Entries tagged with “Heineken”.


Cocoa Ola World Cup flags Whale Cottage PortfolioThe Soccer World Cup 2014 has kicked off, and one would have thought that Cape Town restaurants and pubs would have shown more ‘gees’.  We have only seen one restaurant on Kloof Street ‘advertising’ its soccer allegiance, with three flags on the outside of Cocoa Oola   In general the soccer event appears to be a damp squib for locals.  A number of restaurants are offering free viewing, some with special menu items that reflect the countries playing on the day.

Check the closing times of the restaurants and pubs before choosing them, as their licence will influence how late they are allowed to stay open. It is surprising how hard it is to find Soccer World Cup 2014 information on the websites of those restaurants and bars attracting soccer fans. We will update this list as we find new information about offers linked to the Soccer World Cup 2014:

*   Mondiall – this restaurant is commendable in being one of the most creative and focused on the Soccer World Cup 2014.  Each day it chooses a lead game, offering a tapas dish and a main course from the countries, with a complimentary drink,  of each of the two teams playing each other on the day, at a cost of R180.  For today, for example, with Germany playing Portugal, the German tapas dish offered is potato soup with crispy pork and chives, while the main course is Bratwurst, and the complimentary drink a CBC Weiss.  The PortugueseMondiall Baked Camembert tapas is peri peri chicken wings, the main course a prego roll, and the complimentary drink sangria. The country dishes for the chosen matches over the next ten days are as follows:

17 June:   Brazil versus Mexico

18 June:  Spain versus Chile (more…)

Jazz Festival Banner Whale Cottage PortfolioAt the media launch yesterday of the 15th Cape Town International Jazz Festival at the Cape Town International Convention Centre Mayor Patricia de Lille said that the goal of Cape Town is to become the Events Capital of Africa, and with it the Capital of Jazz in Africa, attracting 37000 Festival goers.  An exciting line-up of international and local jazz artists was announced at the launch.

The launch was addressed by a number of speakers. Billy Domingo, the Chief Operating Officer of espAfrika, the events company organising the Jazz Festival, was a witty MC for the event.  Rashid Lombard organises the musical side of things, and announced that since ticket sales opened last month, all two-day passes have been sold,.  There are about 500 day tickets available for each of the two days.  The event is a team effort, within their company (of mainly ladies he joked) and also with the City of Cape Town.  They want to create a legacy through the event, which includes a training and development Jazz FEstival Rashid Lombard Whale Cottage Portfolioprogramme which has already seen six students study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston in the USA.  Job creation is another goal.  Lombard proudly shared their Social Media statistics, having more than 14000 Twitter followers, close to 9000 Likes on Facebook, and 140000 YouTube views.

Lombard also presented the eagerly awaited line up for the Cape Town International Jazz Festival, which includes top international jazz artists Level 42, Shakatak, Eryka Badu (but not mentioned in the media release), and Abdullah Ibrahim and Ekaya.  Other international artists are Andreya (more…)

MasterChef SA is the talk of the country, and we have another 10 weeks to look forward to in the next month.  To spice things up a little, we have launched two competitions, the first being a prediction of who will win MasterChef SA in episode 26.

We are also running a weekly lucky draw for the correct prediction of who our readers think will be booted out of the MasterChef SA every week. For the correct prediction of who will leave MasterChef SA in episode 6 today, Baked Bistro in Bakoven in Camps Bay has generously offered a lunch voucher for two persons for the correct prediction. (more…)

The MasterChef SA Season 2 Hot Auditions are done, Bootcamp is lying ahead for 50 contestants, and we are boldly predicting the 16 Finalists who will make it to the kitchen at Nederburg to show South Africa who our hot amateur cooks are: (more…)

Last night the first episode of MasterChef SA Season 2 was flighted, to what seemed liked a smaller audience, if the Twitter reaction (or lack of) is anything to judge it by.  The first episode built a bridge between MasterChef Season 1 last year and the new Season 2, with some familiar faces, and many new hopefuls, some successful in making the bootcamp of 50 contestant amateur cooks, and many not. There are some interesting characters one can expect to go through to Nederburg, given the amount of airtime they received last night.

