Entries tagged with “Ian Halfon”.


Every winter is a tough time for the restaurant industry. With the dip in Tourism due to the water shortage, and the early heavy winter rains, the restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands are feeling the pinch, and many have closed down, even some on the iconic restaurant Bree Street, as well as in the Waterfront!  (more…)

Noseweek 20th birthday Whale Cottage PortfolioThe Sweet Service Award goes to Noseweek and its editor Martin Welz, for 20 years of service to South Africans, for identifying corruption amongst bankers, lawyers, business persons, and government officials, for speaking the truth, and ‘for exposing unethical behaviour in our society’, Mayor Patricia de Lille said at the anniversary celebration at Catharina’s restaurant at Steenberg last night.  The role of the publication in helping the ordinary (wo)man in the street was saluted by a number of speakers, but it was the moving talk by Erma Viljoen from Pretoria, whose story was featured in the June issue of the publication, that demonstrated the unselfish service and dedication to a story by Mr Welz and his team.  Mrs Viljoen worked at the University of Pretoria, and has a rare disease Mitochondrial Cytopathy, which rendered her unable to work, therefore running out of sick leave and annual leave. For the past five years she has fought for her right to be compensated by the university and its provident fund for losing her job, and approached Mr Welz more than two years ago.  Noseweek Erma Viljoen Whale Cottage PortfolioNew Pretoria-based Noseweek journalist and ex-Carte Blanche investigative journalist Susan Purèn wrote the story, each sentence backed up by information proving what was written. An offer of a R40000 payout was increased to R1,3 million by the university and paid, but Mrs Viljoen is eligible to receive much more than that, the publication believes. The University reacted to the article by submitting a complaint to the Press Council, highlighting 88 errors in the three page article, literally one per sentence in the article, Mrs Viljoen shared, sitting at the same table last night.  The article has led to an advocate offering his services to Mrs Viljoen (many Pretoria lawyers (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

The long awaited V&A Market on the Wharf has opened in the historic building near the V&A Hotel in the V&A Waterfront, which once housed Planet Hollywood, David Kramer’s Theatre, and Musica, with more than fifty vendors displaying their food and beverage offerings. It is Cape Town’s first permanent market, operating from Wednesdays to Sundays, from 9h30 – 19h30.

Owned by Greg Anderson, or ‘Bubbles’ as Vaughn Johnson informed me, who took over the management of the Market when the previous operators pulled out, the Market offers a kosher deli, fresh seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables, baked ware and delicacies.  Greg impressed with his passion, and kindly offered me a V&A Market on the Wharf branded shopping bag, to ‘hide’ my Woolworths bag!  Greg is proud of the large number of new business owners that have joined as vendors, very few having been seen at any other markets in Cape Town.  V&A Waterfront tenants Vaughn Johnson and Ian Halfon had come to have a look, and we had coffee and tea together.

A last-minute building regulation hitch saw the opening of the Market delayed by two days to last Friday. The space is large, one main hall with an upstairs section housing the craft beer bar and seating for (more…)

When Cape Town was voted as the top city in the world in the Travelers’ Choice Destination Awards by TripAdvisor in April, we wrote about our scepticism about the value of the awards, given that this prestigious rank on TripAdvisor, with millions of reviewers the site brags, has not led to any increase in accommodation enquiries. 

We also wrote about the laughability of any TripAdvisor accolade, knowing how easy it is for accommodation establishments and restaurants to have reviews written by friends and family, a growing criticism that TripAdvisor has tried to address.  The height of absurdity was TripAdvisor’s list of Top 10 restaurants in Cape Town.  My eye caught the name of Caffé Hausbrandt, a restaurant which I had never heard of before, which was number 3 on the TripAdvisor list at that time, and which has now dropped to 4th position, in the Top 10 company of Le Colombe, Opal Lounge, Miller’s Thumb, San Marco in the Waterfront, Constantia Uitsig, Fork, Brio, Savoy Cabbage, and Carne, none of which have ever made the Eat Out  Top 10 Restaurant list, other than La Colombe!

A recent trip to the city centre was a good opportunity to try out this ‘top restaurant’, and I found Caffé Hausbrandt on Greenmarket Square, which opened nine months ago in a space where a competitive coffee shop to Vida e Caffé, owned by Ian Halfon, used to be.  My first impression was one of disbelief, in seeing an information bureau and ice cream/coffee shop rolled into one.  The entrance is dominated visually by the ‘Safari Information Centre’, which belongs to Searl Derman, the owner of Aquilla Game Reserve, sharing the space with Caffe Hausbrandt, but the latter’s branding is barely visible.  The interior looks reasonably smart, but an ice cream chest, a coffee making counter and cash register, a shelf of brochures for Safari, and an upstairs seating area are an odd mix.  Space is very limited inside, and that is why most customers would sit outside to enjoy the sun and the Greenmarket Square buzz.  It is not without its irritation however, with street musicians and pushy salespersons trying to flog their CD’s and other wares. 

