Entries tagged with “De Volkskombuis”.


New restaurant openings in Cape Town and the Winelands appear to still be on the slow side. Former JAN Head Chef Kevin Grobler has returned to the Cape. Very sad is the recent tragic passing of Aimee Josten, an important half of the award-winning Karoux restaurant in McGregor. De Volkskombuis has reopened in Stellenbosch after an extensive renovation, while The Big Easy is no longer operating in the town. Eric Bulpitt is the new Executive Chef at Pierneef à La Motte.

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously, and welcome such news.

Restaurant Openings

#   Bootlegger Café & Grill has opened in Constantia in conjunction with Chef Eric Bulpitt, in the former Greens (photograph)

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WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Babylonstoren is expanding its offering of fruit and vegetables, by now growing various varieties of mushrooms in its Mushroom Cellar.

*   Eurostar is to introduce a London – Amsterdam route from 2016, a four hour journey.

*   Xolani Mancotywa, Sommelier at the Saxon Hotel, has reached the Finals of the international 2013 Best Young Sommelier, having won the South African title.  He is competing against eleven other such country winners in Washington on 18 October.  The competition is sponsored by the Chaîne de Rôtisseurs, a global gastronomic society.

*   An innovative way of attracting business into the city in the evening is First Thursdays, the 20 or so city centre art galleries staying open until 21h00 (some even later) on the first Thursday of each month, (more…)

What an exciting MasterChef South Africa episode 8 was last night, and what a super theme, focusing on the iconic South African cuisine, which challenged eight of the Finalists in an Elimination Challenge, and saw the demise of Brandon Law and Babalwa Baartman, two contestants who did not receive much coverage in the preceding seven episodes. Cape Town’s tourism industry should have benefitted from the episode too, with beautiful filming in Bo-Kaap, with Table Mountain as a backdrop.

The 13 Finalists were put to a taste test, with 30 small bowls of ingredients placed on their work stations. They were asked to taste an ‘iconic’ Carrot Cake which Chef Benny Masekwameng had baked, and then choose the 15 ingredients he had included in its baking. Brandon said immediately that he did not have a good track record in identifying ingredients, and looked worried. He added that he had made a carrot cake before, but certainly had not added so many different ingredients. Thys Hattingh was excited when he saw the sugar, knowing it was a cake or a dessert, saying it probably was something he had made before. He started with the foundation of a carrot cake, choosing the base ingredients: carrots, walnuts, sultanas, and more. The carrot cake was praised by the Finalists for its aroma, and some guessed that it contained nutmeg, cinnamon, and fruit.  The Finalists had to choose the ingredients they thought were in the cake, the bottom eight Finalists going into the ‘Elimination Challenge‘, they were told.  It was the second ingredient (walnuts) that caught Thys short, and another seven incorrectly chose sultanas, which were not in the cake. Brandon, Ilse Fourie, Sue-Ann Allen, Jade de Waal, Deena Naidoo, Manisha Naidu, Thys, and Babalwa went into the Elimination Challenge as a result. In choosing a cooking utensil, which matched that of a second Finalist, the eight were paired into groups of two, and had to open a Mystery Box, which contained a directive of where to go to recreate an iconic South African dish, each pair driven to a different destination in the sponsor Hyundai’s vehicles.  They were given 4 hours to meet with the maker of the dish, to taste the ingredients, and to feel the texture.  The makers of the dishes were not allowed to tell them the recipes or give any specific guidelines.  The eight Finalists were told that the makers of the ‘worst dish’ would be sent home, a surprise that two Finalists were set to be eliminated.

Brandon and Babalwa were sent to De Volkskombuis in Stellenbosch, where they met Chef Dawid and were presented with his restaurant’s ‘Meraai se Hoenderpie’, his mother having added the dish to the menu 35 years ago, in honour of one of their chefs at the time. They tasted the dish, described the chicken to be ‘moist and juicy’, covered with a thick and crispy pastry. There were no strong spices, but they detected a taste of sweetness.  On their return, Brandon decided proudly that they would not use puff pastry from the Woolworths Pantry, and that they would make it themselves, a decision which was criticised by Chef Pete Goffe-Wood, in that puff pastry takes two days to be made, he said.  Brandon confidently replied that he knows the short cuts to make puff pastry. They cooked the chicken with bacon, to give it saltiness, as well as mushrooms. Again Brandon told the camera proudly that he came to MasterChef SA to ‘push his boundaries’, and that’s why he chose to make the puff pastry from scratch.  As it does, it shrunk in the oven, and exposed some of the meat. The dish therefore did not look as good as that of De Volkskombuis, and Brandon was told that store puff pastry had been used in the making of the dish at the restaurant. The judges said that the filling had dried out due to the pastry not creating a seal, due to it shrinking.  The dish was not cleaned before presentation, as can be seen in the photograph.

