Tag Archives: craft

Restaurant Review: Craft Bakery and Craft Wheat & Hops in Stellenbosch chalk and cheese in service!

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‘. Continue reading →

Kamers food and design market builds on history of The Castle of Good Hope, first time in Cape Town!

Kamers Cover picOn Thursday I was invited to the opening of the Kamers food and design pop-up event, which is being held inside and outside the extensive The Castle, an apt venue as The Castle  of Good Hope was home to the market in Cape Town in early days.

Kamers started off in Stellenbosch twelve years ago when a collection of friends organised it as Kamers vol Geskenke, and its timing was close to Christmas, allowing one to buy unusual, unique, and stylish presents to give as gifts.   At that time they started with 40 stands, now they have 140, chosen out of a list of 600 applicants, we were told by the founder of the event, Wanda du Toit.  Her official title is Creative Director. Other members of the organising team include Magdel Kemp, Amelia van Zyl, and Hesta du Plessis.  Kamers has never been held in Cape Town, so hosting it in the city as well as in The Castle is a double historic event.  Now Kamers is spread over four events throughout the year, in Stellenbosch, Pretoria, and for the first time in Johannesburg and Cape Town this year.  It is organised by a team of twelve, and no one ever leaves, said Wanda.   Unique to the Cape Town event is the collaboration with the Cape Craft & Design Initiative (CCDI), a collective of 5000 small design and craft enterprises, which are offered business and marketing support to assist them in growing their businesses, to help them grow, and to enable them to employ staff, said Erica Elk, its Executive Director. World Design Capital 2014 has endorsed Kamers.

On arrival at The Castle, we were guided to park furthest from The Castle building, and fill up the space in this way, not making sense at all, the latecomers being lucky enough to park closest to The Castle building!  It was difficult to find the venue for the media launch, a number of us entering the building housing the William Fehr Collection. An Iziko Museums staff member was unfriendly in pointing us generally down a passage with her walkie-talkie, without explanation. Kamers Calvyn Gilfellan Whale Cottage PortfolioShe had no clue about Kamers taking place on the property, or where the media function was, and fortunately a colleague could guide us to a completely different building.  In the launch address Wanda hinted at some of the issues they had in using The Castle buildings, being a Military-owned property with rules and regulations, which created some challenges for the organisers, but these were not visible to us, other than the attitude of the Iziko staff and the parking ‘organisation’.  I fed back the problem with the Iziko Museums staff to Calvyn Gilfellan, the CEO of The Castle, who told me immediately that the Iziko Continue reading →

Many restaurant openings in Cape Town and Winelands contrary to past winter trend!

Chef's Warehouse Street Food logo Whale Cottage PortfolioCape Town is seeing an amazing number of restaurant openings in mid-winter, a time during which one expects the opposite, it being usual to see restaurant closures.  Although a concern to some, we are seeing a rise in restaurant entrepreneurs, opening more than one restaurant in Cape Town, including Neil Grant with business partner Barry Engelbrecht (opening on Bree Street, as well as at the former River Café; Michael Townsend of the Harbour House Group, who must be the fastest restaurant-opener at the moment, also bringing star Chef Andres Conde from Michelin star restaurants in Spain to Cape Town; and grumpy Giorgio Nava, who is opening two Carne restaurants shortly! This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen has opened Street Food below the neighbouring hotel, offering Deluxe coffee, pastries, and Asian-inspired lunch take-outs. Operates from 7h00 – 15h00.

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   Lucky Fish & Chips has opened on Bree Street, on Regent Road in Sea Point, on Long Street, in Kalk Bay, and in Muizenberg, belonging to Harbour House group.  

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill is opening next to Sotano in Mouille Point.

*   Ragafellows has opened on Main Road in Hout Bay.

*   The Dogfather has opened in Sea Point.

*   The Restaurant at Cape Point Vineyards has opened, with Chef Clayton Bell of the former Constantia Uitsig Continue reading →

Winter restaurant openings in Cape Town and Winelands contrary to closures in past winters!

Chef's Warehouse Street Food logo Whale Cottage PortfolioCape Town is seeing an amazing number of restaurant openings in mid-winter, a time during which one expects the opposite, it being usual to see restaurant closures.  Although a concern to some, we are seeing a rise in restaurant entrepreneurs, opening more than one restaurant in Cape Town, including Neil Grant with business partner Barry Engelbrecht (opening on Bree Street, as well as at the former River Café; Michael Townsend of the Harbour House Group, who must be the fastest restaurant-opener at the moment, also bringing star Chef Andres Conde from Michelin star restaurants in Spain to Cape Town; and grumpy Giorgio Nava, who is opening two Carne restaurants shortly!   This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen has opened Street Food below the neighbouring hotel, offering Deluxe coffee, pastries, and Asian-inspired lunch take-outs. Operates from 7h00 – 15h00.

