Entries tagged with “Grappa”.


Cape Town’s first Michelin-star linked restaurant has opened on the third floor at Villa 47. Pierino Penati Ristorante at Villa 47 is the sister restaurant to the one-star Michelin restaurant Pierino Penati, established seventy years ago in Brianza close to Milan in Italy. It raises the bar of fine dining in our city, and is now the best fine dining restaurant in Cape Town! (more…)

imageThe Dalla Cia family of Stellenbosch, synonymous with Grappa, has launched a 10 Year Celebration Grappa, which was distilled in 2004 and has been barrel-matured for the past ten years. The launch of the special Grappa celebrates the 10th anniversary of the Dalla Cia Wine & Spirit Company.

Father and son Giorgio and George Dalla Cia created the anniversary Grappa, and continues a tradition started by Vittorio Dalla Cia, father of Giorgio, in Friuli in Italy in the ‘Twenties. George Dalla Cia is the (more…)

Palma Interior candles Whale CottageAbout ten days ago Orphanage Cocktail Emporium co-owner Katie Friedman introduced me to new eateries Mother’s Ruin Gin Bar and Palma in the next street block on Bree Street, being landlord to both.  My experience of Palma on that evening differed vastly from that of our dinner last night.

I had invited my friend Whitney to join me, and we chose an outside table, given how hot it still was when we arrived.  It was lighter than on my previous visit, and the ‘less is more’ interior design impressed.  General Manager Roberto Carluzzo did not seem to recognise me, or to react to the Facebook posts and the blogpost I had written about the 26 eateries on Bree Street subsequent to my first visit.  The doorman did however welcome me back, a nice touch.  Mama Palma Carluzzo was in the bar, putting on finishing touches to leaving, and I was disappointed, as we had been told that she is the chef, in charge of (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   FlySafair took off for the first time last week, offering permanent low-cost flights between Johannesburg, Cape Town, George, and Port Elizabeth.  Extras are charged, including meals, luggage in addition to two pieces of hand luggage, pre-booked seats, travel insurance, and extra-space seats. Base airfares between Cape Town and Johannesburg cost R 499 per direction.

*   The City of Cape Town has launched a Mobile Transport TCT App.  Developed by ‘Where is my Transport’, it is unique in Africa, and will guide commuters as to which form of transport they can use to get to their destination, incorporating the MyCiTi Bus, Golden Arrow Bus, Jammie Shuttle bus, city sightseeing buses, and Metrorail trains.  In addition information relating to shops close by, and directions in getting there, is also provided.  The app can also guide users of private transport, providing travel times, as well as informing them about traffic hold-ups such as accidents, roadworks, and more.  Locals can use the app to report potholes, faulty traffic lights, and bad driving to the City.

*   Award-winning wine blog Terroirist sings the praises of the ‘Swartland‘ generally, and of the wines (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA and SA Express are in financial distress, and cannot continue operating as they not meeting the requirements of a going concern, meaning that they require financial support from the government.  The Department of Public Enterprise is withholding the financial statements of both entities, which means that the AGM of the SAA Board must be delayed for the third year running.

*   According to Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy tourists from countries that require visas to travel to our country (mainly China, Japan, and India) are cancelling due to the stringent new biometric visa requirements, tour operators reporting booking declines of 35 – 90 %!  The fear of Ebola on the African continent is compounding the problem.  Traditional source markets in Europe, the UK, and USA are not affected by the new Immigration Regulations.

*   Blaauwklippen has opened its newly named and relocated Tasting Room, which contains a Spirits Room with a selection (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA and SA Express are in financial distress, and cannot continue operating as they not meeting the requirements of a going concern, meaning that they require financial support from the government.  The Department of Public Enterprise is withholding the financial statements of both entities, which means that the AGM of the SAA Board must be delayed for the third year running.

*   According to Cape Town Tourism CEO Enver Duminy tourists from countries that require visas to travel to our country (mainly China, Japan, and India) are cancelling due to the stringent new biometric visa requirements, tour operators reporting booking declines of 35 – 90 %!  The fear of Ebola on the African continent is compounding the problem.  Traditional source markets in Europe, the UK, and USA are not affected by the new Immigration Regulations.

*   Blaauwklippen has opened its newly named and relocated Tasting Room, which contains a Spirits Room with a selection of (more…)

On Wednesday the Slick Group, owners of Balducci’s, Gibson’s Gourmet Burgers & Ribs, and Belthazar, invited the Camps Bay guest house owners and managers for lunch at Balducci’s, to thank them for their support in the past year, to present the newly designed Slick Restaurant Group Loyalty Card, which is aimed at locals in the main, and to share information about the winter specials at Balducci’s and at Gibson’s. This Italian style restaurant has something for everyone, and has a menu with the greatest appetite appeal we have ever seen.

