Entries tagged with “Church Street”.


Yesterday I attended the launch of a water saving awareness campaign initiated in the heart of Cape Town by Urban Lime, on Church Square. Mayor Patricia de Lille announced that the City of Cape Town’s recent forecast of an extension of the water supply ‘Day Zero’ by two months, to 13 May, has been amended to 3 May 2018, given an increase in water consumption during the recent rain.  (more…)

imageLast night I attended the opening of [spasie] UPSTAIRS on Bree Street, which was celebrated with a fascinating multi-media mix #ROOTS exhibition curated by (more…)

imageI had read good thing about Helena’s Restaurant at Coopmanshuijs, and was left with an impression that it was a must-try restaurant. It was a severe disappointment when I had dinner there last night, especially in terms of service and ambiance.  It does not match the level of the 5-star hotel in which it is located.

I had booked earlier in the day, when I walked past, surprised to find the 16-bedroom five-star hotel on popular Church Street in Stellenbosch. When I arrived just after the World Cup (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Kfm news reports that the fire caused by lightning in Cape Point Nature Reserve yesterday has flared up again, threatening that area.

*   Distell is launching Nederburg Heritage Heroes in the UK, including The Motocycle (sic) Marvel, The Brew Master, The Young Airhawk, The Anchorman, and The Beautiful Lady.  The wine range is being targeted at fine-dining restaurants.

*   The wine industry is committing to exporting more of our wines in bottles rather than in (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Singapore Airlines is offering a one-day $1 Singapore Stopover Holiday  package or a one-day Holiday Pass to South African passengers of the airline, traveling to other destinations, to celebrate that country’s 50th anniversary, offered for travel until 15 June.  Fares have also been decreased until 30 November, at R8900 for flights to Australia and Asia. (received via media release from Epic Communications)

*   Tweets will be searchable on Google shortly, in terms of a deal between the search company and Twitter, the latter company providing Tweet data directly to Google in future.

*   It is a shame that a Canadian article on unusual wines, which includes DeMorgenzon DMZ Chardonnay 2013 as the only South African wine, must refer to the ‘burnt rubber tire’ (sic) (more…)

Craft logoI had heard that Craft had opened in the space from which Apprentice operated for a number of years earlier this year, having been a ‘test kitchen’ for the students of Letetia Prinsloo’s Institute of Culinary Arts.  An unfortunate association with Le Chocolatier owner Daniel Waldis led to the closure of the restaurant. In its place is a dual restaurant and bar, separated only by a bar counter, but the difference in attitude of the two managers is massive.   The two Crafts are owned by Francois Jooste, who also owns Java and Apres Bistro, all close to each other in a tourist rich area of Stellenbosch.

I visited on Monday, entering on the left, at Craft Wheat & Hops, which I did not immediately associate with a bar specialising in beers.   Once oneCraft Wheat & Hops Exterior Whale Cottage enters, it is very clear what it serves, with 16 beers on tap offered, and a similar number of beers displayed on shelves.  I recognised the voice of the friendly lady behind the counter, and she reminded me that she was the Chef and Manager of The Stall in Franschhoek when it first opened eighteen months ago.  Marilie van Niekerk left when she had her baby.  She made a menu available for me immediately, without having to ask for it, it being such a pleasure to experience her excellent service.  The bar had not yet been set up, tables having been placed on top of each other, as the bar only opens at 15h00 on week days.  Interestingly Craft Wheat & Hops offers food as well, but with only two options. Flammkuchen is prepared in what look like a massive pizza oven inside the bar, seven options offered in a price range from R40 (for Caprese) to R52 (smoked salmon, red onion, rocket, and caviar).  An extensive list of Tapas dishes is offered, ranging from R29 (crumbed mozzarella sticks with berry compote) to R45 (roast chicken and cheddar quesadilla served with homemade salsa, guacemole and cream cheese).   Other tapas include lamb meat balls, ‘corn dogs‘,  chorizo and mozzarella crostini, mini mushroom burgers, and ‘beer brats wrapped in bacon‘. (more…)

WOSA Michael Jordaan (LR)After appointing new CEO Siobhan Thompson, who took over the reigns from Su Birch in November last year, the Board of Wines of South Africa (WOSA) has elected dynamic Dr Michael Jordaan as its Chairman. Both appointments are likely to be a breath of fresh air for the international wine marketing body.

Jordaan had a high profile job as CEO of FNB, turning the bank around in the ten year period he spent there, the bank receiving an accolade as the world’s most innovative bank at the BAI-Finacle Global Banking Innovation Awards in Washington two years ago.  He left the bank late last year, to spend more time with his family on their farm Bartinney on the Helshoogte Pass in Stellenbosch, having commuted between Johannesburg and Stellenbosch for many years.  He remains an Executive Committee Member of FirstRand Banking Group. Jordaan is also Chairman of Social Media platform Mxit.  He has been named CNBC Africa Business Leader of the Year for Southern Africa. He and his wife Rose also own Bartinney wine and champagne bar on trendy Church (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Cape Town just cannot stay out of the New York Times!  Travel writer Sarah Khan has profiled some of the city’s hottest coffee and quirky shops, linking the city to World Design Capital 2014.  In the print edition on Sunday, the article headline ‘Have some Dim Sum with your shirts’ introduces the article with the story about the success of I  My Laundry, which recently opened a second branch in the city centre.   Other hot spots that are featured in the article are Loading Bay, Latitude 33, Haas, Pedersen & Lennard, House of Machines, and Los Muertos Motorcycles.

*   Standard Bank’s economist Goolan Ballim says that South Africa’s economy has underperformed ever since the global meltdown, which commenced in 2008.    He only sees a recovery in 2016 or 2017.

