Entries tagged with “Castle”.


In the 2018 Brandz study by Kantar Millward Brown it has created a list of ten most trusted South African brands, a list which includes mainly food products, the 75 year old KOO one of these and right at the top on Trust, and the very new online shopping brand Takealot.com, already ranked third.  None of the country’s largest value brands appear on the top trusted brand list.  (more…)

imageConstantia Nek has been a famous halfway stop and tea room, first operating in 1929. It is by far the oldest restaurant in Cape Town, and its recent transformation into La Parada and Harbour House has rejuvenated Constantia Nek, and has given the building a new lease on life, making it the social centre of Constantia.

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Taste of Cape Town logoCape Town has just been ranked third Best Food City in the World by Condé Nast Traveler Readers Choice Awards 2014.  Taste of Cape Town 2015, running at the Green Point Cricket Club until the end of today, gives locals and visitors a taste of what makes our city so special as a food destination.

Hosted for the eighth year in Cape Town, and run by food editor and stylist Justin Drake, Taste of Cape Town hasTaste of Cape Town Jutine Drake Whale Cottage settled in at the cricket club venue after venue changes in early years. Taste of Cape Town is a festive and fun way to eat and drink one’s way around one venue, showcasing not only restaurants and wine estates in Cape Town, but also those in the Winelands.

I was invited by Errieda du Toit PR to attend the Taste of Cape Town, and was joined by (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

  Going on safari is an increasing trend, which is good for tourism in Africa, popular not only amongst European and American tourists, but also amongst BRICS travelers from Brazil, India, Russia, and China.

*   SA Tourism has appointed Gaining Edge to help increase our country’s profile as a Business Events destination in India and China, for the South Africa National Convention Bureau.  South Africa is ranked highest as a business events destination in Africa, and 34th in the world.

*   Topless Tours have a new meaning, and do not refer to Cape Town’s Hop On Hop Off buses.  It’s a new trend started in the UK, whereby ladies take photographs of themselves topless at top tourist spots, including Table Mountain! (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The price of petrol is to drop by 22 cents a liter from Wednesday 4 June, in part due to a stronger Rand, good news for Tourism. (via Kfm news)

*   Just when SA Tourism is looking to position South Africa’s tourism product more broadly than just as wildlife and safaris, the Lonely Planet has named our country as the world’s best Wildlife Destination for the third year running!

*   The construction work on the expansion of the Cape Town International Convention Centre is going ahead, despite threatening legal action should it do so, the process of the allocation of the tender to the architect consortium being the issue at stake.

*   Kamers with the Cape Craft & Design Initiative are joining forces to reflect the designs of (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Going on safari is an increasing trend, which is good for tourism in Africa, popular not only amongst European and American tourists, but also amongst BRICS travelers from Brazil, India, Russia, and China.

*   SA Tourism has appointed Gaining Edge to help increase our country’s profile as a Business Events destination in India and China, for the South Africa National Convention Bureau.  South Africa is ranked highest as a business events destination in Africa, and 34th in the world.

*   Topless Tours have a new meaning, and do not refer to Cape Town’s Hop On Hop Off buses.  It’s a new trend started in the UK, whereby ladies take photographs of themselves topless at top tourist spots, (more…)

The Manchester United friendly against Ajax Cape Town at Cape Town Stadium yesterday was an exciting one, and Ajax Cape Town can be proud of the 1-1 score, the same score that the Manchester United team achieved in 2008 when it played in Cape Town against Kaizer Chiefs. Whilst the event was a ‘present’ from Grant Pascoe, City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing, to the residents of Cape Town, many of whom are Manchester United fans, in paying R 7 million to finance the event, it had no tourism benefit at all, placing the burden on the ratepayers of Cape Town to fund his generosity!

From the outfits worn and the cheering by the Manchester United fans, Capetonians were more loyal to the visitor team than to their own home-grown team. Yet Ajax Cape Town impressed with their attacking play, and in scoring before Manchester United did, the visiting team’s score coming from Bebe in the last minute, in injury time.

For many Capetonians the event yesterday was their first opportunity to experience the Cape Town Stadium, two years after eight matches were played there at far more expensive ticket prices, and hard to come by at that time, as one had to bid for the tickets sold by FIFA. Yesterday 55000 soccer fans filed into the stadium, not put off by the torrential rain just two hours prior to the start of the match, leading to wide-spread flooding of roads in the Green Point area, and disrupting traffic. But the weather gods were kind to the teams and fans, when the rain stopped just before the 3 pm start, and some blue sky could be seen from inside the stadium. Sir Alex Ferguson, Manchester United Manager, praised the ‘excellent pitch‘. His team travels to China, Norway, Sweden, and Germany next.

