Having spent close to a month in Havana in July, I saw many a cocktail list, and noted that these separated standard and traditional cocktails from Cuban cocktails. My focus in this report is on Cuban cocktails. The majority of these have rum at the heart, the national alcoholic beverage of Cuba. Continue reading →
Last Friday my French housemate and I went to eat lunch at Osteria Tarantino, the tiniest Italian restaurant in Cape Town, seating no more than 32 pax inside and outside. We had both wanted to try it, based on word of mouth, but were disappointed with our experience, and found it to be exceptionally expensive. I question whether any of the dishes are freshly made for diners. Continue reading →
It was a surprise to receive an invitation for a restaurant opening late last year. Classic Car Bar is a clever car-themed The Engine Room restaurant and cocktail bar for which Executive Chef Reuben Riffel has designed the menu. Continue reading →
Two weeks ago Tiger’s Milk Kitchen & Bar opened on Long Street, previously a Lucky Fish, belonging to the Harbour House Group. The decor is fun and funky, with many similarities to its ‘brother’ restaurant in Muizenberg, which offers ‘dude food’ to surfers.
The decor was designed by the internal Harbour House Group design team, the La Parada bull’s head at the counter, the magazine page ‘wallpaper’, the crystal whisky decanters as a light feature, and the wooden tables and chairs all being similar to the decor design in Muizenberg.
Unique is the beer dispensing taps, standing on the bar counter, and looking like a steam punk engine! Each brand is identified, including a Tiger’s Milk craft beer. Other brands stocked are CBC, Jack Black, and Part Wolf. James Dean is a ‘pin up’, wearing a Tiger’s Milk T-shirt in the Continue reading →
I sat next to The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company Cape Town representative Tarryn Thomas at the ‘Chefs who Share‘ Gala Dinner last week, and she invited me to attend the special tasting of wines in the Riedel glassware which they represent in South Africa. The tasting on Tuesday at The Local Grill function venue was made more special in that it was led by 10th generation Georg Riedel, currently heading up the Austrian-based company. Herr Riedel encouraged the restaurant managers and sommeliers present to invest in glassware and a glass washing machine to bring out the best in the wines they serve.
We were welcomed by Michael Fridjhon, owner of Reciprocal, and he introduced Herr Riedel. It was the first time that I met Michael, and sat next to him during the tasting. I had brought my glass of water into the venue, and was quickly told to put it away, and we were all told that we should not open the bottle of water on the tasting sheet nor taste anything before we were given the go-ahead by Herr Riedel to do so.
Herr Riedel led us to question what makes a restaurant visit successful, the welcome, the food, and the wine selection combined making the cost seem good value or not. Eating at a restaurant is a ‘multi-layered symphony’, he said, to describe the functional and emotional experience of eating out. He feels that wine Continue reading →
We have written about the odd titles given to the Franschhoek Literary Festival 2014 workshop sessions. One of these was the discussion about entrepreneurism, entitled ‘Business Bundu Bashers’. The alliteration in no way reflected what the topic of discussion was about!
Michael Jordaan, former FNB CEO, newly elected Chairman of WOSA (Wines of South Africa), and Chairman of Mxit (left), was the chairman of the panel of four writers, which had one hour exactly (well less to be exact, due to the slow microphone wiring) to discuss whether in essence entrepreneurs are made or born. Panelists were Peter Vundla (author of ‘Doing Time’), Angela Makholwa (a crime author and writing agency owner, who seemed out of place on the panel, despite her charm), Herman Mashaba (writer of ‘Black Like You‘, a play on words of his very successful African beauty product company Black Like Me), and Bertie du Plessis (writer of ‘Your Small Business Nightmare’).
Peter Vundla worked at Ogilvy & Mather for ten years many moons ago, and shared that he used to watch his white colleagues, thinking that he could run an ad agency better than they could. He called this process of learning by observation ‘Doing Time’, the title of his book. He went on his own, setting up HerdBuoys, our country’s first Black-owned ad agency, and they saw tough times initially, having their homes and cars repossessed, in not having any start-up capital. But nothing could break their determination to succeed. Books have been ‘the companions of my life‘, he said. Vundla said his autobiography includes (former President) Thabo Mbeki, his father, the current government, and HerdBuoys. He proudly shared that he brought the Zara retail outlets to our country, being the local partner of the international clothing store. He said that he is not afraid to say what must be said, even in his book, and he attacked the Franschhoek Literary Festival for most of the attendees of the discussion session being ‘White’. He called for a Soweto Book Fair! Vundla said it’s lonely to write a book on your own. For him it is not about the money he can make from a book, but about how many persons read it. The agency did well, taking on Coca Cola, General Motors, and Sprite as some of its top client brands. Makholwa said that the sale of the Continue reading →
The City of Cape Town has commissioned a new logo, which has been shot down in flames by locals on Social Media. The backlash was so severe that Mayor Patricia de Lille had to announce on radio that she will make a statement about it on Monday.