To demonstrate how far some of the MasterChef Season 1 Finalists have come since their participation in the show, there was a quick overview of some of the more successful Finalists: Deena Naidoo now has a part-ownership in Aayra at Montecasino, part of his so-called R8 million prize package from Tsogo Sun. Sue-Ann Allen, the runner-up, is described as the ‘head chef’ at the Market on the Wharf at the V&A Waterfront in The Times. Lungile Nhlanhla is Drum‘s junior food editor.  Ilse Fourie has a cooking show ‘Ilse Kook‘ on KykNET. Berdina Schurink has opened Bella Sophia Culinary Café in Pretoria. Manisha Naidu and Jade de Waal have participated in cook books.  Some Finalists missing from the Season 1 recap were Sarel Loots, who was a contestant on Kokkedoor, dessert specialist Thys Hattingh who now is Project Manager at the Compass Group, Guy Clark, who has an amazing chef’s job in Mumbai, and Brandon Law, who is Chef Deena’s right hand at Aayra.  It was wonderful to see judges Andrew Atkinson, Benny Masekwameng, and Pete Goffe-Wood again, feeling like old friends, and barely having changed in the year since we first got to know them in Season 1.

To a MasterChef SA newcomer viewer the action may have been too fast, and therefore confusing.  No background information was provided about the start of the process, namely the audition to have one’s cold dish tasted, brought along from home.  The episode started with the hot auditions, in which some of the 100 contestants received lots of airtime, while the others that received little coverage in the episode or were not even mentioned by name were predictably the ones that fell out.  Each participant had 45 minutes to prepare their dish, and 5 minutes to impress the judges whilst plating their dish, and the standard of the dishes presented to the judges generally was high at this very early stage.

Given the amount of time spent on them in the first episode, one can speculate that the following will be seen in the group of 16 contestants at Nederburg (today’s episode will focus on the rest of the hot audition):

*   By far the most airtime was devoted to the first contestant featured, being Zahir Mohamed, who owns Baked Bistro in Bakoven.  He already had a dream to open his own restaurant, and shared that he would open his own bistro after participating in MasterChef SA.  His father is the chef cooking for Manchester United and its fans in the UK. He would ‘cook my heart out’ on MasterChef, and wanted to make them happy, he promised the judges.  He was the first of many contestants to cry, the pressure bringing on the tears, and he explained that he had given up his job (at Brandhouse marketing Heineken) to participate in the reality TV show (as Sue-Ann Allen had in season 1). Zahir made a home-smoked rack of lamb with roasted garlic and a port jus, which Chef Andrew rejected for not having a smoked taste and the spices not coming to the fore. Chefs Benny and Pete disagreed with him, tasting the smokiness, and praising the sweetness in the beetroot and a rack of lamb prepared properly. Twitter: @BakedBistro @Foodie4CapeTown

*   Mohamed (also known as Ozzy) Osman is a student from Johannesburg whose English pronunciation was dreadful.  His pan-fried lemon sole served with a phyllo pastry basket filled with spinach was a hit amongst the judges. Chef Pete promised him 10 years in boarding school if his fish was raw inside, having introduced that his love for cooking stemmed from the dreadful food he had to eat at boarding school. He shared that he comes from a family of dedicated cooks. Chef Pete probably understated his praise of the sole as being ‘pretty well done’. Twitter: @Oh_so_Ozzy

*   Sisters Leandri and Seline van der Wat from Mahikeng (previously Mafikeng) both received their white aprons, but were kept on tenterhooks by the judges, calling them in one after the other.  They were the most gorgeous sisters, both in appearance, and also in attitude, each wishing the other one success in the show.  They lost their mother at an early age, and have enjoyed cooking together.  Selina made a Doublet of prawns served with Rooibos and thyme salt. Leandri prepared a Smoked snoek ravioli.Twitter:  @This_is_Leandri  @SelineVW

*   Neil Lowe was an interesting character, looking studious with his specs, and clearly trying to impress the judges with his terminology of ‘sous vide’, and ‘Modernist cuisine‘, by far the most sophisticated sounding home chef.  If anything, the judges were more critical of him showing off his food science terminology, and said that the proof lay in his understanding of food. His Mauritian sea bass prepared with a lemongrass and coconut velouté received the judges’ praise that earned him a white apron. Twitter: @NeilLowe

*   Kamini Pather is a food blogger from Cape Town that we know from our Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings, and appears to work at The Test Kitchen now. She spoke about wishing to use MasterChef SA as a launchpad to prepare a food portal for the Southern Hemisphere.  Her Indian lamb shoulder served with a smear of cauliflower pureé and mustard vinaigrette was highly praised by Chef Andrew, who loved its flavours coming together, and the taste of its spices.  She received her white apron. Twitter: @KaminiPather

*  The character that created the biggest impact was Sanet from Boksburg, with partly purple hair and a BIG personality, hugging Chef Andrew heartily when she received her white apron for her Port and Porcini risotto and chicken. When asked if she had dyed her hair for the programme, she said that purple is her colour, and that of her birthstone, her colour of luck.  She was not shy to praise herself in being kind and lovable!  She also cried, filled with emotion at having got so far.

