Entries tagged with “Dear Me Foodworld”.


Eat Out magazine cover Whale Cottage PortfolioAfter two disastrous years, New Media Publishing was brave enough to take stock earlier this year, and asked the industry what it wanted in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards.  Last night that hard work paid off, with a new venue for the event, a slick and short presentation, new Awards introduced, and three new restaurants making the Top 10 Restaurant list.  The surprise was the emotion which the chefs expressed when receiving their plaques, challenging MasterChef SA Season 2 on tears!

We were one of the interviewees, meeting with Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, its GM Aileen Lamb, MD Bridget McCarney, and Director Irna van Zyl.  We were forthright in our feedback and suggestions, including that a team of judges would be needed again (we suggested Garth Stroebel, and have yet to meet him!). We fed back that the preferential relationship with Luke Dale-Roberts in TASTE magazine (also published by New Media Publishing, and of which Abigail is the Food Editor) was unfair towards all other chefs, by featuring him every month – we were told that Woolworths had a contract with him, and therefore he received the coverage in the magazine.  This contract was terminated earlier this year, which is excellent news.  Other recommendations can be read here.  Flowing from the interviews and discussions with previous Top 20 chefs and restaurant managers, owners, and suppliers, as well as media representatives and bloggers, New Media Publishing allowed restaurants to apply to be included in the Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant List, which was selected by a (more…)

Our list of latest restaurant openings and closures fortunately lists more openings than closures, and is updated continuously, as we receive information.

Restaurant Openings

*   Tamboers Winkel has opened on De Lorentz Street, just off Kloof Street, Gardens (photograph)

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, Eat Out Top Chef, is to open a real test kitchen, called The Kitchen of Dreams, a private experimental place to develop new recipes, at the Old Biscuit Mill

*  Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is opening a pop-up Pot Luck Club in Swiss ski resort Verbier, at the Hotel Farinet, from 8 December – April, to be run by Chef Luke, his chef Nicolas Wilkinson, and front of house Selena Afnan-Holmes.

*   Col’Cacchio has opened a new outlets in Westlake, and a new one is coming in Claremont too.

*   A new Vida é Caffe has opened on Prestwich Street, and a new branch is to open on Maindean Place in Claremont, and one in the new Wembley Square 2 development.  Two more branches are planned for Mauritius, it is said.

*   Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro has opened its dinner theatre, performing ‘Kaapse Stories’, on Main/Glengariff Roads in Sea Point, owned by Richard Loring and Roland Seidel

*    Honest Chocolate is opening a second outlet with a ‘production kitchen’ in the Woodstock Industrial Centre

*   Moyo is to open where the Paulaner Braühaus was in the V & A Waterfront in summer.  It has taken over the tearoom at Kirstenbosch already.

*   Josephine’s Cookhouse has opened in Newlands, belonging to the Societi Bistro owners

*    Keenwa has opened the P.I.S.C.O Bar above its restaurants, open Thursdays – Saturdays from 5 pm

*   TRUTH Coffee has opened on Buitenkant Street

*    Liam Tomlin Food Studio and Store at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek is opening a Deli, the date to be confirmed

*   FEAST is to open where Franschhoek Food Emporium was, in Place Vendome

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks has opened where Reuben’s Deli used to be in Franschhoek.

*   Okamai Japanese restaurant has opened at Glenwood wine estate in Franschhoek

*   Cavalli restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this year or next

*   The Slug & Lettuce has opened where Beads was on Church Street in Stellenbosch

*   Stables at Vergelegen Bistro has opened as a lunch restaurant in Somerset West.  Its Lady Phillips Restaurant is being given a make-over by Christo Barnard, and will open in November with a new name called The Vergelegen Restaurant. The new chef will be PJ Vadas, previously of The Roundhouse in Camps Bay.

*   Coopmanshuijs in Stellenbosch is opening a restaurant.

*   Chef Johan van Schalkwyk has left the Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery, and has opened his own restaurant Twist Some More in Wellington.

*    Chef Bjorn Dingemans is to open up The Millhouse Kitchen restaurant on Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West.

*   Grilleri (ex-Mediterrea) has closed down, and Chef Shane Sauvage (ex-La Vierge) is now heading the re-named La Pentola restaurant.

*   Ali Baba Kebab (renamed from Laila) has opened as a small beef and lamb kebab take-away and sit-down outlet, next door to Codfather in Camps Bay

*   Gibson’s Gourmet Burger and Smoked Ribs has opened as a 70-seater restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, taking part of the Belthazar space. Owned by the Belthazar/Balducci group.

