Tag Archives: DISH

Cape Town and Winelands Restaurant openings continue!

imageNew restaurant openings continue, many working behind the scenes, and not revealing information about their new establishments prior to opening. We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously.

Restaurant Openings

*   Giulio’s Café has opened where My Basaar was located (photograph).

*   My Sugar has opened in Sea Point.

*   Chef Julia Hattingh has opened her own restaurant Reverie Social Table in Observatory. Continue reading →

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

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, Continue reading →

New Restaurant openings celebrate Spring in Cape Town & Winelands!

Beerhouse Bottled Beers Whale Cottage PortfolioDespite one of  the worst winters ever experienced by the Cape hospitality industry, few restaurants have closed down recently.   A surprise however is the movement of staff between restaurants. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Beerhouse has opened on Long Street, with 16 beers on tap and 99 bottled beers from around the world.

*    The House of Machines has opened on Shortmarket Street, building motorcycles, offering good Evil Twin coffee, and serving very healthy food.

*   Pure Good has opened downstairs in the Associated Magazines building opposite Parliament, and is owned by Shannon Smuts, the first MasterChef SA Finalist to have been eliminated.

*   The Harbour House group has opened La Parada Spanish Tapas restaurant on Continue reading →

Western Cape restaurants lead the Diners Club International Winelist Awards 2013!

Diners Club Winelist Awards 2More restaurants in the Western Cape than in any other province entered and received a Diners Club International Winelist Award 2013. At the 30th Awards function held for the Western Cape at the Vineyard Hotel on Wednesday,  MasterChef SA Judge and Tsogo Sun Chef Benny Masekwameng announced the 38 winners in the Diamond, 30 in the Platinum, 26 in the Gold,  and 2 in the SilverDiners Club Chef Benny Whale Cotatge Portfolio Award categories, 96 awards in total.

Veteran wine critic Dave Hughes chaired the judging panel, which included fledgling judge Chef Benny, restaurant guide editor JP Rossouw,  wine judges Christine Rudman and Fiona McDonald,   Winestyle.biz owner Nikki Dumas, and the Cape Wine Academy head Marilyn Cooper.  He said that it was fitting that the Awards ceremony was held at The Vineyard hotel, the Newlands area having been the first in Cape Town in which grapes were grown, but soon Continue reading →

Tough winter for Cape restaurants, many restaurant and staff changes!

Four & 20 Cafe via The Pretty BlogNo significant events have been planned to attract visitors to Cape Town and the Winelands this winter, and it appears to be the worst winter ever experienced by the hospitality industry in the Cape.  A surprise is the number of restaurant changes, as well as the the movement of staff  between restaurants.   Given the poor winter business, many restaurants have taken/are taking generous winter breaks. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Four & Twenty Café and Pantry has opened in Wynberg

*   The Crypt Jazz Restaurant has opened below St George’s Cathedral.

*   Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.

*   Cavalli restaurant on the stud farm on the R44 must be opening shortly, as Carl Habel has left the Mount Nelson Hotel as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier to join the restaurant.

*   Shake your Honey is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street next year, after renovations commence later this year, according to an iolTravel report.  The ‘vibrant spirit of India’ is to be reflected in the 5-storey building, with a theatre, markets, restaurants, and shops.

*   Burger King has opened its (second) Tygervalley branch. Branches at Cavendish and at Grandwest are to open soon. Continue reading →

Cape Restaurant Week: new restaurant specials, new reservation system!

An Amsterdam restaurant concept has been introduced to South Africa, kicking off in Cape Town and the Winelands, offering a real-time reservation system, and introducing the first Dining City Restaurant Week of specials from 22 – 29 September, whereby locals will be able to enjoy two and three course lunches and dinners at reasonable prices, and experience the real-time booking system of new restaurant website www.diningcity.com.  In the Netherlands the most recent Restaurant Week generated 200000 bookings from more than 1000 restaurants.

DiningCity Restaurant Week is the concept of ​​the world’s leading online restaurant guide www.DiningCity.com. The company was founded in 1998 in Amsterdam, and is currently active in Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Italy and Spain, and outside Europe in cities like New York, Singapore, Dubai, Shanghai, and Beijing. On the South African website one can select restaurants on price, cuisine, location and atmosphere. Information about the restaurants is presented by means of photos, menus and videos.

The principle of the system is that for Restaurant Week restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands offer a certain number of their seats to Restaurant Week, with a 3 course lunch costing R125 and a 3-course dinner costing R200.  Some restaurants will charge a supplement of R50, indicated with a star on the Dining City website (and in the list below). The condition is that all restaurant reservations must be made via the website, which automated system will confirm the booking, send reminders on the date of the booking, and will request feedback about the meal experience the following day. This will eliminate the taking of bookings telephonically or by e-mail, and should reduce no-shows, a problem which Cape Town restaurants experience regularly.  Initially the restaurants will not be charged to join Restaurant Week (in Amsterdam restaurants pay € 200 per year to be part of the system, said Dining City CEO Tertius van Oosthuyzen), but they will pay R10 per seat booked.  I caught Tertius just before his flight back to Amsterdam, and he was delighted that he had managed to get 20000 seats on board in the first few days of launching Restaurant Week almost a month ago. He is hoping to get 40 restaurants on board by the time that Restaurant Week starts.

The 38 restaurants which have signed up for Restaurant Week already are: Planet Restaurant*, The Roundhouse*, The Duchess of Wisbeach*, Pigalle*, 5 Rooms*, Ashton’s at Greenways, Baia, Balducci’s, Belthazar, Blakes*, Blues Beach House, Buitenverwachting*, Bukhara*, Café Chic, Café Dijon, Catharina’s*, Chandani, Five Flies*, Gold Restaurant*, Haiku*, Il Cappero, Jackal & Hide, L’Apero*, La Mouette*, Marimba, Myoga*, Paranga*, Pepenero*, Pure, Reserve, Roberto’s, Savoy Cabbage, Signal Restaurant, The Bungalow,* The George @ Romney Park Hotel, The Grand Café and Beach, Top of the Ritz, and Westin Executive Club*.

Few Winelands restaurants have been signed up to date:  Roca* at Dieu Donné, Haute Cabriere*, Dish at Le Franschhoek (photograph), Mange Tout*, Monneaux*, and Waterkloof*.

Tertius was at pains to explain that they are not taking on beleaguered Eat Out, the largest restaurant database in South Africa, and he was happy to see that they have posted a write-up about Restaurant Week on their site.

Restaurant Week will form part of Cape Town’s promotion of tourism in September. “We are keen to encourage locals to come out of hibernation, with an offer that will not be equalled in terms of quality and value, until the next DiningCity Restaurant Week,” said Tertius.  Next year Dining City SA will focus on Johannesburg, for the second Restaurant Week they will organise, in April.  It is planned to host two such restaurant special promotions every year.

