is offered, with a selection of cocktails.  Dom Perignon costs R2750, Veuve Cliquot R 750, Moet et Chandon R700, and Boschendal Brut R195. Brampton white (R25) and red (R28) is served by the glass.  White wines are by Lammershoek (R165), Ernst Gouws & Co, South Hill, Rickety Bridge, Seven Steps and Waverley Hills (R95).  Red wines come from the same wineries (R120 – R210), with the exception of Seven Steps, as well as Kanonkop Paul Sauer at R650.  The LavAzza cappuccino costs R17.

I was impressed by the classy feel of Valora, the smooth running of the restaurant on its fifth day, the creativity of Chef Andrew’s menu and food presentation, the wide choice offered, and the reasonable prices.  I was not charged for the Two Tone soup, Chef Andrew saying that he wanted me to try it.  Valora is a perfect spot to pop in before or after a concert or a show.  The service was attentive, and Lisa kindly went to have the menu copied at a nearby shop. Parking is a challenge during the day. The menu and beverage list contains a number of spelling errors. The business cards match the menu in gold and burgundy.  A cool unique touch was the stick of chewing gum which came with the bill, in a deep red wrapper with the Valora logo, although I am not sure if the Valora target market is into chewing gum!  I’ll be back to try more of Chef Andrew’s cooking creativity.

POSTSCRIPT 3/6/12: Valora has closed down.

Valora Café, Restaurant and Bar, Shop 70, corner Loop and Hout Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 426-1001.  www.valora.co.za (The website is still under construction).  10h00 – 22h00 weekdays, 17h00 – 23h00 on Saturdays.

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

Pub Review: Watching the World Cup at Salt Vodka and Champagne Bar

An important match like England versus Algeria deserved a better pub visit than the one to Caprice earlier in the day.   Salt Vodka and Champagne Bar, which opened about 3 weeks ago, and has taken four months longer than planned to open, met the brief.

If I had not known about it having opened, having been told about it by Newmark Hotels’ PR consultant Ian Manley, I would not have gone, as there is no signage outside.   I first tried to enter via Salt Deli, but the entrance is separate, so I entered via an outside side passage.  It is not clear that one must go up the steps, as there is no further signage down the passage, and the initial steps are dangerous, first down a tile step, and then up wooden steps. 

It was a surprise to enter a large bar area, sparsely furnished.   The amazing and charming Manager Aleks Kopertowska came to me and greeted me by name and with a handshake, having taken my reservation earlier in the day.  She did tell me later on that she remembered me from the time that she worked in Franschhoek four years ago.

She seated me with an American brother and sister, who are travelling in South Africa, and Botswana and Kenya thereafter, and were staying at the Ambassador Hotel across the road.   They bravely watched the soccer with me.   Aleks explained that there had been a problem with the ordered furniture, and the lovely white leather chairs appear to be temporary.  We had a very artistic, but very low, table made from white-painted wooden logs bound together, so Aleks organised that a table from the Deli be brought to us, which made eating and writing far more comfortable.   The decor has grey tones in the ceiling, a rich wooden floor, a long bar counter with modern black leather and chrome bar stools, and a large flatscreen TV which is visible to all in the Bar.   There was only one soccer touch in the Bar, but impressed with its stylishness – two beaded soccer ball-shaped holders for the orchids. 

Aleks’ service did not stop.  She offered to show me the special Champagne Room, a beautiful display of chilled bubbly brands, especially the creative Veuve Cliquot display container in orange, which can serve as a ice-bucket at the same time.   She showed me the terrace, which has attractive grey outdoor furniture, modern but classic in design, and in summer one can predict that it will be one of the coolest places on the Atlantic Seaboard.  One can see the sea from it.