*   Giorgio Nava is said to be re-opening his Down South Food Bar, previously on Long Street, in the Riverside Centre in Rondebosch

*   Ou Meul Bakery from Riviersonderend is said to be opening a bakery in Long Street

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks has opened a roastery at 6 Roodehek Street to service all its outlets

The Deli on the Square has opened at Frater Square in Paarl.

*   David Higgs (ex Rust en Vrede) is opening a new 30 seater restaurant in The Saxon in Johannesburg.

*   Big Route Top Gourmet Pizzeria has opened on Main Road, Green Point, next door to Woolworths, serving 52 different pizzas, salads and crêpes.

*   Cousins has opened in the Parliament Hotel, where Il Cappero used to be.

* Aces ‘n’ Spades Bar has opened on Hout Street

*   6 has opened at Schalk Burger & Sons wine estate in Wellington, run by the ex-owners of Oude Wellington

*   Café Dulce is to open a new branch in Tygervalley Centre

*   Gourmetboerie is to open at the bottom end of Kloof Street, where Depasco used to be, in October.

*   Kushi Indian Restaurant has opened a branch on Main Road in Sea Point

*   Abantu Restaurant and Bar has opened on the corner of Wale and Buitengracht Street, where Time & Place used to be

*   Make Sushi Bar has opened in Sea Point

*   Thai Café is opening on Plein Street, Stellenbosch

*   Simply Asia has opened in Paarl

*   Restaurant @ Zomerlust has opened in Paarl

* Christina’s has opened at Van Loveren in Robertson

*   Bellini’s is said to open on Greenmarket Square in October

Restaurant Closures

*   Sapphire has closed down in Camps Bay

*   High Level Restaurant in Bo-Kaap has closed down

*   Caveau on Bree Street and Gourmet Burger on Shortmarket Street, belonging to the same owners, have been closed down.

*   Sabarosa in Bakoven has closed down.

*   Mob Inc Tattoo Bistro has closed down in Sea Point

* Sunbird Bistro in Camps Bay has closed down

*   Limoncello in Gardens has closed down, but is continuing with its pop-up restaurant truck

*   Paparazzi has closed down on St George’s Mall

*   Wicked Treats in Franschhoek has closed down.

*   Casa Nostra has closed down in Sea Point, until it finds a new venue.

*   Bistro on Rose in Bo-Kaap has closed down as a restaurant, continues as an entertainment venue.

*   The Kove in Camps Bay has closed down, its space to be incorporated into sister restaurant Zenzero

Restaurant staff/venue changes

*    Il Cappero has moved from Barrack Street to Fairway Street in Camps Bay.

*  Table Thirteen has reduced in size in Green Point and will open in Paarden Eiland later this year.

*   The V&A Waterfront Food Court is closed for renovations until November.  A sign outside the construction area lists the following businesses moving into or returning to the area: Primi Express, Anat, Carnival, Nür Halaal, Royal Bavarian Bakery, KFC, Boost Juice, Simply Asia, Steers, Debonairs, Subway, Marcel’s, and Haagan Dazs.  Nando’s is also opening.

*   Chef Darren Badenhorst is the new Executive Chef at Grande Provence.

*   Chef Shaun Schoeman of Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms Delta has the amazing honour to be working at Noma in Copenhagen for two weeks.  Fyndraai will move to another building on the wine estate in November, and will offer fine dining.  The current restaurant will serve light lunches and picnics.

*    Reuben’s, which was said to be moving its Franschhoek branch, appears to be staying at its existing venue.

*   Emile Fortuin has been appointed as Executive Chef at Reuben’s Robertson

*   Josephine Gutentoft has left Grande Roche, and has moved to Makaron at Majeka House as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier.

*   The Reserve has changed its name to Reserve Brasserie. Seelan Sundoo, ex Grand Café Camps Bay and ex La Perla, is the new consultant chef and GM.

*   Café Dijon has closed its restaurant on Plein Street in Stellenbosch, and has opened in the Rockwell Centre in Green Point, Cape Town, opposite Anatoli’s, in which Camil Haas once had his Bouillabaisse restaurant.

*   Chef Andrew Mendes from ex-Valora is now at Nelson’s Eye restaurant, where they are setting up a lunch section and cocktail bar upstairs.

*   Miss K Food has closed down in Green Point. The new owner Maurizio Porro, with his chef Ernesto, has kept the staff and furniture, and most of the menu initially. They are now called Guilia’s Food Café Restaurant, and they are open for Italian-style lunch and dinner as well, but have retained some Miss K breakfast and pastry items.

*   Rob and Nicky Hahn have left Proviant in Paarl, and now run eat @ Simonsvlei on the Old Paarl Road

*   Karl Lambour is the new General Manager of Grande Provence.