The organisational aspects of the match were disappointing, the security and hosting of the event left to the Enforce Security company, whose staff appeared to have minimal training. Two years ago many Capetonians, including ourselves, worked as volunteers at the Cape Town Stadium over the four week World Cup period, but none appeared to have been re-used for this event. The security guidelines as to what one was allowed to take into the stadium were onerous on paper, reflecting those of the World Cup, but the monitoring of this was inconsistent, in that my colleague’s water bottle was confiscated, and mine not. The seating block number was specified on the ticket, but there were no hosts to guide one as to where the blocks are, the signage being confusing. In the seating areas casually dressed young persons showed one to one’s seats, yet around us tempers were flaring, laden with racial overtones, due to spectators having to change seats when others arrived late to take up their booked seats, having been shown incorrect rows and seats initially. Offering Castle beer to buy throughout the stadium may not have been a good idea, and we observed heavy consumption of it around us, no doubt fuelling the aggression, a shame due to the feel-good atmosphere generally. The event kicked off with the singing of ‘Happy Birthday’ for Nelson Mandela’s 94th birthday on Wednesday, all spectators standing out of respect for the nation’s icon. Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille’s outfit, in the colour of cellphone sponsor MTN, and Premier Helen Zille’s South African flag outfit, were criticised on Twitter.

The only hospitality businesses that appear to have benefited from the soccer event were the Green Point Main Road restaurants Rhapsody’s and Café Extrablatt, McDonald’s next to the stadium, and some V&A Waterfront restaurants selling sandwiches. No accommodation establishments appear to have received bookings from out-of-town visitors for the event. SA Breweries sold its Castle beer inside the stadium, and some local caterers sold hamburgers. When the City announced the friendly, and its R7 million expenditure, Councillor Pascoe justified the cost in saying that the visiting team would be travelling with about 100 international journalists, and ‘that helps us and puts us on the map’, he said. Filming a soccer match hardly has a tourism benefit, as Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain is not visible from inside the stadium, once again demonstrating that Councillor Pascoe is out of his depth in handling the Tourism, Events and Marketing portfolio for the City of Cape Town, with no experience in any of these disciplines. Councillor Pascoe was severely criticised for his role in Cape Town not being successful in its bid to host some of the matches for the African Cup of Nations 2013 (Afcon 2013). The 8 Nations Under 20 soccer tournament at the end of May was a poor compensation for losing out on Afcon 2013, and was a spectacular failure in its small match spectator sizes.

POSTSCRIPT 22/7: Twitter follower Claire Alexander has Tweeted that this blogpost was remiss in not highlighting that tourism this winter is at an all time low, which we believed to be evident, and that this blogpost was written from that perspective.

POSTSCRIPT 28/7: The City of Cape Town’s ANC councillors criticised the City’s expenditure on the soccer match, in not benefiting many residents of Cape Town, who go to bed hungry, while the City projects itself as ‘an efficient and tourist city’, reports the Cape Argus. The article also states that Primedia Sport was paid R3,5 million by the City to pay for the right to host the match.

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

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

The first Café Extrablatt in South Africa and only the second outlet in Africa, on Main Road in Green Point, one of a collection of 55 franchise outlets in Germany, Austria, Turkey and Morocco, opened at the beginning of the month. It offers a wide variety of breakfast, lunch, and dinner dishes and drinks, from early morning to late night, at the most reasonable prices.

Heading up the Café Extrablatt Cape Town is Guido Dierschke, a friendly proud company representative, who has worked for the company for seven or more years, in stores, in the head office management, and opening new stores.  The first Café Extrablatt was opened in Emsdetten near Münster by Christoph Wefers with his brother Richard.   The name relates to the Extra edition of newspapers, and a collection of Sunday newspapers was available when I visited.  Magazines will be added too.  The pay-off line ‘Das gewisse Extra’ (that certain extra) represents the restaurant’s ability to offer a special dish, and to have a special place in the restaurant for its customers, Guido said.  In Germany there is an Italian style restaurant chain Scoozi and a Starbucks-style Voyton coffee take-away chain in the company collection, but these are not on the cards locally until the Café Extrablatt is running smoothly.