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   Lucky Fish & Chips has opened on Bree Street, on Regent Road in Sea Point, on Long Street, in Kalk Bay, and in Muizenberg, belonging to Harbour House group.  

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill is opening next to Sotano in Mouille Point.

*   Ragafellows has opened on Main Road in Hout Bay.

*   The Dogfather has opened in Sea Point.

*   The Restaurant at Cape Point Vineyards has opened, with Chef Clayton Bell of the former Constantia Uitsig at Continue reading →

First signs of winter as first Cape Town/Winelands restaurants close down!

Chef's Warehouse Bree Street Whale Cottage Portfolio (2)Many restaurants opened this summer, but the industry is taking its first toll, with restaurants closing down.  It may be a tough winter ahead, given the poor state of the economy.  Yet Neil Grant and Barry Engelbrecht (Burrata), Clayton Howard and Mico Botha (I Love my Laundry), and Michael Townsend (La Parada, Lucky Fish, Harbour House) are expanding their portfolios.

This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Chef’s Warehouse & Cookery School has moved to Bree Street, in the Cape Heritage hotel building, where Awestruck/Caveau used to be, and is now called Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, with Chef Liam Tomlin in the kitchen.  Street Food has also opened as a take-away outlet (7h00 – 15h00)

*   Diesel & Creme, a diner, restaurant, and coffee shop, has opened on the R62 in Barrydale.

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   The Tap Room has opened at Devils’ Peak Brewery

*   I  my Laundry has opened another (its third) branch on Buitenkant Street.

*   Jordan Wines has launched a Deli and Bakery.

*   Lucky Fish & Chips has opened on Bree Street, on Regent Road in Sea Point, on Long Street, in Kalk Bay, and in Muizenberg, belonging to Michael Townsend of the Harbour House group.

  Tümi has opened as a health food café in St John’s Piazza in Sea Point, being part of the Col’Cocchia group. Continue reading →

Design Indaba Expo 2011 showcases Cape Town as design capital of South Africa!

Yesterday I became excited about another dimension of Cape Town – I attended the Design Indaba Expo, the first time that I have attended any aspect of the Design Indaba in its 16 year history.   I am so sorry that I was not better informed about this amazing event in the local newspapers or on radio, and had it not been for Twitter I would not have known about it.   I was blown away by the quality and diversity of design, by mainly Cape Town based designers, in the jam-packed Cape Town International Convention Centre exhibition hall, and must congratulate Ravi Naidoo and his Design Indaba team for the excellent organisation, and leading-edge design on display.  I would urge all design-lovers in Cape Town to visit the Design Indaba Expo this weekend.

There is such an overwhelming number of exhibitors, in relatively small stands, that one blindly moves from one stand to another, trying to not miss anything in the vast hall.   No exhibitor map or list is provided when one buys the ticket outside the hall, and the Design Indaba Info stand is in the centre of the hall (not visible when one enters), and I only saw it near the end of my long walk through the exhibition.   Here I was able to obtain a “Visitors Guide”, which lists each of the roughly 250 exhibitors, and contains the floor plan, so that one can find the exhibitors, as well as the programme for the fashion shows and film festival, forming part of the Design Indaba programme.  Designers were chosen by a panel of industry experts, the Visitors Guide explains.   What I did observe is that many designers are brand new at their design businesses, and rather poor at their marketing, not having business cards and/or brochures with them, or having handed all of them out during the first day of the Expo.  Pierre le Roux was one of the most interesting designers at the Expo, in my opinion, but has no business card and not even a website.  Pierre described his furniture as being works of art more than functional seating.  To obtain further information and contact details of all the designers, one has to buy  a “Buyers Guide” at R100, which I decided to do, to use at a later stage – sadly Pierre’s details are not in the Buyers’ Guide either.  This information deficiency was the only flaw in the Expo that I experienced.   

Near the entrance was an impactful rainbow-coloured display to attract attention to Cape Town’s bid for Design Capital of the world in 2014.  Attendees were invited to sign the base of the display, to show their support for the bid.   Next to it stood a five-tier cake by Charly’s Bakery, which reflected different aspects of Cape Town.   in the exhibition hall one can loosely pick up a grouping of similar designers, including furniture, fashion, jewellery, craft, interior design, product design, advertising, architecture, publishing and many more design disciplines.

The furniture exhibits probably attracted the most attention, because the exhibitors required more space, and they tended to not be confined within exhibition stand walls.  I was impressed by the differentness of an outdoors chair made from pipes (left), as well as the new stainless steel tub chair from the Sofa Studio in Franschhoek.  Other furniture designers at the Expo include the Western Cape Furniture Initiative, Haldane Martin, Cabinetworks, Pierre Cronje, Raw Studios, Recreate, Pedersen + Lennard, …XYZ Design, and a most cleverly named Flower Power, making lamps shaped like proteas. 

The 24 jewellery stands probably were the most popular in general, attracting a lot of visitors.  The work exhibited was more modern and contemporary, some quirky, very creative, some art, some organic, some romantic, and all unique and non-commercialised.  The University of Stellenbosch Jewellery Design department also exhibited its students’ work.  Ceramic exhibitors include Liesel Trautman, Diana Ferreira, fun Zizamele Ceramics, John Bauer, The Potter’s Workshop, Tamarillo Ceramics & Design, Clementina Ceramics,  Hennie Meyer Ceramics, Imiso Ceramics, Sootcookie Ceramics, Tania Babb Ceramics and Wonki Ware.   Craft exhibitors include Woodhead’s, Usisi Designs, Cupcake Country, The Cape Craft & Design Institute, Phumani Paper, Design Afrika, Monkeybiz, The Letterpress Company,  Nicfredman Art and Design, Molten, The Beloved, and many more.   Fashion took up a lot of exhibition space, and was popular.  Exhibitors include Tjerrie, Matblac, GOOD Clothing, Coast & Koi, Spilt Milk, BlueCollarWhiteCollar, Homework, Mielie, Township Patterns, DURCHZUG, FACT, Baie Nice, Continent Africa, and MeMeMe.   Lifestyle designers exhibiting are Pepper Plum Designs, Yda Walt Studio, Flick Glass, Fundi Light & Living, Carrol Boyes, Chic Revolution, Tintown, Anatomy Design, and Ikhaya.  Some of the names of the designer businesses are as creative as their craft!

There are two separated design areas within the Design Indaba Expo.  The first is The Salon Privé, ‘focusing on the crème de la crème of South African design.  The Salon Privé is independently curated and designers are encouraged to use the platform to launch a new product or product range.’    In this space the Ardmore ceramics table attracted attention, as did the Veuve Clicquot champagne bar, where I indulged in a glass of their Rosé bubbly at R99, served in a most beautiful unusual champagne glass, nothing like I have ever seen before, without a stem.     Other exhibitors are architects Haldane Martin, Johannesburg-based interior designers Tonic (which one hopes will open in Cape Town too), Willowlamp, Zenzulu, Egg Designs, Ronel Jordaan, ZENZULU, and more.  Close by was a collection of small stands dedicated to “Emerging Creatives”, but it is not explained in the Visitors Guide, other than that there are 60 first-time exhibitors, under the heading “New Kids on the Block”.  The Department of Trade and Industry also had a conglomerate pavilion with about ten exhibitors, including Abode Designer, Veldt designers, Zan Zan décor, Drift Furniture, Keiskamma Art, Master Wires and Deesigned Beads.

For the hungry and thirsty Expo-goers, one can buy Woolworths’ coffees and rolls, or buy sandwiches and other foods from the Earth Fair Market.   Grolsch has an interestingly designed stand too.   Whilst I sat down at the table to have my cappuccino, I had the most wonderful experience in reconnecting with Mark Robinson, whom I had last seen twenty years ago when we both consulted to the then Colman Foods.  The lady that took his seat when he left shared a background in PR and marketing with me.   This was another enriching dimension of the Expo. 

Alongside the Design Indaba Expo is the update of the Cape Town Design Route, and this is an exciting longer-term manifestation of Cape Town’s design wealth, in that tourists and locals can visit more than fifty designers in the city throughout the year.   The Cape Town Design Route designers are all exhibiting at the Design Indaba Expo.  The updated Cape Town Design Route 2011 map was lying at the entrance to the exhibition, without one being alerted to this wonderful design highlight.  I had read about the Design Route by chance last year, and this is the first time that I have seen a map for it.  I was so inspired about the Cape Town Design Route at the time that I wrote a blogpost about it, and will write a new one about the Cape Town Design Route 2011.

Film and fashion events take place inside the Expo throughout the exhibition days, and the programme of events is detailed in the Visitors’ Guide.   Childrens’ design and art workshops are also on the programme throughout the weekend.   

Last year the Design Indaba became infamous due to the spectacle Martha Stewart made of herself as the keynote speaker at the Design Indaba Conference – this year the Design Indaba will be remembered for the most wonderful showcase of design in Cape Town!

Design Indaba Expo, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 465-9966.  www.designindaba.com.  Today 10h00 – 20h00, Sunday 10h00 – 18h00.

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