Aleks was honest in admitting that the food served at the Salt Vodka Bar currently is from Salt Deli downstairs, as Chef Jacques de Jager is still working on the menu.  Also, the full complement of 15 champagnes and 15 local sparkling wines to be offered by the glass are not yet all on the menu, that I had read about. The Salt Vodka Bar beverage list is beautifully bound in a black leather cover, and reflects the look of the Salt restaurant in the Ambassador Hotel.  The Salt Deli menu is a poor quality photocopy with the Breakfast options (clearly not applicable), and the Light Meals listed.   There are 13 options for the latter, ranging from the soup of the day (a delicious thick butternut soup, with a swirl of cream and sprinkled with bacon and decorated with fresh basil, served with toasted rye bread and butter, excellent value at R35), some salads (R30 for the garden salad), sandwiches, lasagne (R50) and Chicken Supreme (R85).  The butternut soup was so delicious that I asked for a take-away portion for my son working at the Stadium that evening.   Aleks came back to report that I had been served the last portion, but given that I would be at the Salt Vodka Bar until the match finished, she had asked Salt restaurant across the road to make another portion – a continuation of her excellent and attentive service (if only there was more like this in Cape Town!)

The Beverage List offers fifteen vodkas, many costing R 19, and the most expensive is Wyborowa Exquisite, at R38.   The heading “Champagnes” is used for both “South African” and “French” bubbly sub-headings, with five locals (Moreson R50, and Graham Beck Blanc de Blanc and its Brut Rose both costing R95 a glassful, prices on the high side) and eight imported ones (Guy Charbaut Millesime costs R160 per glass, and Veuve Cliquot costs R360 per glass).  The list of wines-by-the-glass is very limited, with just one per variety in general, and not all varieties represented – Bosman’s Rose costs R31, Sauvignon Blanc Waterford Pecan Stream and Springfield Life from Stone cost R33 and R50, respectively, and Waterford Chardonnay costs R63.  The Springfield “whole berry” Cabernet Sauvignon costs R63, a Vriesenhof Enthopio at R55, and Diemersfontein Carpe Diem pinotage (R65) disappointingly are the only three red wines by the glass.    Windhoek Lager and Castle cost R 17;  Millers, Peroni, and Amstel cost R 19; Heineken and Pilsner Urquell cost R22; Savanna costs R21; and Hunter’s Dry R19.  The Americans and I were offered a complimentary glass of chocolate martini, another Aleks touch.

Would I go back to watch another match?  Probably not, as there was little World Cup atmosphere and support.  The Danish team girlfriends, who were staying at the Ambassador Hotel, took over most of the Bar initially, and were not interested in watching at all, talking and blocking the screen. Then some dubious looking ladies (of the night?) came in, and had a loud chat with the two barmen, who talked back at the top of their voices, not caring about us watching the match – I was surprised that Aleks did not address this with her staff.  The barman was more considerate when using the cappuccino machine, compared to his Harvey’s Bar colleague two days earlier, in making less noise on it.   Salt Vodka Bar seems unfinished in terms of its temporary furniture, lack of signage, and lack of menu, probably hastily opened due to the World Cup.   The service is outstanding. 

Salt Vodka and Champagne Bar, above Salt Deli, 34 Victoria Road, Bantry Bay.  Tel 076 728 7487 (Aleks’ cell, no dedicated line upstairs yet). www.saltrestaurant.co.za (website is for the main restaurant in the Ambassador Hotel only – no information about Salt Deli and Salt Vodka Bar on the website).  Closes at midnight on all nights, except Thursday and Friday evenings, when it closes at 2h00.

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

Restaurant Review:There is no rhubarb at the Rhubarb Room!

The Rhubarb Room is the cutest decor/coffee shop hidden away on Upper Buitengracht Street in Bo-Kaap.  It attracted attention again, after previous visits, when its logo was spotted on the @2oceansvibe blog, listed as one of the sponsorship logos “Seth Rotherham”, the blog owner who uses this pseudonym (his real name is Will Mellor), lists on his blog.  Mellor is the “king” of bloggers, and has a large following, both on his blog and on Twitter.   A @2oceansvibe sponsorship can be worth gold, given the top brands that are listed as sponsors, their fees affording Mellor to enjoy a lifestyle without work, mainly hanging out in Camps Bay in general, and at Caprice in particular.