The A5 menu for Season 2013/14 looks like a magazine, with exquisite photography of their dishes, one per section of the menu, making the choice of what to order even harder, as everything on the menu sounds good enough to eat, and the photographs add to the appetite appeal. The second half of the Menu contains the winelist. Like a magazine, the menu is interspersed with advertising, which is not irritating, except that it is a large number of pages (68 in total) to go through when choosing what to eat and to drink.

The menu introduction explains the restaurant’s policy to be more ‘environmentally responsible’, explaining that it uses alien wood in its pizza ovens, it uses vegetables and fruit that are in season, and local ‘superb quality procured meat, poultry, fish and game’. Only fresh chicken is used, and grain-fed 28 day matured beef. Extra virgin award-winning olive oil is used, the menu states. No BYO wine is allowed, and neither is photography (I was not stopped in photographing the dishes for this blogpost), the first time that I have seen photography prohibited in a restaurant. In terms of the new Liquor Act (2013) it is a criminal offence for restaurant patrons to take unfinished bottles of wine, malt or spirits with them when they leave, the menu states.  The menu is printed on Sappi Triple Green recyclable paper.  Select menu items are marked in green as being the owner’s ‘personal healthy option choice’.

The Italian heritage of the restaurant shows in the division of the menu into

*   Antipasti – we shared Antipasti platters (R140) as a starter, which included a Caprese salad, Springbok carpaccio, avocado, tomatoes, butternut, grilled aubergine, grilled chili and garlic calamari, and fresh baked toasted bread.  Other options include Minestrone and Onion soups (R57 each),  prosciutto and melon (R90), tuna tataki (R88), salmon (R55), oysters (SQ), prawns (R40 – R180), as well as eleven salad choices (R75 – R104).

*   Primi Piatti – this section offers burgers (classic, gorgonzola, Swiss cheese, bacon guacamole, luxury lamb, ostrich, vegetarian, and chicken) ranging from R65 – R85; a very extensive sushi selection (the 24 piece Platinum Sushi Plate is a winter special at R109*); 35 pizza options, ranging from R60 – R110; and eleven pasta choices, ranging from R65 – R150.  In winter the prices of pizzas and pastas, with one exception each, have been reduced to R54*.

*   Secondi Piatti – most of us had a different main course, and each plate looked generous, and beautifully presented.  Our intern Lorraine chose the kingklip, which was served on a bed of grilled butternut, aubergine, and green beans, and was topped with parmesan slices, olives and tomatoes (R140). Other fish options are calamari (R95), Norwegian salmon (R159), mussels (R110), crayfish (R90 per 100g), and seafood platters (R345/R695). Corrie praised the Butter Chicken Curry (R150), as the best he has ever tasted.  My Veal Marsala was served with linguine and an excellent light parmesan cream, sautéed mushrooms, and a Marsala sauce (R115). Other meat dishes include veal (most cost R115), game (R180), a variety of steak options (most R160), and lamb shank (R160).  A 250g 28 day matured rump steak is on special during winter at R79*.

*   Dolce – Most desserts cost R59, and their Tiramisu has been a firm favourite for years, the finger biscuits soaked in Espresso and Kahlua, with an Amarula sauce. Other options are chocolate fondant, crème brûlée, malva pudding, ice cream, sorbet and frozen yoghurt, and a white Lindt chocolate cheesecake.

*   Formaggi – a selection of cheeses costs R90.

The winelist section has a large number of advertisements of supplier wine estates.  Each wine region and wine variety is defined and described:

*   ‘Bubbly’ – MCCs offered include Pongrácz NV (R60 per glass/R240 per bottle), Pierre Jourdan Brut NV (R70/R250), L’Omarins Brut Classique NV (R88/R325), Steenberg ‘1682’ Chardonnay 2011 (R350), and De Wetshof NV (R121/R480).  Moët et Chandon costs R650.

*   Bianchi/white wines – an extensive number of wines is offered per variety, eighteen alone for Sauvignon Blanc (from R34 – R68 per glass, and R130 – R280 per bottle).

*   Rossi/Red wines – eight Shiraz options are offered, from R37/R145 for Franschhoek Cellars ‘Baker Station’ 2011 to La Motte’s 2009 Shiraz (R360).

