Bouchon Bistro and Wine Bar opened inside Dorrance Cellar on Hout Street late last year, as a joint venture between Christophe Durand, owner of Dorrance Cellar, and Faisal Khakoo of La Boheme in Sea Point. It is unlike any other Cape Town restaurant, Continue reading →
Tag Archives: foie gras
Ken Forrester celebrates 20 years of Rhône varietals and blends!
Yesterday we were invited by Ken Forrester Vineyards to attend a tasting of twelve of its Rhône blends, produced in the last twenty years of its journey in making Rhône varietals and blends. One could not help associate owner Ken Forrester with the character of these wines, having interesting names of Renegade, Three Halves, and Gypsy. The tasting was followed by lunch at 96 Winery Road, a restaurant co-owned by Ken with his brother.
We met at the Ken Forrester Tasting Room, on a gorgeous sunny autumn day, dressed with a Gypsy theme, in table cloths, carpets, staff outfits, bunting in the vineyard, a banner at the entrance, and ribbons on our media packs, all reflecting the Gypsy theme. Continue reading →
Restaurant Review: No horse play at Equus at Cavalli Estate, hungry for success!
I had eagerly awaited the opening of the Cavalli Estate on the R44 between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, its majestic entrance having been completed about two years ago, and having heard a number of times that Chef Henrico Grobbelaar would be heading up the kitchen in the Equus restaurant. Its Equus Tasting Room, Gallery, Boutique, and Restaurant opened a month ago, its 54 thoroughbred saddlebred horses, and olive and vine plantation make up the Cavalli Estate. It must be the largest Winelands tourism offering in terms of size and facilities offered.
Horses dominate everything at Cavalli, the Italian name for the animal, and the racehorse stud was developed while the Equus centre was being built. The stud is the main reason for the estate’s existence, and one passes the large stable building as one drives to Equus, with fynbos evident in the gardens landscaped by Keith Kirsten, who also did the Delaire Graff gardens. I had been invited to be shown around by mother and daughter Gundel and Annette Sogor from Gordon’s Bay, who had been to the tasting room before, but had not yet eaten at Equus. Arriving separately, we each shared how unprofessional the welcome at the security entrance as well as at the parking had been, and Lauren Smith, owner’s daughter, architect, and Operations Manager of the estate, made quick work in having the problem addressed and the outsourced security men replaced.
The Equus building is vast, and consists of a massive art gallery, a boutique, Continue reading →
WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 15 November
Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines
* Facebook is losing its attraction amongst younger children.
* Holden Manz is hosting a ‘Day of Fashion’, offering its wines and pop-up shops selling Sloane & Madison, Periquita, Erato, and I AM, on Saturday (16/11) from 11h00 – 16h00. (received via e-mail from Holden Manz)
* Malta is selling European Union passports for €650000, allowing recipients to travel through and live in any of the 28 member countries.
* Prince Harry flies into Cape Town on Sunday, and to the South Pole on Tuesday, to raise funds for charities.
* The BBC has banned foie gras for ethical reasons from MasterChef UK, but Channel 4 is allowing it on its Come Dine with Me series.
* Klein Constantia believes that its Vin de Constance deserves better visibility amongst wine lovers and collectors. It is launching a magnum Continue reading →
Pierneef à La Motte ‘Plaisirs de France’ dîner un plaisir!
On the eve of the Plaisirs de France festival, which kicks off in Franschhoek today, Pierneef à La Motte joined forces with the Institut Paul Bocuse, in serving a 6-course dinner conceptualised by its Chef Florent Boivin on Friday. When I saw the Pierneef à La Motte dinner on the Plaisirs de France programme, it jumped out as the highlight of the month-long French-inspired food and wine festival in Franschhoek, and I booked immediately. The dinner combined the fresh herbs and vegetables grown on La Motte, South African produce such as springbok, and French gourmet delights such as foie gras, well paired with La Motte wines.
The six-course dinner, costing R690 for the dinner paired with a La Motte wine for each course, was prepared by Chef Florent with Pierneef à La Motte Chef Chris Erasmus. Chef Florent has cooked at a number of Michelin-star restaurants, including Maison Troisgros, Le Jardin des Sens, and Maison Decoret. He has also opened new restaurants at D’Sens in Bangkok, Raffles Hotel Restaurant in Singapore, and Héritage Hotel Restaurant in Mauritius. Chef Chris has just returned from a three week stage at Noma, the world’s number one restaurant, based in Copenhagen. Students from The Culinary Academy, located at Backsberg, assisted the La Motte restaurant team for the evening, and were excited by the chance in a lifetime to rub shoulders with a Michelin-star chef.
We received a taste of what was to come when we enjoyed a glass of the La Motte MCC outside under the oak trees, after entering the restaurant area on a VIP red carpet, when Chef Florent sent out sweet potato croquettes containing black truffle and white truffle oil, coated in charcoal crumbs, canapés not tasting of charcoal at all! I sat with the delightful Jan Laubscher and Anel Grobler of Spit or Swallow, and we had a fun evening, sharing the latest blogger and industry news. Hein Koegelenberg welcomed the French Consul, and the Institut Paul Bocuse representative Eleanor Visl, and explained that ‘Plaisirs de France’ forms part of ‘Seasons of France’, a co-operation programme between France and South Africa, for the two countries to get to know each other better, which runs in our country until November. From May – November next year South Africa will receive exposure in France. Hein reminded the guests of the French Huguenot roots of Franschhoek, La Motte itself having been created at the time of arrival of the settlers. He said that the Plaisirs de France festival is well-suited to La Motte, as wine and cuisine are their passion. Hein intends visiting the Institut Paul Bocuse branch in Shanghai shortly, and wants to bring all twelve the Institut Paul Bocuse branch chefs to Franschhoek. Hein impressed as the perfect host, regularly visiting our table, to check on us and our wellbeing, and requesting feedback.
A bread platter was sent to our table, with a variety of breads, served within an edible bread basket. This was accompanied by a very colourful amuse bouche of smoked salmon trout, which had been lightly steamed with beetroot jelly and sherry vinegar, and was paired with the La Motte Sauvignon Blanc 2012. The Entrée was an amazing foie gras flan, served with grapefruit segments, a most unusual combination, as well as fava beans, and a duck consommé. This was the highlight for most diners, especially as the dish looked like a soup, but we were not served a soup spoon. This course was paired with the La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc 2012, an organic wine.