Advertisements featured included those for sponsors Nederburg, Tsogo Sun, Woolworths (with beautiful food shots), new sponsor VW (with a tenuous food link), and Robertsons (many ads, but only one with Chef Reuben Riffel).  Other advertisers included Nespresso, Standard Bank, Spree.co.za, Dr Oetker Pizza Ristorante, and (oddly) Plascon paint.

For an overview of what is lying ahead for Season 2 read here. For behind the scenes information on the filming of Season 2 in January read here.   We want to clarify that M-Net has a strict procedure for interviewing contestants, all writers having to obtain permission from their PR Manager Ingrid Engelbrecht upfront.  The condition is that all writers have to submit their story to Ms Engelbrecht for approval and sometimes minimal editing before being allowed to publish it. We have agreed to follow this rule, so that we have the opportunity to write stories about the contestants during the course of season 2.  This appears to be an unusual procedure relative to other food reality TV shows, especially as we signed a confidentiality agreement before attending the Media Day.  This rule only applies to contestant interviews, and in no way affects writing a summary of each episode such as this one.

So how did the viewers judge the first episode?  The men were noticeably negative, using 4-letter words to describe how much they disliked the program.  Contestants Kamini and the two Van der Wat sisters received positive comments from them however.  Some power outages raised the question about repeat broadcasts. Some complaints were received about the loud music in the broadcast, overpowering the judges’ feedback. It is still early days for Season 2 of MasterChef SA!

POSTSCRIPT 12/6: Deena Naidoo, winner of MasterChef Season 1, Tweeted the following compliment about this blogpost today: As always a Great summary of Episode1 MasterChefSA season2 . You don’t miss much’.

MasterChef SA Season 2. Tuesdays and Wednesdays 19h30 – 20h30.  www.masterchefsa.dstv.co Twitter: @MasterChef_SA

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

Driving to Hout Bay yesterday, I noticed that a new restaurant Baked Bistro had opened in Bakoven, where Saboroso and Marika’s used to be. It opened six days ago, and is owned by passionate Zahir Mohamed, a young 24 year old who has big plans for his business.

I spent two interesting sessions with Zahir yesterday, returning to eat after having had an iced coffee earlier in the afternoon.  Zahir’s presence made a huge difference to my impressions of his Bistro, and the more he told me about his background, the more I realised that this young man will go far.  I could not but help think that I was talking to a junior Ravi Naidoo, who has vision and drive to make his new business a success. Zahir grew up in Port Elizabeth with his grandparents, and his grandmother was his cooking inspiration, cooking typical Malay dishes, including prawn, fish (geelbek, hake, and steenbras), and lamb curries, as well as pies, and baked treats such as apple crumble, malva pudding, biscuits, and more.  His grandmother instilled a love of food in him, and allowed him to cook at home.  His Scottish father owns African Time Catering in the UK, which looks after the catering needs of Manchester United and Manchester City players and its VIP guests, as well as at Wimbledon, and at St Andrews in Scotland.  He emphasised that while his father focuses on fine-dining, he prefers ‘rustic’ meals.   He has worked for his father, doing basics such as peeling potatoes, which stood him in good stead in a next phase of his life. He followed this with a year at the Meliá Hotels International, working for a year each at a Melia hotel in Italy and in France.

Zahir had a business in Johannesburg, and his young son lives there.  He mentioned a number of times that his sole purpose of being and working is to give his boy the very best he can afford. Needing a change of scenery after a bad business deal fell through in Johannesburg, he moved to Cape Town, where he met Misha, ‘the love of my life’.  He worked at Brandhouse, and on the Heineken brand specifically, until he gave up his job to follow another dream, which will see him featured on TV later this year.  But Baked Bistro has been an idea cooking away over the past four years, and the Bakoven venue specifically, having visited the site on numerous occasions to feel it and fall in love with it, waiting his turn for the space patiently.  When the last restaurant closed down, he knew it was time to take it over.  He is a very believing and philosophical person, saying that ‘the universe will give me what I need‘.   He plans to open other Baked Bistros in Cape Town as well as in Johannesburg, and a Baked cookbook is also on the cards, which will feature recipes for hearty rustic foods to prepare in one’s home, and that are simple and affordable. Damian Cannon is doing the website design, and designed the logo, which contains a spoon and whisk, with the payoff line ‘Home is where the heart is’.

