I don’t often visit Lifestyle on Kloof, but needed to buy something at Wellness Warehouse yesterday morning, so spent an interesting morning, revisiting the centre, and some of its more quirky shops. My shock surprise was discovering the jam-packed Olive Branch Deli, a ‘Community Grocer‘ which has been in the centre, adjacent to Woolworths, for 18 months already! Continue reading →
On Tuesday, its second day of operating, my friend Graham Goble and I dined at Chef Luke Dale-Roberts’ new The Shortmarket Club, just off Bree Street. It exceeded our expectations, in differing from The Test Kitchen (tasting menu) and Pot Luck Club (tapas) in its offering, and stood out in its strong use of colour for its starters and mains. However, some aspects disappointed. Continue reading →
* Label design can make an important impact on the purchase of a bottle of wine, argues the Wall Street Journal, as can a comedy play on wine brand names for ‘much cheaper wines‘, mentioning Fairview’s Goats do Roam, based on Côtes du Rhône!
* The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français has dropped to 88th spot on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list, the 51 – 100 ranking having been released today, ahead of the Gala awards function on 1 June.
* Nederburg winemaker for the past 15 years, Razvan Macici, is to take on the role of Distell’s head winemaker as of 1 July, a new position, to oversee the style and quality of the company’s total wine portfolio, driving innovation, and acting as the ambassador Continue reading →
Almost a year after leaving Camphors at Vergelegen as an Eat Out Top 10 restaurant, Chef PJ Vadas has announced that he is setting up The Hog House on the Werf craft Bakery and Café in the more than two hundred year old Jonkershuis building at Spier in October.
The media release received from Spier states that Chef PJ will be baking breads and pastries in the custom-built wood-fired oven, and offer a light menu for breakfast and lunch. Continue reading →
Few South Africans know that Dick Enthoven, billionaire owner of Spier and Hollard Insurance Company Ltd, is also the owner of Nando’s. Now a Malaysian publication has crowed the details about the successful spicy-chicken chain.
How Enthoven got to know Robbie Brozin and Nando Duarte, the founders of Nando’s, is not shared, but Enthoven gave them a loan to expand their Nando’s chain in South Africa initially, and then internationally.
Nando’s is described as a ‘private family business’ and the main backers are the Enthovens, providing capital and Continue reading →
The winners of the 8th annual Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards were announced at the Stellenbosch Slowmarket yesterday. The Eat Out media release states that the quality of produce was excellent this year, and that it was not easy to choose the overall winners.
Judges were Deena Naidoo, MasterChef SA Season 1 winner, Eat Out Top 10 Chef Jackie Cameron of Hartford House, Chef Vanessa Marx of Dear Me, Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, and Eat Out Editor-in-Chief Anelde Greeff.
We are delighted that the Oranjezicht City Farm has received recognition for its excellent work, in winning the South African Heritage Award. Anel Potgieter’s ‘Life is a Zoo Biscuit’ won Best Local Food Blog for the second time. Farmer Angus has been a pioneer for organic meat and egg production at Spier, and has been a previous winner too. It is no surprise that Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants has received the ‘Outstanding Outlet’ award for the Cape area, having been the former 2013 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge, yet it is surprising in that the outlet is in a dive location, and the service arrogant and poor – we are still waiting for the calf’s liver we ordered more than a month ago!
The 2014 Eat Out Zonnebloem Produce Awards winners are: Continue reading →
The Franschhoek Food Emporium was a favourite stop in Franschhoek, until it closed down a year ago. Fortunately it has just re-opened as Good Food & Co, with a new owner Johanita Henning and Chef Kim Cox, and does not look very different to its past interior. It was a delight to see Michelle van Sittert again, who was at Sacred Ground when it opened, and was a fantastic asset for the bakery/coffee shop.
Kim is the chef, whom I have met twice already, and she prepares the cooked foods, and orders the stock from the best suppliers. Her meat comes from Ryan Boon, for example, who distributes Spier’s Farmer Angus’ beef. Her lamb comes from Fairview. In her display cabinet Continue reading →
This year the Good Food and Wine Show has new owners, Fiera Milano Exhibitions Africa, and in some respects little has changed, yet it felt as if most of the show consisted of theatre demonstrations, most of which has to be paid for in addition to the R110 entrance fee. Controversial Celebrity Chef Gordon Ramsay certainly is the main attraction of the Show.
