Tag Archives: Jason’s Bakery

Restaurant openings continue in Cape Town and Winelands, with some closures!

The imageflood of new restaurant openings continues, especially in Cape Town. Surprising was the closure yesterday of the three-month old Ranoushe Lebanese restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, the shortest restaurant duration we know of!  We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously.

Restaurant Openings
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Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2015: Restaurant Oscars, luckiest Friday 13th ‘disaster’!

Eat-Out-mag-coverIt could have been a disaster, changing the venue from the Mistico Equestrian Centre outside Paarl to the SunEvents Centre at GrandWest two days prior to the 17th Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards 2015 today. It turned out to be the best Friday the 13th disaster for New Media Publishing, organizers of the Eat Out Awards, described by many as the best Eat Out Awards ever! Continue reading →

UK restaurant reviewer Nick Lander praises Cape Town cuisine and its view!

Chef's Warehouse exteriorWhen UK wine judge and writer Jancis Robinson visited Cape Town last month, she brought her restaurant critic and former restaurateur husband Nick Lander along.  He visited a handful of Cape Town restaurants, focusing mainly on Cape Town’s favourite foodie Bree Street, and wrote a brief overview about them.

Lander wrote that he found it hard to concentrate on Chef Christo Pretorius’ dishes of a lamb terrine, kingklip, and a milk and honey dessert, whilst eating at Azure at the Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, given the breathtaking view onto the Atlantic Ocean: ‘Cape Town’s natural beauty is so striking that it is impossible for any chef to compete‘.  He blamed the lightweight Cape Town restaurant overview on the view! Continue reading →

Cape Town City Centre Restaurant Route: a collection of gems!

Whilst I dislike going into the city centre during the day, due to the irritating parking guards, I am pulled to the city centre more and more due to the ever-growing collection of good restaurants and coffee shops.  This blogpost is a summary of some of Cape Town’s inner-city highlights:

*   Hemelhuijs– owned by interior and restaurant consultant Jacques Erasmus, previously from Manna.  Emphasis is on freshness. Creative unusual menu.  Breakfast and lunch served.  Monday – Friday 8h00 – 15h00.  Saturday 9h00 – 15h00. Open for dinner on Wednesday evenings.  71 Waterkant Street. Tel (021) 418-2042.

*   Dear Me Foodworld – a hot new addition, with a Francois du Plessis decor emphasis on green (both interior colour and herbs grown from the ceiling, see photograph above) and health, with most dishes offered as lactose-free and/or sugar-free alternatives.  Menu changes daily.  Great creative chef Vanessa Marx. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 15h00.   Open for dinner on Thursday evenings.  165 Longmarket Street.  Tel (021) 422-4920.

*   Tjing Tjing Bar– when Dear Me Foodworld closes late afternoon, its upstairs Ting Tjing Bar opens, serving tapas, changes regularly. 165 Longmarket Street. Tuesday – Saturday from 16h00 until late.  Tel (021) 422-4920.

*   Escape Caffe– one of the hottest coffee shops in the city centre, featured in the media for its lemon cheese cake.  Owner Lameen Abdul-Malik has a Nobel Peace Prize for his joint efforts to ensure the safest possible use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes. Serves organic blend artisanal coffee from Espresso Lab.   Monday – Friday 7h00 – 16h00.  Saturday 9h00 – 12h00.  130 Bree Street.  Tel (021) 422-1325.

*   What’s On Eatery– probably the restaurant with the friendliest owner (Trevor Jordaan) in town, serves Breakfast and Lunch on weekdays from 7h30 – 16h00, and Dinner from Tuesday – Saturday.  Coffee by Origin.  Excellent value.  Exciting news is the appointment of Chef Oliver Cattermole from 1 October.  6 Watson Street.  Tel (021) 422-5652 CLOSED DOWN 2011

*   Rhubarb Room– coffee shop inside decor shop, previously in Bo-Kaap.  Serve cakes, coffee (by Deluxe), soup, quiches, and salads.  High tea offered for baby showers, kitchen teas and birthdays.    Monday – Friday 9h00 – 17h00.  Saturday 9h00 – 13h00.  227 Bree Street. Tel (021) 424-2004. CLOSED DOWN 2011

*   Valora– stylish new restaurant, bar and café.  Try Chef Andrew’s Two Tone soup. Extensive menu choice, includes tapas.  LavAzza coffee.  Great for late snack and drink. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 22h00, Saturday 17h00 – 23h00.  Corner Loop and Hout Street.  Tel (021) 426-1001.  CLOSED DOWN 2012

*   Skinny Legs & All – interior decorated with paintings from co-owner João Ferreira art gallery.  Emphasis on freshly made food.  Advised by Brad Ball of Bistro 1682. Run by sweet pair of twins Jamie and Jessie.   Monday – Friday 7h00 – 16h00. Saturday 8h30 – 14h00. 70 Loop Street.  Tel (021) 423-5403.