Our Poisson dish was a Confit of Cob in olive oil, with which a baby vegetable skewer was served. This dish was my favourite, for its outstanding saffron and Sauvignon Blanc nage (an aromatic broth in which crustaceans are cooked). This dish was paired with La Motte Chardonnay Single Vineyard 2010. Canon of Springbok was served for our Viande (meat) dish, Springbok fillet being wrapped in caul fat (thin membrane of fat from the intestines of a pig, cow or sheep). It was served with celeriac ravioli, a strong-tasting Wasabi-like square of spinach and mustard butter, and an unusually textured quenelle of carrot, which is described as a dumpling usually made from meat, and the word originates from the German ‘Knödel’, but tasted from its texture as if it contained couscous. It was paired with La Motte Cabernet Sauvignon 2009.
In French style, we had a Fromage course before dessert, and they were three French cheeses: Brie de Meaux, a goat’s milk cheese Buchette de Sainte-Maure; and a sheep’s milk Ossav Iraty, which were served with a more-ish strawberry and tomato jam. The wine pairing was La Motte Shiraz 2009. This was followed by the Dessert of delicate and fresh petit pineapple and mint canneloni served with strawberries, and paired with La Motte Noble Late Harvest 1989. Coffee was served with a macaroon.
A lovely evening came to an end far too quickly. Sous Chef Michelle Theron told me that it had been a most exciting experience, working with Chef Florent, who was most generous in sharing his knowledge, calling the Pierneef à La Motte kitchen team together whenever he did something, true to his role as lecturer at the Institut Paul Bocuse. It was noticeable that Chef Florent’s cuisine creativity lay less in the plating (no flowers as is vogue at the moment) and more in the complex dishes he created, yet which (deceivingly) came across as simplicity! His food is light, focused on a combination of flavours. Two dishes had sauces poured by a chef at the table, something one no longer sees locally. Chef Florent will be involved at some of the other Plaisirs de France events, but this is not specified on the Franschhoek Wine Valley website. It was lovely getting to know La Motte Marketing Manager Wanda Vlok-Keuler better, who had very generously comped the dinner I had booked for, when I asked for the bill.
Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte, R45, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-8000. www.la-motte.com Twitter: @PierneefLaMotte
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Plaisirs de France: Franschhoek Food goes French, celebrates Huguenot Heritage!
Franschhoek is about to become a whole lot more French, when the Plaisirs de France (Pleasures of France) Celebrations kick off in the village on 15 October, demonstrating its food and culinary delights, and its French Huguenot heritage, a month-long Bastille Festival judging from the programme. A mix of Le Pique Niques, cooking demonstrations by local Franschhoek and French chefs, a weekly Country Village Market, French cheese tastings, pop-up kitchens with French-inspired lunches at art galleries, and some top class dinners form the foundation of the Festival. The Plaisirs de France Festival is part of a larger Seasons of France cultural exchange program between South Africa and France.
The French Huguenots arrived in 1688, and were allocated land in what was originally called Oliphantshoek in 1694. The farm names La Dauphiné, Bourgogne, La Bri, Champagne, La Motte, Cabrière, La Cotte, La Terra de Luc, and La Provence still exist, and were named after the settlers’ places of birth in France.
The highlight of the month-long French celebration will be a French-inspired six-course dinner at Pierneef à La Motte, costing R690 for the dinner paired with wines, which Chef Florent Boivin of the Paul Bocuse Institute in France will cook with Chef Chris Erasmus on 12 October. Chef Florent has cooked at a number of Michelin-star restaurants, including Maison Troisgros, Le Jardin des Sens, and Maison Decoret. He has also opened new restaurants at D’Sens in Bangkok, Raffles Hotel Restaurant in Singapore, and Héritage Hotel Restaurant in Mauritius. Chef Chris Erasmus has just returned from a three week stage at Noma, the world’s number one restaurant, based in Copenhagen. The dinner will combine the fresh herbs and vegetables grown on La Motte, South African produce such as springbok, and French gourmet delights such as foie gras.
Other special meals on offer are the following:
* 3-course lunches at The Bistro at Allee Bleue, R195, 15 October – 15 November. Tel (021) 874-1021
* 6-course Tasting Menu dinner at Vrede & Lust’s Cotage Fromage, paired with Vrede & Lust wines, R299. Wednesdays from 17 October – 14 November. Tel (021) 874-3991
* Cooking French Pastries at Le Quartier Français, 20 October, 10h00 – 13h00, R795.
* 6-courses paired with wines, Le Quartier Français Dinner, 25 October, 19h00, R950.
* 6-courses dinner paired with wines at La Motte Owner’s Cottage, 18 – 20 October, R950. Tel (021) 876-8000.
* French Tarts at Bread & Wine, 17, 24 and 31 October and 14 November, 10h00, R395. Tel (021) 876-4004.
* French Canapés at Le Franschhoek Hotel & Spa stand at the Village Market 20 and 27 October, 3 and 10 November, 9h00 – 13h00.
* Macaroons, Meringues and Charcuterie at Bread & Wine stand at Village Market, 20 and 27 October, and 3 and 10 November, 9h00 – 13h00.
* Le Pique Nique at Rickety Bridge: R148 per person, 24 hour booking ahead.
It appears that very few of the Franschhoek restaurants are participating in the Plaisir de France promotion!
Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte, R45, Franschhoek. Tel (21) 876-8000. www.la-motte.com Twitter: @PierneefLaMotte
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio : www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Foie Gras is ‘jewel in culinary heritage’, produced humanely, has nutritional benefits!
Yesterday Rougié, the world’s largest producer of foie gras, introduced a number of us to their method of foie gras production, dispelled all myths of the ‘cruelty’ of this production, and spoilt us with a wonderful Chef’s Table lunch at the Mount Nelson Hotel.
