How does one summarise Cape Town’s newest trendy hotspot that is a 32 bedroom Hotel, a rooftop bar with a resident mixologist, and a restaurant with Chef Guy Bennett at the helm, located in an area in which such an offering is not expected, that is simply gorgeous? The Gorgeous George Hotel, and with it the GiGi Rooftop Restaurant and Bar, will bring the Cape Town city centre alive again, an area that has not seen any innovation in quite a while. Continue reading →
On a day that was already going well, it was hard to imagine that it could get even better with an invitation to attend the 2017 launch of the #HQFineWining (what a clever hashtag) series of food and wine pairing dinners. Graham Beck bubblies were served and we were told that bubbly pairs well with all kinds of foods, including the well-known HQ steak! Continue reading →
Having survived the demonstrations against the Pharrell Williams concert earlier this week, Woolworths aggressively took over the Sunday Times today, getting the newspaper to change its masthead and branding colour to green, with the placement of two double page spread advertisements, and getting a front page story out of it too! Woolworths shouts about its green and responsible Continue reading →
Last week I ate lunch at Mondiall twice. The first was a family lunch, and the second was an invitation to try the new Winter Menu at Mondiall and to meet new Chef Riaan Burger, who has been at the restaurant for six weeks. The experiences were chalk and cheese. Mondiall has been repositioned as a French Brasserie, serving ‘refined comfort food’, rather than as an around-the-world restaurant when it opened.
The family lunch followed the scattering of the ashes of our late mother, which we had done in Table Bay on the yacht IQ, which moors outside Mondiall. I was very disappointed with the lunch, which was a special group menu, a reduced version of former Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s menu. Chef Riaan was not working on the Freedom Day public holiday, owner Patrick Symington was not there, and Reservation Manager Mandy Smith whom I had dealt with in making the booking and discussing the menu, was not there either. The let-down was the waitress, and poor communication between Mandy and the Manager Franco. The food quality was not as expected either. I admire Patrick for proactively sending a sms to ask how the lunch went, and I told him about my disappointment. What was amazing was the glazed pork belly, offered as a Tapas dish, served with crackling, and a honey soy glaze. This dish remains on the new menu. Continue reading →
Last night I was invited to the first media launch in the country of FitChef, a new service of healthy meals and smoothies delivered into one’s home, as per one’s chosen mealplan. A range of options is offered, including Banting/LCHF, detox and weight loss, vegetarian, and wellness. More than 50000 meal portions and 35000 smoothies are sold around the country monthly.
Developed by founder Wayne Kaminsky, who told us that he was a superfit fitness fanatic sportsman, participating in Ironman and Cape Epic challenges, and needing to find a more healthy eating pattern to lose weight. He was using antibiotics, and could let them go when the benefits of the ‘clean eating’ came to the fore. He moved more and more to healthy foods which he enjoyed cooking, making a batch of portions over weekends, and finding them selling well when he posted photographs of them on Facebook. He started FitChef three years ago, and the Cape region was opened a year ago. Wayne has tremendous energy, and his food preparation skills were impressive, preparing our dinner simultaneously at 10 food stations, at each of which a different dish was prepared. He had prepared some of the dishes, and talked us through each food preparation station, each containing a different set of ingredients for a dish to be made. I noticed that a lot of ingredients came from Woolworths, but Wayne said that they prefer to use Pick ‘n Pay products. I questioned Wayne about his use of some Robertsons products, and he said that it was just for our dinner, and that they use fresh herbs in the factory food preparation. Continue reading →
We wrote recently how Woolworths has been misleading consumers with claims about its Ayrshire milk, deceiving food labelling, and how it tries to create an image of healthy produce via its ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa‘ series on SABC3. The group Grass Consumer Food Action has been persistent in its criticism of Woolworths, and appears to have hit a raw nerve in the Good Business Journey division at Woolworths, the retailer having launched a brand new ‘Good Food News‘ 16-page insert in the Sunday Times yesterday! It looks like a Taste magazine (the Woolworths sponsored magazine published by New Media Publishing) but printed in Tabloid format on recycled paper!
While the Tabloid has ‘headlines’ on page 1, to attract one’s attention to the content, it consists of a mix of ‘advertorials’ of its award-winning wines (since when are wines a food, as per the name of the publication?) in ‘Crowned as the best‘; ‘responsibly sourced‘ fish; braai suggestions for ‘Ready Steady Braai’; and ‘Flavours of Home‘ (prepared foods with strong spices such as curries, and traditional foods such as koeksisters and milk tart); as well as editorial. It is obviously planned as a monthly insert, numbered ‘Issue 01′, and dated September 2014. The focus of the first issue is ‘lovelocal‘:
* ‘New on the shelf‘ (page 3) showcases new pack designs for wine boxes, braai tins, braai marinade, braai Continue reading →
I have no idea who heads up Woolworths’ Marketing department, but it seems that the retailer has lost the plot! Once the darling of all, seen to be above reproach in the quality of the products it sells and the lengths that Woolworths will go to find the most organic and animal-friendly produce for its customers, it is being lambasted for copying other brands, for importing tomatoes, peas and more, and for making misleading claims about its products. In addition, it seems to have lost the link between its expensive sponsorship of TV food programmes and its stores!