Being a franchise store, the interior decor reflects that of the German outlets.  A lot of natural colours and materials are used, including leather for the chairs and couches, wood and marble for the tables, and the original wooden floors of the building have been retained to give it character.  Woodbenders was used to make the furniture, and the colour palette includes leathers in orange, burgundy, green, brown and beige. Different table and seating styles are spread around the restaurant, upstairs and downstairs, to make seating sections, in which one can choose to sit, and to prevent the space from appearing as large as it is. In total the restaurant can seat 300 customers over the two levels (upstairs is for smokers), and there is seating outside on the street level and upstairs terraces too. There is a fireplace upstairs, each level having a large bar counter.  The light fittings are unique to the franchise, and were made in Germany, being two styles. Downstairs in the bar area is a massive lamp made from copper pipes.  On the other side of the restaurant and upstairs are ‘Tortenlampen’, designed to look like two-tier cakes.  Wall lamps, with a grass look to them, are also uniquely made in Germany for the franchise outlets.  There is a TV screen for matches downstairs.  The location for events in the Cape Town Stadium is ideal, being across the road, and the Coldplay concert saw their first full-house. Staff wear black pants, the female waitresses white T-shirts and the males black ones, with a white apron. Cutlery is by Fortis Hotelware, cute mini salt and pepper pots are brought to the table, as are unbranded olive oil and balsamic vinegar holders, with paper serviettes.

Ryan Seale is the chef, having worked at events contract companies in the UK (Lord’s cricket ground, West Ham football ground), at Singita, and for a contract company doing the catering for the World Cup last year.  His menu is largely that of the franchise, but with some additional dishes. All items on the menu are available throughout the day and night, with extremely long opening hours.  A ‘German Corner’ pays tribute to the German heritage of the company, offering chicken schnitzel (excellent portion of two pieces, which I ordered with potato salad, but is listed to be served with a salad or chips, at an unbelievably low price of R35,95) and veal schnitzel at R49,95, Currywurst at R49,95, and Viennas and potato salad (made using Guido’s mother’s recipe, with apples and gherkins) at R35,95.  A Breakfast Buffet with continental breakfast items, cooked breakfast as well as salads is offered at R79,95 from 8h00 – 12h00 on weekdays, and at R99,95 from 8h00 – 14h00 on weekends and public holidays.  Individual breakfast items are also available, ranging from R32,95 for scrambled eggs to R45,95 for fried eggs, bacon and sausage.  Many of the menu items offer a base item, with prices listed for additional extras and toppings.  Bruschetta costs R 22,95 – R32,95, with tuna, ham and cheese options. Baked potato with sour cream costs R17,95, and chilli con carne, tuna mayonnaise, and salmon can be ordered as extra toppings. Pita breads with fillings cost around R40. There is meat (R45,95) and vegetarian (R39,95) lasagne, and Pick & Dips cost R11,95 – R29,95 for spring rolls, chicken strips, risotto balls and calamari.  Burgers cost R39,95 – R49,95. Pizzas range from R35,95 – R67,95, and salads start at R27,95, peaking at R48,95.

Desserts are limited to Apfelstrudel at R29,95, and New York New York cheesecake from Chez Chez off Kloof Street, at R35.  They also stock Eiszeit ice creams, and I had a wonderful strawberry sauce made by Chef Ryan with a yoghurt sorbet (R19 for one scoop). I had wanted to order the Apfelstrudel, but Chef Ryan came to the table, asking me not to, as he is only making his own from this week onwards. The cappuccino costs R16, and the coffee is by Hausbrandt. Asara wines (Ebony, Ivory, Fusion, Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé) are offered by carafe (R32 – R38) or bottle (R90 – R120). Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine is offered by the glass (R32) or bottle (R155), as are Graham Beck (R195), Pongrácz (R175), and Veuve Clicquot (R550).  Most beers cost R18, but Heineken costs R20, and beer on tap from Paulaner, Castle and Pilsner Urquell is available too. Cocktails and ‘mocktails’ are also offered.

With ample parking across the road, the excellent opening hours, the diverse menu offering, the value for money, and good location, Café Extrablatt is certain to do well.

Café Extrablatt, 79 Main Road, Green Point, Cape Town.  Tel 087 6250 463.  www.cafe-extrablatt.co.za, www.cafe-extrablatt.com. Sunday – Thursday 7h00 – midnight, Fridays and Saturdays 7h00 – 2h00.