Jade and Sue-Ann were sent to Goedemoed Country Inn in Paarl, where local waterblommetjie bredie expert Tannie Naomi presented her iconic waterblommetjie dish in the 1818 Cape Dutch home, which had housed some of the MasterChef SA production crew, its owner Russian Count Kim Nicolay told me telephonically after the show. Tannie Naomi said that waterblommetjies grow in 60 – 100 cm of water, and are an iconic Boland dish. Kim told me that the phone had rung off the hook after the show last night, for bookings of waterblommetjie bredie, but they are not a restaurant. Back at Nederburg close by, the two Finalists chose bay leaves, salt and pepper, sugar and white wine to cook the lamb.  They left the cooking of the waterblommetjies to last, Chef Pete questioning this, but Jade confidently said that they did not want to overcook it for it to become ‘mushy’!  When served to the judges, they said it was a ‘bit green’, and the dish was shot down for the potatoes, lamb, and waterblommetjies all having been cooked separately, instead of being cooked together, the ingredients not ‘having lived together in the same pot’, they were told.

Ilse and Manisha were sent to the Eziko Cooking and Catering School in Langa, where Chef David presented the dish they had feared, being tripe, both never having prepared it before.  Tripe is a traditional Xhosa dish, served to guests to welcome them, Chef David explained.  The two Finalists described the texture as ‘furry’, and ‘chewy’, and having a salty taste.  Initially they seemed hesitant to taste the dish, but realised that their future participation in MasterChef SA depended on it. Back at the MasterChef SA kitchen, they put the tripe into a pressure cooker.  They had to make phutu pap too, and followed the instructions on the pack.  Chef Benny liked the aroma coming out of their pots, but the two Finalists were worried that the tripe was not yet soft enough and also not as brown as in Chef David’s dish. The judges said that their tripe dish had an identical presentation to that of Eziko, and the tripe was judged by Chef Andrew Atkinson to be ‘not bad’.  Chef Pete liked its texture, but Chef Benny said that the pap did not have the right consistency. But he said that the dish ‘blew me away’, saying that the texture and flavours were right, and therefore they were allowed to join the other five Finalists who did not have to do this Challenge.

Thys and Deena were driven to Biesmiellah, the iconic Cape Malay restaurant in the Bo-Kaap in Cape Town, on a glorious day, and Cape Town was shown off in its glory.  They were presented with Denningvleis, the most popular Cape Malay dish that the Indonesians had brought to this country.  It was described as containing lamb and a ‘watery gravy’. They tasted a ‘sweetness’, nuts, and tamarind.  Being furthest away, they had the longest time to discuss their strategy whilst they were driven back to Nederburg.  Arriving back, their challenge was to balance the sweet (with brown sugar) and sour (with tamarind, but which they could not find in the Woolworths Pantry) of the dish. They added raisins, whereas Biesmiellah had used sultanas. When presented to the judges, their dish was said by Chef Andrew to be ‘nearly there’, to look similar to that of Biesmiellah, that the lamb could have been cooked for longer, and that there was a ‘good balance between sweet and sour’, Chef Pete said.  Their dish was judged to be good enough for them to stay on at MasterChef SA.

In the end two teams did not do well: Jade and Sue-Ann did not ‘marry their dish in one pot’, and Brandon and Balalwa did not follow the judges’ brief of replicating the dish they were allocated. The judges reminded the Finalists that this episode had exposed them to the culinary heritage of our country, and that both teams had fallen short in this Challenge. It was their decision to eliminate Brandon and Babalwa in this episode. Brandon said that cooking is the great passion in his life. Babalwa said that she had had an awesome time at MasterChef SA.  From Twitter it would appear that the wrong team was sent home last night, many Tweeting that it was unfair that Brandon was ‘punished’ for preferring to make his own puff pastry instead of using a prepared one.

The remaining eleven Finalists were given a pep talk by the judges, being told that they were a third way through MasterChef SA, and that it was ‘time to shine’, and to ‘reach out and grab it’! They were challenged: Let’s see it’, referring to one of them becoming MasterChef.

POSTSCRIPT 9/5: I popped in at Biesmiellah today, and the manager told me that they have been overwhelmed by the number of calls of Capetonians who want to taste Denningvleis.  One TV viewer came to them straight after the show last night to eat it!

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

The pioneering Stellenbosch Wine Route, founded in 1971 by winemakers Frans Malan of Simonsig, Neil Joubert of Spier, and Spatz Sperling of Delheim, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an extensive wine and food feast and fest from 28 – 31 July.  The Route has established itself not only as one with the largest number of outstanding wine farms of the 18 wine routes in the country, representing 18% of all vines planted in South Africa, but also with the largest collection of outstanding restaurants in South Africa, Stellenbosch now wearing the Gourmet Capital crown.

The trio which established the Stellenbosch Wine Route was inspired by the wine route Routes de Vins at Morey St Denis in Burgundy, the late Frans Malan and Neil Joubert returning from their 1969 trip and connecting with Spatz Sperling to establish the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the first wine tourism activity in our country.  I was delighted to meet Spatz Sperling (who celebrated his 81st birthday last week) and his wife Vera, as well as daughter Nora and son Victor on their Delheim wine farm recently.  To create the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the founding wine farmers had to overcome red tape and bureaucracy, and even had to have wine legislation rewritten to accommodate the new Stellenbosch Wine Route.  Meals were not allowed to be served at wine estates, and bottled wine could not be sold from a winery in those days.

The renamed Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes has 147 wine farms, making it the largest wine route in our country, but also is the only one to celebrate its assets with the Stellenbosch Wine Festival for the 10th year running.   Not focusing exclusively on wines, food has been added to the Festival.  Celebrity chefs from Towerbosch Earth Kitchen, The Restaurant @ Clos Malverne, The Restaurant at Waterkloof, and De Volkskombuis (the oldest restaurant in Stellenbosch) will be cooking in the Gourmet Lane at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival venue of Paul Roos Centre in Stellenbosch.  Presentations at the Clover Demo Kitchen will be done by outstanding photographer Russell Wasserfall with his wife Camilla on ‘Home Entertaining at its Best’ in conjunction with De Meye wines; by @KitchenVixen Bianca du Plessis, who reviews restaurants on the Expresso Show; by wine PRO Emile Joubert with wine writer Neil Pendock; by chef George Jardine of Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine on ‘Cheese if you Please’; and by Chef Greg Czarnecki of The Restaurant at Waterkloof, who celebrates the ‘French Connection’.

The Stellenbosch Wine Festival has been stretched out into the Stellenbosch Wine Week, which commenced on Friday, and continues until Sunday.  During the Stellenbosch Wine Week one can enjoy dinner with the Warwick family, a fundraising concert at Delheim, vertical tastings of Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel, vintage tastings of Scintilla Cap Classiques at the House of JC le Roux, a salt pairing with Fleur du Cap wines by Sofia chef Craig Cormack, a food and wine pairing dinner at Neethlingshof with Katinka van Niekerk, paired venison carpaccio with Vergenoegd wines, blend and bottle one’s own Cape Blend at Clos Malverene, enjoy free winetastings in the Waterkloof Tasting Room, vertical tasting of Kanonkop wines followed by a snoek braai, vintage and barrel tastings of Jan Boland Coetzee’s Vriesenhof wines, tasting with David Trafford of his De Trafford wines, taste rare Cabernet Sauvignon vintages at Le Riche, wine and venison pairing at Middelvlei, picnics at Chabivin with Champagnes and Cap Classique tastings, art-house films screened at Le Bonheur, ‘Dine and 30 Seconds’ dinners at Uitkyk, and participate in a chipping competition at Ernie Els Wines,

A new feature of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival will be a MCC Lounge, in which Simonsig Estate, which created South Africa’s first Méthode Cap Classique Kaapse Vonkel, Villiera, Mooiplaas, Longridge, Spier, and Pongrácz will be presenting their MCC’s, paired with oysters and other delicacies.