POSTSCRIPT 22/9: The Restaurant Week started today, and I tried to make a booking at Dish Restaurant at Le Franschhoek via the Dining City website, but it has no link to the Restaurant Week website, on which one has to make the restaurant bookings for the Restaurant Week.  When I got to the right website, I could not make the booking, as it had already eliminated today’s date, and only offered dates from tomorrow onwards. Earlier in the day I was asked to provide feedback about the booking process by Dining City via Twitter, which I did, and I received a number of defensive and aggressive Tweets as well as DM’s (Direct Messages), basically questioning my intelligence about not understanding their websites and booking system.  The Tweeter was Tertius van Oosthuyzen, the Dining City CEO! Not a good introduction of this Dutch businessman to our local restaurant industry!

Despite the bad Tweet start with Dining City, I had a lovely evening at Dish Restaurant, and Chef Oliver Cattermole and his team were firing on all cylinders. Three courses at R200 is exceptional value. His amuse bouche was the highlight this evening, a cranberry-coated chicken liver ‘popsicle’.  The starter was a mushroom soup which I have tasted previously.  The main course was beef fillet with Chef Oliver’s famous ‘vegetable garden’ plating, using vegetables grown for him especially at La Motte by Daniel Kruger.  The dessert was a chocolate fondant made from 100% smoked chocolate, served with a cognac ice cream, and a hazelnut chocolate paste smear.  Chef Oliver sent a taste of Le Franschhoek’s new Lemoncello, which he made from the hotel’s own produce, to the table.

Dining City Restaurant Week, 22 – 29 September. www.DiningCity.co.za Twitter: @DiningCitySA

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

Spring/Summer Restaurant Specials: Cape Town and Winelands

The Spring and Summer 2012/13 specials for Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and are updated continuously. We welcome information about new specials, and feedback about your meals at these restaurants:

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : Sirloin and chips R89, Seafood platter R 129, 1 kg prawn platter R99, Sushi platter R109, Mussels and chips R79, Pasta of the day R79, Chicken schnitzel R79, Lamb chops R109, Crayfish tails R149, Mussels and fries R79. Half price sushi all day. Daily. Spring/Summer. Tel (021) 439-9027 (checked 5/9)

*   Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square:  Lunch (6 options) at R55. Monday – Saturday, 11h00 – 17h00.  Current. Tel (021) 465-0967 (updated 5/9)

*   Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: Oysters R 6 each, 400g Rump Espetada R 125, Kingklip and 6 prawns R 110; kingklip and calamari R110;  250g Lobster and 6 prawns R179; Seafood platter R139. Current. Tel (021) 439-3494 (updated 5/9)

*   Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront: half price sushi Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 18h00; 25 % off sushi, Sunday 12 – 2pm, 50 % on Sunday 2 – 6 pm, 3-course R160, lunch and dinner; 2-course lunch R120. Until end September. Tel (021) 421-5134 (updated 5/9)

*   Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 50 % off sushi, dimsum and cocktails all day Sunday, and from 12h00 – 19h00 other weekdays. 2-course lunch R135; 3-course lunch and dinner R175.  Spring. Tel (021) 418-2948 (updated 5/9)

*   La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point : 6-course Tasting Menu R 295, with wines paired R 480. Monday – Sunday dinner, Sunday lunch. Summer. Tel (021) 433-0856 (updated 4/11).

*   Bertha’s in Simonstown: 1 kg Queen prawns cost R99 each, 1kg mussels R99, 1 kg chicken wings R99,  Half rack of ribs R59. Bertha’s seafood platter R109. 2 courses R 120, 3 courses R150. Until end September. Tel (021) 786-2138 (updated 5/9)

*   Aubergine:  2-course lunch R198,  3-course lunch R254, Wednesdays – Fridays.  Monday – Saturdays except public holidays. Daily dinner specials. 3-course R365, 4-course R425, 5-course R 495 meat and seafood degustation menu. Winter Bistro 2 courses R200, 3 courses R 275, optional wine pairing. Until mid-September. Tel (021) 465-4909 (updated 5/9)

*   Ferryman’s Tavern, V&A Waterfront: Ostrich burger plus red wine R 75. T-bone steak plus a beer R95. Current. Tel (021) 419-7748 (updated 5/9)

*   Blowfish in Blouberg: half-price sushi Wednesday  and Sunday 5 – 8 pm; Prawns R5,90 each, 24 prawns R135, 10 prawns R59.  Current. Tel (021) 556-5464 (updated 5/9)

*   Knife restaurant, Century City:  Bagels R35, Chicken sandwich R45, Steak sandwich R55. Lunch special, 12h00 – 15h00, Mondays – Fridays. Summer. Tel (021) 551-5000 (updated 5/9)

*   Saul’s Sushi @ Vegas, Sea Point: Eat as much sushi as you like for R120 Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturday; Mongolian eat as much as you can R79; Sushi 30 % off on Wednesdays; Sundays 50 % off. Summer. Tel 087 151 4595 (updated 5/9)

*   Trees Restaurant, Townhouse Hotel, Cape Town:  Grill special plus glass of wine R125 daily, buffet R155 Sundays – Thursdays. Indefinite. Tel (021) 465-7050 (updated 9/8)

*   French Toast, Bree Street: Bruschetta tapas free with glass of wine Mondays – Saturdays, 5 – 7 pm.  All wines costing R 400 or less half price on Mondays.  Big Bottle Thursday wine sold by the glass. Daily lunch specials. Current. Tel (021) 422-3839 (updated 5/9)

* The Square, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 5 course menu R 195/R295 with wines, dinner only. Half price sushi 5 – 7 pm.  Monday – Sunday. Current. Tel ()21) 657-4500 (updated 5/9)

*   Dunes, Hout Bay : Sunday buffet with smoked salmon, oysters and cooked breakfast R120. Summer. Tel (021) 790-1876 (updated 5/9)

*   Arnold’s on Kloof, 60 Kloof Street, Gardens:  Early bird breakfast half-price special if order before 7h00 Monday – Friday.  Peppa Poppers R35, Biltong fillet steak mens/ladies R115/R 75, Stew for U2 R119, Chicken Kloof R 59, Chicken parmesan R69, Carpaccio kudu fillet biltong R49.  Summer Tel (021) 424-4344 (updated 5/9)

*   Five Flies, Half price for all main courses. Mondays – Sundays. August and September. Tel (021) 424-4442 (updated 2/8)

*   Codfather, Camps Bay:  half-price sushi 12h00 – 18h00, daily.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 438-0782

*   Black Marlin, Simonstown:  2-course meal R115, 3-course R140. Indefinite. Tel (021) 786-1621

*   Cape Town Fish Market, Big Bay, V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk, Tyger Valley, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Tokai, Grand West Casino: “All you can eat Breakfast Buffet” R60, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays; 4-course Seafood buffet lunch R125, Sundays and public holidays.  Buy one, get one free – hake on Mondays, sushi on Tuesdays, calamari on Wednesdays.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 554-5962.