*   One third of British travellers have visited 10 countries on average, a survey conducted on behalf of the London City Airport has found.  The most popular (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Cape Town has been named the winning city (ahead of Vancouver and Venice) in the Telegraph Travel Awards 2013. Describing all three cities as water-based, Cape Town’s point of difference is its ‘Michelin-starred restaurants’ (sic), staying in traditional as well as modern accommodation, climbing mountains, surfing the Atlantic Ocean, and relaxing at the beach. The city’s status as World Design Capital 2014 is also highlighted. ‘This really is a city that everyone who visits it loves: an English-speaking destination that offers sun, sea and culture in one place – and all just 11 hours’ flight away, with no jetlag’.

*   The inaugural World Travel Market Africa, to be held in Cape Town from 2 – 3 May, is planning to sign up 700 exhibitors.

*   Alan Wong, Jamie Oliver, and Gordon Ramsay are the world’s richest chefs! 

*   Stellenbosch Street Soirees will be held again to demonstrate the town’s (more…)

The space that once was Gesellig on Sea Point’s Regent Road had been standing unused for a couple of months.  Now it is the home of Flatteur Café, a ‘specialty coffee shop’, according to its co-owner John du Preez, and is worthy of its name, meaning flattery in French, or so I thought on my first visit.  Unfortunately the second visit a few days later was disappointing.

John told me that they do not want to become a restaurant but that they want to focus on being a good coffee shop. They use Origin coffee and its Nigiro teas, and I enjoyed a perfectly made dry cappuccino (R20), even though they only have ‘Flat White‘ on their coffee list, yet they were happy to oblige.  The menu is short and sweet, and will change every two to three weeks. They offer a number of different coffee styles, two or three cakes daily, baked by John’s Polish partner Rafal Glenc, as well as muffins (R12), scones with jam and cream (two for R20), Danish custard slices, and a range of unusual sounding biscuits, including ginger, coconut and sultans, butternut, as well as muesli rusks.

Breakfast is served all day, a choice of scrambled eggs served with salmon and rye bread, a steal at R45, or served with mushrooms (R35); muesli, honey and yoghurt (R25); and French Toast served savory with Brie and tomato jam, or sweet, with fresh fruit and mascarpone.  On Friday I enjoyed the corn fritters with bacon and cherry tomatoes (R45).  Sandwiches are available too, on a choice of rye bread, ciabatta, and toasted croissant and cost between R45 – R55, including steak and parmesan, poached chicken breast marinated with red peppers and tapenade, and mushroom served with salsa verde and Dijon mustard.  Salads cost R45, and are a grilled Caprese, Lentil salad, and a warm winter salad with roast vegetables and couscous. A Special of the day on both days was a Feta, tomato and rocket omelette (R35).  Chef Catherine is friendly, having moved to the city after selling her Bamboo Beach restaurant in Sandbaai, outside Hermanus.  All the staff smiled, and were welcoming on the first visit.

John and Rafal lived in London for twenty years. It was John who wanted to return to his home country (he grew up in Mossel Bay), and they chose Sea Point to set up their new business, not ever having run such a business before. Rafal is a passionate baker, baking the French chocolate cake (R30), Lemon Meringue (R28), and Cappucino Cake (R40), the latter being so popular that it is sold out on most days.  They did not know predecessor Gesellig, and have smartened up the interior, with a reed ceiling, finished off the deck onto the Church Street pavement, added new wood dominant furniture on the upper level, used ‘blikborde’ decoratively on one of the walls, used wood cladding on the kitchen counter, and created a new cake and coffee counter. A large poster gives a French feel, as does the French café music.  Each table has a ‘blikbeker’ holding the sugar sticks, to continue the theme. Cutlery is by Fortis.  Books are displayed on the steps of the spiral staircase.

Flatteur Café is a friendly homely coffee shop serving excellent food at very reasonable prices.  I wrote all the above (other than the menu details) after my first visit.  When I went back on Friday it was as if the personality of Flatteur Café had changed completely. From friendly and welcoming on my first visit it was as if they did not care, with no menu brought to the table, nor order taken.  The friendly chef also wasn’t on duty, and I was horrified to see her assistant spraying a pan with what seemed half a canful of Spray & Cook. John seemed completely disinterested, working on his laptop, not checking on his two tables with customers, while the barista/waiter had his back to the coffee shop and was sharing photographs on his phone with the assistant cook, and ignoring his customers too.  I had asked John for the menu to be e-mailed, to save me writing it all down, but it never arrived, despite a follow up call.  A lovely fellow guest Jadee, who follows the Restaurant Specials on our blog, was on her first visit on Friday, but had arrived earlier. She fed back that a strange atmosphere was tangible whilst the chef had been there earlier in the morning.  It is disconcerting that Flatteur Café could have such a personality change in its first two weeks of operation.

Flatteur Café has fantastic potential, especially in Sea Point, which is short of quality restaurants and coffee shops.  One hopes that John will come out of his shell, and connect with his customers more, to make them feel welcome when they support his establishment.  Rafal and Chef Catherine add value with their special food, and the interior is attractive. Parking in the area is scarce.

POSTSCRIPT 14/6: I returned earlier this week for delicious scones, and was delighted to meet the other partner Rafal, charming, friendly, and attentive. Sadly, John ignored me completely, appearing hurt by our review above.  John and Rafal are now running their own kitchen, having let the kitchen staff go.

Flatteur Café, corner Regent and Church Street, Sea Point, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 439-3174. www.flatteur.co.za Facebook. Monday – Friday 7h30 – 18h00  Saturday and Sunday 8h30 – 18h00.  50 megabyte free wifi per visit.

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