Tag Archives: decor

Corona Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 177 of Level 1, 26 March 2022

 

Saturday 26 March 2022, Day 177 of Level 1 😷

Corona Lockdown Gratitude 🙏

#grateful for a day of spoiling 🙏; for a quick post for a client; for a good Camps Bay Community Beach Clean, with 6 adults and 3 children, filling 10 bags, and meeting a new resident of Camps Bay, and a German family which has just taken over a Sea Point guest house; for bumping into Johnny Nortje on the beachfront, with a catch up after a long time of not seeing each other; for being spoilt by The 41 Restaurant, our Camps Bay Clean sponsors, with tea and water on the lawn at the Beach, and then with a breakfast, their Manager Emma Farquharson being extremely efficient 💙; for Continue reading →

SA Chef: Chris von Ulmenstein: ‘The Food Critic Chefs love to hate’

 

I met Riana Andrews, Editor of SA Chef, at a recent function hosted by the Finnish Embassy in Pretoria, in Constantia. She expressed interest in writing a profile about me, and contracted Rebecca Bourhill, chef, blogger, and food writer, to do so for SA Chef magazine.

SA Chef is the official voice of the South African Chefs Association, which has close to 10000 chefs, restaurateurs, educators, learners and culinarians  as members. Its focus is on skills development of the industry. Continue reading →

Franschhoek Restaurants during Lockdown: which are open, closed, and opening soon!

 

Last week I spent two days in Franschhoek for a catch-up visit, after not having been to this lovely village known for its eateries and good wines in eight months. From having heard that the village was so quiet, and that many restaurants had closed down, I was pleasantly surprised to find the village bursting with excitement about new restaurants about to open in October, and later this year. I could not resist eating at Orangerie at Le Lude, what to me is one of Franschhoek’s best restaurants. Continue reading →

Restaurant Review: Batavia Café proudly Cape Town; a French, Spanish, and Cape Malay mélange!

Batavia Cafe exterior Whale CottageI drive down Rose Street in Bo-Kaap almost every day, and have been watching the slow progress made in a restaurant opening in what was one of my favourite coffee stops.  After about six months of Haas having moved out, Batavia Café opened two weeks ago.

Old Haas fans may be disappointed with the lightweight decor, and design items for sale, following a similar concept as Haas in promoting not only its food at the Batavia Café, but also design in the Batavia section, by CapeBatavia Cafe Clothes and art Whale Cottage Town designers such as Issa leo (menswear), Lazuli (womenswear), BO.NE nature made (African animal skulls), work by artists Annette Visser and Ina Grobbelaar, Gruparte (graphic posters and prints), and Oh dear Megan (jewellery designer). The first floor which housed the Haas ad agency has been let. The seating area in the little courtyard offers the most privacy.  Many mixed-colour bunches of flowers, or a single stem in  a Continue reading →

Haas Collective hops across to Buitenkant Street, now serves Bunny Chow!

Haar Exterior Whale CottageIt was a call from Nick, who handles Social Media for Haas Collective, an advertising agency, art and interior decor consultancy, and coffee shop, that motivated my colleague and I to return to the new Haas building on Buitenkant Street yesterday, to write this piece.

Haas became a firm favourite when it first opened more than three years ago on Rose Street, giving life and energy to this Bo-Kaap street, being a convenient stop with parking usually available and devoid of parking marshalls.  It became a second office (even though wifi was always problematical, with changing passwords) and a welcome meeting place, all first-time visitors being impressed with the art-focused interior.  The food was always secondary, prepared from a kitchen across the road in a rented building, adjacent to where the Haas advertising agency had its offices too, in addition to the upstairs offices. Service deteriorated over time, as the waiters became more arrogant and slack, jiving in the entrance section, talking noisily, and not proactively following up with the kitchen. Inge has been the only efficient manager on the coffee shop side of the business, but Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 2 July

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  Former World’s 50 Best Restaurant number 1 chef in the world, Ferran Àdria of elBulli, says that the standard of cheffing is at its highest level ever, being ‘the best in history‘, and that the gap between a 3 star Michelin restaurant and a casual dining restaurant is the smallest ever!  Àdria advised top restaurants to differentiate themselves on aspects other than the food, to justify their higher prices, suggesting their wine list, service, and decor.  Cocktails also are a point of differentiation,with bartenders seeking inspiration for new recipes from chefs.