Guy de Saint-Laurent, Directeur: Commercial Export of Rougié Sarlat, flew in from France to explain to Chef Rudi Liebenberg from the Mount Nelson’s Planet Restaurant, Chef Dylan Laity of Aubergine, and Chef Darren Badenhorst from Grande Provence how duck foie gras is produced. The company specialises in foie gras supply to the restaurant industry, and calls itself the ‘Chef’s Foie Gras’. We were told that foie gras is one of the oldest food products, having been developed in Egypt 5000 years ago, the Pharaohs already force fattening wild birds at that time. For their long journeys to other parts of the world in winter, the birds naturally overfeed to create a natural layer of fat around their liver, for their long flights, doubling their weight. The first foie gras recipes emanate from Rome, and were based on geese livers. Now 80% of the world’s production comes from France, with another 15 % being produced in Spain, Belgium, Japan, and the USA. With the introduction of corn from America to France, the production of foie gras was revolutionised, in being used to force feed the ducks and geese. Foie gras is produced from Moulard ducks, a cross between Muscovy and Pekin ducks. Up to 98% of all foie gras is made from duck, taking 12 weeks to breed and 10 days to be fattened, while geese need 14 weeks breeding time and 21 days of fattening. Duck foie gras is more affordable therefore, and tastes better, Guy said. Its preparation has been mainly pan-fried or seared in the past, but Rougié is working on guiding chefs to find more uses for it. The company has recently set up the L’Ecole Du Foie Gras, teaching chefs the art of foie gras usage.
We were shown a video of how duck are fed a boiled corn ‘mash’ with a tube which goes into their crop, the process called ‘gavage‘. This process takes 3 minutes, and is done once a day over the last 12 days of the duck’s life. Vets visit the foie gras farms, and confirmed that ducks are ‘anatomically pre-disposed to be force fed’, having a long neck, and that there is ‘no indication of stress’ to the ducks, a study showed. The quality of the treatment of the ducks is reflected in the quality of the foie gras that is produced. Rougié exports foie gras to 120 countries around the world, either raw, in cans, or flash frozen, the latter having a taste and texture ‘as good as fresh’. The company is a co-operative of about 700 duck farmers, foie gras being one of the products they make.
Foie gras has nutritional benefits, containing Vitamins B, C, and E. A slice of foie gras has 260 Kcal, compared to a hamburger having 275 Kcal, and a pizza 600 Kcal. It has good fat similar to that in olive oil, and protects the heart. It is a food that can be adapted to the food traditions of the world, going well with the sweet, sour, and acidity in ingredients. The Japanese are even making foie gras sushi, and the Chinese are making foie gras dumplings for Dim Sum.
While we were listening to the presentation, Chef Rudi’s team was busy preparing a foie gras feast for us, a nine-course lunch of small portions, to demonstrate the diversity of foie gras. Chef Rudi’s brief to his team was to do him and the foie gras proud in the dishes that they created for this unique lunch. Three foie gras canapés were served with Villiera Tradition Brut NV, a terrine with beetroot, a macaroon, and a whipped foie gras torchon. We discussed the reaction to foie gras, and that the state of California has banned its use in restaurants, despite foie gras being USDA approved. Restaurants in the state wish to reverse the ban through legal action. Guy said that the negative reaction comes from foie gras being seen to be for the well-to-do, making it elitist, the gavache method of feeding, and the love for comic characters such as Daffy and Donald Duck.
We started with frozen shaved foie gras, which was served with pine nuts and litchi, a fresh surprise combination of ingredients, which Assistant Sommelier Farai Magwada paired with Bellingham’s The Bernard Series Chenin Blanc 2011. Guy told us that he has chefs which visit restaurants around the world, especially to those far away from France, to educate and excite chefs about the preparation of foie gras. Last week Guy and Sagra Foods, the importers of the Rougié foie gras, had hosted similar lunches at The Westcliff with Chef Klaus Beckmann, and at The Saxon with Chef David Higgs, of whom Guy said that his work was two star Michelin quality, having been more classic in his foie gras usage. Foie gras served with fresh apple, apple chutney, on an oats streusel, was paired with Spier Private Collection Chardonnay 2007.
I asked Guy about cookbooks about foie gras, and he told me that three have been written to date, one produced for Rougié, another done by Chef Nobu of the restaurant group by the same name, and the third by Beijing restaurant Da Dong. Given that Rougié was not prescriptive about how the foie gras should be served at its South African lunches, it seemed a good idea to develop a compilation of the dishes served, perhaps even including those lying ahead for Guy in Mauritius and Reunion. An indian touch came through with foie gras and curried banana being sandwiched between two poppadom crisps, served with a fresh Solms-Delta Koloni 2010. A fun dish was pairing foie gras with popcorn and chicken breast, which was paired with Jordan Chameleon 1995. As if we had not eaten enough already, we had a small palate cleanser, being duck confit with artichoke and mash.
We moved to fish, for which we were served fish knives, for hake cured with lemon and lemon grass, served with foie gras spuma and grilled melon, and paired with Cederberg Bukettraube 2011. Guy explained that sous vide was invented for foie gras, and has since been adapted for use for other foods. He also told me that French chefs predominantly used foie gras in terrines, but since Rougié has started marketing their products, and running their chefs’ courses, they are seeing it put to a greater number of creative uses. The beef, marinated mushrooms, and foie gras emulsion was paired with L’Omarins Optima 2006. We talked about Chef Rudi’s support of Farmer Angus at Spier, buying his free-range meats, and having guinea fowl and turkey bred for his restaurant.
The Mount Nelson’s creative pastry chef Vicky Gurovich has just returned from a stage at Chef Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir in Great Milton, and visited Valrhona in Paris. Her dessert creation of a foie gras, Valrhona chocolate and toffee terrine served with hazelnuts was the pièce de résistance. It was paired with Nederburg Eminence Noble Late Harvest 2009.
Sagra Foods was established in 1994, and operates from Cape Town, but distributes a range of exclusive foods and wines nationally, and even into Southern Africa, planning to make this country a hub of distribution of its fine foods into Africa, Darryn Lazarus said. They commenced with Italian products, but decided to focus and specialise on premium products such as truffle oils, truffle butters, and many more, to make these products more affordable for local chefs. Darryn said they are the ‘pioneers in specialty ingredients’, using wholesalers like Wild Peacock to offer chefs a single source of supply. They import products ‘that make a difference’ from France, Spain, Italy, Belgium, Australia, and the USA. So, for example, they sell El Bulli’s Texturas range, being the technical elements which once world best Chef Ferran Adria uses in his molecular gastronomy; De Cecco pasta from Italy; Vilux French mustards and vinegars; Borde dried mushrooms; Belberry jams, sauces, syrups, and vinegars; pastry cases with an 8 month shelf life; Australian Massel beef, chicken and vegetable stocks which are kosher, halaal, and gluten-free; and Tea Forte, the original designers of the tea pyramid, with such award-winning tea flavours as Blueberry Merlot and Lemon Sorbet.