Let’s start with ‘Hayden Quinn: South Africa’, a programme which has been running on SABC3 for the past 9 weeks, a travelogue of our beautiful country, and documentation of Woolworths’ sourcing of sustainable and ethical produce, or so it is presented. We have been exposed to Woolworths suppliers of tomatoes in Stellenbosch, organic wines made in Franschhoek, apples and pears grown in Grabouw, SASSI-friendly fish sourcing, and the pasture-fed lamb from the Karoo. Criticism has been leveled about the use of an Australian surfer who came third in MasterChef Australia in 2011, as the tour guide to our country and the guide to its sustainable food and wine treasure chest, a self-confessed ‘cooker’ and not a chef! The dishes in the eight episodes to date have been as basic as salads, pizzas, and sandwiches, with a mussel pot and an Eton Mess too. In some episodes the Woolworths punt has been so strong (i.e. the tomato growing) that it has become irritating, but of late the strong Woolworths promotion has been toned down. Surprising is the low-key advertising for Woolworths in its half-hour episodes, and is nothing as mouthwatering as the Woolworths’ commercials we have seen on MasterChef SA Seasons 1 and 2. Nedbank is the other Continue reading →
The bottom end of Chiappini Street has housed two of my favourite restaurants in their time – Bruce Robertson’s The Showroom and Cormac Keane’s Portofino, both the talking point of Cape Town in their time. After a surprisingly long tenancy by low class Leaf, a smart ‘5 star 100% Halaal Fine Dining Bistro‘ has opened, called TRUFFLE. The restaurant was opened to offer top-end Halaal cuisine, which has not been available in Cape Town before. The name was chosen for its association with indulgence, which is echoed throughout the restaurant.
I had seen the exterior branding whilst driving down Buitengracht Street a week ago, but could not find any website via Google. Yesterday I stopped by, and was astounded how the restaurant interior has changed since Leaf occupied the space until about a year ago. Mohammed Adam was kind enough to spend time with me, to share information about the restaurant. He and Nisreen Ebrahim are joint owners, Nisreen and her husband Rafiq being previous owners of four fast food outlets they would not reveal the names of (LinkedIn revealed that they were Nando’s outlets), and took over the space in January. Mohammed did all the interior design, after some building work was done, half of the upstairs being closed off by means of a wall now, to give the kitchen double volume space. Almost everything has been changed, other than the wooden floor in the outside section, with a new wooden floor upstairs; new wooden steps for the staircase to match the tops of the tables and the Continue reading →
The ‘Going Whole Hog‘ campaign not only communicates the health benefits of eating pasture-reared or free-range pork, where pigs graze in a paddock, and are treated better than mass-reared pigs, but also communicates the benefit of farm-to-table.
Nutritional therapist Sara Bilbe said: ‘Factory farmed pigs live in concrete cells with no outside exposure and no entertainment. Pigs are fairly intelligent animals and this lack of stimulation in these cells leads to high stress levels and therefore high illness. A naturally foraging pig would not just be feeding on grain and legumes but insects, grubs, leafy greens and grasses which are all high in omega-3 oils and would change the composition of the pork fat that we eat’. Such naturally foraging pigs are healthier and are not force-fed to gain weight abnormally, making the pork less fatty, and healthier in that it does not contain hormones nor antibiotics.
Mass-produced pigs are fed cheap soya, corn, and grain, disadvantageous to the digestive system of a pig, which cannot stomach such large quantities of food, hence requiring antibiotics. Pig’s feed can contain hair, skin, blood, intestines, and hooves of other dead animals. Stressed pigs release hormones, which will be contained in mass-produced bacon. The health benefits of pasture-reared animals include its high levels of vitamin A, D, E, and K, and omega-3’s. Pork chops are leaner, contain less sodium, and have more vitamin B.
Pick ‘n Pay is stocking free-range pork at some of its outlets, and is raising Continue reading →
The restaurant at 65 Main Road used to be one of Green Point’s most popular when it was called Miss K, but nose-dived when it was taken over by an Italian owner and he renamed it after his daughter Giulia a year ago. He lasted a few months before returning to his homeland, as his wife did not like Cape Town. This left the space for Whitney Wentzel to take it over and to open 65 on Main within two weeks, at the beginning of August. It was a surprise discovery, following a most mediocre Camps Bay experience earlier that day!
I underestimated Whitney on first appearance, and thought her to be the manager, as a waiter came out to greet me even though she was outside as well. I was left in the care of a second waiter Sheldon, who informed me that Whitney is in fact the owner. Whitney studied at the Hotel School in Granger Bay, having graduated just before the World Cup, and worked as F&B Manager at The Taj, The Cullinan, Zimbali, and the Arabella Kleinmond hotels since then. She had a dream to run her own restaurant, and told me that she dutifully saved as much as she could, having been taught by her portfolio asset manager mother. Although only 25 years old, I sensed that Whitney pays attention to detail, and knows exactly what she is doing, and that her establishment Continue reading →