On Tuesday evening I had the honour of experiencing Rare Grill, which was named 2017 The Wolftrap Steakhouse Championship winner, the first time in the five year history of the Championships that a Cape Town steakhouse has won the award. What makes this Award so amazing is that the Rare Grill only opened in Kenilworth nine months ago, and only seats 26 patrons! Continue reading →
The first restaurants are sending out their Winter Specials information, summarised below. The list is updated continuously. Please do not copy and paste our list. We welcome information about new specials:
* Umi in Camps Bay: 2 course set menu R200, 3 courses R240. Beef shortrib R120, fish & fries R80, Tataki Beef R75, sweet potato parcels R50, pork belly R130, and sticky chicken wings Tebaski R65. Half price sushi. Cocktails R40 Tel (021) 437-1802 (added 14/5/16) Continue reading →
* Passengers traveling by plane may be faced with hand luggage size reductions by up to 40%, it was announced last week. The new dimensions have not yet been announced, but 50 airlines have agreed in principle, reported German TV channel ZDF. Should the hand luggage not meet the new size guidelines, a charge of $25 may be levied.
* Do hotel star ratings still matter, when TripAdvisor has become the Continue reading →
The Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape. During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.
A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years! Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday! A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.
Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have enough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue. We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi! There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year. It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws Continue reading →
* South Africa welcomed close to 10 million international tourists in 2013, a 5% increase between 2012 and 2013. The following paragraph from eTurboNews makes no sense at all, appearing to be copy and pasted directly from a SA Tourism media release: ‘The latest release from Statistics South Africa (StatsSA) indicates that international foreign arrivals to South Africa reached its highest levels ever, namely 14,860,216 in 2013. This 10.5% increase in international foreign arrivals (over 13,451,565 in 2012) translated to 9.6 million international tourist arrivals. All international tourist arrivals combined increased by 4.7%, while the overseas tourist arrivals sub-category increased by 7.1%‘! Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk said: ‘South Africa’s tourism industry continues to show good growth and we remain confident in the ongoing performance and sustainability of the sector‘. Visitors from Europe grew by 7%, especially from Germany (14% growth), France (10%), and Italy (10%). The growth from the UK was a mere 1%, while the USA grew by 7%, and China by 15%, now our 4th largest source market. Tourist growth from Brazil was 6%, while that from Africa was 12%. The growth in Tourism’s contribution to the GDP was 3% in the past year. The Tourism industry accounted for 5% of the country’s employment. The Minister announced the development of a ‘dashboard‘, enhancing our country’s collection of ‘insights and market intelligence’, which is to be launched in September.
* SA Tourism has criticised the restricted visa issuing service by our embassies in India and China, Continue reading →
The Winter 2014 specials for more than 90 Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and are updated continuously. We welcome information about new specials, and the feedback about your meals at these restaurants:
* Umi in Camps Bay: 3 course set menu R260, 5 courses R360, both include a shared bottle of Warwick First Lady. Order 3 meals off a la carte menu, get the 4th free. Slow cooked shortrib R110, Karan beef sirloin R95, Japanese beer marinated Karan beef fillet R120, pork belly R90, warm salmon and black bean R120, and fish & fries R85. Tel (021) 437-1802 (added 10/5/14)
* Pepenero in Mouille Point : Order 3 meals and get 4th (cheapest) free; Sirloin R89, Rump R89, Lamb cutlets R99, Seafood platter R149, Sushi platter R129, Crayfish tails R169, Veal schnitzel R95, Soup of day R40, Prawn platter R139, Oxtail R110, and Osso Buco R89. Half price sushi (selected items) all day. Daily. Tel (021) 439-9027 (updated 10/5/14)
* 5 Rooms, Alphen Boutique Hotel: 2 courses R170; 2 courses with bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R220; 3 courses R 220; 3 courses plus bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R 270. Sirloin R95, Baby chicken R95, Braised oxtail R110, Seafood bouillabaisse R135, Grilled Prawn R99, Slow braised lamb shank R115. Tel (021) 795-6313 (updated 10/5/14)
* Zenzero, Camps Bay: 2 courses R160; 2 courses with bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R210; 3 courses Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to the Cattle Baron in Hermanus, and its owner Antonie Lombard, for his excellent service recovery when one of his waitresses displayed every symptom of not caring about her job (she did not tell me about the butternut that is served with the steak when asked; she did not check if I was happy with the food, when I wanted to send back the cold and distasteful mash; replaced the mash with baby potatoes and sour cream instead of with butter as requested; brought luke warm water when a glass of cold water was requested; went into a long menu discussion at another table after I had requested the bill; and did not bring the credit card machine for the payment). I spoke to the owner, who listened attentively, apologised for the waiter’s poor service, and reduced the bill by 50% when I paid at the counter. Continue reading →
As the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards were held early in November, it was the first time that we did not receive the annual Eat Out magazine at the gala dinner. It was however sent by post, a surprise gift, last week. A real surprise was that Johannesburg (24%) has almost as many Top 500 restaurants as Cape Town (26%) out of the total of 500.