The Mount Nelson was praised by Guy for its playful and less classic interpretation of the foie gras challenge, and he liked how the structure and taste of the foie gras was brought to the fore with the ingredients used by Chef Rudi’s chefs. It was a most informative, once-in-a-lifetime lunch highlight, with excellent food, paired with a amazing range of wines, good company, and hosted in a special venue inside the sixty year old Mount Nelson kitchen. Merci beaucoup!
Sagra Food & Wine Merchants, 10 Flamingo Crescent, Lansdowne, Cape Town. Tel (021) 761-3360. www.sagrafoods.com. Twitter: @SagraFoodsZA
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Restaurant Review: Bosman’s back on Top 10, fired up, much more friendly!
After having been announced as a Top 10 restaurant a month ago, a sojourn in Franschhoek gave me the opportunity to try Bosman’s for lunch on Monday, and to celebrate a special birthday at dinner last night. I was amazed at the radical change in the “personality” of Bosman’s at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl, from a restaurant that was stiff and unwelcoming on my last visit, to one that bends over backwards, oozes friendliness, and has made some important changes which clearly are paying off, in that Bosman’s is back on the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list, after a long absence, and it was the joint winner (with Zachary’s at Pezula) of the Diner’s Club of the Year Winelist Awards. Whilst is offers excellent value for lunch, it probably is the most expensive Cape restaurant for dinner.
The person who is probably most responsible for the changes is the Food & Beverage Manager Alan Bailes, and is now also acting-GM. He impressed when he contacted me after my last visit to Bosman’s, and was non-defensive in his reaction. Bailes is so hands-on that he walks the floor and makes time to chat to the restaurant patrons, something I have never seen of a hotel GM before. He laughed when I said that to him, and he said that he still is the F&B Manager, but even then these are rarely seen inside a restaurant in general. The restaurant’s flexibility is commendable, in that I overheard Bailes telling other guests that the kitchen can prepare anything for them, with 24 hours notice.
Bailes is one of a number of new GM’s at Grande Roche, after Horst Frehse left, and told me that the most important change that they have made was to cancel their Relais & Chateaux accreditation, without dropping their standards, he emphasized. They have chosen to use the marketing power of the Mantis Collection to attract business. The Relais & Chateaux decision came from the unsatisfactory return received for the high cost of the accreditation. Ironically, Horst Frehse was known as “Mr Relais & Chateaux” when he was the (cigar-smoking) GM of the Grande Roche. I wrote about Asara Hotel’s recent Relais & Chateaux accreditation, and that it may be dropping the accreditation, having just obtained it with the help of Frehse, who has left and is heading for the Twelve Apostles Hotel as GM next month. The only local Relais & Chateaux properties are Asara Hotel, Le Quartier Français, Cellars Hohenhort, The Marine and The Plettenberg. The focus has also been on making the lunch far more casual, and the prices far more affordable. Whilst the dinner menu is far different to that for lunch, and offers two Tasting menu and a la carte options, the formality has been removed, especially when the restaurant was literally moved outdoors on a lovely 30+C evening.
The service experienced at both lunch and dinner was outstanding and attentive, Glenroy du Plessis, the Wine Steward who recently was crowned as best in the country by Diner’s Club, and who must be one of the nicest hospitality staff around, spoiling us. Nothing is too much trouble, and he crosses the line between waiter and wine steward. The sommelier Josephine Gutentoft recently moved across to Bosman’s, and while we clashed badly at Reuben’s, she was charm herself last night. Raymond is another manager I know from Reuben’s. Two German staff gave an extra dimension to service quality. Charming Restaurant Manager Alessandro de Laco talks with a heavy Italian accent, but can speak French and German, coming from Switzerland. He and waiter Stefan had come to the Grande Roche earlier this year due to the World Cup. Waitress Loreen had come to the Grande Roche with her boyfriend, who works in the kitchen, and will stay until April. Staff look smart in a white shirt and black tie, and black apron.
There were some rough edges, like Ra-ida getting my booking wrong for the dinner, mixing up the date and the number of persons booked. I also noticed two broken umbrellas on the lunch terrace, probably due to the wind. A Manager should have picked this up, given that the Grande Roche is a 5-star hotel. My pet hate is security and a boom, and while it was perfect for my arrival for lunch, the chap who was on duty in the evening mumbled something about whether we wanted a table for two, but we had made a reservation. Yet he did not ask for the name. They are an outsourced service.
Lunch 3 January
My lunch was extremely relaxed, and was probably made so because of the friendly service by Glenroy and Raymond, who were both on duty, and looked after me, together with German waiter Stefan.
The outside tables have granite tops, and underplates that have a similar look, but these plates are removed before the food is served, so are purely decorative. Good quality serviettes are on the table, but while mine was clean, it had a stain on it. An unusually large collection of glasses is on the table, for a lunchtime. The cutlery shows its age, in being heavily used. A waitress brought a lovely cool facecloth to the table, a nice way to cool down on the 30 C Paarl day. Tokara olive oil was brought to the table with a nicely presented plate of three undescribed bread types – baguette, rye and wholewheat – wrapped in a serviette. The menu is a narrow page, set in a red and black menu holder. I did not see initially that the winelist was on the reverse. As a starter I chose a delicious chilled cucumber soup, with two crispy crumbed prawns (R50). The prawns were brought to the table first, and then a waitress came with a jug of the soup and poured it with far greater style than the asparagus soup I had at the Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson recently. Other starter choices are Caesar salad with chicken leg and quail egg; Beef Carpaccio; Salmon Trout; Braised Roma tomatoes and mozzarella, all costing R75. Mixed baby salad with avocado, goat’s cheese and biltong costs R65; and Asian marinated yellowtail tartare costs R70.
Main courses clearly have been kept as close to R100 as possible, and makes the portions a little smaller, not a bad thing for a lunch, especially when one has more than one course. I ordered the Pan-fried kingklip with pea risotto, beurre noisette foam, and biltong (R95), the biltong not adding anything to the fish dish, and adding a saltiness I would have preferred to do without. The kingklipwas firm and well prepared, and the peas in the risotto gave the dish a colourful touch. A fish knife was served with the dish. Other main courses choices include Seafood Bowl (R115), Pan-fried prawns with seafood ravioli and Bouillabaisse broth (R115); Linguine (R80), Asian stir fried beef fillet (R140); and Free-range chicken breast (R95). Dessert options are “Mohr im Hemd” (rum and raisin ice cream), nougat potato ravioli and Amarula Creme Brûlée, costing around R45, and an Exotic Trio at R50, consisting of Creme Brûlée, fruit salsa, and passion fruit sorbet.