Baked Bistro does not yet have a liquor licence, and is playing it safe in not breaking any laws, and will only serve alcohol once all the paperwork has been approved.  He keeps the music volume low, and ensures that there aren’t any noisy customers, to keep on the right side of his neighbours.  Zahir wants Baked Bistro to become a ‘neighbourhood shop‘.   Cookbook writer Phillippa Cheifitz lives across the road, and has been to Baked Bistro three times in the past five days, Zahir shared proudly. The furniture is black stained wooden tables and benches, matching the rustic menu.  Cutlery is by Austwind, serviettes are paper, and salt and pepper grinders are by Natural.  Little lanterns are brought to the table when it gets dark.

The menu is very short and sweet at the moment, and will grow as more customers support the Bistro. The choice was between two pizzas (‘The BAKOVEN’ with chicken, caramelized balsamic onions, feta, avocado and mozzarella, costing R75; and a ‘5 Veg Pizza’, costing R65).  On Zahir’s recommendation I tried The Misha burger, named after his girlfriend, who loves mushrooms, and the 180 gram burger is served with a mushroom sauce, potato wedges, and a small carrot, lettuce and red pepper salad, and an interesting mint yoghurt dressing. I don’t usually eat burgers, and I found the mushroom sauce too strongly spiced, with an unexpected touch of chilli, which I did not like.  The sesame seed roll is self baked.  Misha works at Levi, and a second burger is named ‘The LEVI’, a 180 gram burger with red onion compote.  Both burgers cost R70. ‘Artisan sandwiches’ cost R40 – R55.   The winter menu will contain ‘wholesome winter dishes’.  Valentine’s cupcakes looked beautiful, and are made for Baked Bistro by Take the Cake, one of them made with black velvet, and another contained a Lindt ball.  My estimation of Baked Bistro rose when I noticed that they serve Terbodore coffee, who have made a special Baked blend for the bistro, consisting of 60% Nigerian, 30% Ethiopian, and 10% Brazilian beans.  The breakfast menu will contain interesting dishes such as scrambled eggs and sardines.

New guests are invited to ‘get baked’, and departing ones are sent away with a ‘stay baked’ greeting. Zahir wants Baked Bistro to be a homely, unpretentious home to the locals, without any airs and graces, a place where one can come to play Scrabble, and hold book club meetings.  I will return in a few weeks, to get another feel for the food, and additions to the menu.

POSTSCRIPT 23/2: Despite the name of the Bistro, Zahir and I did not talk about the breads that they bake, and which are flying out of his doors.  He sells croissants (R11), Sourdough (R21), Kitka on Fridays (R23), Buttermilk bread (R23), and 100% rye (R32).

POSTSCRIPT 9/3: Baked Bistro is proving its sceptics wrong, coining it with a new roadside coffee and croissant service offered on weekday mornings, bringing ready made coffee and croissants on to the parking area outside the restaurant, and offering a drive-by service, selling to hundreds of customers!  The new Terbodore umbrellas are attracting attention in Bakoven.

POSTSCRIPT 9/6: Something we have not been able to write about until today is that Baked Bistro owner Zahir Mohamed is a MasterChef SA Season 2 contestant.  He features in the Sunday Times today, and will be in the opening 15 minutes of the first program on Tuesday 11 June at 19h30, filmed during the Auditions.

POSTSCRIPT 21/6: Zahir Mohamed fell out of the MasterChef SA Season 2 Bootcamp Top 50, let down by his potato peeling skills!  He has received incredible airtime from M-Net, so much so that we thought he had won!  He is very philosophical about his journey, as he knew he had Baked Bistro waiting for him, for which the lease commenced on 1 February, which meant that he would have had to pay rent while he was at Nederburg, had he made it into the Top 16. He has received further coverage after falling out of the show, in The Times earlier this week, having found a ‘different recipe for success’, the headline says.  The article states that he plans two more Baked Bistros in Cape Town, and that a book ‘The Baked Way of Life’ is on the cards.  He is on a high, receiving a lot of customer and media interest.

Baked Bistro, Victoria Road, Bakoven, Camps Bay, Cape Town.  Tel 079 268 9821. www.bakedbistro.co.za (under construction).  Twitter: @BakedBistro  Tuesday – Friday Breakfast and Lunch, Saturdays and Sundays Lunch. Closes 17h00 daily.  Free wifi.  Loyalty Card to be introduced.

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

My colleague Charmaine and I were invited by The Bay Hotel’s Sarah Martin to try the newly opened Mussel Bar in Camps Bay on Friday, and we did so in the interest of being able to inform our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests about it, even though we both do not eat mussels.  While the small menu is very focused on mussels, there is enough to enjoy if one does not eat them, and more non-mussel items will be added to the menu over time.