At the entrance to the Show, where one buys the tickets, Ramsay’s poster attracts attention, the only visual that indicates that the Cape’s main food show is inside the doors of the Cape Town International Convention Centre, running until Sunday. As one walks through the hall, one quickly gets to the ticket office selling tickets for Ramsay’s demos, as well as his books. Thereafter one sees the queue, waiting patiently to get into his demo. I asked a Capetonian how much she had paid and why she wanted to see Ramsay. She said that she had paid R250 for the ‘cheap’ show (and not R950 for the VIP version, she said with derision) and that her son wanted to see Ramsay, costing her R720 for the tickets and entrance alone. Where we walked, we saw stands set up for demonstrations, some larger, some smaller. The Checkers Celebrity Chefs Theatre was curtained off, one hearing the cheering when Ramsay arrived to put on his show, and for many it was more of a comedy club than a serious cooking demonstration. Ramsay hosts the 11h00, 13h30, and 18h00 slots today, and 11h00, 13h30 and 16h30 slots on Sunday. Other Celebrity Chefs on stage this weekend are Australian restaurateur Bill Granger, master pâtissier Eric Lanlard, and twins Isabella and Sofia Bliss of Junior MasterChef Australia. ‘Giggling Gourmet’ Jenny Morris and Rooi Rose Food Editor Vickie de Beer will do presentations on ‘Decadent Desserts’ at the Häagen-Dasz and Pillsbury stand. Chef Eric Lanlard and a number of other local baking specialists will be on show at the Golden Cloud interactive theatre. Spar has a Wine & Canapés Theatre, while Spekko sponsors a ‘Tafelpraatjies‘ Theatre with talks by leading Afrikaans food presenters.
Woolworths had set up a massive ‘Real Food Theatre’, stylishly decorated, attracting attention with its branding. It was one of few stands that did not charge for attendance, accepting attendance on a first come first served basis. At the time we came across the Theatre, Chef Christiaan Campbell from Delaire Graff was setting up to do his demo, and 12 volunteers from the audience were requested to prepare his menu of a starter of Cured eye of pasture-reared silverside with parmesan and radishes, and a main course of potato gnocchi and mushroom sauce. Chef Christiaan described his menu as being terroir-driven, the silverside having come from grass fed pasture beef from Greenfields in KwaZulu-Natal, and the baby radishes from Farmer Angus at Spier, having grown in their compost heap, Chef Christiaan explained. Lorraine Bourgogne, our intern from Reunion, volunteered to cook at one of six stations, and Chef Christiaan had his hands full to teach his new ‘students’ how to make his dishes, viewed by the audience. They were lucky to take their creations home with them. Chef Peter Tempelhoff of The Greenhouse, Bill Granger, Tamsin Snyman, award-winning food bloggers Anel Potgieter and Nina Timm, and Rebecca Hurst will do demos this weekend at the Woolworths stand. The Woolworths Little Chefs Kitchen has hands-on workshops for children by Chefs Peter Tempelhoff, Christiaan Campbell, and Isabella and Sofia Bliss this weekend.
For the rest there were some interesting small stands, the Las Paletas artisan lollies stand attracting attention with its attractive stand design, despite its small size. Jason Sandell’s wife Diana Chavarro is from Colombia (they met in London), and the name of their business is the Spanish for …’ice lolly’. Diana has a marketing background, and it shows in the attractive design of the stand, and its marketing material. The ‘business card’ is a lolly stick, which contains their contact details! They are usually to be seen at the City Bowl Market on Saturday mornings. What makes their lollies so special is the unusual taste combinations, e.g. strawberries and cream, guava and cheesecake, pomegranate lemonade, strawberry sorbet, coconut lemonade, kiwi sorbet, raspberry, yogurt and kiwi, spiced mango, peanut butter and jam, roast banana, granadilla gelato, and brownie cheesecake. An unusual design feature, and reflecting the green trend, was Moyo’s lettuce lattice screen, separating the food preparation and serving areas! Chocolates by Tomes is offering excellent Show prices, one of the best chocolate-makers in Cape Town. Denise’s Delights sells delicious cupcakes at only R10. The super friendly mother and daughter team of Erica and Ursula at the Puglia stand very kindly handed me a stracciatella mozzarella tub, knowing my weakness for their product. The Lebkuchen stand connected with my German roots! Paging through the Show booklet afterwards, we were surprised about how many stands we did not see, yet we felt we had walked up and down every aisle!
The alcoholic beverage section of the show is disappointing, and seems an unexciting side of the exhibition, tucked away at the far end, and not blending in nor ‘pairing’ with the food in the rest of the hall. Graham Beck partnered its MCC with Bentley’s Oyster Bar & Bistro, the only such food and wine pairing we saw.
What was extremely odd was seeing a number of stands that had no relationship to food or wine: DStv could be understood to be there, as a sponsor of the Checkers Celebrity Chef’s Theatre, but looked like a massive decoder sales showroom. Even weirder was the rather large Ariel stand, marketing the washing powder! But oddest of all was ‘Café la Domestos’, an Eastern-style table setting low on a tile floor, to represent that Domestos is such a safe and good cleaner that one can literally eat off the floor! Hence their taste treats (one could choose between salmon or labneh) were served on white tiles, a bizarre mental leap!