The lunch winelist is short and sweet! Ten wines-by-the-glass are offered, starting at R40 for Newton Johnson ‘Felicite’ Dry, and peaking at R280 for 87ml of NV Laurent Perrier Brut Rosé. The Migliarina Shiraz seems expensive at R75 a glass. Six white wines can be ordered by the bottle, Maison Single Vineyard Chenin Blanc costing R150, while A.A. Badenhorst’s Family White Blend costs R580. Eight red wines start at R280 for a bottle of Rainbow’s End 2005, up to R650 for a Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2005.
Dinner 5 January
We went to celebrate my son’s birthday today with dinner last night. The table outside was perfect, was laid with a good quality tablecloth, and three sets of knives and forks as well as a spoon. A staff member put the serviettes on our laps, an old-fashioned touch. There were fewer glasses on the table than at lunch. Glenroy brought an ice bucket, and kept it filled up throughout the evening. There are no salt and pepper containers on the table, as Chef Roland feels the kitchen should spice the food correctly. One may request salt and pepper however.
The winelist dominates one’s impressions at Bosman’s, and obviously is the definitive one, judging by its Diner’s Club accolade. It is a weighty document bound in a grey leather cover, and runs to 62 pages and the hotel’s wine collection exceeds 600 labels, Glenroy told us. Unfortunately it uses pages that are hooked in, to give flexibility in terms of availability, but a number of these pages had slipped out, making the winelist look just a little unprofessional, despite its impressive collection. Sommelier Josephine wants to increase this number, by adding smaller producers. Similarly to the Asara winelist (Frehse probably used that of Bosman’s as the benchmark when preparing the Asara one), the Bosman’s winelist provides a history of the winemaking in this country, describes the winegrowing areas, dedicates a section to South African wine awards, and provides a map of the wine regions. I joked and said that it would take me the whole evening to go through the winelist alone, and therefore it was recommended that the wine steward advises one about the wines, which is probably what usually happens. Something I have never seen on a winelist is the name of the winemaker(s). Obviously regions, vintages and descriptions are provided per wine.
The wines-by-the-glass section spans two pages, and four are MCC sparkling wines: Silverthorn Blanc de Blanes Brut (R85), Silverthorn Genie Rosé (R95), Colmant Reserve Brut (R65) and Graham Beck Bliss Demi Sec (R65). Laurent Perrier can be ordered in a dinky at R280, and Billecart Salmon Rosé Brut costs R290. Eight white wines are available by the glass, starting at R 48 for AA Badenhorst Family Secateurs as well as Crios Bride Sauvignon Blanc, and peaking at R70 for Scali Blanc. The Rosé is by Newton Johnson, at R40. Six red wines are available: starting at R70 is the Ataraxia “Serenity” and going up to R185 for a Kanonkop. By the bottle, 25 MCC sparkling wines are offered, starting at R175 for Seidelberg’s Blanc de Blancs Brut at R175, up to R540 for La Motte’s Brut. There are 42 Shiraz wines listed, Veenwouden “Thornhill” the best priced at R260, and Mont Destin’s Destiny the most expensive at R1150.
A cold facecloth was brought to the table, to cool one down and to wipe one’s hands, also an old-fashioned touch, but welcome in the heat. A young waiter came with the bread basket, and offered us a choice of seven breads, the largest choice I have ever seen, and one looked more attractive than the other. Choices include parma ham and garlic, pumpkin seed loaf, tomato rolls, pretzel rolls and a lovely seedloaf. Bosman’s is generous with its bread offering, and the waiter came by at least three times. The bread is served with a collection of three trademark Bosman’s spreads – unsalted butter, lard with garlic and bacon, and cottage cheese with chives. A gazpacho with white tomato jelly and agar was brought as an amuse bouche, the spicy soup poured out of a jug at the table. It did not impress me, if one takes an amuse bouche to be a small taste of the chef’s skills.
The menu has a welcome by Executive Head Chef Roland Gorgosilich: “We trust you will have a relaxing and enjoyable evening with us”, the new Planet Restaurant also having such a ‘personalised’ signed touch in its menu. Gorgosilich is Austrian, and has a low profile. It is a shame that he does not come out of the kitchen, to chat to the guests. One can enjoy a 9-course European-style tasting menu at R 660 per person, as well as a reduced “Harmony of the South” menu, 4-courses costing R 520, and 5-courses R580. This menu is meant to be a representation of South African cuisine.
For his starter my son had a hot butternut soup (R55) off the a la carte menu, despite the hot evening, which was also poured at the table over three little pieces of braised duck breast. It was not an exceptional soup, in my opinion. My foie gras order, billed to be served with Baumkuchentorte, and costing an extravagant R175, was a let down, as the layered cake was barely visible and could not be tasted around the slice of foie gras. The foie gras itself was wonderful, served with a cherry, and red cabbage puree, which did not add to the foie grasenjoyment. Other starter choices include quail (R95); wild mushroom risotto with parma ham, which looked delicious served at neighbouring tables (R75); poached salmon trout (R105); and poached veal fillet with pan-fried scallops (R155).
The highlight of the dinner without a doubt was the Fillet Mignon flambee (R200). It is usually prepared at the table inside, but due to the outsideseating, and the fire danger, we went inside to see Alessandro prepare it for us in the dining room, a most dramatic preparation, especially when the Martellbrandy was added. The steak was butter soft. It was served with tagliatelle and mushroom ragout, the most delicious I have had in a long time, simple and focused on providing enjoyment. An excellent serrated steak knife was served for this dish, barely necessary due to the soft steak. Other main course choices include Beef fillet Rossini (R285); springbok loin (R210); vanilla milk poached kingklip (R175); pan-fried hake and crayfish (R225); sole and stuffed calamari (R195) and oddly a tomato consommé at R145. What adds class to the dinner at Bosman’s is another old-fashioned touch – presenting the main course dishes with domes, which the waiters all lift simultaneously at the table. The waitress then reminds each diner what he/she has ordered, a nice touch.