New Media Publishing changed a number of aspects of its judging of the Top 10 Restaurant Awards this year, and this included their magazine as well. Instead of sending a number of freelance evaluators out to find the best restaurants country-wide, and to write a short summary review about them, they sent their ‘editorial panel‘ of 50 persons a spreadsheet of their restaurant database, requesting them to rate the restaurants they had eaten at in the last six months. A number of aspects of the restaurants were evaluated, and the scores were added up, from which the top scoring 500 restaurants were selected. The restaurant summaries in the magazine are based on a summary each restaurant that applied to be on the Top 500 restaurant list had supplied!
Cape Town has 132 ‘top‘ restaurants on the list, which oddly includes Cattle Baron (a steak restaurant chain), Col’Cacchio (a pizza chain), Dias Tavern (!), Hudson’s Burger Joint (a mini hamburger chain), Hussar Grill (a steak house chain), Jason (a bakery), My Basaar (a coffee shop), Reuben’s One & Only (!), Sababa Kitchen & Deli (predominantly take-away, with only a few chairs at the Bree Street branch), and taschas (coffee shop chain), all in the company of Eat Out Top 10 restaurants The Greenhouse and The Test Kitchen. It is nice to see the relatively new Cheyne’s Continue reading →
More restaurants in the Western Cape than in any other province entered and received a Diners Club International Winelist Award 2013. At the 30th Awards function held for the Western Cape at the Vineyard Hotel on Wednesday, MasterChef SA Judge and Tsogo Sun Chef Benny Masekwameng announced the 38 winners in the Diamond, 30 in the Platinum, 26 in the Gold, and 2 in the Silver Award categories, 96 awards in total.
Veteran wine critic Dave Hughes chaired the judging panel, which included fledgling judge Chef Benny, restaurant guide editor JP Rossouw, wine judges Christine Rudman and Fiona McDonald, Winestyle.biz owner Nikki Dumas, and the Cape Wine Academy head Marilyn Cooper. He said that it was fitting that the Awards ceremony was held at The Vineyard hotel, the Newlands area having been the first in Cape Town in which grapes were grown, but soon Continue reading →
The Autumn and Winter 2013 specials for Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and are updated continuously. We welcome information about new specials, and feedback about your meals at these restaurants:
* Pepenero in Mouille Point : Sirloin and chips R89, Lamb shank lasagne R99, Seafood platter R149, Sushi platter R129, Crayfish tails R169, Chicken schnitzel R85, Minestrone R65, Chicken liver pasta R80, Prawn platter R119. Half price sushi all day. Daily. Tel (021) 439-9027 (updated 2/9)
* Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: Oysters R8 each, Seafood soup R55, Prawn special R110, Linefish and prawn combo R99, Linefish and calamari R99, Sole and Calamari R99, Rump or sirloin R99, Spare Ribs R99, Rump Espetada R99, 250g Lobster and prawn platter R139; Seafood platter R125. Tel (021) 439-3494 (updated 12/6)