*   Virgil Kahn is the new head chef at Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate

*   Having bought the farm about 18 months ago, Antonij Rupert Wines has taken over the Graham Beck Franschhoek property. They will re-open the tasting room in October, initially offering all its Antonij Rupert, Cape of Good Hope, Terra del Capo, and Protea wines to taste.  They are renovating the manor house, to which the Antonij Rupert and Cape of Good Hope wines will be moved for tasting at a later stage.

*   Orphanage is expanding into a property at its back, opening on Orphan Street, in December, creating a similar second bar downstairs, and opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers

*   GOLD Restaurant has moved into the Trinity building

*   Opal Lounge has closed down on Kloof Street, and has moved into Blake’s Bar building, renaming it Dinner at Blake’s. A wine and tapas bar has also been opened, called Bar Rouge.

*   Mano A Mano has opened on Park Street, where Green’s used to be.

*   MondeVino Restaurant at Montecasino in Johannesburg, the MasterChef SA prize for the next two years, is to be renamed Aarya, and is to be run by Chef Deena Naidoo from November onwards.

*   Chef Ulli Stamm has left Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro.

*   Bizerca is moving into the ex-Gourmet Burger space in Heritage Square on Shortmarket Street.

*    Co-owner Abbi Wallis has taken over the running of The Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery in Wellington.

*   Roodehek Restaurant has changed its name back to The German Club, after the departure of the previous owner.

*   Marcelino has left Marcelino’s Bakery, leaving the control with Mr Zerban.  A Zerban’s style restaurant is being added onto the bakery, and is said to open in September.

*   Chef Chris Erasmus from Pierneef à La Motte is doing a stage with Chef Rene Redzepi at Noma, the number one World’s 50 Best Restaurants in the World, in Copenhagen in September

*   MasterChef SA runner-up Sue-Ann Allen is joining South Africa’s number one Eat Out Top 10 restaurant The Greenhouse as an intern for a month, from 21 August.

*   Vintage India has moved out of the Garden’s Centre to the corner of Hiddingh and Mill Street, around the corner.

*   Nook Eatery in Stellenbosch has been sold, with new owners taking over in September

*   Crêpe et Cidre has closed down in Franschhoek.  Gideon’s The Famous Pancake House is taking over the main road space in September.

*   Liam Tomlin Food is to relocate from Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek to Cape Town in November.

*   Brampton winetasting bar on Church Street, Stellenbosch, is undergoing renovations to treble its current size, planning to reopen in the first week of September. Also said to be opening a winetasting venue at the entrance to Franschhoek.

*   Juno Café in Paarl no longer belongs to Fairview

*   Noop restaurant in Paarl has new owners

Restaurant breaks

*   Constantia Uitsig is taking a winter break from 25 June – 24 July.

*   The River Café is closing for a winter break from 13 August – 4 September.

*   Nguni in Plettenberg Bay closes from 1 May – 31 July

*   The Kove in Camps Bay will be closed from 1 May – 30 August

*   Olivello at Marianne Estate will be closed from 30 July – 21 August

*   Grande Provence is closing on Sunday evenings until the end of September.

*   Pure Restaurant at Hout Bay Manor will be closed from 23 June – 3 August

*   Pane e Vino is closed from 1 – 31 July

*   Bistro 1682 at Steenberg is closed from 1 – 26 July.

*   The Kitchen at Maison is closed until 3 August

*   Massimo’s Pizza Club is closing from 23 – 31 July

*   Rust en Vrede is closed from 8 July – 6 August

*   Reuben’s Franschhoek is closed from 16 July – 1 August

*   Dear Me Foodworld is closed until 3 August

*   Warwick wine estate’s restaurant is closed from 6 – 20 August

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

Yesterday I revisited Laborie wine estate in Paarl, to try their new Harvest restaurant which opened almost a month ago, and which has now been taken back by property owner the KWV.  I found it vastly improved, and to be the best of all the restaurants in which Chef Matthew Gordon is or has been involved.

Chef Matthew has been synonymous with restaurants in Franschhoek, and attracted attention when he had three restaurants in the village, when other chefs (e.g. Reuben Riffel, Camil Haas) went outside the village boundary when they expanded their restaurant portfolio.  It was a shock to hear earlier this year that he had not renewed his lease at Haute Cabriere, a restaurant he started 16 years ago.  He also had a joint ownership in The Grillroom (but not anymore), the French Connection, and Cotage Fromage (also withdrawn).  In Cape Town he consulted to Vanilla in the Cape Quarter.   One did not expect him to pop up in Paarl, but his mother Penny told me a month earlier that he would be opening the restaurant at Laborie.   The lease of the previous Laborie restaurant operator had expired and the KWV had chosen to not renew it.  Whilst the food was good, its service was not, I found on my visit earlier this year.

The unfriendly service at the security boom unfortunately has not changed, and I laughed when the new Manager Yolanda Prinsloo told me that it is the same company that Grande Roche uses for its security, the security staff providing the worst and rudest security service I have ever experienced. They were true to form yesterday, being pedantic about why they were asking where I was going on the property, and then justifying at length why they had to ask, rather than opening the boom!  One parks at the back of the building, and I immediately noticed that the terrace has been built up and extended out, with its beautiful view onto the Drakenstein mountain.  I also walked past the very newly planted herb garden, and saw the vegetable garden behind the parking area after it had been pointed out to me.  Being a lovely Cape summer day, I chose to sit outside, as did all other patrons.

The restaurant interior looks lighter and whiter, and Yolanda told me that it was the work of restaurant decorater Francois du Plessis (who also did Dash and Dear Me Foodworld).  It was a surprise, given the less-is-more and low key decor, mixing most of the old and adding little new, retaining the (rearranged) brown leather furniture inside, the flow of the long room divided by serving tables, with new white curtains with a hessian ribbon.  White-painted branches of a fruit tree were the wall decor, with little vases attached holding fresh white rose buds and rosemary.  More and more Winelands restaurants are using interestingly shaped vine pieces on their walls (Johans@Longridge doing it best, but also at Creation), but I thought the Laborie ones odd, white against white not working very well.  The walls are filled with rather heavy-looking Cecil Skotness paintings and while valuable and belonging to the KWV, they did not match the name of the restaurant or its interior at all. The Skotness exhibition has been spread across to all the Laborie buildings. Most odd was the decor touch in the bathroom, with three white clipboards to which had been clipped cut-out pictures of women from magazines!  On the terrace modern white LED-lit pots have been added to the terrace edge, planted with white roses.  The outside tables are less attractive with wooden tops and heavy metal bases, with an uncomfortable bar midway.  The chairs are light aluminium frames with black cane.  Grey couches and a table divide the outside seating area.  I sat next to an old oak tree, in which someone had put their cigarette ‘stompie’, which had not been picked up by staff.  My waitress seem quite disinterested when I passed on this feedback to her. Disappointing by contrast to the decor is the lack of a table cloth on the outside tables, and the unbranded little perspex salt and pepper grinders. Cutlery and crockery is by Fortis, and a material serviette is supplied.  The restaurant seats 80 patrons inside and 100 on the terrace.

Yolanda told me that she had started her career as a waitress at the Grande Roche, working her way up to Deputy GM in the twelve years that she worked there.  She then moved to the Three Cities Group, and worked at The Rex and Plettenberg Park on the Garden Route.  She came to check that everything was in order regularly, and I admired her patience when a pushy German supplier came to peddle his wares during lunch service.   All the staff of the previous restaurant operator have left, which is an improvement for the restaurant, now falling under the estate manager Cobus van Graan, who was dining at a table next to me. Geraldine White is the Head Chef, previously having worked at The Grillroom. Chef Matthew acts as Consultant Chef, and came to say hello, a nice touch.  He told me that they were expecting 700 people for the Carols by Candlelight last night, and that they were preparing picnics for it. Laborie branding comes through on the black aprons worn by the waiters, and umbrellas on the terrace.

Yolanda introduced the menu to me as being ‘South African contemporary cuisine’, serving ‘organic and free range produce’. It is presented on A3 board, and the waitress showed me all the headings on the menu which I could order from, which I told her I could read. She told me that the mussels had ‘sold out’ (at 12h45), that creamy spinach is served with all main courses, and that the specials of the day were a free-range chicken burger and marinated porcini mushroom salad, both at just over R60.   The problem with French menu names (such as potato dauphinoise) is that the staff cannot pronounce them, and my waitress really struggled with this word.  Disappointingly ordinary Ciabatta slices were brought to the table with old-fashioned butter balls, and little milk jugs of olive oil and balsamic. I ordered Kingklip when I was told that it was the linefish, and Chef Matthew served it with mash as they do not serve rice, as well as with a tomato, onion and bean salad which covered the fish, giving the dish a nice colour touch, and fennel adding to the enjoyment.  It was one of the best kingklip dishes I have tasted. Disappointing was that it was not served with a fish knife.  Other main course options include a Karoo lamb burger (R68), and a selection of steaks ranging from R90 for 180g fillet to R118 for 250g fillet.  With these can be ordered sauces and butters (e.g. Café de Paris) at R18 each.  The menu specifies that the sirloin, rump and prime rib are free-range and come from the Weltevrede farm in the Free State ‘when available’. One worries about the carbon footprint of getting the steak to the Cape, when there are other very good sources of meat closer by. Steaks are vacuum-packed and aged for at least two weeks, the menu states.