The Mussel Bar space has been a street bar over the years, and attempts to be a ‘tourism bureau’ too, but it does not have any official accreditation.  The Bay Hotel belongs to Maree Brink, who also owns the large network of Village & Life properties in Camps Bay, the V&A Waterfront, Mouille Point, and De Waterkant, and therefore The Mussel Bar is one way of attracting new business.  In its favour counts the bus stop directly across the road for the Hop On Hop Off bus, and therefore we saw mainly tourists sitting there.  Bicycles are available for rent, and the operators of the cycle rentals sit at a table, hoping for business.

A water wall adds to the summery feel of the restaurant, and there are white tables and grey plastic chairs. Each table has an interesting magazine, including TIME, art magazines, etc.  A surprise was the disposable cutlery with a paper serviette.  The music was the only aspect of The Mussel Bar that we did not like, being very loud and heavy rock, not matching the light summery feel of the restaurant.

Despite not eating mussels anymore, I liked the focus of the menu on mussels, and the simple but fun menu with a large mussel, printed in black on thick brown board.  Quite simply, one can order snacks (biltong, nuts, olives and vegetable chips), at R15 – R18, and 500 gram (R75) or 1 kg (R150) of mussels.  The mussels are served with a beer sauce, hand cut fries, rosemary salt and aioli, on beautiful circular wood platters. Chef Laetitia Essau has been at the Bay Hotel for eleven years, and bakes the most delicious herb bread daily, and this costs R16, the idea being to dip the bread into the sauce.  Not listed on the menu is a daily cake and other sweet treats, which were Hertzoggies jam-packed with apricot jam and coconut, still warm as they came fresh out of the oven.

Cocktails cost R40 – R50, and we enjoyed a ‘virgin’ Strawberry Daiquiri, making it feel that we were on holiday.  Castle Lite, Windhoek and Heineken are sold for around R18, Darling Slow Beer costs R38, and five &Union Beers cost R32 – R38.  Sterhuis sparkling wine costs R40/R170.  White wines range from R30/R95 for Lands End Sauvignon Blanc – R 40/R170 for Teddy Hall Chenin Blanc; the red wine choice is Sgt Pepper Red Blend (R33/R100) and Hidden Valley Pinotage (R35/R120).  Coffee is by Origin, and The Mussel Bar staff have been for barista training.

It is becoming trendy for chefs to become consultants (Chef Reuben Riffel is a past master at this), and Chef Bertus Basson, a friend of Brink, was a consultant to the development of the Mussel Bar.  Chef Brian Smit, who started at Tides Restaurant a month ago and helped set up the Noisy Oyster in Paternoster five years ago, came to say hello, and brought us sample menus of the restaurant, which he changes daily. The Manager Carolyn was very efficient, coming to the tables all the time, checking that all is well.  She has worked at numerous restaurants, including the Sand Bar and La Vie.

The Mussel Bar, Bay Hotel, 69 Victoria Road, Camps Bay, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 438-4612. www.themusselbar.co.za Twitter: @MusselBar  Monday  – Sunday, 11h00 – 23h00

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

The Power & The Glory is a most unlikely name for a restaurant/bar, and does not reflect anything about this new eatery and bar belonging to talented interior decorator Adam Whiteman.   The restaurant name is also the name of a Graham Greene book, written in 1940, and refers to words in the Lord’s Prayer.  Not surprisingly, Greene’s novel was controversial.   The Power & The Glory is an easy-going laid back place to stop and have a bite to eat and a beer, if one can find parking on this busy intersection on Kloofnek Road and Burnside Road, below Rafiki’s Bar, but don’t expect any service efficiency or much friendliness.  

Whiteman’s design teeth were cut in The Grand Café and Rooms in Plettenberg Bay, where he and his mom Gail Behr created a rich plush Moroccan style red velvet palace of rooms and a restaurant.  When his mother sold the Grand Café to Susie Main, he was contracted to do the decor for the Grand Cafés in Camps Bay and then The Grand on the Beach.   I was a very regular guest at The Grand Café and Rooms in Plett, and Adam’s brother Steven was hands-on in running the business, with Adam living in Cape Town. Given that Whiteman is the owner of The Power & The Glory, I had to come and try it out.

After only being open for a week or two, it was full already, but then it only has four tables, and some bar stools on the inside and outside of its windows, at which counters have been constructed.  I was told that a scooter outlet and a laundromat previously operated in this space.  The lower level has a huge counter that has a weathered look about it, with a busy collection of things on top of it, and a selection of beers, wines, ready-made sandwiches, a bowl of eggs, rosemary sprigs, natural yoghurt, Toulouse sausages, containers of muesli, and more inside it.   Breads lie on the counter, which make one think that one can buy them, but they are for use in the restaurant, and are supplied by Marcelino’s Bakery in Loop Street.  The patterned stainless steel counter was made by Gregor Jenkins, to the design of Whiteman, and has an aged look, and is duplicated in the Black Ram Bar.  Generally, the interior has a neglected and used look, but I am sure that is completely by design. 