The Manager of the outlet is Margot, and I could hear her German accent immediately.  She seemed very defensive, almost irritated, and less than friendly.   Her waiter seemed to have a greater role in attracting tourists into the shop than waitering, proactively enticing them in to try the ice cream, irritating as he was very loud and pushy.  He also was the ice cream dispenser with an attitude, and it was clear that he did not have much knowledge about the ingredients of the ice cream, only reading the labels that the customer can also see!  Margot proudly told me that she had made the Apfelstrudel herself.  When I switched to German, she seemed more friendly, and more ready to answer questions.  Odd was that the cake was served with a standard size knife and fork.

Tables are white with red chairs outside, and an all-weather couch as well.  Each table has a simple Hausbrandt menu and an Aquilla brochure in a holder.  This is clearly a coffee shop aimed at attracting tourists, with the hope that they will make use of the Safari information and booking service too.  The South African Caffe Hausbrandt branches are on Greenmarket Square, on the pedestrian mall on Waterkant Street, and in Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, and are owned by Austrian Gert Uppinger and local Jaco Viljoen. 

The menu is simple – a selection of coffees, muffins (R14,50), croissants (R11,50), chocolate croissants (R14,50), Manner Schnitten (Austrian wafers at R15), waffle and ice cream (R28), and a few cakes served with cream (R25).   Cappuccino costs R16,50, and was served on a smart silver tray, oddly with a small glass of luke-warm water.   The ice creams take center stage, it appears, and seem to be the only reason why customers enter the shop, the Icezeit Gelato flavours changing weekly.   A small cup of ice cream costs R15, and R18 on a cone.  It was delicious, very thick and creamy, and is made at the Waterkant Street location, I was told, surprising given how small it is, really just being a take-away outlet with a few chairs outside, and even smaller than the Greenmarket Square branch. 

Hausbrandt is an Italian brand of coffee established by Austrian Hermann Hausbrandt in Trieste in 1892 it would appear (the website is not very helpful in providing information), and has branches and sells its coffees around the world.  In Cape Town Lufthansa’s call centre now has a Hausbrandt vending machine, and the brand is served at Raith Gourmet shop in Garden Centre (plus its new Constantia shop), and at Andiamo in the Cape Quarter. On TripAdvisor, 14 reviews had earned the Greenmarket Square coffee shop 4th place on TripAdvisor, many reviews being in German, and almost all praised Caffé Hausbrandt for its excellent ice cream!   Most of the reviewers were from overseas, and not locals.

Caffé Hausbrandt, Greenmarket Square and 32 Waterkant Street, Cape Town, and Melrose Arch in Johannesburg.  Tel (021) 422-3308/(021) 421-0901.  www.hausbrandt.co.za.  Twitter: @Hausbrandt1892.   There is no information about the Icezeit Gelato on the local Hausbrandt website.

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

I recently received a call from Ian Halfon, co-owner of the Waterfront-based Belthazar Restaurant and Wine Bar (and Balducci), telling me about their new Alfresco Value Lunch, which is available every lunchtime.   It is an amazingly affordable offering of good value dishes, and even some wines, from a restaurant that has been known for excellent but expensive steak in the past.

The full menu and winelist is still available, but the Alfresco Value Lunch menu was brought to the table when I asked for it.  It is an A4 page, in the same design style as the larger standard menu, and is divided into Starters, Burgers, Wet and Dry Aged Beef, Salads, Fish, Desserts and the Value Wines.   The menu also refers to the new “Instore Biltong Bar”, beef, ostrich, kudu and “other rare South African game” biltong being available for sale at the Reception desk inside the restaurant. 

Co-owner Doron Duveen came to say hello, and told me what a difficult year it has been for business across the board, and how clients are trading down in terms of food and wines, and cutting out starters and desserts.   Their response has been the recent introduction of the Alfresco Value Lunch, with a good number of options to choose from.   Initially I declined Doron’s offer to have a glass of wine, but his sommelier-in-training Luke Ericson was better able to twist my arm to have a small taste of a wonderful 2006 Rijk’s Shiraz.   The glass was served with a tag, denoting the name of the wine, the variety, and its vintage.