*   ‘Aficionado Lounge‘ – brandy, Calvados, Armagnac, Grappa, port, sherry, beers,  and Bain’s Cape Mountain Whisky are offered.

The Slick Loyalty Card was explained to us by Slick Marketing and Reservations Co-ordinator Michelle Page. Patrons receive 10% off their bill on presentation of the Loyalty Card, and a R200 birthday voucher. The Winter Special prices quoted above apply to dishes (marked with * above) ordered between 12h00 – 18h00.

Our Camps Bay guest house group had a most enjoyable lunch at Balducci’s, owner Ian Halfon popping in to greet the group.  The new Winter Specials are great value, for a restaurant that is perceived to be on the expensive side.  In going through the menu for this blogpost, it was a surprise to see how many reasonably-priced dishes it contains.  Service is smart, the serving staff is neatly and professionally dressed, and the location in a quieter section of the V & A Waterfront is an advantage.

POSTSCRIPT 10/6: Michelle has explained the photography policy in greater detail, and food and people photography is allowed: ‘Re photography of the décor, we felt we put a lot of effort into the look and feel of the restaurant. Creating something special.Guests can take pics of food and celebrations and of themselves with pleasure and post and review etc, we have no problem with that‘.

Disclosure:  We received a bottle of Balducci’s Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon House Wine and a small box of Emporio Leone chocolates with the menus of the three Slick Restaurant Group restaurants.

Balducci’s Ristorante Pizza Seafood Bar, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 421 6002. www.balduccis.co.za Twitter: @Balduccis_CT  Monday – Sunday.

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

Spice Route is the new name of the wine estate previously called Seidelberg, and also is the name of the brand new restaurant on the wine estate, which now belongs to Charles Back of neighbouring Fairview, which he bought from Roland Seidel last year, and re-opened the renovated estate in October.

The first impression is not a good one as one drives to the restaurant and tasting room, as the Cabernet Sauvignon vines have had to be removed due a red ant infection, and new planting will only take place in winter, I was told by the tasting room staff, my first stop at Spice Route.  The staff had no knowledge of the history of the wine range, which was first made for Mr Back by maverick winemaker Eben Sadie.  The tasting room has been renovated, painted white now, with new furniture, and has been brought out onto the terrace and the lawn too, with a lovely view, even onto Table Mountain.  The Spice Route wines were produced in 1997 for the first time.  It was explained that the exceptional Spice Route wine brand, being one of four Fairview brands, was not receiving the attention it deserves, and therefore Mr Back bought the neighbouring farm.  All Spice Route wines are made by winemaker Charl du Plessis on the Swartland farm, the Malabar having its own cellar. The Spice Route wine range consists of Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Viognier, Mourvédre, Pinotage, Shiraz, Chakalaka, Flagship Syrah, and Malabar.  One pays R25 to taste six of the nine Spice Route wines, and can also order an excellent value-for-money Spice Route wine and food pairing at R90, with a taste of all nine wines and three dishes off the restaurant menu: paté, kingklip, and pork belly.

The restaurant too has been extensively renovated, under the guidance of architect Johan Malherbe of Malherbe Rust, and the interior decor has been designed by René de Waal of Experience Makers.  René chose a white interior for the walls, chairs, and tables, and added decor elements from the Middle East and Zanzibar to emphasise the spice link to the restaurant name, through tiles on the floor, lamps, massive jars of spices on the restaurant counter, the chairs, the place mats, works of art on the walls, and wall cornices.  The spice theme also manifests in the cinnamon coloured aprons of the waitron staff.  The menu/winelist cover is brown leather, and each page is Spice Route branded.  Each table (without tablecloth) has a bottle of Fairview olive oil, and a set of Goldcrest coarse salt and black pepper grinders.  Quality material serviettes, Fortis Hotelware cutlery, and good glassware is on the table, including a small Greek style water glass.  There was no music at all, an element which could have enhanced the theme. Outside the furniture is wooden and looks like it was there before, not tying in with the inside decor.  Surprising is that the cloakrooms have not been renovated yet, having been painted in a ghastly pink/red, with wall tiles missing, and having the cheapest toilet roll holders.

Staff are mainly from the previous Seidelberg restaurant, but the Manager Lize Rossouw (studied at the Institute for Culinary Arts and the International Hotel School, and moved across from Fairview) and the Chef Phillip Pretorius (previously at Fairview’s The Goat Shed and Sevruga) are new.  Theo, the waiter who looked after me, worked at Meerendal with David Higgs, at Grande Roche, and at Seidelberg.