In this lower section are the bar stools and window counters, the only seating.  In the upper section are the tables and chairs, and through this section is the bar.   I was standing at the counter to write down the details and prices, and Whiteman was putting change into his till.   I connected with him when he and I arrived simultaneously.  I chatted to him over the counter and asked him questions, but he looked stressed, and soon snapped at me, saying that he was busy, and that he only had half an hour before he had to go – an hour later he was still there.   He barely spoke to anyone, except to his staff.  He was up and down in the restaurant, and looks like an introvert, and one of those owners that should be in the back room, and let his relatively friendly staff (those on the early shift, at least) run the show.   I saw a Tweet by Andy Fenner that was less than flattering about the treatment Fenner’s wife received at the mouth of Whiteman the previous day. 

The rest of the information that I needed I obtained from a waitress, who stood behind the counter most of the time, as do the rest of the staff.  The tables are not cleared quickly, to allow the restricted seating to be made available to the stream of new arrivals.   Crockery is ordinary and white, and cutlery pedestrian.  Serviettes are tiny brown ones, but have a commendable recycled stamp on them.  The staff that made my cappuccino (coffee beans are from Deluxe) (R16) and Caprese salad (R48) seemed relatively more organised, but a shift change took place, and new staff stood behind the counter, with no carry over to existing clients – there was no record of what I had ordered, when I asked for the bill.  The waiter that brought it to me had a top on that was torn and it was held together with a big safety pin.   He was decidedly unfriendly, somewhat similar to his boss!

The menu is divided into three sections, and is only visible on boards above and alongside the counter.  No paper version is available.  The sign at the counter says that one must place one’s order at the counter and pay when ordering, but I was not given a bill, until I asked for it on my departure.  The “Morning Food” is available all day, and includes granola and yoghurt (R32), boiled eggs and toast (R26) or served with anchovy mayonnaise on toast (R36), goat’s milk cheese on rye toast (R36), croissants cost R16, and sticky pastries R18, a rather unusual breakfast choice.  Don’t expect a cooked breakfast – the food preparation area is directly behind the counter, and there is no space to cook anything.  From midday one can order sandwiches: gammon, chicken or sirloin (R36 – R42), Danish hot dogs (R30), “Saucissonn” (sausage) and bread (R28), chicken salad (R36), and sirloin salad (R38), a very small selection of easy-to-prepare dishes.   I had a wonderful Caprese salad, and it took me straight to Italy, served with a ball of mozzarella, quarters of tomato, sprigs of fresh basil, and drizzled with olive oil, which came with a large thin slice of rye toast (but which I had to ask for twice).   “Night Food” is a simple choice of Hot Dogs (R30) and sandwiches, as per the lunch menu.

One helps oneself to cold water in two jugs on a table, with attractive slices of orange. The wine prices are listed on a separate board, but the beer prices are not listed at all.  The waitress seemed uncertain about these, but gave them to me as R28 for a large Darling Brew, and R19 for a small one, Black Jack costs R19, Heineken and Windhoek R16.  De Morgenzon, Hermit on the HIll, Lammershoek, “Ernst & Gouws” and Black Pearl wines are sold, and range in price from R30/R110 – R46/R180.

What I did love, and what brought back memories of The Grand in Plett, was the music, more jazz initially, but becoming quite heavy rock.   Whiteman was the compiler of the iPod which The Grand played, and it was what made the restaurant such an amazing success, creating a tremendous atmosphere, and changing in its type and tempo throughout the day.   

Having had a far better and friendlier reception at Caffe Milano earlier that day, I don’t think I’ll be back to The Power & The Glory in a great hurry, given that one will be likely to wait for a table, and has to tolerate variable service levels, even though the salad I had was excellent and I enjoyed some of the music.   This is a ‘man’s man’s’ place, and too laid back and unfriendly for my liking.  

The Power & The Glory, corner Kloof Nek and Burnside Roads.  Tel (021) 422-2108.   No website. Monday – Saturday 8h00 – 22h00 for meals, and Bar 17h00 – “late”.  A sign on the door says “Ons praat Afrikaans”.

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

Talk of the town as far as new restaurants go is Giorgio Nava’s newly opened Down South Food Bar in the less savoury southern end of Long Street, near the Long Street Baths.  Compared to his 95 Keerom Street and Carne, you won’t find Nava at Down South, the restaurant being far more casual, more friendly, non-Italian, and offering a small selection of good food and beverages, at excellent value for money. 