For dessert, one is presented with a separate menu, to which is added a number of further beverage options. Strawberry rhubarb, and an interesting sounding peach lavender soup served with chocolate ganache and peanut croquant cost R65; chocolate fondant costs R75; crepe suzetteR80; and a cheese trolley R150, presumably which can be shared. I had arranged with Alessandro for a surprise birthday chocolate cake, which was decorated with strawberries on the side, came with a candle, and looked beautiful on a glass plate. We were not charged for this birthday treat. I had a good cappuccino.
The bathroom entrance is attractive and luxurious with a beautiful orchid display. But when one steps inside, the wooden doors are still there, not in keeping with the quality standards of the hotel.
Bosman’s is not an everyday dinner venue, but one for a special celebration, given how expensive it is. Yet for lunchtime visits to Paarl it is perfect, as it is affordable and and the food light. I enjoyed both my visits to Bosman’s this week.
POSTSCRIPT 22/7: Being in Paarl, I popped in at Bosman’s for lunch today. Once again, I had a problem with the poor quality of outsourced security staff manning the boom. I was refused entry for lunch at the boom initially, and asked for the phone number, so that I could call. Instead, the security person decided to call the Restaurant Manager himself, and this caused a traffic jam at the boom! I was eventually allowed in and welcomed on arrival, and wondered why this had been necessary in the first place. Thereafter the service was excellent. I was happy to meet the new GM Anja Bosken, She told me that they are working hard at increasing the awareness of the Grande Roche, and went onto Twitter last week. They are also working on being less stiff and more friendly. Seven members of staff were retrenched before her arrival, she said, and some staff members did not renew their fixed-term contracts. Bosman’s is very professional, and I enjoyed a main course of kingklip and prawns, with Mediterranean vegetables and seafood ravioli (R95), followed by Apfelstrudel (R45), prices which are very reasonable for a Top 10 restaurant at a 5-star hotel. Alan Bailes and Alessandro de Laco have left the Grande Roche.
Bosman’s Restaurant, Grande Roche Hotel, Plantasie Street, Paarl. Tel (021) 863-5100. www.granderoche.com (The website has an Image Gallery, with few food photographs, and all the menus are listed). Twitter: @Grande_Roche
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Introducing the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route!
Stellenbosch has always been top of the pops as far as its wine selection and quality goes (i.e. wines winning awards), but has played poor cousin to Franschhoek for many years when it comes to its restaurant status, that is until recently, when the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list included more Top 10 restaurants in Stellenbosch (Rust en Vrede, Overture and Terroir) than in Franschhoek (The Tasting Room and The Restaurant at Grande Provence). Stellenbosch has always been the best marketed collective wine region, and was the first to introduce the Wine Route concept, which has been adopted by most wine-growing regions now.
My visit to Stellenbosch last week, to experience recently opened restaurants, confirmed my view that Stellenbosch by rights now should be called the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, not only due to the Eat Out Top 10 listings, but also in terms of the newer restaurants bubbling under. I believe that the tourism authority should be ahead of the game, and introduce a Restaurant Route for Stellenbosch, given the wealth of its creative and gourmet talent. It is easy to see that opening good quality restaurants on wine estates is a growing trend in Stellenbosch, and is good for business, as Werner Els told me at Haskell Vineyards, its Long Table restaurant leading to wine sales from restaurant patrons.
My recommendation for the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route is the following, based on own experience and recommendations. It is not comprehensive. I have added links to the restaurant listings that I have reviewed, and reviews of the newer restaurants will be published shortly.
* Rust en Vrede – probably the best restaurant in the town currently, a slick operation, run by modest but talented chef David Higgs, on the Rust en Vrede wine estate. Featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list 2009 and 2010, number 74 on 50 Best Restaurants in the World 2010 list, and Top vineyard restaurant of 2010 Great Wine Capitals in the World – read the review here. Tel (021) 881-3881 CHEF DAVID HIGGS LEFT THE RESTAURANT ON 25 JUNE, NOW WORKING AT RADISSON’S BLU GAUTRAIN HOTEL IN JOHANNESBURG.
* Overture – Chef Bertus Basson is a hard-working re-inventor of his menu and operation, always looking to improve his complete package. On the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list for 2009 and 2010. Fantastic views from the location on the Hidden Valley wine estate – read the review here. Tel (021) 880-2721
* Terroir does nothing for me, I must admit, and therefore I do not understand that it is a perennial on the Eat Out Top 10 list (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 – the Terroir website does not list the awards after 2006, so some awards may have been left out!). I have been there a number of times, and have not been excited about its menu, restaurant interior, and service. The outside seating on the De Kleine Zalze wine and golf estate is great for a warm day. Tel (021) 880-8167
* Restaurant Christophe – Die Skuinshuis is the setting for this exceptional restaurant, Chef Christophe Dehosse being the hands-on owner and chef, who talks to his customers in his charming French accent, a rare treat in restaurants. The foie gras, served with toasted brioche, is to die for – read the review here. Tel. (021) 886-8763. THE RESTAURANT CLOSED DOWN ON 24 JUNE.