*   Roberto’s Signature Restaurant – expect interesting things to come from Roberto de Carvalho, leader of the SA chefs team in Culinary Olympics, and ex-chef at Twelve Apostles Hotel.  Simple food, mainly in Portuguese style.  Excellent Tiramisu. Located below On Broadway, so very busy between 7 – 8 pm to cater for the theatre crowd.  Tuesday – Sunday 12h00 – 15h30, 18h00 – 23h30.  44 Long Street.   Tel (021) 424-1195. CLOSED DOWN 2013

*   6 Spin Street – unusual restaurant setting inside the IDASA book shop.  Well-known for its cheese soufflé and duck.  Monday – Friday Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner from 8h30.  Saturday dinner only.  6 Spin Street.  Tel (021) 461-0666.

*   French Toast – focus on its large range of wines by the glass offered, but interesting tapas offering.  Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 23h00. 199 Bree Street   Tel (021) 422-3839.  CLOSED DOWN 2012, BUT RE-OPENED AS THE ODYSSEY IN 2013

*   Jason’s Bakery– recently opened where Jardine’s used to be, owned by Jason of ex-Jardine’s Bakery.  Bakery and Café. Sandwiches, breakfast, soul food, and vegetarian.  Monday – Friday 7h00 – 15h30. Saturday 8h00 – 14h00.  185 Bree Street.  Tel (021) 424-5644.

*   Haas Coffee – increasingly popular city hot-spot without any parking guards, and usually a parking spot available close by.  Friendly and welcoming, and part of Haas Collective decor and art.  Cakes, tarts and food menu, including cooked breakfasts.   67 Rose Street. Monday – Sunday.  Tel (021) 422-2239.

*   Piroschka’s Kitchen – Hungarian Flammkuchen with Gluehwein on cold days. Monday – Friday 11h00 – 19h00.  106 Bree Street. Tel 083 327 3203 CLOSED DOWN, NOW ONLY AT MARKETS

*   Bread, Milk and Honey – busy breakfast and lunch spot, for take-aways or sit-down.  10 Spin Street.  Monday – Friday 6h30 – 16h00.  Tel (021) 461-8425.

Il Cappero – hard-working Sicilian chef and charming husband Aldo in front-of-house.  Not-so-usual Italian and Sicilian specialities.  Monday – Friday lunch.  Monday – Saturday dinner. 3 Barrack Street.  Tel (021) 461-3168.  MOVED TO CAMPS BAY

*   Charly’s Bakeryfamous for its cake creations and cheeky cupcakes, one can also sit down for coffee, cake, pies and cupcakes.  Ample parking, no parking guards.  38 Canterbury Street.  Monday –  Saturday. Tel (021) 461-5181.

Maria’s Owners Kate and Cleon Romano are charming hosts, and the restaurant has a lovely buzz, and many tapas-like Greek dishes as well as mains.  Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Great lunch spot after City Bowl Market. To open for Sunday lunch soon.  Dunkley Square, 31 Barnett Street, Hatfield.  Tel (021)  461-3333.

*   Bird Café and Gourmet Eatery – Quirky milk-crate seating, decor change has opened up the kitchen, great quality food, friendly service.  New owners Keith Mink, and Leigh Trout (ex-chef at Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel in Franschhoek), opened on 1 September. 127 Bree Street.  Tel (021) 426-2534.

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

Passionate Toro Wine and Antipasti Bar bullish about future!

I admire any business owner opening in these difficult times.  Refreshing is the opening by two 20-somethings of Toro Wine Lounge and Aperitif Bar in De Waterkant, in the space once housing the luxury crockery brand Villeroy & Boch in the old Cape Quarter.  Toro is a chic comfortable wine lounge and bar serving more than 30 wines by the glass, as well as a range of Italian-inspired antipasti.

Three weeks ago Matteo Conti and Grant Lynott opened Toro, meaning ‘bull’ in Italian, realising their dream to start a business together which would involve food and wine.  The two co-owners are hands-on, a yin-yang team, with Grant the more introverted partner, and Matteo oozing Italian confidence.   What they lack in experience in running a business, they more than make up in passion for their new project.   Ideas had led them from a deli, a whisky bar, to finally the idea of opening a wine bar where they could drink wine and enjoy Italian food.  They couldn’t find one anywhere, and therefore decided to open their own. 