*   Wine writer Joe Roberts says that a very small percentage of the 8000 wineries (with 16000 brands) in the USA is embracing digital marketing.  While 44% of consumers are connecting with digital, only an estimated 1% of American wine marketing spend is on digital advertising.  No more than 80 of the wineries have dedicated digital practitioners.  In a week, winery brands receive 2 – 20 mentions on digital platforms, of which 80% go unanswered.  One wonders if the South African stats are any better for our local wine estates’ usage of digital marketing?

*   For the third year running vineyards in Burgundy have been hit by a hail storm, causing damage to 40 – 90% of the Continue reading →

Restaurant Review: There are no pistachios at Pistachio Bistro in Franschhoek, review wish comes true!

Pistachio Bistro Exterior Whale Cottage PortfolioPistachio has existed as a decor outlet in Franschhoek for a number of years, first at the top end of  Huguenot Road, and then lower down the main road when it moved into Place Vendome Lifestyle Centre at the entrance to town.  Recently it opened up as Pistachio Bistro, in which no pistachios are used at all, and which does not appear to have anyone qualified to cook!  Pistachio Bistro is a total failure in more ways than one.

I have been a past customer of Pistachio, having bought cushions for my couches, and should have known that service would not be their strength, as an order for additional cushions was never received!  Two months ago a Tweet alerted me to the transformation of the decor shop into a Bistro, and I decided to pop in.  Little had Pistachio Bistro orange chairschanged inside Pistachio, the sales/payment desk still being at the entrance, the staff are still the same, and all that had changed was that a few tables for seating had been added, as had a longer table with a selection of cakes and small treats, for which there should be a good demand, given that good cake is scarce in Franschhoek. Continue reading →

Cape Town Design Route 2011: permanent showcase of the Cape’s design best

I was very impressed with the Design Indaba Expo, which was held in the Cape Town International Convention Centre last weekend, representing the best in the South African design industry, and in Cape Town specifically, 260 designers exhibiting their work.  At the exhibition the latest map of the Cape Town Design Route was launched.

It is exciting to see that the Cape Town Design Route has more than doubled to 59 designers, and their work is permanently showcased at their studios, via a map that provides contact and location details of designers in the City area, in the southern and northern suburbs, on the Atlantic Seaboard, and in the Winelands and beyond.

The designers on the Cape Town Design Route 2011 are the following:

*   BlueCollarWhiteCollar offers shirts, using the highest quality fabrics.  Lifestyle on Kloof, 50 Kloof Street.  Tel (021) 426-1921

*   Cabinetworks are master kitchen and furniture makers. 229 Bree Street. Tel (021) 422-3830

*   Cape Craft & Design Institute promotes Western Cape designers of homeware, jewellery, gifts, fashion and décor.  75 Harrington Street.  Tel (021) 461-1488

*   Carrol Boyes is well known for its pewter, stainless steel and chrome-plated alloy homeware, tableware and accessories.  43 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap. Tel (021) 424-8263

*   Continent Africa sells the Africa Tee to raise funds for its running costs, being an economic-political think-tank.  59 Harrington Street.  Tel (021) 464-4580

*   Cupcake Country sells sewing kits so that one can make cupcakes and other craft (right).  10 A Jagersfontein Lane, Oranjezicht.  Tel (021) 461-4421

*   freeRange Jewels offers an alternative jewellery range.  Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point. Tel (021) 418-3607

*   Give it Bag designs handbags, laundry bags, and wine coolers made from recycled polypropylene bags and cotton.   Canterbury Studios, 35 Wesley Street, Gardens.  Tel (021) 465-9852

*    Good Clothing designs simple but trendy clothing. 101 Burleigh House, 24 Barrack Street.  Tel (021) 461-6599

*   Indalo Project creates employment for craft artists, producing home decor, furniture, lights and gifts,   65 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap.  Tel (021) 801-4775

*   Inkheart Jewellery Design designs jewellery with a personal touch, inspired by childhood stories and memories.  17 Bayview Avenue, Tamboerskloof.  Tel (021) 423-9571.