*   La Bruixa, Sea Point: Seafood paella for two for R260, includes a salad. Meat paella R200. Current.Tel (021) 434-8797 (updated 5/9)

*   La Boheme, Sea Point: 2-courses R95, 3-courses R 120. Current. Tel (021) 434-8797 (updated 5/9)

*   The Round House, Camps Bay: 4-course a la carte menu R450, 6-course set tasting menu R595. 3 course lunch R220.  Current. Tel (021) 438-4347 (updated 5/9)

*   Planet Restaurant,  Mount Nelson Hotel:  5-course Vegan Journey menu (R300), 5-course The Journey menu R330. Until end October. Tel (021) 483-1000 (checked 5/9)

*   Savour Restaurant, 51 on Orange: 2-course R189, 3-courses R225, for lunch and dinner.  Current. Tel (021) 469-8037 (updated 5/9)

*   La Colombe, Constantia: 8-course Gourmand menu R 625, or with wine R850, Monday – Saturday, Current. 3 course lunch R240 from 16 June – 15 November, 5 course dinner R395 with wine, R310 without wine 16 June – 31 October.  Specials do not apply to Sundays. Tel (021) 794-2390

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel: 2-course lunch R185, 3-course lunch R215, 3-course dinner R250.  Current.  Tel (021) 713-2222 (updated 5/9)

*   Constantia Uitsig: 3-course lunch and dinner R390, Monday – Saturday. Current.3-course lunch R210 . 17 April – 15 November, 3-course dinner R250 from 17 April – 31 October. Specials do not apply to Sundays. Tel (021) 794-4480

*   River Café:  2 course lunch plus tea/coffee R99, 3 courses R 119;  tea/coffee plus muffin, scone, croissant or slice of cake of the day R35 15h00 – 16h30. Not available on Sundays. 1 May – 31 October. Tel (021) 794-3010

*   Rick’s Café Américain, Park Road: Lunch specials R45, change daily; and more specials on drinks. Indefinite.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   Barocca, Camps Bay Club: 2 for the price of one burgers Tuesday evenings; From 5 pm. Indefinite. Tel (021) 438-1992

*   Seaforth Restaurant, Simonstown: Buy one pizza get one free Mondays, Deep fried prawns R98 Tuesdays; hake and chips R38 Wednesdays; Eat as much calamari as you like R49 Thursdays; Steak and calamari R78 Fridays; Eat as much as you like pork spare ribs R88 Saturdays. From 6 pm. Current. Tel (021) 786-4810 (updated 5/9)

*   Pizzeria Villagio, Howard Centre, Pinelands: 20 % of bill for table of more than two, on Wednesdays.  Current. Tel (021) 531-4473 (updated 5/9)

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 5-courses R315 includes movie and popcorn, Current. Tel (021) 437-9000 (updated 5/9)

*   Diva Pizza, Buitenkant Street: 2 large margherita pizzas with choice of two toppings R89, Monday, Tuesday.  Current. Tel (021) 461-0013 (updated 5/9)

*   Tokyo Restaurant & Sushi Bar: Buy two get one free daily until 5pm; Sushi Buffet Fridays and Saturday from 5 pm, 7 plates R99, unlimited number of plates R118.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 424-5108

*   BlueFin Seafood & Sushi, Plattekloof: 50 % off sushi 11h00 – 17h00; ‘Eat as much as you like’ Sushi R129; Platters ½ price from 11h00 – 19h00. Monday – Sunday. Current. Tel (021) 558-4281 (updated 5/9)

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 50 % off sushi daily from 10h00 – 19h00. Burger plus Castle Lite draught R50 on Fridays. Children under 16 eat free per adult. Current. Tel (021) 434-3004 (updated 5/9)

*   Reuben’s, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront: One&Only Seafood Platter for Two R995. Dish of the day and glass of wine R99 lunch Monday – Friday. Sunday lunch buffet R225. Current. Tel (021) 431-5888 (updated 5/9)

*   Bayside Café, Camps Bay:  Order two main courses, and second person gets lower priced dish free.  Sunday dinner – Friday lunch. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-2650 (updated 5/9)

*   Café Chameleon, Plattekloof: Monday – Friday lunch special of small pizza R 45.  Monday and Saturday dinner large pizza special R55.  Ongoing. Tel (021) 911-1025

*   Taiwan City Chinese Cuisine, Century City: 2 courses for 2 persons for R 128. Current. Tel (021) 555-3081 (updated 5/9)

*   Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course dinner R 225. Current. Tel (021) 657-4545 (updated 5/9)

*   Zorba’s, Lagoon Beach: Seafood and meat platter for two R220. 500g rump steak R135, Beef espetada R110. Lunch and dinner daily, Current. Tel (021) 528-2093 (updated 5/9)

*   Den Anker, V&A Waterfront: Vol au vent with Vedett white beer R 85.  Until October. Tel (021) 419-0249

*   F.east, Loop Street: chicken or vegetable curry lunch special R59. Current. Tel (021) 424-5903 (updated 5/9)

I ♥ my Laundry, Buitengracht Street: 8 pieces of Dim Sum and a cappuccino or glass of wine R40. Daily 7h00 – 19h00. Fondue Thursdays R125.  Current. Book at 084 6600 777 (updated 5/9).

*   Slug & Lettuce, Kloof Street: 300g rump steak, chips and onion rings R89. Until mid-September. Tel (021) 422-5325

*   Foodbarn, Noordhoek: 50 % of all lunch dishes Monday – Friday; 3-courses R175, 4-courses R195, 5-courses R225, all with Ntida wines, until end September. Tel (021) 789-1390 (updated 5/9)

*   Cru Café, Cape Quarter: 2 jumbo gourmet burgers R99, 12h00 – 14h00 daily. Hake and chips, or chicken schnitzel and chips, R39, Sundays 12h00 – 15h00. Bucks Fizz free with breakfast on Sunday. Current. Tel (021) 418-6334 (updated 5/9)

*   1800°, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: Get Rubbed 200g rump/sirloin plus glass wine/beer R99. Current. Tel (021) 430-0506 (updated 5/9)

*   Tuscany Beach, Camps Bay: 50 % off partner’s main course. 25% off all sushi. Every evening, Monday – Friday lunch.  Until mid-September. Tel (021) 438-1213 (updated 5/9)

*   Pigalle, Green Point: 2-courses R140, 3-courses R170, 4-courses R 200 Monday – Thursday, Seafood Platter for two R275, Monday – Thursday dinner, and Tuesday – Friday lunch.  Until end September. Tel (021) 421-4848 (updated 5/9)

*   RBG Bar & Grill, Park Inn, Foreshore: Classic Burger R50, Grilled Chicken Caeser R50, Sirloin steak R85 Monday – Thursday 12h00 – 14h00. Until end September. Tel (021) 427-4800 (updated 6/9).