* Delaire at Delaire Graff – no money was spared in building and decorating this restaurant and winery building, and it houses a most impressive art collection. Chef Christian Campbell is doing outstanding work, and his crayfish lasagne is exceptional. Turnover of staff has reduced the quality of service – read our latest review Tel (021) 885-8160
* Indochine at Delaire Graff – this is the newest Stellenbosch restaurant, and is relatively less opulent in its interior design compared to its sister restaurant. Young chef Jonathan Heath is a star to watch, and his Asian fusion menu is sure to attract the attention of the Eat Out Top 10 judges. He explains the menu, and the dishes when he serves them personally. The two course special at R225 sounds expensive, but it does not reflect the amuse bouche, sorbet and sweet treats (with cappuccino) one receives at no extra charge. The Tikka Duck Marsala starter is excellent – read our review. Tel (021) 885-8160
* Restaurant at Majeka House –the restaurant is overshadowed by the Boutique Hotel in terms of its branding, and is not known to most foodlovers, a hidden gem in Paradyskloof, a suburb opposite the Stellenbosch Golf Course. Its young Chef Anri Diener trained at Tokara and Delaire, and is a rising star, presenting exciting French cuisine. The Millefeuille of chocolate mousse served with coffee meringue bars is to die for – Read the review. Tel (021) 880-1512
* Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine – a mouthful of a brand name but also a mouthful in value and excellent quality, a far cry from Jardine, which he co-owns in Cape Town, but rarely still cooks at. It is set at the end of a long road, on the Jordan wine estate, overlooks a big pond and the beautiful Stellenbosch mountains in the far distance, teeming with birdlife. Interior functional, as in Cape Town. Most beautiful and unique “bread” plate ever seen. Read the review. Tel (021) 881-3612
* The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe – set at the end of a long road up a hill, above Rust en Vrede, on the Haskell Vineyards (marketers of Haskell and Dombeya wines), the food of Chef Corli Els is a wonderful surprise. The restaurant interior and waiter service do not match the excellence of her food or the quality of the Haskell wines. The Papaya and Avo salad stands out as one of the special treats I enjoyed last week. Read the Review. Tel (021) 881-3746
* The Big Easy – set on Dorp Street with some parking, and owned by Ernie Els and Johan Rupert, the restaurant is large, but divided into different rooms, allowing private functions. Average food, below average service generally. Sweet Service Award. tel (021) 887-3462
* Warwick wine estate – owner Mike Ratcliffe is a good marketer, and his gourmet picnics, designed by Chef Bruce Robertson, and prepared by their chef Bruce, are a great hit in summer. Winter warmer foods available too – read the picnic review here. Tel (021) 884-3144
* Nook Eatery – has been operating for a year, and has developed a reputation for good value, healthy (organic where possible) and wholesome food. Restaurant location in ‘League of Glory’ TV series, and next door to Restaurant Christophe. Good value buffet lunch, Wednesday pizza evenings, and sweet treats throughout the day. Hands-on owners Luke and passionate Chef Jess do not open the Eatery if they are not there themselves. Read the review here. tel (021) 887-7703
* Tokara DeliCATessen – has a buffet lunch too, very large restaurant space combined with a deli, but service poor and food quality average – read the review here. Tel (021) 808-5950
* Eight at Spier – the menu was designed by Judy Badenhorst, ex-River Cafe, and now running the Casa Labia Cafe in Muizenberg. Have not read much about it, and not experienced yet. Tel (021) 809-1188
* Melissa’s on Dorp Street – a perennial favourite, with a limited menu and standardised across all the branches. Fresh and wholesome foods, service not always great. Sour Service Award Tel (021) 887-0000
* Wild Peacock Food Emporium on Piet Retief Street (ex Okasie) – this is the newest eatery to open, belongs to Sue Baker and is managed by ex-Rust en Vrede front of house manager and daughter Sarah, selling deli items, a range of cold meats, imported French and local cheese, fresh breads, and has a sit-down menu as well. Review to follow. Tel 082 697 0870
* Mila, The Cake Shop– this must be the tiniest eatery interior in Stellenbosch, next door to The Big Easy, but it is crammed full of the most delectable cakes and pastries. Service not great when sitting outside. Review to follow. Tel 074 354 2142.
* Cupcake – serves a range of cupcakes, but not as wide a variety as one would expect. Good sandwiches and cappuccino, pretty square with water feature in which to sit. No review written. Tel (021) 886-6376
* Umami – set in the Black Horse Centre on Dorp Street, this restaurant had not wowed me, but serves satisfactory lunches and dinners. No review written, and I rarely hear anyone talk about it. Tel (021) 887-5204
* Wijnhuis – located on Andringa Street, in the vicinity of tourism outlets. Given its name, it should be very popular in this town, and given the connection to its namesake in Newlands, and its parental link to La Perla, it should offer a lot better food quality and service than it does. Not reviewed, and would not recommend. Tel (021) 887-5844
* Pane E Vino – this food and wine bar is hidden to those who do not come to Bosman’s Crossing. Owned by Elena Dalla Cia, husband George and father-in-law Giorgio do wine and grappa tastings in the restaurant too. Good Italian fare. Not reviewed yet. Tel (021) 883-8312
* Cafe Dijon – French-style bistro on Plein Street. One experience not satisfactory due to owner not being there. Rated by JP Rossouw of Rossouw’s Restaurants. Tel (021) 886-7023
* Bodega @Dornier – I have not been to this restaurant on the Dornier wine estate, and have not read any reviews yet. Tel (021) 880-0557
* Cuvee Restaurant, Simonsig – Interesting Cape Dutch modernist interior curation by Neil Stemmet. Excellent quality food, Simonsig wines, napery, cutlery, tableware, stemware, and service. Read the Review Tel (021) 888-4932
* De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Church Street – newly opened, opposite Vida e Caffe, this artisan bakery and cafe allows one to order from a list of cold meats, cheese and preserves what one wants to eat with the breads they sell. Read the review. Tel (021) 883- 2188
* Tokara – Etienne Bonthuys has left Tokara, and Richard Carstens is said to be stepping in his shoes, when his contract with Chez d’Or in Franschhoek finishes in September (he left in July already). Tokara denied that Carstens is taking over the restaurant lease. It has now (30/7) been confirmed that Jardine’s Wilhelm Kuehn is taking over Tokara, and that Richard Carstens will be the Executive Chef. Opened on 19/10. Read the review. Tel (021) 808-5959.
* Towerbosch Earth Kitchen on the Knorhoek wine estate. Lovely fairy-like setting, fantastic Boerekos feast served in bowls rather than dishing up per plate. Read the review. Tel (021) 865-2114.
* Stellenbosch Slow Food Market, Oude Libertas – previously the Bosman’s Crossing Market, it moved to Oude Libertas late last year. Good quality and often organic foods, not quite as top level and exciting as in its previous location, only open on Saturdays
* Casparus is the name of Etienne Bonthuys’ new restaurant on Dorp Street, an amazing marriage between the cuisine creativity of Bonthuys and the interior design creativity of partner Strijdom van der Merwe. There is no restaurant like this in South Africa! Read the review. Tel (021) 882-8124.
* Johan’s at Longridge is a refreshing new restaurant on Longridge Winery, with a focus on fresh vegetables from its large vegetable garden alongside the restaurant. Co-owner Chef Johan comes from a Michelin two-star restaurant in Holland, as does Chef Marissa. Attentive service led by Chris Olivier, excellent food, great wines. Read the review. Tel (021) 855-2004
* de Huguenot, on De Huguenot Estate in Johannesdal, Pniel, is a superb fine-dining restaurant which opens in July, headed up by Chef Tanja Kruger, a member of the South African Culinary Olympic team. Beautiful view onto Groot Drakenstein mountains. Read the review.