For dessert I chose fresh summer berries served with a Sabayon sauce made from Laborie Chardonnay the waitress said, although the menu describes it as a Late Harvest.  It was served in a beautiful glass dish.  Most desserts cost around R40, and other options are an Apple and boerejonggens tart served with a Marula anglaise and homemade gingerbread ice cream, a chocolate tart with a hazelnut and chocolate spring roll and homemade Kit kat ice cream, crème brûlée, and cling peach cheesecake with pistachio anglaise and balsamic syrup.  I liked the touch of the coffee bean on top of the well-made cappuccino.

The menu introduction sounded a little corny and is partly misleading: “What makes us stand out from the crowd… is it,(sic) the catch of the day delivered fresh this morning, our genuine Karoo lamb and beef (the beef comes from the Free State the menu says lower down), fresh produce from our veggie patch (but I saw the truck delivering many pockets of potatoes), herbs from our garden or the fact that we use free-range and organic where possible?   The answer… all of the above, plus fun and fresh in everything we do. Harvest, a haven for good times, friends and fun for the whole family. Are you ready to experience the difference?” .  The media release states that ‘Matthew sources produce locally from the Paarl region’.

The lunch and dinner menus differ in that sandwiches and salads feature strongly on the Lunch menu. The Dinner menu has interesting starters and main courses, including a duck parfait (R48) starter, and mains of ‘Tooinjies River’ quail risotto (R110), springbok fillet (R135), rack of Karoo lamb (R125), and duck served with Van der Hum sauce (R125). The winelist has predominantly KWV and Laborie wines, but a few other wines are listed too.  Wines by the glass cost only R20 for Laborie Cap Classique Brut 2008 (R90 per bottle), Sauvignon Blanc 2011, Chardonnay 2010, and KWV Classic Pinotage Rosé.  Piper-Heidsieck Cuvée Brut costs R80 per glass and R750 per bottle. Laborie Shiraz 2010 costs R120, and other brands offered are Landskroon, the KWV Cathedral Cellar, Laborie Jean Taillefert 2009, and KWV Mentors 2009 (at R310).

I refused the offer to have the meal comped, as I had not been invited and had chosen to come for lunch, but appreciated the offer.  Harvest staff needs waiter training, but the improved standard of the new restaurant and its quality food makes it a viable alternative to Bosman’s at Grande Roche, the only other restaurant worth considering in Paarl.

Harvest Restaurant, Laborie, Paarl.  Tel (021) 807-3095. www.laboriewines.com.  Monday – Sunday lunch, Saturday breakfast, Wednesday – Saturday dinner.

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

On Sunday the long-awaited Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards will be presented at the Bay Hotel’s Rotunda in the presence of 360 chefs and restaurant lovers. This year sees a number of changes in the Awards, with the Top 10 name having fallen away as a generic title, due to the introduction of additional categories which have been judged, and the controversial sole judging of the winning restaurants in each category by Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly.

As we have done before, we predict the following restaurants to make the Top 10 Restaurant list, based on write-ups we have seen, our own experience, and patron talk.  No offence is intended to the chefs we have not included.  The list is not intended as a ranking.  Not knowing the Johannesburg, Pretoria and KwaZulu-Natal restaurants, we are guessing those:

*   We have previously predicted that Chef Richard Carstens at Tokara will be Top Chef/Best Restaurant, for his creativity in food preparation and presentation, for continuously re-inventing himself and his dishes, for his quest to learn new things, and for the amazing El Bulli tribute dinner he prepared on 30 July.  The restaurant has just been selected by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network as the best Winelands restaurant in the country.

*   The Test Kitchen‘s Luke Dale-Roberts is most foodies’ prediction for Top Chef, and he does feature often in TASTE, the magazine that Mrs Donnelly is Food Editor of.  She told me recently that Woolworths chose Luke for a Christmas range, and that is why he receives so much coverage.

*   The Greenhouse at Cellars Hohenhort Hotel, with Chef Peter Tempelhoff, who has just been honoured as Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef, the first in Cape Town, and only the third in South Africa.

*    Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine is a stalwart, and while its restaurant building is not the greatest and grandest, George gets on with what he is excellent at, without any PR hype

*   The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais with Chef Margot Janse cannot be excluded from the list, for its listing as the only South African restaurant on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

*   DW Eleven-13 with Chef Marthinus Ferreira in Johannesburg was a Top 10 restaurant last year. The only criticism I have seen about this restaurant is its location.

*  Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal, with Chef Jackie Cameron, regularly on the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list, the best that this province has to offer.

*   Chef Bertus Basson of Overture is another chef who reinvents himself and his food, and gets on with what he does well.  No PR hype.

*   Pierneef à La Motte with Chef Chris Erasmus has all the elements to make Top 10, but recently the food and service quality has started to slip.  The estate has been selected as top South African wine estate in the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.  Excellence drives everything that this estate does.

*   Babel is extremely trendy right now, and I hear lots of ooo’s and aaa’s about it, and is heavily booked, but it has only been open for lunch in its first year of operation.  Chef Darren Roberts of Grande Provence is a chef who gets on with things, quietly and creatively, and would be a more deserved Top 10 restaurant, this restaurant making the Top 10 every second year to date.

Other Top 20 Restaurant Finalists are Planet Restaurant, La Colombe, Nobu, Babel, Bosman’s, The Round House, Azure, Terroir, Roots in Johannesburg, and Restaurant Maison in Pretoria.

For the first time, Eat Out has introduced new Restaurant Award categories.  The Best Steakhouse Award could go to one of 29 steakhouses listed by Eat Out, and this may be where Johannesburg could have a winner, known to have a selection of good steakhouses, and making up almost half the Eat Out Steakhouse list.  In the Cape, Carne, Belthazar, and HQ are some of the steakhouses which feature on the list.

There are 18 finalists for the Boschendal Style Award, and this may be a little bit of a consolation prize for not making Top 10, and also gives newer restaurants which have not been open for a full year a chance at winning something.  The nominees for this category include Hemelhuijs, The Saxon, The Test Kitchen (an odd choice), Planet Restaurant, Thomas Maxwell Bistro in Johannesburg, Woodlands Eatery, Pierneef à La Motte, Kream, Makaron (at Majeka House, a consultancy client of Mrs Donnelly), Babel, Overture, The Grand Café and Beach (very odd!!), Rust en Vrede, Central One Restaurant (in the hotel at which David Higgs is the chef now), Dear Me Foodworld, Craft Trattoria, Pure, and Indochine.  If Babel falls out of the Top 10, it may win this award.

The Best Bistro Award finalist list has 43 nominees, and feels a little like a listing of every other restaurant which did not make the Top 10 finalist list.  Odd is how broad the ‘Bistro’ name has been stretched to include some restaurant nominees!  Bistro Sixteen82 should win this award, but stiff competition could come from Bizerca Bistro, Ryan’s Kitchen, Cuvee@Simonsig, The Common Room at Le Quartier Français, The Foodbarn, Dear Me, Franschhoek Kitchen, and Bread & Wine. Odd is to see Reubens Franschhoek on the list, which has continuous negative feedback.

I have not seen the Best Italian Restaurant nominee list, but Giorgio Nava’s PR machine has announced that 95 Keerom Street is one of the nominees.  He is a likely winner, embodying ‘Italianess’, but without charm!  The Best Asian Restaurant and Best Country-Style Restaurant nominee lists have also not been seen, and Mrs Donnelly did not wish to release the nominee lists.

Interesting is how the Eat Out Awards dinner has grown to 360 attendees.  If one calculates that each of the Top 20 Restaurant finalists will take a table, that leaves another 160 seats, not all filled yet, judging by e-mail reminders about the event.  With so many finalists and nominees, there will be many disappointed empty-handed chefs and restaurant owners on Sunday evening!

POSTSCRIPT 17/11: This Eat Out article has an interesting analysis of past Top 10 Restaurant/Chef winners, and some demographic break-downs of chefs as well.

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

Today is World Diabetes Day, celebrating the birthdate of Frederick Banting, who in 1922 discovered insulin with Charles Best.  Until a year ago diabetes would have meant nothing to me, and I knew very little about this ‘disease’ which 346 million persons in the world have, it is estimated, and is known as the ‘silent killer’, as its symptoms are so subtle, and one does not feel ill.

I have drunk a lot of water out of choice for years, but did not realise that a lot of this was out of thirst, and this is one of the first signs of diabetes.  It was itchy feet (and sometimes fingers) on alternate days that took me to my doctor, and he had me tested for thyroid and threw in a blood sugar test as well.  The result was a surprise – no thyroid problem, but a blood sugar reading of 12,2 was unacceptably high, in that it should ideally be below 6.  While I can be grateful that it is the far less threatening Type 2 Diabetes, which is treatable through eating and lifestyle changes and medication, without insulin injections, it was the horror stories that I was told that were a good incentive to take this ‘disease’ seriously and to get the blood sugar level under control.