*   Hussar Grill, Green Point: 2 courses R99.  Until end October. Tel (021) 433-2081 (updated 7/10)

*   Blues, Camps Bay: 2 courses R120, 3 courses R 150. End September. Tel (01) 438-2040 (updated 5/9)

*   5 Rooms, Alphen Boutique Hotel: ‘Chalmer’ sirloin R95, Hanger steak R109, Tempura lobster R129,  3 courses R199. Summer. Tel (021) 795-6313 (updated 26/11)

*   Liberty’s, Upper Eastside Hotel: choice of one of three pasta dishes R48 on Mondays; one bottle of house red or white wine for two main courses ordered on Wednesdays; 12 Mozambican prawns done three ways for R85 on Thursdays; 3 &Union beers plus a tasting prego roll R100 on Fridays; Current. Tel (021) 404-0570 (updated 5/9)

*   Harbour House, Kalk Bay: 2 courses R 150, 3 courses R170. September. Tel (021) 788-4133 (updated 5/9)

*   Harbour House, V & A Waterfront: 2 courses R150, 3 courses R170, all meals except Sunday lunch. September. Tel (021) 418-4744 (updated 30/8)

*   Mezepoli, Camps Bay: Beef, chicken or vegetarian pita with chips, beer, or cold drink R70 on Mondays; half-price sushi; Meze platter R120 Sundays. September. Tel (021) 438-1915 (updated 5/9)

*   Ocean Blue, Camps Bay: Seafood platter R99, Linefish R79, Calamari R79, Sirloin steak R79, Prawns and linefish R79, Calamari and linefish R79, calamari and prawns, R79, Steak and prawns/calamari R79, Lobster and prawns R129, Oysters R6. Breakfast R30. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-4204 (updated 23/7)

*   Sinatra’s, Pepper Club Hotel: 3 course meal with glass of house wine R200, until end September. Tel (021) 812-8888

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay: 3-courses set menu R 149. Butternut and Feta cannelloni R79, Parmesan lamb chops R119, Osso Bucco R99, Lamb shank R109, Wild mushroom risotto (R89), chicken risotto (R89), pan fried tuna R119.  Until end September. Tel (021) 438-0007 (updated 5/9)

Bungalow, Clifton: ‘Speciality Winter Menu’, with six main courses ranging in price from R90 for Bouillabaisse to R155 for crayfish pasta, and one dessert, chocolate fondant, at R60. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-2018.

*   Mariner’s Wharf, Hout Bay: Free filter coffee or tot of Allesverloren port for 2 courses ordered. Starters R25 – R39, Mains R60 – R99, Desserts R25. Until 15 September, excludes Sundays and public holidays.  Tel (021) 790-1100

*   Salt Café, Bantry Bay: Breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee or juice R65. Spring. Tel (021) 439-3354 (Updated 3/9)

*   Rocca, Cape Quarter: 3-course dinner R123 Monday – Saturday. Current. Tel (021) 418-8000 (updated 5/9)

*   Mezbaan Indian Restaurant, Hilton Cape Town: ‘Curry Cup’ Buffet with soup, salads, nine curries, sambals, naan bread, poppadoms, and a selection of desserts, and all soft drinks R151, Thursday evenings. All year.  Tel (021) 481-3700

*   Buitenverwachting Restaurant, Constantia: 2 courses R175, 3 courses R225.  Tapas menu 5 dishes R129 and 7 dishes R179. Until end September. Tel (021) 794-3522 (updated 5/9)

*   Haiku: Dim Sum, Robata and Sushi platters R119, Lunch Monday – Friday. 3 courses R179, 5 courses R249, Dinner Monday – Wednesday.  Current. Tel (021) 424-7000 (updated 5/9)

Saints on 84 Kloof, Gardens: Order 2 flatbreads and pay for one Monday; order 2 Saints classic burgers and pay for one Thursday. Winter Tel (021) 424-0030

*   Alexander Bar and Café, Strand Street:  Home cooking dish of day R40, Mondays.  Current. Tel (021) 300-1088 (updated 5/9)

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 50 % off pasta and desserts on Monday lunch and dinner. September. Tel (021) 438-7074 (updated 5/9)

St Elmo’s: 4 Pizza pies R99; 2 large regular pizzas R109,90; 2 medium regular pizzas R74,90; 2 large pizzas R89,90 on Tuesdays only; Large regular pizza plus 400 gram rack of sticky ribs and chips R 129,90; Small regular pizza plus 330ml Coca Cola R29,90. All branches.

*   Andiamo, old Cape Quarter, De Waterkant: 2 pizzas or 2 pastas, or one of each, at R 109,95. Until October.  Tel (021) 421-3687.

*   Upstairs @ Quay Four: Malay Kreef Curry R90. Until end September.  Tel (021) 419-2008 (updated 5/9)

*   Debonairs Pizza: Pizza Tower (4 layers of large pizza) R109,90. Until 29 October. Tel (021) 439-7575

*   Maxi’s, Cape Gate, N1 City, Paarl, Zevenwacht:  350 gram T-Bone steak R59,90. From 15h00. T&Cs apply. Current.  Tel 0834562947

*   Café Chic, Gardens: 3-course dinner R150. Summer. Tel (021) 465-7218 (updated 11/10)

*   Balducci’s, V&A Waterfront: Sushi plate R109, all pizza and pasta R49. Free bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or House Red for two main meals ordered, at R90 minimum spend per main meal. Until 18h00 daily. Current. Tel (021) 421-6002 (checked 5/9)

*   Willoughby’s, V&A Waterfront:  ’Clicquot Fridays’: 3 sashimi dishes with tuna and salmon, and glass of Veuve Clicquot R149. Fridays. Current. Tel (021) 418-6115 (updated 5/9)

*   Sotano by Caveau, La Splendida Hotel, Mouille Point: Beef burger, lamb pita, club sandwich, and haloumi/tomato/caper flatbread R65, 2 lamb burgers for the price of one on Wednesdays from 17h00, Spring. Tel (021) 433-1757 (updated 3/9)

*   Kushi Indian Restaurant, 315 Main Road, Sea Point, and Red Sails, Main Road, Hout Bay: Butter Chicken, mixed vegetable curry, Naan, Basmati rice, and glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon R99. End September. Tel (021) 433-2069/791-4805 (updated 5/9)

*   OYO at V&A Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 500g crayfish R199. From 1 October.  Summer.  Tel (021) 419-6677. (added 20/9)

