Tag Archives: Constantia Village

‘Reflections on the Future’ design trends: orange is the new black!

I Love my Laundry Bree Street table Whale Cottage PortfolioThe brief to address trendtalk #7 at the Plascon Auditorium last week led to three speakers in the Cape Town design industry approach design trendspotting from three very different perspectives, addressing  the theme of  ‘Reflections on the Future’.   Attending the Bloggers’ evening at the new I  my Laundry branch on Bree Street last night, I saw how their bold use of orange is spot on trend, a colour they already chose when they opened on Buitengracht Street 19 months ago. Orange was described as a bright and cheerful colour which does not overwhelm and which works well in ‘dark moody spaces’.

#trendtalk was conceptualised by Lauren Shantall of Inhouse Brand Architects, and four design and decor trend talks are held in the Cape Town city centre per year.

1.  Laurence Brick, co-founder of Loads of Living, spoke mainly about trends in interior home design, reflecting that consumers evolve, and feed each other with creative ideas, mainly seen on Social Media:

*   The kitchen is the new lounge, where one entertains friends and gathers as a family.  The design of the kitchen matches the artisanal fresh food which is on trend.

*   Textiles chosen for interiors have texture, and reflect honesty and integrity in how they are made.

*   Lighting has become very industrial and sculptural, ‘as good as art‘, with bare Continue reading →

Eat Out Top Chef Luke Dale-Roberts cooks for Christmas!

Eat Out 2012 Top Chef Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen has developed a full Christmas lunch range for Woolworths, allowing South African families to taste the quality of his food preparation at the most special time of the year.

The Luke Dale-Roberts Woolworths Christmas range consists of a starter of Smoked Salmon, which Chef Luke cured and smoked with rooibos tea, then painted it with pomegranate molasses, and topped it with fresh dill, and grated orange and lemon rind.  An alternative starter is The Sausage, which Chef Luke has made as a Christmas Toulouse, adding duck, ginger and cranberries, which should be put on a braai.  Main courses are The Lamb Supreme, which he filled with Italian-style stuffing, and added cranberries, fresh herbs, and pine nuts (R164,99 per kg), as well as The Gammon- style belly, to which he added whole spice, orange peel, and fresh ginger root, smoking it, and then cooking it at 85°C for five hours.  For the Christmas meal Chef Luke developed a range of relishes: cranberry, sesame and miso dressing (R24,95); summer fruit and kumquat cumberland relish (R24,95); mince pie chutney (R24,95); and truffle, walnut and fig pesto (R29,95).  For dessert Chef Luke designed a red Christmas pudding made from summer berries (R169,95), which he paired with his special Christmas mess ice cream (R59,95 per litre).

In the Woolworths advertisement for his Christmas range, Chef Luke writes: “The moment I was briefed, I knew I had to create a new-age, innovative approach to Christmas lunch that would make it easy and very special for you. My main aim was to keep the traditional spiciness…the nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, and whole spice, the pomegranates, orange peel and Christmas pie filling. Keep them, but lighten them, make them South African, and above all, make them FUN!”

The Luke Dale-Roberts Christmas range is available until 25 December, at Woolworths at Cavendish Square, Canal Walk, Constantia Village, Gardens Centre, Hout Bay, Piazza St John in Sea Point, Plettenberg Bay, Somerset Mall, Tyger Valley, the V&A Waterfront, as well as at some Woolworths stores in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Port Elizabeth, and Durban. It is not easy to see the Luke Dale-Roberts Christmas product range in the Woolworths stores, as they are not displayed in one space.

Chef Luke and his family are featured in the December issue of TASTE magazine, to publicise his Christmas range.

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

Café Benedict Sweet Service and The Village Beanery Sour Service Awards

The Sweet Service Award goes to Café Benedict in Franschhoek. Last week the internet did not work at our guest house, and therefore I went to the restaurant to download e-mails, as they offer a free wireless internet service.   I arrived just as chef and manager Llewellyn Lambert locked the doors, an hour earlier than usual, as the alarm at his house had gone off.  He suggested that I sit outside the new Pick ‘n Pay, and pick up the restaurant’s wireless signal there, and gave me the security password.   It did not work from there, and therefore I stood outside a neighbouring shop to pick up the signal.  Ten minutes later he arrived back, opened his doors, put out a table and opened an umbrella, and made me a cappuccino, to ensure that I could do my e-mails, thereby demonstrating his commendable customer-orientation, putting my need ahead of his own.

The Sour Service Award  goes to The Village Beanery in the Constantia Village shopping centre.   I ordered a foamy cappuccino and a slice of apple tart, both of which were disappointing.  I could not drink the cappuccino, it being scalding hot, as if microwaved.  By the time I had finished the tart, the coffee still was too hot to drink.   I called the waitress, told her that I could not wait any longer for the coffee to be drinkable, and that I wanted her to only charge me for the tart.  She sent another waitress, who in turn sent the owner to my table.  Mr Zervas, the owner, became abusive and threatened to have me arrested by the centre security if I did not pay for the cappuccino – I had only had two sips of it, due to its heat.  He then went from table to table in his restaurant, disparaging me, because I had not paid for the undrinkable coffee.   I lodged a complaint with the centre information counter, and was then called by the centre manager.  She promised that Mr Zervas’ wife would call me to apologise, but I have not heard from her in three weeks.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Restaurant Review: Cassis Paris Salon de Thé très délicieux

I have been to Cassis Paris in the Gardens Centre many times, and often had a sit-down quiche at the tables and chairs just outside the shop there.   The sit-down service there has been disappointing, not matching the wonderful products they serve in their Patisserie and Boulangerie.  The owner Patrick Moreau now owns three Cassis Paris outlets, and has just added a good Salon de Thé to his Newlands branch, bringing Paris to Newlands, and matching the quality of his wonderful breads and pastries, with some service deficiencies.