The doctor prescribed Glucophage, the best known diabetes medication. I was also referred to Sea Point dietitian Heidi Lobel, and with Heidi’s help have lost 25 kg in the past year, and reduced the blood sugar level to 7 – 8,  without suffering in any way!

Diabetes is largely rectified via weight loss, and therefore Heidi put me on a standard weight loss eating programme, and a change in the way of eating, eating six smaller meals per day instead of three bigger meals, and changing my haphazard irregular eating.  Similar to Weight Watchers and Weighless style programmes, one is allowed an allocation (about a palmful) of food types per day: 6 carbohydrates, 3 fruits, 4 proteins, 2 milks, and 3 fats.  It is not recommended that any of these groups are excluded.  I cut out butter, margarine, white/light bread, yellow cheese, cakes, and chocolate bars immediately, and do not miss them at all.  I changed my main courses choices from steak to kingklip.  I have tried very hard to avoid desserts at restaurants, not always with success.   Luckily wine in moderation is allowed, and dark chocolate is not ideal but healthier than milk chocolate.  I enjoyed toasted rye and Low GI bread, and could not believe how good anything on this toast tastes, without a spread underneath.  I received a blood sugar testing kit from my pharmacy in Bantry Bay, and test the blood sugar level every few weeks.  I went to Heidi to be weighed every two weeks, and to discuss any problems with her, and this frequency has been relaxed to once a month.  I enjoy eating out, but do so less often, and will ‘make up for it’ the days after.  Doing exercise is another way to deal with diabetes, and is a challenge to do more often – the Green Point Urban Park is a wonderful space in which to walk.  I have learnt to read pack labels, and Woolworths packs are excellent in providing a detailed breakdown of the food content. The fat and carbohydrate levels are the most valuable pieces of information on these, with maximum acceptable levels set.

In talking about diabetes, I was surprised to hear that Dear Me Foodworld Chef Vanessa Marx is diabetic, and this motivated her to design her daily menu with diabetics in mind, offering sugar-free options to some dishes, in addition to gluten-free and lactose-free dishes for those with allergies.  This is the only restaurant that caters for diabetics.  One would like to see more diabetes-friendly restaurants, reducing the salt and fat content of their foods, serving smaller portions, and offering rye bread.  It is regular restaurant-goers that are more likely to be or become diabetic, and restaurants should be responsible in understanding this ‘disease’, and catering for it.  Surprising too was to hear that Eat Out and TASTE editor Abigail Donnelly is diabetic too, a hard challenge for her, having to eat out so often in selecting the Top 10 Restaurants.

Being diagnosed with diabetes is a blessing in disguise, and has been an early warning to lead a more healthy lifestyle, and an eating pattern which is healthier, less fattening but still very enjoyable.

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

Whilst I dislike going into the city centre during the day, due to the irritating parking guards, I am pulled to the city centre more and more due to the ever-growing collection of good restaurants and coffee shops.  This blogpost is a summary of some of Cape Town’s inner-city highlights:

*   Hemelhuijs– owned by interior and restaurant consultant Jacques Erasmus, previously from Manna.  Emphasis is on freshness. Creative unusual menu.  Breakfast and lunch served.  Monday – Friday 8h00 – 15h00.  Saturday 9h00 – 15h00. Open for dinner on Wednesday evenings.  71 Waterkant Street. Tel (021) 418-2042.

*   Dear Me Foodworld – a hot new addition, with a Francois du Plessis decor emphasis on green (both interior colour and herbs grown from the ceiling, see photograph above) and health, with most dishes offered as lactose-free and/or sugar-free alternatives.  Menu changes daily.  Great creative chef Vanessa Marx. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 15h00.   Open for dinner on Thursday evenings.  165 Longmarket Street.  Tel (021) 422-4920.

*   Tjing Tjing Bar– when Dear Me Foodworld closes late afternoon, its upstairs Ting Tjing Bar opens, serving tapas, changes regularly. 165 Longmarket Street. Tuesday – Saturday from 16h00 until late.  Tel (021) 422-4920.

*   Escape Caffe– one of the hottest coffee shops in the city centre, featured in the media for its lemon cheese cake.  Owner Lameen Abdul-Malik has a Nobel Peace Prize for his joint efforts to ensure the safest possible use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Serves organic blend artisanal coffee from Espresso Lab.   Monday – Friday 7h00 – 16h00.  Saturday 9h00 – 12h00.  130 Bree Street.  Tel (021) 422-1325.