Exciting changes are planned, and in future visitors will be encouraged to follow the route at Spice Route, with a micro-brewery planned with Jack Black, and a new chocolate factory to be set up by DV chocolates (from Hermanus) in the manor house in the next two months. The DV chocolates have already been incorporated into the menu.  A grappa distillery is also being considered, and picnics on the lawn outside the manor house are also planned.   An organic vegetable garden is being developed, to supply both the Fairview and Spice Route restaurants, and the School House guest house near the Agter Paarl Road is planned to open as a farm stall, selling its vegetables, chocolates, beer, wine, and more.  The Red Hot Glass glass blowing studio is still there, and appears unchanged.  Wedding bookings are starting to roll in, Lize said.

The menu is not extensive, but interesting, and each menu item has a Spice Route wine recommendation (without the vintage or price indicated). The menu items are not all Mediterranean or Middle Eastern, but contain spices which leave a spicy after-taste. I chose a prawn and paw paw salad (R65) as a starter, which came with  a generous portion of prawns, citrus segments, pineapple, cherry tomatoes, roasted peanuts, green beans, and paw paw, and was served with a lemongrass, coconut, soy, ginger, and peanut oil dressing, a refreshing start to the lunch.  A treat was that Chef Phillip brought the salad to the table, so that we could have a brief chat. The suggested pairing was the Chenin Blanc, but I enjoyed it with a taste of the Shiraz.  Very special too was the duck liver parfait served with an unusual pear and ginger chutney (R56), a lovely marriage, and even more unusual was the presentation of the parfait, being coated in the orange-coloured chakalaka and sesame seeds, making me nervous about it initially, but being absolutely delicious, rich and creamy.  The parfait pairing recommendation was the Mouvèdre, but I had it with a taste of the Flagship Syrah.

Other starters are a ceviche of cured linefish, a spicy duck breast, pork belly with a Madagascar DV chocolate lentil salad, and a Panzanella Bread salad with marinated buffalo mozzarella, ranging in price from R48 to R62.  Six main courses start at R89 for handmade potato gnocchi to R218 for a Roast rib-eye steak on the bone, for two persons to share.  One can also order linefish with tandoori paste; Chalmar beef fillet; venison loin served with a DV chocolate, black currant and chilli jus; and an Indian butter chicken served with espresso foam.  Five desserts cost between R42 – R58, and include a delicious apple tart tatin served with home-made vanilla pod ice cream and an unusual carrot and ginger puree, which I enjoyed with a perfectly made cappuccino, the coffee coming from Beans for Africa in Paarl; DV dark chocolate and fresh chilli Crème Brûlée; white chocolate and rose water mousse served with goat’s chevin; coconut and banana bread; and beetroot panna cotta.

Selfishly I liked that Spice Route has not yet been discovered by the tourists as is the case at Fairview, and does not feel touristy, the service being personalised and efficient. All the plans for the wine estate are likely to fill up the restaurant in future.  I was sceptical about going to Spice Route for lunch, given its past offering, but was impressed with all aspects of it, except for the cloakrooms of course! I will be back to try more of Chef Phillip’s spicy menu and to taste more of the Spice Route wines!

Spice Route restaurant, Spice Route wine estate, Paarl.  Tel (021) 863-5222. www.spiceroute.co.za. Sunday – Thursday 11h00 – 18h00, Friday – Saturday 11h00 – 21h00.

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

Salt restaurant at The Ambassador Hotel has a most apt name, with its close proximity to the Atlantic Ocean in Bantry Bay.   Earlier this week the restaurant hosted a most successful food and wine pairing gourmet evening, in conjunction with Dalla Cia wines and grappa.

The Dalla Cia Sauvignon Blanc 2008 was served on arrival, followed by the Dalla Cia Chardonnay 2008 to accompany a most delicious goats’ cheese and butternut rotolo.   The Dalla Cia Giorgio 2006 accompanied a roast quail, served with mushroom polenta.    The main course was an excellent springbok pie in a fine two-coloured pastry, served with Dalla Cia Cabernet Sauvignon 2006.  The pannacotta included grappa, and was served with the Dalla Cia Grappa.   The wine offering was generous, with a top-up served per variety, and the evening was good value at R 350 per head.

The nicest part of such an evening is the wonderful company one is lucky enough to enjoy.  George Dalla Cia, and his charming Italian wife Elena, was a gracious host, and his distributor Mark McCarthy, and partner Tanja Schuermann, exchanged interesting information about new restaurant openings, and wine news.   Lauren Newhouse, from the hotel’s PR company, was an entertaining and bubbly table companion.

Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com