Matteo studied art direction, photography and marketing at the AAA School of Advertising, and has been involved in marketing his mother Renate’s guest house and restaurant Klein Olifantshoek in Franschhoek.  Four years ago he was in our school lift club in Franschhoek, and he has come a long way since his Bridge House School days, so much so that I did not recognise him when I arrived.   Grant met Matteo, and shared a room with him whilst a first year at the University of Stellenbosch, but he realised that this is not where his passion lay.  Matteo advised Grant to study at The Culinary Academy on Backsberg wine estate, run by Chef Ronan Boucher.  Over weekends Grant worked at La Bri wine estate in Franschhoek, and so developed his knowledge of and love for wines.  He also spent weekends at Matteo’s home, and this led them to brainstorm ideas for a joint business future together. Finishing at the culinary school, Grant went to Overture, where he worked as pastry chef, making breads, preserves and pastries with Chef Bertus Basson.  After a year he realised that 18 hours of fine dining food preparation per day was not for him.   He moved to La Boheme in Sea Point for a short while, until he and Matteo got together for their new project.  Grant’s favorite restaurant, without hesitation, is Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine,for the smokery, his cheese room, and for his amazing breads.  For Matteo it is Delaire Graff, with its beautiful scenery and excellent food.

An interesting ‘family tree’ of wines was created for the Wine Bar by a design friend of Matteo’s, and depicts the linkages between different grape varieties.  Comfortable brown leather couches create the homely ‘wine lounge’, but there are black tables with black leather chairs too, as well as seating outside. Toro sells a range of crystal decanters costing R400. Over time they may add further wine-related products.  The wine list has about 30 wines, all available by the glass, and none would be found in a  supermarket.  Grant and Matteo visited wine farms in Wellington, Franschhoek, Paarl and Stellenbosch before opening, and chose special and interesting wines, all costing R100 – R200, and R25 – R35 per glass.   They have a flat screen TV with a list of their wines, but they told me that most of their wines are sold on their recommendation.  Popular white wines have been Warwick’s Professor Black and Darling Cellars’ Lime Kilns, and red wines selling well have been La Bri Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz Viognier, as well as Vondeling Petit Rouge and Baldrick Shiraz.  Some customers are looking for information about the wines that they drink.  If the wine representative shares the information about their wines passionately, Grant and Matteo say they can sell it more passionately to their clients.  On the back-lit shelving Matteo has some wines and wine packs on display, including some special Meerlust Rubicons of 2001 and 2002, which he will not easily sell.  Coffee is by LavAzza.

Good cutlery, a material serviette, the most beautiful crystal wine-by-the-glass and water decanter (I bought one for R110), as well as a silver sugar bowl impressed, adding class to Toro.   The Antipasti is excellent value for money, and one can chose one’s own selection from a black menu.  Imported cheeses are Brie, Camembert, Teleggio, Manchego, Parmigiano and Gorgonzola, costing R15 each.  The Charcuterie selection includes Mantanara salami, parma ham, chorizo, coppa ham and Black Forest ham, each costing R15.  I chose the Brie and Camembert, and it was served with Grant’s home-made onion chilli salsa with a bite, plum cardamon jelly, grapes, fig preserve, and delicious sunflower rye bread from Jason’s Bakery in Bree Street.  The Pickle and Preserve Experience costs R50, and is served with Grants’ home-made preserves and pickles, including onion chilli salsa, candied aubergines, fig confit, plum cardamon jelly, passion fruit coulis, pickled olives, jalapenos and baby cucumber, and marinated peppers.   The Gratin also costs R50, and changes daily.  Yesterday it was a choice of Tagliatelle with macadamia pesto, chicken marinated in coconut milk, pink pepper corns, and gratinated with Manchego cheese.  Bruschetta options were Truffle artichoke heart, and Pizzaiola (mozzarella cheese, basil, and tomato), at R40.  A Bar Snack board costs R80, and includes chilli poppers, chipotle salsa, jalapenos and biltong.

An innovative service for lucky De Waterkant residents and businesspersons is a daily Box Lunch delivery service, from 11h30 – 14h30.  Costing R50 and presented in a neat sturdy carton container reflecting Matteo’s art background, it contains an Insalate house salad of the day, a choice of Panino (tuna and lemon ailoi, roast beetroot and fromage blanc, roast chicken with smoked mozzarella, or honey glazed ham and mature cheddar), a trio of freshly baked cookies, and a 250 ml bottle of San Benedetto mineral water.

Having been to Toro twice in two days, I am impressed with the professionalism of the running of the Wine Bar, the passion of the two owners, the presentation and excellent value of the antipasti, the vast selection of good value wines, the free wi-fi, and the welcoming homeliness of the Toro.

POSTSCRIPT 3/6/12: Toro has closed down.

Toro Wine Lounge and Aperitif Bar, 68 Waterkant Street, De Waterkant (next to Andiamo Deli), Cape Town.  Tel (021) 418-2846. SMS 079 063 7055. Bbm: 27029f94.  www.torowines.co.za (The website has the menu, but no winelist, nor any photographs). @ToroWines.  Monday – Friday 10h00 – late, Saturday 16h00 – late.

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