I chose to sit outside, under the Nederburg branded umbrellas, surrounded by tourists.  The staff look smart, with a white branded Belthazar shirt, black pants and white apron, and a smart-looking black bow-tie.   All staff smile, and check regularly if all is in order.  The Belthazar staff have always impressed me with their professionalism, and those with attitude do not seem to work there anymore!  The bread plate, consisting of a large roll, butter hygienically protected with a branded paper cover, and a pork and beef sausage in a Napolitana-style sauce, was brought to the table, whether one orders from the standard or the Alfresco Value Lunch menu, a mini-meal in itself.   A standard as well as a steak knife is automatically set on each table, with a material serviette.   Even though I only used the fork for the bread and sausage, the whole sideplate and its cutlery was replaced in preparation for the main course.   No fish knife was offered for my choice of main course.

While I associate Belthazar with steak, I chose to have calamari served in a pan – usually it is served with chilli and garlic, but I asked for the former to be removed – and with chips or a baked potato, which the waitress was willing to have changed to rice.   The pan looked brand new and shiny, and came with Patagonian calamari tubes, the rice, and a generous lemon-half, excellent value at R89, and surpassing my benchmark of the best calamari which I usually have at Willoughby’s.   Linefish costs R99; Burgers cost R65 for a classic pure beef burger, up to R85 for a “Double Whopper Beef Burger”, served with two patties; Steak Roll and chips costs R89; a 200 gram sirloin and chips costs R99; and salads range from R55 for the Alfresco Salad to R85 for a Smoked Tuna Salad.  For Starters one can order Biltong (R75) or Droëwors (R 65) – the weight served is not specified; a cured meat platter with olives and bread for two costs R120; and Smoked tuna carpaccio costs R 85.   A Value Seafood platter filled with linefish, calamari, prawns, and mussels served with rice or chips and a sauce costs R265 for two persons to share.   Three desserts are offered, ice cream or sorbet at R40, and Ice Cream Sundae and Malva Pudding at R49 each. I had a lovely frothy Illy cappuccino, costing R20.

Three wines are offered as Value Wines: Koelenbosch Sauvignon Blanc 2010, South Hill Rosé, and Morgenhof Fantail Pinotage 2008, all three costing R99 a bottle.

I will come back to Belthazar for a lunch stop when at the Waterfront, knowing what a nice selection of light lunch options they now serve at affordable prices.

Belthazar Restaurant and Wine Bar, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.   Tel (021) 421-3753.      www.belthazar.co.za  (The website is functional, with the standard menu, Alfresco Value Lunch menu and winelist, but few food photographs).   Monday – Sunday lunch 12h00 – 16h00 for the Alfresco Value Lunch, standard menu available lunches and dinners, seven days a week.

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

The Sweet Service Award goes to Ian Halfon and his team at Balducci restaurant in the V&A Waterfront for so generously hosting the members of the Camps Bay Accommodation Association to a dinner on 14 December.   Not only did they pull out all the stops to introduce the guest house owners to a wide variety of dishes on the extensive Balducci Italian-style menu, but they also presented each guest house with a most beautiful gift box, consisting of a bottle of the Balducci house wine, a packet of biscotti, and a menu for the guest house.

The Sour Service Award goes to Telkom, for not arriving for an appointment, made two months ago, to install a telephone line in an apartment in Stellenbosch on Monday a week ago, as the technician had gone to the wrong block of flats.  Even though he had the contact details of the estate agent waiting to open for him, he did not bother to call when he arrived at the incorrect address.  It has taken another 10 days for him to come to the correct address, and he has now discovered a broken cable between the block and the distribution board, which has to be repaired before the line installation can be completed.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Balducci’s new summer 2009/2010 menu, which was launched over the festive season, looks good enough to eat, with the most beautiful photography of some of the dishes.

An unusual menu size of A5, the menu looks like a magazine when one pages through it, with pages of menu items, categorised into antipasta/starters, insalata/salds, sushi, pizzas, gnocchi/pasta, pesce/seafood,  carne/meat, secondi piatti/second course, dolce/desserts and fromaggi/cheese. 

In relaunching the restaurant and its menu, owner Ian Halfon of the Slick Restaurant Group has focussed more strongly on the Italian origin of the Balducci name.   The front cover has a bold “Italian Chic” statement on it.  Underneath the restaurant name, it says “Ristorante Pizza  Seafood  Bar”, to define what Balducci’s stands for.

Unusual for a menu, it has ads Interspersed throughout, for Giani Jewellers, La Vie waters, Lindt chocolates, Amarula, Finders Keepers, Illy coffee and Evian water.  The menu also contains the wine list, and wines advertised are Noble Hill, Morgenster,  Pongracz, Veuve Clicquot, Dornier, Ataraxia, De Wetshof, Mooiplaas, Hartenberg,  Fleur du Cap, Wedderwill, Doolhoof, Nederberg, Waterkloof, and Steenberg.