Moreau was born in Brittany, but grew up in Paris.  He met his South African wife on a cruise ship, where both were working, and they worked in Bangkok before Moreau had the yearning to start his own business.  A holiday back ‘home’ in South Africa in 2007 led him to identify a gap in the market for an upmarket French-style patisserie and boulangerie.  He opened in the Gardens Centre, well located next door to Raith Gourmet, three years ago, and in Newlands eighteen months ago.  The Salon and the outlet in Constantia Village were opened in December.  His products inside the display cabinets at the 15 on Orange hotel have been removed.  The business is so successful that Moreau is at his Montague Gardens factory, overseeing the production of the pastries and breads, during the week.  Over weekends he circulates between his outlets.   He told me that Somerset West and Mouille Point are on his wishlist for future outlets.

I was impressed to see Patrick hands-on behind the counter of his Newlands branch, in which the patisserie counter was filled with the most beautiful selection of pastries.   A smaller counter deeper in the shop sells a selection of breads, croissants and brioche.

The Salon de Thé is a smallish space, with white tables and chairs set inside as well as outside, with branded Cassis Paris umbrellas protecting the outside tables against the heat.  My table was wobbly, but the waiter quickly fixed this problem. The colour scheme at Cassis Paris is a most definite purple, and the bench attached to the wall inside the restaurant is purple.  Cutlery is by Fortis, and is obviously shiny new, offered with a purple paper serviette. The menu cover is purple, as is the apron the staff wear over a black shirt and black pants.  The menu is extensive, and is neatly presented in plastic sleeves.   It focuses on the products which Cassis makes, presented in the French style.   French style chanson music was switched on after about an hour of my arrival, and was well matched to the theme.

I love that the Salon serves an all day breakfast, even if their breakfast dishes differ from our usual South African taste.   I had the Cocotte Cassis, served as a one-pot (in a purple Le Creuset mini-pot) breakfast with potato croquettes, tomato, eggs and bacon (R38), served with toast.  It consisted mostly of potato.  Other Light Meals are muesli, yoghurt and fruit (R35); the Le Classique two-egg and bacon breakfasts costs R30; Pain Perdu (French Toast) costs R 22; a Cocotte Paris consists of crème fraîche, camembert, Toulouse sausage, bacon, spinach, onions, croûtons and egg (R45).   The La Complète is a savoury pancake containing Gypsey ham and egg, and costs R40; salads range in price from R 32 – R50; lovely quiches  (spinach and feta, and ham and cheese) cost R26; a Provençale tart costs R28, and sandwiches R25 – R33.  The Viennoisseries section lists about fifteen pastries which are available from the patisserie.  Brioche, croissants, pain au chocolate and apple turnovers can also be ordered.   A full page of the menu is dedicated to twenty-five “Sweets”, including chocolate eclairs (R16) and their popular Concerto (chocolate mousse and chocolate biscuit) costing R26.   My dessert choice was a Tiramisu (R28), served in a plastic cup that looked shabby in that it had a crack in it.  Its content was excellent however, drier than we are used to locally, with not much creaminess.  Imported French teas Mariage Frères are available at R24.   If one would like wine with one’s meal, one can buy it next door at Wine Concepts.

Initially the waiter serving me was attentive, and fetched and carried what I requested, but once I had finished eating, he left me stranded, and I had to ask another waitress to bring a dessert and Illy cappuccino (R14).   Moreau’s wife came to take over the service, and apologised, explaining that my waiter had to take over the coffee-making as the person designated to do this had to have a lunch break!   If one takes any pastries away, they are neatly packed in a purple Cassis Paris box, with branding in gold and a golden board on which the pastry is presented.  The bill says thank you in English and French.

Cassis Paris has a fantastic opportunity to win business from the nearby Melissa’s, which is attracting greater dissatisfaction from its long-standing customers.  However, it needs to improve its service, as this is Melissa’s weakness too.   There is only a service door connecting the shop and the Salon, which could mean that Cassis Paris staff may neglect the clients in the sitdown Salon de Thé.  I walked past Melissa’s to get to my car, and Melissa’s was half full, showing that it had lost some custom to Cassis on that day.  Moreau will have to check on his branches – I was in the Constantia branch yesterday, and was served by a chewing gum chewing staff member, an absolute no-no in the hospitality industry.  Cassis Paris has an opportunity to serve teas and coffees from its Constantia branch on a reduced scale, served with its great pastries, given the poor coffees served by the close-by The Village Beanery.

POSTSCRIPT 3/6/12: Cassis Salon de thé has just opened in Gardens’ Centre, with a superb menu and excellent service.  It is located on the upstairs level, and not next to its shop.  The Vol au vent is excellent value at R48.  All pastries stocked in the shop can be ordered to eat or take-away at the restaurant, but at a surcharge. Opening hours are Monday – Friday 7h30 – 19h00; Saturday 7h30 – 17h30; Sunday 7h30 – 14h30.

Cassis Paris Salon de Thé,  Newlands Village, corner Kildare and Main Road, Newlands.  Tel (021) 671-1305.  French Oven Head Office Tel (021) 552-1305.  www.cassis.co.za. (The website contains a listing of every product sold in the stores, with a description and a good quality photograph of each.  The website does not list the new Constantia store, nor the Salon de Thé).   Monday – Friday 8h00 – 18h00, Saturday 8h00 – 16h00, Sunday 8h00 – 14h00.

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