I asked Lauren Marshall, the Rhubarb Room co-owner, how she got to get her brand on the @2oceansvibe website.   She appears to have a trade-exchange deal with Mellor, resulting from her boyfriend, Jason Slinger, being a friend of Mellor.  Slinger negotiated the use of the penthouse in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel for Mellor.   Lauren sounds chuffed about the news of her branding on the illustrious website.   She admits that she has not yet embraced social media marketing, and Twitter in particular, and she is given a shorthand course and a set of notes!

The Rhubarb Room has more than half of its space dedicated to a decor shop, as well as a clothes shop in a separate room.   One feels at home immediately, sitting in the shop, or on the terrace looking on to Table Mountain, at non-matching eclectic tables and chairs, adding to the charm.   The far wall has a rhubarb-and-white stripe painted pattern, which is the only evidence of the name.  I asked co-owner Sone’ Jacobs how their name came about, and she explained that the building exterior was the colour of rhubarb originally, when Lauren and her mother Maureen Marshall first used the building as an interior decor shop.  The building has since been painted a brown colour.

The menu is so informal that it is not on paper.  Lauren tells you the options as far as salads and sandwiches go for lunch, as well as a selection of cakes, some of which come from Jardines, she admits.   The coffee is Illy, and the cappuccinos are excellent.   Lauren types up the menu so that I can take a copy with me.   She says that the menu changes daily.    For breakfast one can have fresh fruit and muesli at R 32, a fresh fruit smoothie at R 18, or muffins.   Sandwiches cost R 38, and a choice of Gypsy ham, cheddar cheese and onion marmalade; and roast chicken, rocket and parmesan is offered, while salads cost R 45 for two choices: parma ham, nectarine and parmesan; and roast chicken, feta, red pepper and rocket (the salad was served with balsamic vinegar, and the olive oil was optional – I would have preferred it the other way around) – yet was very tasty.  Cakes include fresh blueberry and coconut; baby chocolate cakes with pistachio chocolate icing; and apple slices, all costing R 20.

Lauren’s mother Maureen and I connect, around having a dentist (Dr Toni Bedford) in common, and knowing two persons who have just passed away.  When I left it felt as if I had spent the whole afternoon at the Rhubarb Room and not just an hour, and really enjoyed the friendliness and the connections.

Rhubarb Room, 142 Buitengracht Street (i.e. Upper Buitengracht Street), Bo-Kaap, tel 021 424 2004, www.rhubarbroom.co.za.  Open Mondays to Fridays from 9h00 – 17h00, and on Saturdays from 9h00 – 14h00.

POSTSCRIPT 3/5: The Rhubarb Room has moved to a new venue, at 227 Bree Street, in a new smaller but lighter and brighter space.

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

Cape Town on ad high!

Cape Town will be buzzing with energy and excitement this week, as the country’s advertising industry descends on the city for the annual industry Loerie Awards, the top local recognition of the best advertising agencies and campaigns.  The Loeries run from 24 – 27 September.

The advertising award functions will take place in the Good Hope Center in the city centre over two evenings, and will be hosted in Cape Town for the first time ever.  Previously, the Loeries were held at Sun City for many years, and in Margate for the past three years.    Ticket sales are up 20 % relative to last year, reports the Weekend Argus, yet award entries decreased by 5 %.

The Loeries are an excellent tourism and conference marketing opportunity and platform for the city, and Cape Town Tourism and the City of Cape Town were involved in the bid to attract the Awards to Cape Town.   Many restaurants in Camps Bay have been booked for lunches over the Loeries weekend, and the evening entertainment will take place in Long Street.   The top Loeries Awards executive team will stay in the Grand Daddy Hotel on Long Street, and all registrations will take place there.

Camps Bay is an important daytime location over the Loeries weekend, with Brunches and Lunches taking place at various restaurants on the Camps Bay beachfront on Friday and Saturday, a Very Important Ego Lounge taking place at Caprice over midday on both these days, and a Velocity Party being held at Summerville at midday on Friday.   On Saturday a Beach Soccer challenge will take place on Camps Bay beach, while the media will be hosted at a lunch at Blues.

Follow The Loeries on Twitter: http://twitter.com/loeries2009

Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com