*   Monkeybiz makes high-quality bespoke beaded designer items.  43 Rose Street, Bo-Kaap.  Tel (021)  426-0145

*   Peddersen + Lennard makes lighting, furniture, and other items on commission (left).   37 Barrack Street.  Tel (021)   447-2020

*   Pierre Cronje makes unique and timeless furniture, using the best timbers.   Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point.  Tel (021)  425-0374

*   Projekt is a crochet and skills training project, making scarves, toys, jewellery, cushions and homeware.   6B Malan Street, Gardens.  Tel (021) 422-0739

*   Spilt Milk is an easy-to-wear men’s and women’s clothing range.  36 Upper Orange Street, Oranjezicht.  Tel 079 358 2072

*   Streetwires Artist Collective offers employment, making African wire and bead craft-art.  Tel (021) 426-2475

*   thisarmy builds ‘apps’.  71 Roeland Street.  Tel 082 379 8180

*   Township Patterns makes colourful fabrics, and fun and easy-to-wear garments.   Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point. Tel (021) 418-0388

*   Urbanative Jewels makes once-off jewellery pieces.  Gold of Africa Museum, 96 Strand Street.  Tel 082 770 9788

*   Van der Merwe Miszewski Architects pursue excellence in design.   163 Bree Street.  Tel (021) 423-5829.

*   Woodhead’s makes leather and natural fabric products.  29 Caledon Street. Tel (021) 461-7185

*   …XYZ Design has the wind-up radio as one of its design highlights.  Cape Quarter, 27 Somerset Road, Green Point.  Tel (021) 421-7236

*   Clementina Ceramics sell individually handmade earthenware products.  Old Biscuit Mill, 375 Albert Road, Woodstock.  Tel (021) 447-1398

*   Design Afrika sells hand-woven items made from river reeds, cotton, mountain grasses and palm fibres, combined with leather, glass and plastic.  42 Hares Avenue, Woodstock.  Tel (021) 448- 9761

*   Firepetals makes handcrafted art jewellery with a South African flair.  59 Roodebloem Street, Woodstock.   Tel (021) 447-2025

*   Frieda Lühl Jewellery makes simple and elegant jewellery.  30 Roodebloem Street, Woodstock.  Tel (021) 448-1408.

*   Haldane Martin makes contemporary furniture (left).   12 Aberdeen Street, Woodstock.  tel (021) 448-0999

*   Liesel Trautman makes porcelain homeware, each item individually finished.   114 Lower Main Road, Observatory.  Tel 073 275 9494

*   Maike Valcarcel designs Africa-inspired jewellery, using gold, pebbles, silver and felt.  30 Roodebloem Road, Woodstock.  Tel (021) 790-8849

*   Recreate makes furniture and lighting from discarded junk.  368 Albert Road, Woodstock.  Tel (021) 447-0007.

*   Sway sells comfortable and easy wearing women’s clothing.   Woodstock Industrial Centre, 66 Albert Road, Woodstock.  tel (021) 447-5999.

Trip Handbags and Accessories makes durable, funky and functional handbags.   9 Harrington Road, Fish Hoek.  Tel (021) 785-1225

*   Zizamele Ceramics makes African-inspired ceramics (right).  Corner Chasmay and Kommetjie Roads, Sunnydale, Noordhoek.  Tel (021 789-1491

*   Chimpel makes luxury leather accessories in a classic design.  85 Sixth Avenue, Rondebosch East.   Tel (021) 697-5875.

*   David Krut Publishing publishes books on architecture, art and design.   Montobello Design Centre, 31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands.   Tel (021) 685-0676

*   Dear.Rae.With.Love designs jewellery using enamel, fabric, silver, wood and found objects.  12 Peak Drive. Pinelands.  Tel (021) 531-2940.

*   Diane Harper makes coasters and pendants.  36 Forest Drive, Pinelands.  Tel ()21) 532-3758

*   Emma Anne is a range of distinctive contemporary jewellery.   6 Chippenham Road, Kenilworth.  Tel (021) 762-5465

*   Flick Glass and My China combines ceramics and art to express her love of fynbos and small animals.   24 Dartmouth Road, Muizenberg.   Tel (021) 789- 9119

*   Janine Binneman Jewellers makes custom jewellery.   25 Almora Circle, Tokai.  Tel (021) 715-6178

*   John Bauer uses antique crochet cloth, linen and lace in his ceramics.  35 Greenwood Road, Claremont.  Tel (021) 683-7851

*   Matblac makes men’s leather apparel.   1 The Meadows, 12 Meadow Lane, Constantia.  Tel (021) 794- 5723

*   Mielie makes fun bags.   31 Newlands Avenue, Newlands.  Tel (021) 686-2026.

*    Skermunkel Design Studio makes fun, quirky and sentimental jewellery inspired by everyday play and childhood storybooks, using enamel, silver and antique cutlery.   44 Palmer Road, Muizenberg.  Tel (021) 788-8577.

*   Tania Babb Ceramics makes fun sculptures (right).   39 Wolfe Street, Wynberg.  Tel (021) 797-7144

*   The Potters Workshop makes functional ceramic art.  Toledo Close, Capricorn Park, Muizenberg.   Tel (021) 709-0212

*   Will Martin Projects makes handmade ceramic products.  35 Greenwood Road, Harfield Village, Claremont.  Tel 079 663 0532

*   Woo-Men Plush Toys makes fun toys for kids and ‘kidults’.  37 Cromer Road, Muizenberg.  Tel (021) 788-8249

*   IDESO is a specialist product design consultancy.   Unit 4 Canal Edge, Three Tyger Waterfront, Carl Cronje Drive, Tygervalley.  Tel (021) 914-8444

*   Coast & Koi is a range of glamorous and comfortable shoes.   2A Vredefort, 268 Beach Road, Sea Point.  tel (021) 434-7597

*   Collect makes boutique jewellery.   3 Saunders Court, Saunders Road, Bantry Bay.   Tel (021) 439-5262.

*   Alpacafelt makes fashion and interior design items from alpaca fibre.  Novello Alpaca Farm, Rietvlei, Barrydale Road, Montagu.  Tel (023) 614-2674

*   Elizabeth Galloway Young Designers runs a fashion design training programme.   26 Techno Road, Technopark, Stellenbosch.   Tel (021) 880-0775

*   FACT makes a range of canvas and leather bags representing township life in visuals.   Jackal  River Farm, Houw Hoek, Elgin.  Tel 082 491 5243

*   Lady Peculiar makes sterling silver jewellery with romantic, organic, nostalgic, emotional and playful elements.

*   The African Queen Studio makes chandeliers and lamps with natural materials.   1 Grewe Street, McGregor.  Tel (023) 625-1843

*   The Fringe Arts is a collective of the work of 70 designers.  Spier, R310, Lynedoch Road, Stellenbosch.  tel (021) 809-1142

*   Wonki Ware  makes bright and bold pottery.  42 York Street, George.  Tel (044) 884-1883

Cape Town Design Route 2011: www.designindaba.com   Products of the above designers can be bought online.

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

Two Cape hotels on Telegraph Top 50 best hotel world list

Two local Cape hotels have made it onto The Telegraph “50 best hotels in the world” list, which the paper published on 31 December.  Writers of the Telegraph  Travel section selected the top 50 hotels, and divided them into three rates brackets.  The two Cape hotels both featured in the £150 – £300 per room per night price range, the mid price range.