*   Andiamo, old Cape Quarter: 2 pastas or 2 pizzas, or one of each R109,95. Until end October. Tel (021) 421-3687 (added 23/9)

*   Reserve Brasserie, Adderley Street: 3-course Business Lunch  and local beer or mineral water R140, Wednesday – Friday. Tel (021) 422-0654. Current (added 23/9)

*   Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: 250 gram Rump steak R49, 8 – 14 October.  Tel (021) 418-9393 (added 8/10)

*   San Marco, V&A Waterfront:  2 for the price of one main meals; Pastas R69, Gourmet Burgers R69, Breakfast from R29. Current. Tel (021) 418-5434 (added 10/10)

*   Blues, Camps Bay: glass of bubbly and 3 oysters; Fritto Misto; West Coast mussels, all cost R69, between 3 – 6 pm

*   Leaf Restaurant: Combos R99. Sushi Buffet eat as much as you like R119, 50% off sushi before 18h00, free sushi platter up to R80 value on guest’s birthday. Summer. Tel (021) 418-4500. (added 27/11)

WINELANDS

Franschhoek

*   Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250g steaks at R115 – 145, including a glass of estate wine, current. Lunch, Wednesday – Sunday.  Chicnics (standard and vegetarian picnics) from 1 September, cost R145 per person, winetasting offered. Tel (021) 874-1021 (updated 5/9)

*   Allora in Franschhoek: 3-course Sunday lunch R99 all year. Lunch and dinner: 2 courses R89,  3 courses R110. Current. Tel (021) 876-4375 (updated 5/9)

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 3-courses R 200 and a glass of wine. Lunch. End September. Tel (021) 876-9200 (updated 5/9)

*   Grande Provence Jonkershuis, Franschhoek: 3-course meal for a minimum of eight guests, R 250 per person. 1 May – 30 September. Closed Sunday evenings until September. Tel (021) 876-8600.

*   La Residence, Franschhoek: 4 courses R 600 per person, all inclusive of ‘house wines’ and local beverages. Dinner. Daily.  Current.  Tel (021) 876-4100 (updated 5/9)

*   Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek: 4-course Table d’Haut lunch R150, Tuesday – Friday;  Pierre Jourdan Breakfast, cellar tour, and tasting R150, from 10h00 Saturdays;  Pinot Noir Tasting Menu – 5 courses and wine R495, Friday and Saturday dinner, Saturday and Sunday lunch. Current. Tel (021) 876-3688 (updated 5/9)

*   Freedom Hill Restaurant, outside Franschhoek: 2-courses R105, 3-course R135. Selection of tapas R10 – R30 each. Wednesday – Mondays. Summer. Tel (021) 867-0963 (updated 5/9)

*   Reuben’s: Burger and chips R 85.  Current. Tel (021) 876-3772 (updated 4/9)

*   Dish at Le Franschhoek:  3 course lunch R 195. Sundays. Bookings essential. September. Tel (021) 876-8900 (updated 5/9)

*   Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte (photograph): 6-course dinner with ‘surprises in-between’ R350, or R495 with wine pairing. Summer.  Tel (021) 876-8800 (updated 31/8)

*   The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Français: two for the price of one on Wednesdays, FIRST TEN ONLY, until end September.  Tel (021) 876-2151.

Paarl

*   Bosman’s, Grande Roche, Paarl: 2-courses R135, 3-courses R170.  Monday – Sunday lunch  (Bosman’s and at Bistro) and dinner (Bistro only).  End September. Tel (021) 863-5100 (updated 5/9)

eat @ Simonsvlei, Simonsvlei Winery, Old Paarl Road: Steak and baked potato R95 Friday evenings.  3 course carvery R135 Sundays. Free milkshake and kiddie’s pizza with adults eating Tuesday – Saturday.   Summer. Tel (021) 863-3040   (updated 5/9)

*   Harvest at Laborie: 2 courses R110, 3 courses R 135, Monday – Friday lunch. Until end October. Tel (021) 807-3095 (added 11/9)

Stellenbosch

*   Towerbosch Restaurant, Knorhoek Wine Estate, Stellenbosch:  Asado Argentian-style braai on Sundays R165, R175 from 1 October. Indefinite. Tel (021) 865-2958 (updated 6/9)

*   Tokara Restaurant, Stellenbosch: Chef’s Menu – 4 courses, inclusive of glass of wine R 250.  End September. Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner (closed 24/9 – 4/10). Tel (021) 885-2550 (updated 5/9)

*   Wild Peacock Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Str, Stellenbosch: Specials as per menu, dinner Friday evenings. Early bird mini breakfast plus tea/coffee R25 Monday – Friday 7h30 – 9h00. Terrific Tuesday lunch R59 Tuesdays 12h00 – 14h00. Indefinite. Tel (021) 887-7585 (updated 5/9)

*   Johan’s at Longridge, Stellenbosch: 6-course lunch and dinner plus 6 glasses of wine R 400. Friday – Tuesday (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays). Current. Tel (021) 855-2004.*

*   Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch: 4-course wine and food pairing lunch R198, Tuesday – Friday, Summer. Tel (021) 865-2022 (updated 21/8)

*   Lord Neethling Restaurant, Neethlingshof, Stellenbosch:  choice of 4 hot dishes with 250 ml wine R80 mid-September, Sunday buffet lunch R150 Summer. Wednesday and Friday dinner, and Monday – Saturday lunch. Tel (021) 883-8966 (updated 5/9)

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3 course meal R185. Monday – Saturday, 3 – 30 September. Tel (021) 842-2020 (update 29/8)

*   Warwick wine estate: Picnics for two R299. Monday – Sunday.  Summer. Tel (021) 884-4410 (updated 5/9)

*   Terroir, Kleine Zalze: 2 courses R 175, 3 courses R198, both with a glass of Kleine Zalze wine. Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Until 30 September. Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Dornier Bodega Restaurant, Dornier wine estate: 2 courses R150, 3 courses R 175. Lunch daily, but closed Mondays.  Asparagus menu from 28 September.  Tel (021) 880-0557 (updated 11/9)

*   Overture: 4-courses R 250, and R350 if paired with wines. Tuesday – Friday lunch, Dinner Thursday and Friday, until 14 September, thereafter R350/R490. Tel (021) 880-2721 (updated 6/9)

*   Hartenberg: Steak and Shiraz, R95, Fridays.