We were told that the restaurant name comes from the restaurant concept of food that comes from the American south, such as gumbo, jambalaya, and cajun fish, something Morton’s did in the Waterfront when the shopping center first opened.  Down South does it in a far more casual way, bringing the simple home-style American deep south classics to Cape Town in a tasty and affordable way.  It is good as a relaxed place to have a beer, to watch a game with the boys, and to eat inexpensive and tasty food to soak up the drinks, so don’t expect ‘fine’ food here.       

Carl Penn is the chef at Down South, having worked with Nava as his right hand man at 95 Keerom Street and Carne.    The staff are very friendly and laid back. They wear black pants and T-shirts, strongly Southern Comfort branded. 

The restaurant has a narrow front to the street, but extends deep into the space.  Light wooden tables are functional, with brushed aluminium chairs and uncomfortable wooden benches providing seating.   One wall is wood panelled, another painted cream.   The dominant colour scheme is brown.  A bar counter has bar stools made in the same brushed aluminium design.  Free wi-fi is available.   An eclectic mix of music is played, including Coldplay and Moby.   The TV is set on sport.   Cutlery is cheap and cheerful, with paper serviettes.  

The Menu has some stars and typing errors, is made to look old Down South, and is divided into Starters, Ribs, Sandwiches and Prawns, to which is added Sides and Dessert.  Having only opened a few days ago, the advertised Daily Specials (Gumbo on Mondays, Jambalaya on Tuesdays, BBQ Brisket on Wednesdays, Best Burger on Thursdays, Cajun fish on Fridays and Fried Chicken on Saturdays) are not yet available, neither were the cheesy grits and coleslaw.   Starters cost between R40 – R45, and include prawn cocktail, thick cut bacon, caesar salad, buffalo chicken wings, and 8 of the most wonderful crispy batter fried prawn tails served with a delicious red pepper rémoulade.  Ribs are ‘dry spice rubbed and twice baked, basted in Down South BBQ sauce”, and the two racks were sweet and spicy, an extremely tender and generous portion at R 65, which includes one side dish (‘whipped potatoes’, home fries, chopped salad or corn bread).   “Po’ Boys” sandwiches (poor boy sandwich originating from Louisiana, usually a submarine sandwich made with meat or seafood) cost R50 – R55, served with pork, prawns or BBQ brisket, while the “Muffaletta” sandwich (originates from New Orleans) costs R45, and contains mortadella, salami, white cheddar, tomato and olive pickle.  Butterflied prawns, grilled with olive oil, cost R70, including one side dish too.   Desserts cost R35, and the choice is pie – apple, pecan or Mississippi – or baked cheesecake.

The winelist is uncomplicated and simple, the prices being unbelievably affordable, with three categories: Cheap (Buitenverwachting Buiten Blanc, Mooiplaas Chenin Blanc, Villiera Down to Earth Red, Wolftrap, Mount Rozier Red Blend, all at R25 a glass and R100 a bottle); Decent (Villiera Gewürztraminer, Hartenberg Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, and Helderberg Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, all at about R 32 a glass/R120 per bottle); and Good (Fat Bastard Chardonnay, Iona Sophie Terblanche Sauvignon Blanc, Thelema Red and Villiera Merlot, at about R34 per glass/R135 per bottle); and a separate mention for Rosé (Kleine Zalze at R20/R80), as well as for “Bubbles” (Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel at R30/R125).   Beers cost R18 (Heineken), R17 (Amstel, Windhoek) and R21 for 500 ml of Jack Black Draught.  A cocktail list features eight options, all with American South names, most costing a very affordable R35.  The cocktail menu carries the branding of Southern Comfort, Jack Daniel’s and Frangelico.

One hopes that Nava does not overextend himself in his opening of new restaurants – he has also just opened the Mozarella Bar in lower Kloof Street (opposite the Vida e Caffê), and also plans to open a Down South Sandwich Bar.  

Down South Food Bar, 267 Long Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 422-1155.      www.downsouthfoodbar.com (website under construction).   Monday – Saturday, “10am – late”.

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

A unique magical musical and dinner show has opened at The Rainbow Room in Mandela Rhodes Place, in time for the festive season, as well as for tourists arriving in Cape Town.    It is a unique way in which the his(story) of the establishment of Cape Town until the present day is told via music, dance and food.

Conceptualised by dynamic event co-ordinator Alison McCutcheon of event company Rainbow Experience Marketing, written by Deney Willie, directed by Godfrey Johnson (known for his Brel productions) and choreographed by ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ Didi Moses, the Cape Town Show is a ‘Marvellous celebration of the people of the Cape, their history, freedom and magnanimous spirit of Ubuntu”.  Talented young 19 and 20 years olds have been selected into The Rainbow Academy,  and trained for the show.  The Rainbow Academy allows its students “to earn while they learn”   The show is hosted in a large space, perhaps too large initially until the audience size builds up, and is complemented with audio-visual images screened alongside the stage – the vibrancy of the performers attracts one’s attention to the stage, so that one does not pick up much of the additional information on the screens. Images of Nelson Mandela flank the screens. The show with a three course dinner costs R295, and without dinner it costs R 120.