La Residence  in Franschhoek is a very low key property locally, with little visible advertising.  Its business comes from international advertising and word of mouth.  Its biggest claim to fame is Elton John, the famous guest who comes to stay whenever he performs in Cape Town, and he always thanks the owners, Liz and Phil Biden, during his concerts.   When La Residence moved to its new site in Franschhoek, John was consulted as to what he wanted in terms of decor for “his” room.   Surprisingly, “his” room is not any larger than the other rooms that face the dam outside.  “His” room has an Indian decor style.   Every room is unique in its decor, created by interior decorator Ralph Krall.

The article describes La Residence as follows: “An 11-suite extravagance on the slope of Franschhoek, the Cape Village that is probably South Africa’s prettiest.  No expense has been spared.   Each of the suites has its own decor theme, from Buddhist retreat to French decadent, while the public areas are a riotous collection of Louis XIV furniture.   Persian carpets, plus objets, art and fabrics from India, Indo-China, France and Italy and everywhere else.  And it works thanks to the impeccable taste of Liz Biden, the proprietor”.

Grootbos  is located outside Hermanus, just beyond Stanford, before one gets to Gansbaai, and is known for its focus on conservation, not only of fynbos, but also of whales at De Kelders close by and other sealife, such as penguins, on Dyer Island.  The article writes as follows about Grootbos: “Found on one of the finest whale-watching coastlines, this five-star retreat offers unadulterated luxury without the guilt.  Every effort has been made to assimilate these fabulous private lodges – complete with all mod cons, state-of-the-art bathrooms, four-poster beds and unsurpassable views – into the environment.  And what an environment: a 1750-hectare reserve that is home to more than 740 different species of plants and the impossibly white sands of Walker Bay”.

Some of the other hotels that made the Telegraph Top 50 list include Mama Shelter in Paris, Mykonos Grace Hotel in Mykonos, Four Seasons Hotel Gresham Place in Budapest, Villa Marie in Saint Tropez, The Taj Mahal Hotel in Mumbai,  Four Seasons George V in Paris, Four Seasons New York, Four Seasons Istanbul, The Dorchester in London and The Carlyle in New York.

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

Restaurant Review: Knife Restaurant serves good cuts of steak!

Knife Restaurant is an American smoke-house themed restaurant, known particularly for its very tasty BBQ-sauce marinated and smoked ribs, and is a sister restaurant to Fork, a tapas style restaurant in Long Street, described as a “plateful on a fork”.  Knife opened three months ago in the rather kitsch looking Crystal Towers Hotel in Century City, with its magenta lighting, odd furniture, and even odder fisherman ‘fishing’ in a water feature in the Reception. 
It is hard to define what Knife stands for from the décor.  It is dominated by a central bar counter, with a hodge podge of interior styles, and different seating areas around it, accommodating about 100 patrons. Two walls are wallpapered with images of children of the owner Ed Saunders, to reflect that children are welcome to eat there.  Another wall has depictions of beef and pig cuts.  The music was very loud, but was turned down.   The lighting was on an automatic dimmer switch for the whole restaurant, reducing down to a very low ‘dull day’ light setting at 20h00, for which the manager struggled to find the switch to turn the lighting up again.  Raw cement columns dominate the space, and look unfinished, and seem out of place with the rest of the décor.  The décor is in strong contrast to the rest of the hotel.   There are wooden tables and chairs, and massive red/white dishcloth-type serviettes.  We chose a table close to a sliding door leading to the parking area, with a cold inflow of air whenever the door opened on the cold rainy night, so we moved around the corner to stay warm.   
 

I had invited my friend Sarah from Durban to join me for dinner, and our first reaction was one of uncertainty as to whether we would be happy there.  Everything changed when the charming then-Manager David Elsbury came to the table, and took personal care of us, entertaining us with his friendly and cheerful nature. He compared Knife to Carne and HQ as competitors in terms of the quality of their steaks.   David worked at Wakami previously, and helped set up the new bar for Knife.  He has left to move into a non-hospitality job, for the sake of better working hours to benefit his family.  JD Haasbroek is a partner with Saunders in the business, and compiled the winelist, making sure to add boutique wine farm brands.  The chef Jonathan Japha moved over from Fork.