To continue the magazine feel, the menu is priced at R 100, and has a bar code.   It even has a tag, in case one would think of leaving the restaurant with it.

Balducci’s seems to have lost the socialite following it had in its earlier days, but the owners may see this as a good thing, as this is a fickle customer group, moving from trendy to next trendy location.

What is impressive is its dedication to the environment, in that the menu is printed on recyclable (!) paper,   and “Balducci supports alien clearing by using alien wood types in our pizza ovens”.  The menu also states that the restaurant serves seasonal vegetables and fruit, as well as “superb quality procured meat …and fish.”   No frozen chicken is used, only Karan beef is used, as is award-winning Morgenster olive oil (which the menu claims is “imported”).

Interesting little notes are spread throughout the menu, for example gluten free pizza bases are offered, at an additional R 25.

The winelist section is introduced by a detailed description of the South African wine regions, districts and wards.   Each wine stocked has a vintage stated, even though a disclaimer states that vintages may run out.   Good tasting notes are provided per wine, and some wines are available by the glass.

Somewhat of a contradiction relative to its strong Italian positioning is the separate Balducci Burger Menu, an affordable selection of burgers made from ostrich, beef, chicken and lamb.  Very affordable wines, at R 22 per glass of Balducci House white and R 25 for the House red are served, while the bottle price of the house wines is under R 100.  

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

The Sweet Service Award goes to Ian Halfon and his team at Belthazar restaurant, a consistent winner of the Best Restaurant in the V & A Waterfront Award.   Halfon is a busy man, also owning Balducci’s in the V & A Waterfront, and a franchised collection of St Elmo’s woodfired pizza branches around the country.   However, he is not too busy to be hands-on at Belthazar, last evening even helping in the kitchen, complete with his chef’s uniform, and to make time to chat to his customers, and to offer them a glass of wine.   Belthazar offers one of the largest collections of wines-by-the-glass in South African restaurants, and serves excellent quality steaks in particular.   The food, service and wine range offered is exemplary. 

The Sour Service Award goes to Robben Island, for closing just before the Heritage Day long weekend, due to a technical problem with its ferry.   The company announced the “indefinite” suspension of the service, while it waited for a replacement part to be flown in from Germany.   Tourists who had booked tickets were met with a notice, and were not contacted by the company.   No contingency planning had taken place, over a weekend that saw the first signs of a recovery from the poor tourism weeks preceding Heritage Day.   The ferry trips appear to not have been re-instated, judging by Robben Island’s website.   Robben Island’s management is regularly in the news, for alleged financial irregularities and overspending.   The Island is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Cape Town, and it reflects badly on the professionalism of Cape Town as a tourist destination, especially given the 2010 World Cup being just over 200 days away.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

The Cape Times article “Restaurants, hotels ‘need innovation to survive slump'” (28 May) appears to exaggerate the effect of the credit crunch on the hospitality industry.
 
The hospitality players interviewed are not reflecting the seasonality problem, which affects the hospitality business badly in winter in Cape Town, compared to many other cities in South Africa.
 
Misleading reports heralding closures of restaurants in Cape Town, neglect to correct these when a restaurant like Summerville in Camps Bay never stopped trading – the liquidators handed over the running of the restaurant to new owners on 1 May, just a week after the news that the restaurant had “closed down”.    Bruce Robertson, of The Showroom, which closed down at the same time, has already opened a new but smaller “gourmet bunny-chow restaurant” called The Quarter.   Ian Halfon has also denied that his coffee shop Donatella’s in the V & A Waterfront closed due to the credit crunch.  He says that his lease expired. 
 
The hospitality industry has a lot to be grateful for, and does not need to ride on World Cup 2010 to say that all will be well.   The British and Irish Lions rugby matches in Cape Town on 13 and 23 June will lead to many hotels and guest houses being fully booked around those dates, and these rugby fans are staying for four days or more, which is unusual for winter bookings.  Sadly, the IPL did not benefit the mainstream guesthouse and hotel industry in our city at all.
 
The five successive interest rate cuts are fantastic news for all with bonds on their guest houses and B & B’s  –  the Whale Cottage bond costs for four guest houses are now down by R 50 000 per month compared to December 2008, when the first rate cut was announced.   This means that Whale Cottage can afford to drop its winter rates by 50 % relative to the summer rate, and it helps to cushion the reduced occupancy.