Entries tagged with “First Thursday”.


Last Thursday I was one of a number of writers who was invited to attend the Summer Dinner launch at Giulio’s Café, the restaurant opening for dinner trade for the first time, on Thursday and Sunday evenings.  (more…)

Please forgive this very personal Blogpost today, written in gratitude for how my life has changed due to a chance visit at Constantia Nek a year ago today. La Parada at Constantia Nek has become THE home of dancing on Sunday evenings, not just for me but for hundreds of Capetonians too.
(more…)

imageLast night I attended the opening of [spasie] UPSTAIRS on Bree Street, which was celebrated with a fascinating multi-media mix #ROOTS exhibition curated by (more…)

imageLooking for parking to have breakfast at Locando restaurant at Villa 47 this morning, I had to park outside Dapper on Bree Street, given limited parking due to roadworks closer to the restaurant. It was a serendipitous (more…)

imageThe Cape Town city centre has become so popular that it is attracting an increasing number of non-Capetonians to live in the heart of the Mother City.

The age profile of the city residents is youngish, between 25 and 44 years old, and many have lived in the city centre for five to ten years already. The reason for  living in the city centre is that it is close to their (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   A heavy-weight World Symposium to ‘Cultivating Sustainable and Peaceful Communities and Nations through Tourism, Culture and Sports will be held in Johannesburg from 16 – 19 February next year, and is in honour of the late Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Ghandi, and Martin Luther King Jnr.  It has been endorsed by Archbishop Desmond Tutu and will be held at Emporers Palace.  Keynote speakers include the Secretary General of the United Nations World Tourism Organization Dr Taleb Rifai, Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom,  Minister of Tourism of the Seychelles Alain St. Ange, and various other heads of international tourism bodies. (received via e-mail)

*   From October next year  Turkish Airlines will offer direct flights between Cape Town and Istanbul.  This will double the capacity between the two countries.

*   Winemakers Paul Cluver and Bruce Jack have collaborated in a new cider called Cluver & Jack, made at Paul Cluver Winery (more…)

Bocca Interior Whale CottageThe opening of Bocca (meaning ‘mouth’ in Italian) Restaurant on Bree Street was eagerly awaited, having been held up by a last piece of paper to be approved by the City of Cape Town.  Three weeks after opening the Italian-style restaurant, seating about 90, is packed to the rafters, doing more than 200 covers per day most days.  Following a lunch last week, waiting for a car repair a block away, I enjoyed a special lunch with tastes of a number of the dishes on the Bocca menu on Tuesday.  The restaurant had been introduced to me in August already.

I was invited by Five Star PR owner Janie van der Spuy, with freelancer writers Jenny Handley and Bianca Coleman, Mail and Guardian‘s Amit Raz and Brent Meersman, and Katharine Jacobs of Eat Out.   We were joined by co-owners Neil Grant and Barry Engelbrecht, who opened Burrata at the Old Biscuit Mill in 2012.   Having bought two pizza ovens from Naples when they opened Burrata,  it was a long-term plan to open a second pizza restaurant in CapeBocca Neil Grant Whale Cottage Town. Pizzas bake at  a temperature of up to 485°C.  The two owners looked at a number of properties in the city centre, but the unusual venue on the corner of Bree and Wale Streets grew on them, allowing them space to add a mezzanine level, as well as an outside deck, which is already a hit, and attracts attention from passers-by. More space is available if they need more in future. Bocca is the only pizza restaurant on Bree Street. Natural oak wooden slats have been used throughout, from the exterior cladding, to steps into the restaurant, on the deck, and inside the restaurant, on its walls, and serving as banisters on the metal staircase, giving an (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  SA Tourism will spend R100 million to market our country domestically, Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has announced.  The domestic campaign ‘Nothing’s more fun than a Sho’t Left’ communicate that local travel is fun and economical.  Local tourists spent R24 billion last year. The goal is to have 18 million domestic tourists by 2020.

*   The Wine & Spirits Board has revised its definition of premium brandy, following legislation to this effect.  The legislation dictates how vintage and potstill brandies are made. Vintage brandies must be matured in oak casks of maximum 340 litres for eight years or more,while potstill brandy must contain 100% potstill brandy, previously up to 10% unmatured wine spirit having been allowed.   Our country’s brandy industry is worth R3,5 billion per annum.  The changes were introduced as brandies compete directly with single malt whisky and cognac. (more…)

Harbour House Interior Whale CottageHarbour House is one of a collection of restaurants owned by restaurateur Michael Townsend, about whom we wrote earlier this year.  Last week I was invited by Michael to try the new Winter Menu of Harbour House in the V&A Waterfront, and was impressed with the quality of the service and dishes, and the good value that the Winter Menu offers.

There are two Harbour House restaurants in the Harbour House Group, which also includes two La Parada restaurants, a new steak restaurant in Muizenberg, Live Bait, Polana, Sirocco, and a fast growing collection of Lucky Fish outlets. At lunch Michael received a call to say that his offer to lease the Top of the Ritz restaurant had been accepted. Michael plans to list the Harbour House Group on the JSE in future.

Lizaan Nell joined us for lunch, and is Michael’s right hand, in overseeing the running of the restaurants.  She has worked for Michael for 16 years, and is in the restaurant kitchens to check that all is running smoothly, and according to guidelines, being closely involved with this Harbour House branch.  Lizaan spent six months working with Chef Franck Dangereux, who was working at La Colombe at the time.  Her time with Chef Franck inspired her in the creation of new dishes for Harbour House.  She is extremely excited to become the right hand of Chef Andres Condé, who starts at the Harbour House Group today.  He previously worked for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ number one restaurant elBulli, and moved across to owner and Chef Ferran Àdria’s Michelin star Tickets restaurant in Barcelona.  He has joined the Group with a first priority to improve La Parada, the tapas restaurants in the Group, and its food in particular, to make its tapas offering genuinely Spanish.  He will also work on the two Harbour House restaurants.  He has been promised his own restaurant, which will open in one section of the (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Construction of the new tourist-friendly cruise terminal in the Cape Town port could begin at the end of this year, with tenders being sought.

*   The Cape Town International Jazz Festival is estimated to generate R520 million for the economy of the country this weekend, with 35000 jazz lovers attending two nights of local and international jazz, sold out two months ago already, reports The New Age.

*   OR Thambo International handled more international passenger arrivals (3,9 million out of 4,8 million) in 2013 than all other local airports combined, reports The New Age.  International arrivals at Cape Town International were reported to be 750000 in the past year.  While Bloemfontein and Port Elizabeth are both designated as ‘International Airport’, they only handled 31 and 216 international passengers, respectively, in the past year!

*   The 20th anniversary of our country’s democracy will be celebrated in April with a month-long celebration of South African wines in Hong Kong.  On 16 April a South African Wine Festival will offer 150 wines to taste at Hotel ICON. South African Sommelier Association Chairman Neil Grant will lead a wine pairing dinner at Above & Beyond restaurant on 25 April.  The (more…)