David told us that the Knife at Century City is the first of a number of franchised steak and rib Knife restaurants planned, next ones to be in Johannesburg and Durban.  A Spoon restaurant may also be considered, concentrating on soups and desserts, which seemed an attractive concept, we felt.    

The menu is equally “mish mash”, reflecting the interior.  It offers starters, salads, burgers, fish and shellfish, steaks and ribs, and platters.  A selection of sauces, including creole mayo, wholegrain mustard, blue cheese, cumin and cream, and green peppercorn and bourbon sauce, costs R25 each.   Extra sides of salads and vegetables can also be ordered at R 25 each. 

A 400g portion of “smoked sticky BBQ baby back ribs” costs R 80, and a 600g portion R110.  The ribs are oak-smoked and marinated for 24 hours in a special BBQ marinade.   Steaks are cut from Chalmar beef that has been aged for 28 days before serving.  David explained that Chalmar beef is grain-fed, and has no added hormones. Sirloin and rump steak choices are offered, at an acceptable price of R95/R115 for 200g/300g rump, and R110/130 for 200g/300g sirloin.  Fillet costs R 135, but the portion size is not specified.  Both meat types are served with French fries and corn on the cob (for the American touch!), as well as a sauce of one’s choice.  David organised that my steak came with a boiled potato.  The rump steak was excellent, cooked medium rare perfectly, as ordered, and the taste of the marinade came through.  Sarah ordered the vegetarian sticky sweet potato stack with mozzarella and tomato relish (R40), and felt that there was too little vegetable and too much sauce, overpowering the sweet potato.  She indulged in a Rocky Road dessert (R50), finding the marshmallows quite hard, making them difficult to chew, whilst the rest of the dessert was soft, “melt-in-the-mouth”, in her words.

Starter options range from R 40 – R65, and include a  variety of choices, including Creole mussel curry and Cajun lamb ribs.  The Caesar salad costs R50, while a Nicoise salad made from seared game fish costs R70.  Burger choices included one made from chickpea (R55), and a bacon and cheese burger (R65).  On the seafood side one can order Creole fishcakes (R65), sole and line fish (R90), king prawn gumbo (R110), and crayfish tails at R180.   A Meat platter costs R220 for two persons, and contains a selection of ribs, chicken wings, rump steak, lamb chops and a sauce.  A Seafood platter for two persons costs R240.

The winelist has 16 wines-by-the-glass, and I chose a wonderful 2004 Stony Croft Shiraz from Stellenbosch, a Platter 4 1/2 star wine, according to David, which I had not previously heard of, and which was excellent value at R32.  The list is simply divided into “White” and “Red”, and then sub-divided by variety, and the vintage and region is specified, but there is no description of the wine.  Champagne Henri Giraud Espirit de Giraud NV costs R500, Krone Borealis R 40/R180, and Colmant NV R240.  Sauvignon Blancs offered are Badsberg (R23/R92), Reyneke Organic Reserve White the most expensive at R270.  Boekenhoutskloof Shiraz 2007 costs R400.

We paid R280 for a steak, a starter, a dessert, a cappuccino and a glass of red wine.  As Knife is too far away from where I live, I will only go back when next I go on a shopping trip to Canal Walk.  The steak is well worth a visit, and according to David, the ribs are too.

Knife restaurant, Crystal Towers Hotel, corner Century Boulevard and Rialto Road, Century City, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 551-5000 www.knife-restaurants.co.za . The website is functional, informative, has various menus – Christmas specials, kiddies menu, main menu, brunch menu, etc., lists all the reviews, and has a small gallery – more photographs would be welcome.  Monday – Sunday 11h00 – 23h00.  Weekend brunch 10h00 – 15h00.

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