*   What’s On Eatery– probably the restaurant with the friendliest owner (Trevor Jordaan) in town, serves Breakfast and Lunch on weekdays from 7h30 – 16h00, and Dinner from Tuesday – Saturday.  Coffee by Origin.  Excellent value.  Exciting news is the appointment of Chef Oliver Cattermole from 1 October.  6 Watson Street.  Tel (021) 422-5652 CLOSED DOWN 2011

*   Rhubarb Room– coffee shop inside decor shop, previously in Bo-Kaap.  Serve cakes, coffee (by Deluxe), soup, quiches, and salads.  High tea offered for baby showers, kitchen teas and birthdays.    Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00.  Saturday 9h00 – 13h00.  227 Bree Street. Tel (021) 424-2004. CLOSED DOWN 2011

*   Valora– stylish new restaurant, bar and café.  Try Chef Andrew’s Two Tone soup. Extensive menu choice, includes tapas.  LavAzza coffee.  Great for late snack and drink. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 22h00, Saturday 17h00 – 23h00.  Corner Loop and Hout Street.  Tel (021) 426-1001.  CLOSED DOWN 2012

*   Skinny Legs & All – interior decorated with paintings from co-owner João Ferreira art gallery.  Emphasis on freshly made food.  Advised by Brad Ball of Bistro 1682. Run by sweet pair of twins Jamie and Jessie.   Monday – Friday 7h00 – 16h00. Saturday 8h30 – 14h00. 70 Loop Street.  Tel (021) 423-5403.

*   Roberto’s Signature Restaurant – expect interesting things to come from Roberto de Carvalho, leader of the SA chefs team in Culinary Olympics, and ex-chef at Twelve Apostles Hotel.  Simple food, mainly in Portuguese style.  Excellent Tiramisu. Located below On Broadway, so very busy between 7 – 8 pm to cater for the theatre crowd.  Tuesday – Sunday 12h00 – 15h30, 18h00 – 23h30.  44 Long Street.   Tel (021) 424-1195. CLOSED DOWN 2013

*   6 Spin Street – unusual restaurant setting inside the IDASA book shop.  Well-known for its cheese soufflé and duck.  Monday – Friday Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner from 8h30.  Saturday dinner only.  6 Spin Street.  Tel (021) 461-0666.

*   French Toast – focus on its large range of wines by the glass offered, but interesting tapas offering.  Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 23h00. 199 Bree Street   Tel (021) 422-3839.  CLOSED DOWN 2012, BUT RE-OPENED AS THE ODYSSEY IN 2013

*   Jason’s Bakery– recently opened where Jardine’s used to be, owned by Jason of ex-Jardine’s Bakery.  Bakery and Café. Sandwiches, breakfast, soul food, and vegetarian.  Monday – Friday 7h00 – 15h30. Saturday 8h00 – 14h00.  185 Bree Street.  Tel (021) 424-5644.

*   Haas Coffee – increasingly popular city hot-spot without any parking guards, and usually a parking spot available close by.  Friendly and welcoming, and part of Haas Collective decor and art.  Cakes, tarts and food menu, including cooked breakfasts.   67 Rose Street. Monday – Sunday.  Tel (021) 422-2239.

*   Piroschka’s Kitchen – Hungarian Flammkuchen with Gluehwein on cold days. Monday – Friday 11h00 – 19h00.  106 Bree Street. Tel 083 327 3203 CLOSED DOWN, NOW ONLY AT MARKETS

*   Bread, Milk and Honey – busy breakfast and lunch spot, for take-aways or sit-down.  10 Spin Street.  Monday – Friday 6h30 – 16h00.  Tel (021) 461-8425.

Il Cappero – hard-working Sicilian chef and charming husband Aldo in front-of-house.  Not-so-usual Italian and Sicilian specialities.  Monday – Friday lunch.  Monday – Saturday dinner. 3 Barrack Street.  Tel (021) 461-3168.  MOVED TO CAMPS BAY

*   Charly’s Bakeryfamous for its cake creations and cheeky cupcakes, one can also sit down for coffee, cake, pies and cupcakes.  Ample parking, no parking guards.  38 Canterbury Street.  Monday –  Saturday. Tel (021) 461-5181.

Maria’s Owners Kate and Cleon Romano are charming hosts, and the restaurant has a lovely buzz, and many tapas-like Greek dishes as well as mains.  Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Great lunch spot after City Bowl Market. To open for Sunday lunch soon.  Dunkley Square, 31 Barnett Street, Hatfield.  Tel (021)  461-3333.

*   Bird Café and Gourmet Eatery – Quirky milk-crate seating, decor change has opened up the kitchen, great quality food, friendly service.  New owners Keith Mink, and Leigh Trout (ex-chef at Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel in Franschhoek), opened on 1 September. 127 Bree Street.  Tel (021) 426-2534.

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