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

For the 18th year running, Franschhoek will don its red, blue and white flags and bunting to celebrate its French Huguenot past next weekend of 16 and 17 July, celebrated by its most popular annual event, the Bastille Festival, commemorating the storming of La Bastille.

Marrying food prepared by Franschhoek’s top chefs, including salmon trout, sushi, chocolates, and oysters, with wines from the local Vignerons, in a Marquee in the centre of the village next door to the Hospice, the Bastille Festival is an important showcase for the village.  Exhibitors include Akkerdal, Allée Bleue, Anthonij Rupert Wines, Backsberg, Bellingham, Boschendal, Boekenhoutskloof, Cape Chamonix, Franschhoek Cellar, French Connection Bistro, The Grill Room, Glenwood, Graham Beck, Grande Provence, Holden Manz, Haute Cabriere, La Bri, La Petite Ferme Restaurant and Winery,  L’ermitage, Leopard’s Leap, Lynx, Monneaux, Morena, Pick ‘n Pay Sushi Bar, Plaisir de Merle, Reuben’s, Rickety Bridge, Rupert & Rothschild, Solms Delta Fyndraai and Wines, Topiary Wines, Vrede & Lust, and Wild Peacock Products.  

For the first time a Le Marche Français will be set up in the Town Hall, as a market of Franschhoek artisanal food and other products.  Cheeses, charcuterie, pastries, breads, crèpes, water, chocolates, preserves, vegetables, coffee, and herbs will be for sale, as will be soap and linen, and kitchen accessories.  A Farmers’ Market will also be held.

On Saturday 16 July a Boules tournament will be held at the Church grounds, as well as Fencing exhibition matches, a Waiters’ Race, a Vignerons’ Parade, and Porcupine Ridge Barrel Rolling competition.  A party will be held at Holden Manz wine estate in the late afternoon.   On Sunday 17 July there is another Boules Tournament, Fencing exhibition matches and another Porcupine Ridge Barrel Rolling competition.  The Station Pub is hosting a number of bands over the weekend.

POSTSCRIPT 15/7:  Given the wonderful weather of the past few days, and that which is forecast for the weekend, tickets for the Marquee are already sold out for tomorrow.  Given that Franschhoek will be bursting at the seams, here are some suggestions for what to do if you were not lucky enough to buy a ticket for the marquee for tomorrow: get a wine-tasting map from the Franschhoek Tourism Bureau on the main road; go to the Town Hall, where French cheeses, Shiraz bread, chocolates and charcuterie are for sale; taste wines at Franschhoek wine shops La Cotte Inn Wine sales (selling delicious cheeses too), House of Wine, and WINES WINES (next door to Café Benedict) is offering tastings of non-Franschhoek wine estates such as Lammershoek, Nabygelegen, Hermanuspietersfontein, Arumdale and Bilton.  Enjoy a light lunch at Franschhoek Kitchen (Holden Manz), Café Benedict, Salmon Bar, Café Le Chocolatier, The Olive Shack, Reuben’s Deli, make up your own picnic at the Franschhoek Food Emporium, or try Fyndraai at Solms-Delta or Allee Bleue on the outskirts of Franschhoek, where things should be a little quieter.  Buy chocolates at Huguenot Fine Chocolates.   Interested in art? Visit David Walter’s Ceramics studio, the galleries on the main road, The Grande Provence gallery, or the Pierneef gallery at La Motte.   Drive up the Franschhoek Pass, and see the view from up there onto the valley.  Go to the Station Pub to listen to the bands.  Go to the After-Party at Holden Manz. 

POSTSCRIPT 16/7: Franschhoek is bursting at the seams, and the excellent weather is adding to the festive fun.  At Reuben’s there is a great Farmer’s market, as well as tastings and sales of Peroni, De Villiers chocolates from Hermanus, Wildekraans wines, and Healey’s cheeses from Lourensford.  Castle is being dispensed from next to Taki’s.  More Peroni is available at Träumerei.  Wildekrans is doing tastings at Café d’Or.  Holden Manz’s after party runs from at 4 pm until midnight today, with DJ.  The Elephant & Barrel is buzzing, with sparkling wine tastings in the courtyard.   A new gem is Taste South Africa, behind Salmon Bar in The Yard, putting Franschhoek wines on show.  An antique market is at the side of The Corkscrew.

Bastille Festival, Franschhoek, 16 – 17 July.  R100 Marquee entrance fee includes a tasting glass and a booklet of tasting vouchers.  Marquee open from 12h00 – 17h00.  Tickets from www.webtickets.co.za

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