POSTSCRIPT 17/10: The Top 20 finalists for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards were announced at the end of last month, and the list contains five Stellenbosch restaurants (compared to only two from Franschhoek): Rust en Vrede, Overture, Terroir, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, and Restaurant Christophe. The Top 10 winners will be announced on 28 November.
POSTSCRIPT 29/11: Stellenbosch now wears the Gourmet Capital crown, with four Eat Out Top 10 restaurants: Overture, Rust & Vrede (now South Africa’s number one restaurant and top chef David Higgs), Terroir, and Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine.
POSTSCRIPT 15/4: It has been announced that David Higgs has resigned, and will leave Rust en Vrede mid-June.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com
Pub Review: Watching the World Cup at Pure, Hout Bay Manor
Having seen two World Cup matches at Paulaner Braeuhaus in the Waterfront, I was looking for a new venue to see the match between Germany and Ghana in the past week. I had heard good things of Pure at the Hout Bay Manor Hotel, and its German chef and GM Alex Mueller, so chose this as the venue. I had not been there in years, not since Rick and Collette Taylor owned the hotel.
What a mistake I made to choose the venue, as far as World Cup “gees” goes, as I was the only person in the hotel watching the match on the massive screen filling the whole wall of the lounge. Only one couple was dining in Pure restaurant.
On arriving outside the Hotel, a security guard followed me into the hotel, and appeared quite unwelcoming and confrontational, asking me what I wanted at the hotel! She disappeared, so I settled down in the lounge. I had seen the photographs on the hotel’s website, and was told that the decor had been done by Block & Chisel. It is hard to describe, other than that the lounge decor is very busy, with a dominant African design feel to it. For me, the oranges and pinks in the upholstery clashed with the red and white curtains, and while I liked the African dress hanging on one wall, I thought a lot of it was very forced. The African decor flows through all the way to the bar counter and reception, but the decor tone changes completely in Pure restaurant, which is very earthy (screen made from ‘interwoven’ branches, marine touches added on the tables, hanging crystal stands, again feels overdone).
Generously sized couches and armchairs in the lounge, where the TV was set up, had an English feel. The coffee table was very low, making it uncomfortable to eat and to make notes at. I struggled to get comfortable in the armchair throughout my two-hour visit, even adding a scatter cushion, but nothing helped. The “pub” part of the hotel is nothing more than some bar stools at the bar counter in an open-plan room coming out of the reception, on the way to the restaurant.
The waiter brought three white leather bound documents, but did not explain the difference between them. One was Pure restaurant’s a la carte menu, not an option due to the uncomfortable table. The full winelist was brought as well. The bar menu was difficult to fold open, due to the way it is bound, making it difficult to read the prices. It had a very small selection of ten food choices, reminding me of a room service menu. One can order two portion sizes (quantity not specified) of tartar of tuna and spring rolls for R 70 or R 90, a herb salad with mozarella for what sounds like an expensive R 95, croque monsieur costs R 60, and focaccia with a choice of salmon, chicken or parma ham costs R 75. The Hout Bay Manor sandwich, which includes roast beef and bacon, costs R 75, while the Hout Bay Manor Burger can be ordered for R 75 – it also can be ordered with foie gras, at double the price. From the menus I could see the ‘Pure’ and ‘Hout Bay Manor’ brands fighting each other, the former young and modern, and the latter old fashioned and steeped in history.
I chose the croque monsieur, which was just the right snack after a long day, and the presentation of the food on a large white dish was creative, with chips stacked neatly – they were hot but not crisp. What was a cute touch, but may have just been my imagination, was a decorative touch of aubergine, red pepper and yellow pepper, creating the German flag colours! Unfortunately they were over-salted, but the idea behind it was much appreciated. The cutlery looked brand new, and was elegant, and a good quality material serviette was offered. I was a little annoyed when the waiter seemed very anxious to remove my plate and glass so quickly, but this may have been intended as good service.
The bar list offers two Methode Cap Classiques sparkling wines by the glass, from Ambeloui, which I did not know but discovered to be from Hout Bay, according to a Google search. Olga costs R 50, and her ‘sister’ Roseanne R56. Amstel costs R20, Castle R18, Heineken R 20, Savanna R22, and Windhoek R18. An extensive list of 43 spirits and liqueurs is on offer, and includes Wilderers Grappa, Bols, Cointreau, Butlers, and a further list of cocktails. The cappuccino I ordered was a lovely foamy one, served with a meringue on the side.
This review would have been very different had it not been for the wonderful sommelier Tatiana Marcetteau, previously from Delaire Graff. She recognised me from past visits there, and the level of service rose dramatically, with her checking regularly on my well-being, reminding me very much of Aleks’ care and service at Salt Vodka and Champagne Bar the week before. Unasked, Tatiana offered to show me a guest bedroom in the half-time, as well as the Pure restaurant. She also proudly showed me her wine cellar. The receptionist offered me a copy of the hotel’s book, including a book sticker that one can write one’s name into, and detailing the history of the hotel (built in 1871), yet reflecting the colourful decor of the interior. A photo album feel is created by a swatch of curtaining material, and photographs look as if they have just been glued into the book. Each of the 21 bedrooms is different, and one can choose the Zulu, the Xhosa or even the Sangoma room! The book ends off with two pages of photographs, presented as if they are postage stamps. This is one of the most creative hotel promotional documents I have ever seen.
I would not watch another World Cup match at the hotel again, despite the lovely service from Tatiana, given the lack of guests to watch the soccer with, and the lack of ‘gees’. But the visit has definitely whet my appetite to visit Pure restaurant, and to try Chef Alex Mueller’s cuisine after the World Cup. The prices are not cheap, but the restaurant is running a winter special at the moment. My croque monsieur was better value than a horrid pizza I had eaten at Foresters Arms earlier in the day (review to follow).
Pure at Hout Bay Manor, Baviaanskloof, off Main Road, Hout Bay. Tel 021 790 0116. www.houtbaymanor.co.za (The website design does not reflect the design of the beautiful hotel book, and appears hard sell in having an accommodation booking window open on every page, even if unrelated to accommodation. The Home page looks cluttered, and the Blog, Facebook and Twitter links are made very prominent – only problem is that the last post on the blog is dated 12 May, and the hotel tweets about once a month, making its social media marketing tool symbols look like window-dressing!). Open Tuesdays- Saturdays.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com