We wrote last year that the Stellenbosch Wine Route should create the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route, and while they have not yet done so, we have created it on this Blog nevertheless, and in honour of the cuisine excellence in Stellenbosch, list from it the restaurants on wine farms in Stellenbosch:

Rust en Vrede – named the best restaurant in the country in 2010 by Eat Out, a slick operation, previously with talented chef David Higgs, on the Rust en Vrede wine estate.  Featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list 2009, and 2010, number 74 on 50 Best Restaurants in the World 2010 list, and Top vineyard restaurant of 2010 Great Wine Capitals in the World – read the review here.  Tel (021) 881-3881

*   Overture – Chef Bertus Basson is a hard-working re-inventor of his menu and operation, always looking to improve.   On the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list for 2009 and 2010.  Fantastic views from the location on the Hidden Valley wine estate – read the review here.  Tel (021) 880-2721

*   Terroir is a perennial on the Eat Out Top 10 list, with Chef Michael Broughton.  The outside seating on the De Kleine Zalze wine and golf estate is great for a warm day.  Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Delaire at Delaire Graff –  no money was spared in building and decorating this restaurant and winery building, and it houses a most impressive art collection.   Chef Christian Campbell is doing outstanding work and good service. Read our review here.  Tel (021) 885-8160

*   Indochine at Delaire Graff- is relatively less opulent in its interior design compared to its sister restaurant.   Young chef Jonathan Heath is a star to watch, and his Asian fusion menu is sure to attract the attention of the Eat Out Top 10 judges.   He explains the menu, and the dishes when he serves them personally.  Read our review. Tel (021) 885-8160

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine –  a mouthful of a brand name but also a mouthful in value and excellent quality. Set at the end of a long road, on the Jordan wine estate, it overlooks a big pond and the beautiful Stellenbosch mountains in the far distance, teeming with birdlife.  Interior functional.  Most beautiful and unique ”bread” plate ever seen.   Read the review.  Tel (021) 881-3612

*   The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe – set at the end of a long road up a hill, above Rust en Vrede, on the Haskell Vineyards (marketers of Haskell and Dombeya wines), the food of Chef Corli Els is a wonderful surprise.  The restaurant interior and waiter service do not match the excellence of her food or the quality of the Haskell wines. The Papaya and Avo salad stands out as one of the special treats.   Read the Review. Tel (021) 881-3746

*   Warwick wine estate – owner Mike Ratcliffe is a good marketer, and his gourmet picnics are a great hit in summer.  Winter Tapas menu – read the picnic review here.  Tel (021) 884-3144

*   Tokara DeliCATessen – has a buffet lunch too, very large restaurant space combined with a deli, but service poor and food quality average – read the review here.   Tel (021) 808-5950

*   Eight at Spier – the menu was designed by Judy Badenhorst, ex-River Cafe, now running the Casa Labia Cafe in Muizenberg. Tel (021) 809-1188

Wild Peacock Food Emporium on Piet Retief Street – belongs to Sue Baker and is managed by ex-Rust en Vrede front of house manager and daughter Sarah, selling deli items, a range of cold meats, imported French and local cheese, fresh breads, and has a sit-down menu as well. Wine shop to come. Tel 082 697 0870

Pane E Vino – this food and wine bar is hidden to those who do not come to Bosman’s Crossing.  Owned by Elena Dalla Cia, husband George and father-in-law Giorgio do wine and grappa tastings in the restaurant too.  Good Italian fare. Tel (021) 883-8312

*   Bodega @Dornier – Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Cuvee Restaurant, Simonsig – interesting modernist Cape Dutch interior curation by Neil Stemmet. Impressive quality food, tableware, stemware, napery, and service.  Tel (021) 888-4932

*   Tokara – Etienne Bonthuys has left Tokara to open Casparus on Dorp Street, and Richard Carstens has stepped into the kitchen, cooking up a storm as South Africa’s Ferran Adria of El Bulli fame. Read the review. Tel (021) 808-5959.

*   Towerbosch Earth Kitchen on the Knorhoek wine estate, designed by Neil Stemmet. Lovely fairy-like setting, fantastic Boerekos feast served in bowls rather than dishing up per plate.  Read the review. Tel (021) 865-2114.

*   Johan’s at Longridge is a refreshing new restaurant on LongridgeWinery, with a focus on fresh vegetables from its large vegetable garden alongside the restaurant.  Co-owner Chef Johan comes from a Michelin two-star restaurant in Holland, as does Chef Marissa.  Attentive service led by Chris Olivier, excellent food, great wines.  Read the review.   Tel (021) 855-2004

*   Delheim restaurant – read about the visit during the Delheim Nouvelle Mushroom Week earlier this month.  Tel (021) 888-4600

*   The Table at De Meye opened in September, and won the Eat Out Best Country-Style Award in November.  It is only open for Friday. Saturday and Sunday lunches.

Stellenbosch Wine Festival, 28 – 31 July.  Paul Roos Centre, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 886-4310.    www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za. Book www.webtickets.co.za.  Entry R120 on-line, R140 at door.  R350 for a pass for entry over the whole period of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival.

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