Radio station Kfm showed the old and new logos on its Facebook page, and the vote unanimously was for the existing logo, which depicts Table Mountain as the icon for the city. The new logo has a vaguely recognisable Table Mountain too, but the meaning of the various colours in it is unclear, looking like a police badge, or a cog, reminding me of the uncomfortable table tops at Truth on Buitenkant Street. A large part of the criticism is the money that the design would cost, and to what better use it could have been put!
The City of Cape Town also announced via a Kfm news broadcast that the logo that had gone viral was not the final choice, and had merely been presented for comment!
The City of Cape Town’s Tourism, Events and Marketing Directorate will have been responsible Continue reading →
My friend Whitney and I decided to give the new Tashas in the V&A Waterfront a try, after we had both heard good things about the restaurant, which opened in the previous Mugg & Bean space a month ago. It was a poor experience, leaving a bad taste in our mouths, both Whitney and I getting ill from the food.
The owner and chef Raynne Roll told us that each of the eleven Tashas created around the country over the past eight years is themed decor wise, and has signature dishes and specialist wines to tie in with the theme. The theme of the Waterfront branch is Spanish, and hence the additional Tapas menu and Spanish style cakes, which are unique to the branch. Bowls and paella pans have been bought in from Spain for the new restaurant. Tashas Constantia is French Country inspired, Pretoria is South African, Melrose Arch is ‘Sushi, Oysters and Champagne’, Rosebank in Johannesburg is New York, and the Nicolway branch is Portuguese.
I arrived before Whitney did, and walked in from the mall entrance, where the branding is so small that it is easy to miss. The iron gates do not look relevant to a
It should have been a surprise that the Sunday Times last weekend contained 10 full page and 16 smaller advertisements in honour of the late Nelson Mandela, given his passing on Thursday evening, and the deadlines of newspapers to ensure their distribution in the early hours of Sunday morning. It was interesting to evaluate corporate South Africa’s response, in their advertisements, to the passing of our country’s greatest leader, most quoting the wisdom of Madiba in their tributes to him.
Given the two days in which ad agencies had to book their clients’ advertisements, it is clear that they could not have created them in such a short time period, given lead times to conceptualise the ad, obtain client approval, and to produce the material. It is clear that the major corporates had their farewell ads to Madiba prepared and mothballed for the announcement of his passing.
The most touching and most genuine advertisement, in our opinion, is the one by Nando’s, demonstrating the power of consistency in advertisement layout and typeface, recognisable to any South African without its logo or branding. The most disgusting of all the ads is that by funeral organisers AVBOB, depicting Madiba in daisies, and shouting its pay-off line ‘We’re here for you’!
Pick ‘n Pay’s advertising disappointed, with three full page advertisements in last Sunday’s edition, the one on page 12 in the main body being a crass ‘Price Cuts’ one, amidst the remaining ads all being tributes to Madiba. Pick ‘n Pay and the media department of its ad agency could have done a better job in planning the placements, requesting its tribute ad in this slot, and its special offer ad in other sections of the paper. Cynically one could think that the retailer purposely capitalised on the above Continue reading →
Emily’s restaurant is 21 years old, and has recently opened at its third home on Kloof Street, having spent ten years each in Woodstock and in the V&A Waterfront. The restaurant has lost all of its previous charm, and its main attraction (Chef Peter Veldsman) is nowhere to be seen. It has sold its soul to Coca Cola, its branding seen throughout the restaurant, not befitting an establishment of the stature of Chef Peter and his partner Chef Johan Odendaal.
Chef Peter once was the most high profile food editor of Sarie magazine, and was known and loved by all, the doyen of food writers in his heyday. He has written eleven cookery books, and has contributed to many others too. He has won numerous food awards. He started the Culinary Arts Institute of Africa Restaurant School at the same time as opening Emily’s restaurant in Woodstock in 1994, long before the suburb became trendy, and it was extremely popular for a decade. I remember its quirky decor, inside an attractive building, and being particularly popular amongst Afrikaans Capetonians, it being their first real Afrikaans restaurant. Chef Johan ran the cookery school, and his students were the servers.
Surprisingly Emily’s moved to the V&A Waterfront, badly Continue reading →