The Woolworths demo stand was the highlight of our visit, and is centrally located in the exhibition hall, allowing one to make a stop here to attend one of the demonstrations, or even better, to participate in one, without charge. One should bring along enough cash to give into the temptations throughout the Good Food & Wine Show!
Good Food & Wine Show, Cape Town International Convention Centre, Cape Town. Today and tomorrow. www.goodfoodandwineshow.co.za Twitter: @GoodfoodSA R110 entrance fee (includes a goodie bag with a pack of sugar sticks and a 400ml bottle of OMO Auto Liquid Detergent valued at about R30).
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Cape Town and the Western Cape once again showed their strength in dominating the Eat Out DStv Food Network Produce Awards 2013, at a function held at the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill last night, winning seven of the sixteen awards. KwaZulu-Natal came a close second, with four awards.
The judges of the Eat Out Produce Awards were 2012 Eat Out Top Chef Margot Janse of The Tasting Room, Chef Jackie Cameron of Hartford House, Anna Trapido, MasterChef SA judge and Chef Pete Goffe-Wood, and Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, evaluating products which were nominated by the public. ‘These small poducers are all doing their bit by bringing the very best quality produce to our shopping baskets and tables’, the Awards booklet shared. The Awards celebrate outstanding food producers, and great home-grown tastes and flavours, Eat Out’s Content Director Anelde Greeff said, and reflects producers, chefs, home cooks, bloggers and food lovers sharing and eating together
The 2013 award winning Eat Out DStv Food Network producers are the following Continue reading →
A few days ago we wrote about the ‘weakest links’ that make or break restaurants, especially those vying for the Eat Out Top 10 or the World’s 50 Best restaurant lists. Inspired by (the American) The Amateur Gourmet’s blogpost ’10 Signs You’re in a Good Restaurant’, I have ‘translated’ his signs into the local context:
1. The bathroom is clean – a good way to judge the cleanliness of the restaurant. The Delaire Graff bathroom is the best smelling and cleanest I have enjoyed using. Spice Route and Societi Bistro have dreadful ones.
2. A waiter comes over quickly – this is so obvious, that one is surprised that the waiter of one’s section does not see you, or that a manager, hostess or another waiter can not see that there are no drinks or menus on the table. This happened to me last night at Willoughby & Co, and when the waiter arrived after 15 minutes, he said that he was very busy!
3. The items on the menu are in season – the trend to foraging, and vegetable and herb gardening by restaurants is commendable, but it is a pity that those that lead the way are not yet recognised by Eat Out, even though they state it as a criterion, and it has been highlighted for the past two years. La Motte and Babylonstoren lead the way with massive gardens, but Delaire Graff, Jordan Restaurant, Makaron, The Greenhouse, and Waterkloof also are sourcing produce from their gardens. Spier’s Farmer Angus is supplying local restaurants such as Delaire Graff, Le Quartier Français, Planet Restaurant, Makaron and others with free-range beef, lamb, eggs and chicken, which is commendable too.
4. You can hear the people at your table – the more expensive and exclusive the restaurant is, the fewer tables there should be, and therefore the better you are to hear each other speak.
5. The waiter is authentic and knowledgeable – expressing enthusiasm for the dishes on the menu (but not recommending something without knowing the client well) and reflecting an understanding of how the dishes are made are the signs of a top waiter. Having to check notes, or asking the chef are not. French terms, both in terms of pronunciation and in understanding, usually are a give-away.
6. The restaurant is accommodating, within reason – most chefs are accommodating with special customer requests, and many will check special dietary and other requirements, so that they do not become an issue during service. Burrata is prescriptive about not allowing additional or swopped pizza toppings other than their combinations, but they do allow one to ‘deduct’ toppings one does not want.
7. The bread and butter are good – artisanal bread is becoming increasingly popular, and restaurants that serve their own baked bread warm, with cold unmelted butter, are the winner. Not all restaurants serve bread any more. Last night Willoughby & Co said that they waste a lot of (unused) bread, and therefore they expect customers to ask for it. Jordan Restaurant serves one of the most attractive bread plates, a work of art in itself.
8. The food all comes out at once – this is well handled in our local restaurants, yet I witnessed a most irate customer at Café Dijon a few months ago, when one in the party of four guests did not receive the food at all.
9. The plates are cleared quickly but not too quickly – this is a tricky issue. The waiter should wait with clearing until all persons in the party have finished eating, unless requested by a guest to remove a plate. However, removing plates should not be too quick, to make one feel that one is in the Spur, and that they want one out of there as quickly as possible. Wasting the customer’s time by clearing the table when one has asked for the bill is not acceptable.
10. The little details add up – the surprise touches, e.g. an amuse bouche, the chef coming to the table, an invitation to see the kitchen, friandises with one’s cappuccino, or a complimentary glass of sparkling wine for a celebratory dinner, all make the guest feel special, even if the cost is built into the price.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage