Tag Archives: Jonathan Heath

Cape Town and Winelands Restaurants: New Tamboers Winkel a top hit, Caveau caves!

Our list of latest restaurant openings and closures fortunately lists more openings than closures, and is updated continuously, as we receive information.

Restaurant Openings

*   Tamboers Winkel has opened on De Lorentz Street, just off Kloof Street, Gardens (photograph)

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, Eat Out Top Chef, is to open a real test kitchen, called The Kitchen of Dreams, a private experimental place to develop new recipes, at the Old Biscuit Mill

*  Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is opening a pop-up Pot Luck Club in Swiss ski resort Verbier, at the Hotel Farinet, from 8 December – April, to be run by Chef Luke, his chef Nicolas Wilkinson, and front of house Selena Afnan-Holmes.

*   Col’Cacchio has opened a new outlets in Westlake, and a new one is coming in Claremont too.

*   A new Vida é Caffe has opened on Prestwich Street, and a new branch is to open on Maindean Place in Claremont, and one in the new Wembley Square 2 development.  Two more branches are planned for Mauritius, it is said.

*   Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro has opened its dinner theatre, performing ‘Kaapse Stories’, on Main/Glengariff Roads in Sea Point, owned by Richard Loring and Roland Seidel

*    Honest Chocolate is opening a second outlet with a ‘production kitchen’ in the Woodstock Industrial Centre

*   Moyo is to open where the Paulaner Braühaus was in the V & A Waterfront in summer.  It has taken over the tearoom at Kirstenbosch already.

*   Josephine’s Cookhouse has opened in Newlands, belonging to the Societi Bistro owners

*    Keenwa has opened the P.I.S.C.O Bar above its restaurants, open Thursdays – Saturdays from 5 pm

*   TRUTH Coffee has opened on Buitenkant Street

*    Liam Tomlin Food Studio and Store at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek is opening a Deli, the date to be confirmed

*   FEAST is to open where Franschhoek Food Emporium was, in Place Vendome

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks has opened where Reuben’s Deli used to be in Franschhoek.

*   Okamai Japanese restaurant has opened at Glenwood wine estate in Franschhoek

*   Cavalli restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this year or next

*   The Slug & Lettuce has opened where Beads was on Church Street in Stellenbosch

*   Stables at Vergelegen Bistro has opened as a lunch restaurant in Somerset West.  Its Lady Phillips Restaurant is being given a make-over by Christo Barnard, and will open in November with a new name called The Vergelegen Restaurant. The new chef will be PJ Vadas, previously of The Roundhouse in Camps Bay.

*   Coopmanshuijs in Stellenbosch is opening a restaurant.

*   Chef Johan van Schalkwyk has left the Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery, and has opened his own restaurant Twist Some More in Wellington.

*    Chef Bjorn Dingemans is to open up The Millhouse Kitchen restaurant on Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West.

*   Grilleri (ex-Mediterrea) has closed down, and Chef Shane Sauvage (ex-La Vierge) is now heading the re-named La Pentola restaurant.

*   Ali Baba Kebab (renamed from Laila) has opened as a small beef and lamb kebab take-away and sit-down outlet, next door to Codfather in Camps Bay

*   Gibson’s Gourmet Burger and Smoked Ribs has opened as a 70-seater restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, taking part of the Belthazar space. Owned by the Belthazar/Balducci group.

*   Giorgio Nava is said to be re-opening his Down South Food Bar, previously on Long Street, in the Riverside Centre in Rondebosch

*   Ou Meul Bakery from Riviersonderend is said to be opening a bakery in Long Street

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks has opened a roastery at 6 Roodehek Street to service all its outlets

The Deli on the Square has opened at Frater Square in Paarl.

*   David Higgs (ex Rust en Vrede) is opening a new 30 seater restaurant in The Saxon in Johannesburg.

*   Big Route Top Gourmet Pizzeria has opened on Main Road, Green Point, next door to Woolworths, serving 52 different pizzas, salads and crêpes.

*   Cousins has opened in the Parliament Hotel, where Il Cappero used to be.

* Aces ‘n’ Spades Bar has opened on Hout Street

*   6 has opened at Schalk Burger & Sons wine estate in Wellington, run by the ex-owners of Oude Wellington

*   Café Dulce is to open a new branch in Tygervalley Centre

*   Gourmetboerie is to open at the bottom end of Kloof Street, where Depasco used to be, in October.

*   Kushi Indian Restaurant has opened a branch on Main Road in Sea Point

*   Abantu Restaurant and Bar has opened on the corner of Wale and Buitengracht Street, where Time & Place used to be

*   Make Sushi Bar has opened in Sea Point

*   Thai Café is opening on Plein Street, Stellenbosch

*   Simply Asia has opened in Paarl

*   Restaurant @ Zomerlust has opened in Paarl

* Christina’s has opened at Van Loveren in Robertson

*   Bellini’s is said to open on Greenmarket Square in October

Restaurant Closures

*   Sapphire has closed down in Camps Bay

*   High Level Restaurant in Bo-Kaap has closed down

*   Caveau on Bree Street and Gourmet Burger on Shortmarket Street, belonging to the same owners, have been closed down.

*   Sabarosa in Bakoven has closed down.

*   Mob Inc Tattoo Bistro has closed down in Sea Point

* Sunbird Bistro in Camps Bay has closed down

*   Limoncello in Gardens has closed down, but is continuing with its pop-up restaurant truck

*   Paparazzi has closed down on St George’s Mall

*   Wicked Treats in Franschhoek has closed down.

*   Casa Nostra has closed down in Sea Point, until it finds a new venue.

*   Bistro on Rose in Bo-Kaap has closed down as a restaurant, continues as an entertainment venue.

*   The Kove in Camps Bay has closed down, its space to be incorporated into sister restaurant Zenzero

Restaurant staff/venue changes

*    Il Cappero has moved from Barrack Street to Fairway Street in Camps Bay.

*  Table Thirteen has reduced in size in Green Point and will open in Paarden Eiland later this year.

*   The V&A Waterfront Food Court is closed for renovations until November.  A sign outside the construction area lists the following businesses moving into or returning to the area: Primi Express, Anat, Carnival, Nür Halaal, Royal Bavarian Bakery, KFC, Boost Juice, Simply Asia, Steers, Debonairs, Subway, Marcel’s, and Haagan Dazs.  Nando’s is also opening.

*   Chef Darren Badenhorst is the new Executive Chef at Grande Provence.

*   Chef Shaun Schoeman of Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms Delta has the amazing honour to be working at Noma in Copenhagen for two weeks.  Fyndraai will move to another building on the wine estate in November, and will offer fine dining.  The current restaurant will serve light lunches and picnics.

*    Reuben’s, which was said to be moving its Franschhoek branch, appears to be staying at its existing venue.

*   Emile Fortuin has been appointed as Executive Chef at Reuben’s Robertson

*   Josephine Gutentoft has left Grande Roche, and has moved to Makaron at Majeka House as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier.

*   The Reserve has changed its name to Reserve Brasserie. Seelan Sundoo, ex Grand Café Camps Bay and ex La Perla, is the new consultant chef and GM.

*   Café Dijon has closed its restaurant on Plein Street in Stellenbosch, and has opened in the Rockwell Centre in Green Point, Cape Town, opposite Anatoli’s, in which Camil Haas once had his Bouillabaisse restaurant.

*   Chef Andrew Mendes from ex-Valora is now at Nelson’s Eye restaurant, where they are setting up a lunch section and cocktail bar upstairs.

*   Miss K Food has closed down in Green Point. The new owner Maurizio Porro, with his chef Ernesto, has kept the staff and furniture, and most of the menu initially. They are now called Guilia’s Food Café Restaurant, and they are open for Italian-style lunch and dinner as well, but have retained some Miss K breakfast and pastry items.

*   Rob and Nicky Hahn have left Proviant in Paarl, and now run eat @ Simonsvlei on the Old Paarl Road

*   Karl Lambour is the new General Manager of Grande Provence.

*   Virgil Kahn is the new head chef at Indochine at Delaire Graff Estate

*   Having bought the farm about 18 months ago, Antonij Rupert Wines has taken over the Graham Beck Franschhoek property. They will re-open the tasting room in October, initially offering all its Antonij Rupert, Cape of Good Hope, Terra del Capo, and Protea wines to taste.  They are renovating the manor house, to which the Antonij Rupert and Cape of Good Hope wines will be moved for tasting at a later stage.

*   Orphanage is expanding into a property at its back, opening on Orphan Street, in December, creating a similar second bar downstairs, and opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers

*   GOLD Restaurant has moved into the Trinity building

*   Opal Lounge has closed down on Kloof Street, and has moved into Blake’s Bar building, renaming it Dinner at Blake’s. A wine and tapas bar has also been opened, called Bar Rouge.

*   Mano A Mano has opened on Park Street, where Green’s used to be.

*   MondeVino Restaurant at Montecasino in Johannesburg, the MasterChef SA prize for the next two years, is to be renamed Aarya, and is to be run by Chef Deena Naidoo from November onwards.

*   Chef Ulli Stamm has left Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro.

*   Bizerca is moving into the ex-Gourmet Burger space in Heritage Square on Shortmarket Street.

*    Co-owner Abbi Wallis has taken over the running of The Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery in Wellington.

*   Roodehek Restaurant has changed its name back to The German Club, after the departure of the previous owner.

*   Marcelino has left Marcelino’s Bakery, leaving the control with Mr Zerban.  A Zerban’s style restaurant is being added onto the bakery, and is said to open in September.

*   Chef Chris Erasmus from Pierneef à La Motte is doing a stage with Chef Rene Redzepi at Noma, the number one World’s 50 Best Restaurants in the World, in Copenhagen in September

*   MasterChef SA runner-up Sue-Ann Allen is joining South Africa’s number one Eat Out Top 10 restaurant The Greenhouse as an intern for a month, from 21 August.

*   Vintage India has moved out of the Garden’s Centre to the corner of Hiddingh and Mill Street, around the corner.

*   Nook Eatery in Stellenbosch has been sold, with new owners taking over in September

*   Crêpe et Cidre has closed down in Franschhoek.  Gideon’s The Famous Pancake House is taking over the main road space in September.

*   Liam Tomlin Food is to relocate from Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek to Cape Town in November.

*   Brampton winetasting bar on Church Street, Stellenbosch, is undergoing renovations to treble its current size, planning to reopen in the first week of September. Also said to be opening a winetasting venue at the entrance to Franschhoek.

*   Juno Café in Paarl no longer belongs to Fairview

*   Noop restaurant in Paarl has new owners

Restaurant breaks

*   Constantia Uitsig is taking a winter break from 25 June – 24 July.

*   The River Café is closing for a winter break from 13 August – 4 September.

*   Nguni in Plettenberg Bay closes from 1 May – 31 July

*   The Kove in Camps Bay will be closed from 1 May – 30 August

*   Olivello at Marianne Estate will be closed from 30 July – 21 August

*   Grande Provence is closing on Sunday evenings until the end of September.

*   Pure Restaurant at Hout Bay Manor will be closed from 23 June – 3 August

*   Pane e Vino is closed from 1 – 31 July

*   Bistro 1682 at Steenberg is closed from 1 – 26 July.

*   The Kitchen at Maison is closed until 3 August

*   Massimo’s Pizza Club is closing from 23 – 31 July

*   Rust en Vrede is closed from 8 July – 6 August

*   Reuben’s Franschhoek is closed from 16 July – 1 August

*   Dear Me Foodworld is closed until 3 August

*   Warwick wine estate’s restaurant is closed from 6 – 20 August

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

Cape Town and Winelands Restaurant openings: De Grendel, Vovo Telo, Orinoco. Lots of winter restaurant closures!

Our list of latest restaurant openings and closures fortunately lists more openings than closures, and will be updated continuously, as we receive information.

Restaurant Openings

*    De Grendel wine estate has opened De Grendel Restaurant, with Chef Ian Bergh and owner Jonathan Davies (photograph left)

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, Eat Out Top Chef, is to open a real test kitchen, called The Kitchen of Dreams, a private experimental place to develop new recipes, at the Old Biscuit Mill

*   Col’Cacchio has opened a new outlets in Westlake, and a new one is coming in Claremont too.

*   A new Vida é Caffe has opened on Prestwich Street, and a new branch is to open on Maindean Place in Claremont, and one in the new Wembley Square 2 development in July.  Two more branches are planned for Mauritius, it is said.

*   Madame’s on Napier has opened in De Waterkant

*   Hussar Grill is to open at Steenberg

*   Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro has opened on Main/Glengariff Roads in Sea Point, as a dinner theatre, and Bistro restaurant, owned by Richard Loring and Roland Seidel

*    Honest Chocolate is opening a second outlet with a ‘production kitchen’ in the Woodstock Industrial Centre

*   The Fez has reopened as a nightclub on Friday, to be called Sideshow

*   West Street Café has opened in the new Woodstock Foundry, owned by Chef Alan West

*   Moyo is to open where the Paulaner Braühaus was in the V & A Waterfront in summer.  It has taken over the tearoom at Kirstenbosch too.

*   Josephine’s Cookhouse has opened in Newlands, belonging to the Societi Bistro owners

*   Vovo Telo has opened in the V&A Waterfront, in half of the original Vaughn Johnson shop. They have branches in Port Elizabeth, Pretoria, and Johannesburg already.  The name is Portuguese, and means ‘Grandfather’s place’.

*   Orinoco has opened on Bree Street, serving Mexican and Venezuelan food

*    Keenwa has opened the P.I.S.C.O Bar above its restaurants, open Thursdays – Saturdays from 5 pm

*   Characters has opened on Roeland Street

*   TRUTH Coffee has opened on Buitenkant Street

*    Planet Green Salad Bar has opened on Kloof Street

*    Liam Tomlin Food Studio and Store at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek is opening a Deli in September

*   FEAST is to open where Franschhoek Food Emporium was, in Place Vendome

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks has opened where Reuben’s Deli used to be in Franschhoek.

*   Okamai Japanese restaurant has opened at Glenwood wine estate in Franschhoek

*   Cavalli restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this year or next

*   Dorpstraat Deli has opened in Stellenbosch, where Cupcake used to be.

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened a bar, serving Bartinney wines, and craft beers.

*    Slug & Lettuce is to open where Beads was on Church Street in Stellenbosch

*   Stables at Vergelegen Bistro has opened as a lunch restaurant in Somerset West.  Its Lady Phillips Restaurant is being given a make-over by Christo Barnard, and will open in June with a new name called The Vergelegen Restaurant.

*      Chef Jonathan Heath has left Indochine, and will be opening a restaurant at Coopmanshuijs on Dorp Street in August.

*   Chef Johan van Schalkwyk has left the Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery, and has opened his own restaurant Twist Some More in Wellington.

*    Chef Bjorn Dingemans is to open up The Millhouse Kitchen restaurant on Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West in July.

*   Grilleri (ex-Mediterrea) has closed down, and Chef Shane (ex-La Vierge) is now heading the re-named La Pentola restaurant.

*   Cassis Paris Salon de thé has opened in the Gardens’ Centre, on the first level.

*  Melissa’s has opened at Somerset Mall in Somerset West

*   Ali Baba Kebab (renamed from Laila) has opened as a small beef and lamb kebab take-away and sit-down outlet, next door to Codfather in Camps Bay

*   Gibson’s Gourmet Burger and Smoked Ribs has opened as a 70-seater restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, taking part of the Belthazar space. Owned by the Belthazar/Balducci group.

*   Giorgio Nava is said to be re-opening his Down South Food Bar, previously on Long Street, in the Riverside Centre in Rondebosch

*   Tamboers Winkel has opened on De Lorentz Street, just off Kloof Street, Gardens/Tamboerskloof *   Ou Meul Bakery from Riviersonderend is said to be opening a bakery in Long Street

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks is opening a roastery to service all its outlets, at the previous German Club and Roodehek Restaurant.

* The Deli on the Square is to open at Frater Square in Paarl in July.

*   David Higgs (ex Rust en Vrede) is opening a new 30 seater restaurant in The Saxon in Johannesburg.

*   Big Route Top Gourmet Pizzeria has opened on Main Road, Green Point, next door to Woolworths, serving 52 different pizzas, salads and crêpes.

Restaurant Closures

*   Valora on Loop Street has closed down

* Vanilla in the Cape Quarter has closed down.

*   Toro Wine and Aperitif Bar in De Waterkant has closed down

*    Gesellig on Regent Road in Sea Point is standing empty, closed down or undergoing a major renovation

*   Sapphire has closed down in Camps Bay

*   Caveau at Josephine’s Mill has closed

down and the Bree Street venue is up for rent

*   High Level Restaurant in Bo-Kaap has closed down

*   Caveau on Bree Street and Gourmet Burger on Shortmarket Street, belonging to the same owners, have been closed down by their bank.

*   Sabarosa in Bakoven has closed down.

Restaurant staff/venue changes

*    Il Cappero has moved from Barrack Street to Fairway Street in Camps Bay.

Table Thirteen has reduced in size in Green Point and will open in Paarden Eiland later this year. *   Chef Fred Faucheux is the new Executive Chef at Nobu.

*    Piroschka’s Kitchen has moved from Bree Street to Waterkant Street, De Waterkant

*  MasterChef SA finalist Guy Clark, who was eliminated in episode 9, has started as a chef at the Madame Zingara restaurant group, at Café Mozart and the Bombay Bicycle Club.

*   Rotisserie 360° on Bree Street has changed its name to Café Frank

*   Salt Deli has changed its name to Salt Café

*   The V&A Waterfront Food Court is closed for renovations until November.  A sign outside the construction area lists the following businesses moving into or returning to the area: Primi Express, Anat, Carnival, Nür Halaal, Royal Bavarian Bakery, KFC, Boost Juice, Simply Asia, Steers, Debonairs, Subway, Marcel’s, and Haagan Dazs.  Nando’s is also opening.