*   Taste, mid-way between Stellenbosch and Somerset West: 3 course meal R175, Lunch and Dinner, Thursdays – Mondays. Tel (021) 855-3686

* Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House: 3 courses R195, or R255 if paired with wines. Until end October.  Tel (021) 880-1549 (added 11/9)

Hermanus

*   Season in Hermanus: Afval R45 Tuesdays. Two for the price of one main course Wednesdays. Hake and calamari combo R55 Thursdays. Free 200g rump steak for a 300 g rump steak ordered for R110, on Fridays.  Sunday lunch: 1 course R70 upwards, 2 courses R 92 upwards. Curry Festival R110 Saturdays. Tel (028) 316-2854.  Spring. (updated 5/9)

*   The Class Room, Hermanus: 2 courses R120, 3 courses R150. Wednesdays – Fridays. 10 October – 3 November. Tel (028) 316-3582 (update 27/9)

*   Amigos Cantina Restaurant: Free bottle of house wine for table of 4.2 bottles for table of 8 Tuesdays; buy one get one free on chicken liver starter or Chicken/Beef/Vegetarian Tortilla Wednesdays; free coffee and a port/sherry Thursdays.  Current. Tel (028) 313-0384

*   Cattle Baron: 300g Chateaubriand R125; Lunch Buffet R59, pensioners R45,90, Wednesday – Friday 12h00 – 15h00. Current. Tel (028) 313-0384 (added 21/9)

*   Annie se Kombuis: 2 courses R75, 3 courses R90. Current. Tel (028) 313-1350 (added 21/9)

*   Monneaux, Franschhoek Country House:  Spring salad with complimentary glass of Rosé R65, Gourmet Ostrich Burger with complimentary lager R65.  Until 30 November. tel (0210 876-3386.

Plettenberg Bay

*   Nguni: Friday night special R50. Tel (044) 533-6710 (updated 31/8)

A-palling Bruce Palling in Cape Town to judge Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants!

New Eat Out judge, blogger Bruce Palling from the UK, has arrived in Cape Town to assist Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant and associated awards organiser Abigail Donnelly in selecting the top ten restaurants in the country and in ranking them.  He has barely set foot in the country, never having been here before, and he has attracted controversy already!

Palling is a rude Tweeter, and on Twitter yesterday afternoon he announced his arrival, having been to Clarke’s second hand bookshop on Long Street, and in having eaten springbok for lunch, commenting on its bland taste: Cape Town on a glorious sunny Spring day – and my first experience of Springbok – surprisingly mild…was expecting more depth of flavour...  A chef retaliated immediately: It’s not stag steaks stored in the deepfreezer for 3 years wrapped in wellington boots, boet”. Palling also Tweeted a comment which was criticised for its implied racism, by labelling a fellow guest on skin colour at the restaurant: Black guest excusing lateness@Cape Town restaurant: “Sorry but had to take taxi because my Ferrari cant make it over bumps at entrance here”. For that Tweet he was admonished too, including by Über-Tweeter Jane-Anne Hobbs.

Palling, who is being accommodated at the Taj hotel, will be visiting the Top 20 restaurant list, unless Ms Donnelly has already cut that list down to her Top 10, and he will assist her in ranking the list, and in choosing the winners in the categories introduced last year: Boschendal Style Award, Best Italian, Best Asian, Best Bistro, Best Steakhouse, and Best Country Style restaurant.  This is our prediction of where Palling can be expected to eat in potential 2012 Eat Out Top 10 restaurants in the next few days in the Western Cape (we have excluded Grande Provence, The Roundhouse, and Nobu due to chef changes, and other deserving restaurants at which the chefs have been at the restaurants for less than a year):

*   The Test Kitchen

*   The Greenhouse

*   Planet Restaurant

*   Makaron Restaurant

*   Tokara

*   Delaire Graff

*   Pierneef à La Motte

*   Overture

*   Terroir

*   Babylonstoren

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine

*   Waterkloof

*   La Colombe

*   Rust en Vrede

*   The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français

From Palling’s blogposts, of which variations are published in the Europe edition of the Wall Street Journal occasionally, one has learnt the following about his eating and drinking tastes:

1.   Local is lekker:  he wants to eat ‘native produce’ rather than it being imported  (e.g. ‘wallaby’ in Australia!)

2.   He is fond of wine, and it should be local and single varietal, and not blended

3.  His benchmark is Michelin-ism

4.  He is quick to describe food as ‘bland’

5.   He has a ‘boredom with egg-dominated dishes’

6.   He loves ‘Nordic’ (especially Swedish) cuisine

7.   He scoffs at molecular gastronomy, which he calls ‘pretend food’, and likes to be able to identify produce on a plate ‘rather than look at an inanimate mixture of textures and smears’

8.  He ‘cherishes food which exudes strong, not to say, disgusting odours’.

It will be interesting to see if Palling’s assistance to Ms Donnelly will make any difference to the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards results. Palling has already shown that he is a difficult and opinionated writer and judge, and a rude Tweeter.

POSTSCRIPT 5/9: Eat Out has just announced that it is hosting a weekend of food celebration from 23 – 25 November, with international chefs in attendance too: This is from their website:

On Friday 23 November, there will be an exclusive dinner with Massimo Bottura, chef at Osteria Francescana, number 5 in The World’s 50 Best Restaurants, the prestigious annual awards sponsored by S. Pellegrino and Aqua Panna.

On Saturday 24 November, for the first time ever, we’ll be hosting an Eat Out Conference at The Westin Cape Town on Cape Town’s foreshore. Speakers at the inspiring, interactive day include top international chef Massimo Bottura; Bruce Palling (Wall Street Journal critic, World’s 50 Best Restaurants judge, blogger and Eat Out 2012 judge); and British food designer Andrew Stellitano (check out his incredible food landscapes, sculptural pancakes and edible Louis Vuitton handbagshere). Local speakers include reigning Chef of the Year, Luke Dale-Roberts, and prominent members of the local food and restaurant community, who’ll join a panel discussion led by Eat Out editor and judge, Abigail Donnelly.

On Sunday, the winners of the 2012 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards will be announced at a glittering awards ceremony in the Grand Ballroom at The Westin Cape Town. A four-course meal will be prepared by top chefs, and the new Top 10 will be announced, along with the winners of the awards for best steakhouse, bistro, Asian, country-style and Italian restaurant, along with the Boschendal Style Award“.

POSTSCRIPT 9/9: Bruce Palling has been eating his way around the Cape, and the only clues that he is leaving is that he has eaten Springbok on more than one occasion, and he is Tweeting photographs of the wines he has drunk with his meals, which must be very frustrating for him, as he is a keen food photographer, but that would give the judging away!  His wine choice over the past five days has included Zorgvliet Cabernet Sauvignon (vintage not mentioned), Raats Cabernet Franc 2008, Hamilton Russell Pinot Noir 2010, Raats Cabernet Sauvignon 2009, Paul Cluver 7 Flags Pinot Noir 2008, and Luddite Shiraz 2006. He is seeking wines with less than 14% alcohol content, to suit his wife’s requirement, and has been asking for advice on Twitter, a sad reflection on the restaurants at which he has eaten not being able to advise him!  He has taken back his criticism of springbok in his Tweet on his arrival (see above), and Tweeted on Friday: “Take back Springbok being boring/bland – had 2 non sous vide versions which lean + voluptuous helped along by Raats Cabernet Franc 08”. No local chefs, with the exception of Oliver Cattermole, who is not in the running for the Eat Out Top 10 Awards as he has not been at Dish at Le Franschhoek for a full year, have interacted with Palling on Twitter.  Chefs Peter Tempelhoff (Greenhouse), Jackie Cameron (Hartford House), Gregory Czarnecki (Waterkloof), Margot Janse (The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français), Scot Kirton (La Colombe), Tanja Kruger (Makaron), Eric Bulpitt (The Roundhouse), Marthinus Ferreira (DW Eleven – 13), and Tokara Restaurant are all following Palling on Twitter, perhaps hoping for a clue or two.  Further disparaging Tweets in reaction to our Palling blogposts have been posted by Palling, one of which was (unprofessionally) ReTweeted by Le Quartier Français’ The Tasting Room owner Susan Huxter).

POSTSCRIPT 12/9: Le Quartier Français’ The Tasting Room and McGrath Hotels’ The Greenhouse must be concerned about Bruce Palling’s attack on ‘Relais Chateau‘ (sic) on Twitter today, both hotel groups belonging to Relais & Châteaux.

POSTSCRIPT 13/9: One hopes that Bruce Palling’s restaurant judging is better than his a-palling spelling and photography. This was his Tweet from Biesmiellah last night: “Taking a break at Biedmiellah (sic) – Babotie (sic) and Denning Vleis (sic)”. Poor quality writing, especially from a ‘journalist’!

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

La Motte Herbs & Vegetables: supplying organic specialist produce to restaurants!

I first heard about La Motte’s Herbs & Vegetables organic vegetable and herb supply from enthusiastic client Chef Oliver Cattermole at Dish restaurant at Le Franschhoek,  who shared that La Motte’s Daniel Kruger supplies him with specialist vegetables in colours and sizes he requests for his beautiful dishes.  It is a fantastic example of collegiality, in that La Motte is sharing its organic produce with its restaurant colleagues.

Meeting with Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte last week, he connected me with Daniel Kruger, who is in charge of the specialist vegetable and herb farm, and the La Motte farm manager Pietie le Roux.  I met both at Leopard’s Leap, where Daniel shared that the new business was started at the beginning of the year, and that it has grown to not only supply Pierneef á La Motte, but also other top restaurants in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch.

Daniel told me that he has been involved in large scale vegetable farming in the Free State, and has only more recently operated in the Cape, in the capacity as a consultant in the past.   The emphasis is very definitely on the organic production of the vegetables and herbs, and this means not using pesticides nor herbicides.  Daniel said they do nothing chemical to counter any problems, and there are few threats, having no snails, and few aphids or worms. Guinea fowl are the biggest threat, loving to eat the fresh leaves of the small cabbage plants, and therefore Daniel has created a clever ‘boer maak ‘n plan’ system of wires to keep them out of his vegetable beds. Many of the weeds have pretty flowers, and these are used by the chefs to decorate their plates.  Compost is made from wood chips and winery offall, and can reduce the growing of weeds when the beds are covered with the compost.  Using compost also means that the vegetable growth is slower, but the taste is better, Daniel explained.

Daniel has got to know his chef customers well, and each has his or her own requirements in terms of the types of vegetables and herbs they want, as well as the sizes and colours they want them in. He explained that his seed suppliers are able to provide him with the colour requirements of his chef customers, and he can control the size of the vegetables according to the chefs’ requirements – the photograph shows the baby aubergines in yellow and green, which are Chef Oliver’s special choice.  Chef Chris Erasmus of Pierneef á La Motte has first choice of all Daniel’s planting, and then the other chefs are served.  If Daniel has an oversupply of an item, he will contact the chefs, and offer it to them.   Carrots, beetroot, lettuce, spring onions, radishes and turnips are some of the vegetables which Daniel can supply in more than one (traditional) colour.  The main photograph contains a medley of these, including bulls blood baby beetroot, radicchio, golden beetroot, mange tout, sugar snaps, kale, and purple spring onion.

Daniel is testing which plants are most suitable to the area, peas and mint for example being very sensitive to the southeaster in Franschhoek, despite the netting which he uses to prevent wind damage.

Vegetables and herbs grown by Daniel and his team of eight include peas, bold fennel, beetroot, radicchio (bitter salad), spinach, English spinach, chives, spring onions, lemon thyme, silver thyme, normal thyme, lettuce, rosemary, sorrel, basil, sage, rhubarb, nasturtiums, French tarragon, Bayleaf trees, mint, artichoke, wild rocket, specialised heirloom tomatoes, black and red potatoes, kohlrabi, black and pink turnips, and granadilla.  Edible flowers are supplied too, including radish, pak choi, rocket, fennel and spring onion flowers.  Even some of the weeds, including ramnas (wild mustard), Kaapse misbredie, and varkslaai are used, as they have a good taste and texture. Daniel is very excited about how well his test strawberries are growing, ready to bear fruit in three weeks, and he will plant more next season.

We spoke about the availability of fresh herbs all year round, and Daniel said that it wasn’t a problem for most herbs.  However, coriander is impossible to supply fresh in summer, it being too hot to grow, and would have to be flown in at up to R250 per kg.  A herb such as rosemary tastes different when it flowers, its branches being harder in this time.

Daniel said that they have the capacity to supply more local restaurants, but emphasised that it takes up to three months to grow specific vegetable and herb requirements.  He supplies daily, and he went back to pick produce for his chef clients after we had finished our tour at 17h30, saying that ‘the fresher, the better’.

The day after the farm visit I popped in at Pierneef à La Motte, and asked Chef Chris Erasmus which dish he could recommend to encapsulate the produce from the farm the best. He prepared a most beautiful and special Spring Salad with the produce which Daniel had brought to him, picked at 7h00 that morning. The salad contained a nasturtium flower, pea flowers, sorrel flowers, nasturtium leaves, watercress leaves (the first harvested ever on that day), baby carrots, baby beetroot, peas, mange tout, sugar snaps, baby onions, and rocket leaves, with praline nuts, sunflower seeds, cashew nuts and pumpkin seeds, and a nasturtium dressing.  Chef Chris said that Daniel brings him what he has supply of, and they work around the produce to create dishes for the day.  Chef Chris emphasised that there is a relationship of trust, Daniel providing special vegetables and herbs for each chef, but never sharing that information with others.

The ‘marriage’ between the farm and kitchen at La Motte is true foraging, and is testimony to this wine estate’s slogan of ‘A Culture of Excellence’.  It is ahead of most other restaurants in the country in this respect, and one can hardly eat fresher vegetables and herbs than at Pierneef à La Motte!  It makes Pierneef à La Motte a strong Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant contender.

La Motte Herbs & Vegetables, Tel 071 438 1760 (Daniel)

Pierneef à La Motte, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-8800. www.la-motte.com Twitter: @PierneefLaMotte Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Thursday – Saturday dinner.

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

What a dish Dish Restaurant has become at Le Franschhoek hotel!

I became a fan of Chef Oliver Cattermole when he was at Dash restaurant at the Queen Victoria hotel last year.  The opportunity to try some of the dishes on his new menu at Dish restaurant at the Le Franschhoek hotel reflected the creative cuisine skills of the Michelin two-star La Gavroche trained chef.

Seeking clarification on a winter menu special, I Tweeted Chef Oliver, and he invited me to try his new winter menu last month, the first menu containing only his dishes since he started at the hotel nine months ago. I had not been impressed with the restaurant on previous visits, but a number of changes, including the menu, made the meal one of my highlights in Franschhoek this year.

When I arrived, I saw a special table with new high back chairs and a tall silver candelabra prepared for me. I was happy to see that the Eetrite cutlery had been set out for a number of courses, eliminating the problem of stretching.  On the table was a vase with the most beautiful Blushing Brides, and coarse Atlantic sea salt and pepper grinders.  The beautiful table setting alone made me feel like a queen. The table was closest to the pass, which is open to the restaurant, so I could chat to Chef Oliver and ask him questions about his delicious dishes.  I was delighted to see that the piano had been moved to the side of the dining room, and was not played, as I have experienced before. Despite it being a freezing cold evening, it was cosy and warm inside, with a modern mobile gas heater in the centre of the room.

Chef Oliver started his career on a part-time basis whilst still at school, cutting his teeth with Chef George Jardine, then at the Cellars Hohenhort hotel. After school he started at Haute Cabriere, working for Chef Matthew Gordon, before leaving for London, where he worked in Chef Michel Roux Jnr’s La Gavroche kitchen in London for a year, describing ‘him as generally a nice guy’. The kitchen had a staff complement of about 20, all French speaking. He learnt the discipline of cooking at La Gavroche.  Chef Michel Jnr did a Masterclass on MasterChef SA, and impressed with his way of dealing with the Finalists, firm but friendly. Chef Oliver also did a two day stage in Alain Ducasse’s kitchen at the Dorchester Hotel, just for the opportunity to learn from this esteemed chef. He also worked at top London restaurants The Ivy and Cannizaro House, before missing sunny South Africa, and returning to Cape Town.

Phillip is a Zimbabwean Hospitality Management intern from the International Hotel School, doing his training at the Le Franschhoek hotel, and he was very proactive in looking after me in serving the food as well as pouring the wine.  He told me that he is studying in South Africa, due to the better quality hospitality training offered locally, and the excellent wine estates in the Cape, having visited almost all of those in Franschhoek already. The dishes were served paired with wines especially selected by Chef Oliver from the special wine collection of the hotel.

The first dish was a Forest mushroom soup served with a semi-dried tomato and mushroom soil, which came to the table with home-made brown bread, and was paired with Hoopenburg Pinot Noir 2008.  It was one of the highlights of the meal, being thick and creamy, and a perfect antidote to the cold outside. The mushrooms are foraged by a supplier in Stellenbosch.  On the starter menu the dish costs R 65.

One of the most beautiful Autumn-inspired dishes was the vegetarian ‘A Taste and Textures from the garden’, costing R100 on the main course section of the menu, and consists of a purée of beetroot, parsnip, sheets of beetroot, dried red onion, cavioli (cauliflower), baby marrow, a beetroot crisp, butternut purée, spinach purée, baby turnips, served with beetroot soil, and red and green caviar drops. This dish was paired with a Mont Rochelle Unwooded Chardonnay 2010.  Chef Oliver told me that he sources his vegetables and herbs from Daniel Kruger, who grows special produce to chefs’ specification outside Franschhoek. He brings seeds for unusual sized and coloured vegetables (e.g. purple potatoes, black radishes, yellow and green-striped aubergines the size of golf balls) from the USA and Holland.

The Duck Bon-Bon starter with parsley root pureé and hot pickled vegetables costs R65, and was paired with a Terra del Capo Sangiovese 2008 from Antonij Rupert Wines in Franschhoek.  The duck is shredded, parsley is added, and rolled in Japanese breadcrumbs, served with spinach purée, and a piccalilli relish made from courgette, cauliflower, peppers, onions and vinegar.  The parsley root comes from the hotel’s own garden. The fourth course was a starter of pan-seared scallops served with a celeriac triangle and Ras El Hanout (honey-infused Moroccan spice mix, which has 21 spices such as hibiscus, rose petals, cardamom, cumin, fennel, ginger, chilli peppers, nutmeg, tumeric, pepper, cinnamon, pollen, curry powder, and coriander), as well as a golden cauliflower, coloured with tea and saffron, at R75.  This dish was served with a French wine, which Oliver had found in the hotel cellar, a Louis Satour Ardèche 2008 Chardonnay.  Chef Oliver sources the scallops from French importer Socomaf.

Compressed pork was served with a medley of apple pureé, toffee apple, and apple caviar, a fruit mustard, as well as a haricot bean purée, a dish which is also on their starter menu, and costs R60.  This dish was paired with Thelema Rhine Riesling 2008.  Other starters on the Dish menu are oak-smoked salmon (R75), and roasted beetroot with whipped goats’ cheese (R60).

The Roast rump of Karoo lamb with minted mash and young white and orange and red carrots was a filling main course, with three slices of lamb served, at R160.  This course was paired with Haut Espoir Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. Other main courses include Chicken Bourguignon, line fish of the day, dry-aged beef fillet, and thyme-roasted venison, ranging in price from R125 – R160.

To complete the more than generous dinner Chef Oliver served Carrot Cake as a dessert, with a medley of carrot pureé, mousse, jelly, and paper, to which he had added walnut candy and raisin pureé, costing R60.  Other desserts have a similar cost, and include apple and sultana crumble, goats’ milk pannacotta, barrel-smoked chocolate fondant, and brioche treacle tart pain.

Every one of Chef Oliver’s dishes is a work of art, created by his team of thirteen, who not only prepare these lovely dinner dishes, but also look after the breakfast requirements of the hotel guests, prepare lunch and dinners at their Le Verger restaurant in the glass ‘hothouse’, and banqueting requirements for conferences, weddings, and other events. Chef Oliver is in the right place in Franschhoek, in the village which positions itself as the gourmet centre of the country, to present his creative cuisine.

Dish Restaurant, Le Franschhoek Hotel, Franschhoek.  Tel ()21) 876-8900.  www.lefranschhoek.co.za Monday – Sunday dinner, Sunday buffet.  Twitter @Le_Franschhoek

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