Prior to the first act one is served the starter, which is the most more-ish French-inspired Lavache crisp bread coated with black and white sesame seeds, served with hummus and a real Cape delicacy Cape snoek fish paté.   The first act focused on the arrival of the first visitors to the Cape, going as far back as 1488, with first arrival Bartholomew Diaz making a stop on his way from Portugal to the East.  The cultures of the Dutch, German, French, Malaysian, Northern African peoples and other settlers is described, and the historical events of occupations and settlements, as well as the formation of the Union of South Africa in 1910 and of the Republic of South Africa in 1961 is narrated and sung. The songs chosen to tell the story were not all known, and included a David Kramer/Taliep Pietersen song from their musical ‘Goem’, a very vibey 1930’s ‘Get Happy’, and the emotive ‘Meadowlands’.  A Klopse scene includes standards such as ‘Suikerbossie’, ‘Vat jou goed en trek Ferreira’ and more.  District Six also makes an appearance in the show.

In the break, the main course is served, the orders for which are taken prior to the start of the show.  Whilst not typically Cape, we ordered the dukkah-crusted beef fillet served on mash and spinach, with a very strongly spiced chakalaka sauce.  The fillet was served perfectly as ordered, medium and medium rare for my colleague and for me, respectively.  One has two other choices for the main courses, which are more Cape-like: vegetarian curried lentil cottage pie, and Cape butter chicken curry served with a homemade roll and sambas.  

The second half of the show focused on the impact of the apartheid laws, the defiance of the population affected by them, and the freedom achieved for the nation, with soundbites of then-President FW de Klerk announcing the scrapping of all laws of segregation, and Nelson Mandela’s speech after his release from Victor Verster prison, saying that all South Africans have the “right to human dignity in our rainbow nation”.  The show ended with the celebration of freedom and the spirit of Ubuntu.  The music chosen for the second act included the well-known ‘Pata Pata’, made famous by Miriam Makeba; Jeremy Taylor’s ‘ Ag Pleez Deddy’ brought back nostalgic memories of a by-gone era of drive-in movies, popcorn and bubblegum!;  ‘Gimme Hope Jo’anna’; ‘Paradise Road’ by Eddie Grant; and the national anthem ‘Nkosi Sikelelel iAfrika’, presented in a vibey way.  

Dessert is a sweet treat trio of a mini-koeksister, melktert and chocolate brownie.   I had it with an excellent LavAzza cappuccino, a surprise, in that I was wondering where I would have to go to find one close by after the show.    The catering is done in-house, with a contracted chef doing a great job in a tiny kitchen, we were told.  The Beverage list is short and sweet, especially on the wine side, and very inexpensive.   Wines-by-the-glass offered are M’Hudi Rea Dry at R20/R90, M’Hudi Kwea Red at R20/R90, and Excelsior Pure Bred Red R25/R100.   No Shiraz is offered, with only one or two Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Pinotage options.   Pongracz Brut costs R150, and 2 Oceans Rosé R 20/R90.  Amstel, Castle, Windhoek Lager and Windhoek Lite all cost R16;  Heineken, Peroni and Millers, Hunter’s Dry and Savannah cost R17; and Jack Black costs R20.

A surprise was when the cast came back on the stage for an un-announced encore, singing real Cape classics such as ‘Daar kom the Alabama’, ‘Dina Dina Oh’, as well as Ipi Tombi. 

The Cape Town Show is a great way for locals to be reminded of the colourful and often painful history of the Cape, and the rich heritage it has.   It is also a quick way for tourists to learn about the history of our country, and have a memorable evening, enjoying Cape culture and food.  The audience enjoyed the enthusiasm of the performers, and were captivated by the music. There are a few teething problem, like waiter training and understandability of all the words in the spoken story, but as it is early days for the show, they are sure to be addressed.

Disclosure:  As a member of the Food & Wine Bloggers” Club, having attended the October meeting which was hosted by the Rainbow Experience, we received complimentary tickets to the Cape Town Show.

Cape Town Show, The Rainbow Room, Mandela Rhodes Place, Wale Street, Cape Town.  Tel 072 875 9723.  Book at www.webtickets.co.za.  Wednesday and Friday evenings.  Doors open at 19h00, show starts at 20h00.

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