*   Chef Darren Badenhorst is the new Executive Chef at Grande Provence. Chef Darren Roberts has left for a new appointment in the Seychelles.

*     Alton van Biljon has been appointed as Restaurant Manager at Haute Cabriere.

*    Ryan’s Kitchen is now offering cooking classes on Friday mornings, starting on 1 June

*   Chef Shaun Schoeman of Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms Delta has the amazing honour to be working at Noma in Copenhagen for two weeks in July.  He also shared that Fyndraai will move to another building on the wine estate in November, and will offer fine dining.  The current restaurant will serve light lunches and picnics.

*  Taste South Africa, belonging to Cybercellar, has closed down in The Yard off the main road. They have Tweeted that they are looking for new premises.

*    Reuben’s, which was said to be moving its Franschhoek branch, appears to be staying at his existing venue, despite having bought another restaurant venue off the main road close to Place Vendome.  He is also thought to open a restaurant in his home on Akademie Street.

*   Emile Fortuin has been appointed as Executive Chef at Reuben’s Robertson

*   Sommelier Josephine Gutentoft has left Grande Roche, and starts at Makaron at Majeka House in July, F&B Manager Chretien Ploum having left

*   The Reserve will change its name to Reserve Brasserie next month. Seelan Sundoo, ex Grand Café Camps Bay and ex La Perla, is the new chef.

*   Haiku does not enforce the minimum 4 star order requirement in winter.

*   Café Dijon is closing its restaurant on Plein Street in Stellenbosch later in June, and re-opening in the Rockwell Centre in Green Point, Cape Town, where Camil Haas once had his Bouillabaisse restaurant.

*   Chef Andrew Mendes from closed down Valora is now at Nelson’s Eye restaurant, where they are setting up a lunch section and cocktail bar upstairs.

*   Miss K Food closed down in Green Point, now ex-owner Kerstin going on a well-deserved break after 5 years. The new owner Maurizio Porro, with his chef Ernesto, has kept the staff and furniture of Miss K, and most of her menu initially. By September they will have transformed themselves into an Italian fine-dining restaurant to be called Guilia’s Food Café Restaurant, and will be open from 8h00, as well as for dinner.

*   Rob and Nicky Hahn have left Proviant in Paarl, and now run eat @ Simonsvlei on the Old Paarl Road

*   Karl Lambour is the new General Manager of Grande Provence.

*   Virgil Kahn is the new head chef at Indochine at Delaire Graff

*   La Motte is said to be working on a relaunch of a restaurant it owns in Somerset West.

*   Having bought the farm about 18 months ago, Antonij Rupert Wines has taken over the Graham Beck Franschhoek property. They will re-open the tasting room in October, initially offering all its Antonij Rupert, Cape of Good Hope, Terra del Capo, and Protea wines to taste.  They are renovating the manor house, to which the Antonij Rupert and Cape of Good Hope wines will be moved for tasting at a later stage.

*   Chef Marco, who opened Rocca at Dieu Donné in Franschhoek, has returned to Durban.

*   Orphanage is expanding into a property at its back, opening on Orphan Street, in December, creating a similar second bar downstairs, and opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers

Restaurant breaks

*   La Colombe is closing for renovations from 17 May – 16 June.

*   Constantia Uitsig is taking a winter break from 25 June – 24 July.

*   The River Café is closing for a winter break from 13 August – 4 September.

*   Nguni in Plettenberg Bay closes from 1 May – 31 July

*   Bientang’s Cave in Hermanus is closed for renovations until 21 June.

*   The Kove in Camps Bay will be closed from 1 May – 30 August

*    Burgundy in Hermanus will be closed for dinners until 17 June

*   Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House will be closed until 2 July

*   Olivello at Marianne Estate will be closed from 30 July – 21 August

*   Grande Provence is closing on Sunday evenings until the end of September.

*   Pierneef a La Motte will be closed from 18 June – 13 July.

*   The main Delaire Graff restaurant closes from 3 June – 6 July, but Indochine continues to trade.

*   Blues will be closed from 1 – 30 June

*   Waterkloof in Somerset West is closing for all June.

*   The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz is closed for all of June

*   Pure Restaurant at Hout Bay Manor will be closed from 23 June – 3 August

* L’Apero at the Grand Daddy Hotel is closed for repairs until 17 June

*   Charly’s Bakery closes between 23 June and 16 July.

*  Kitima is re-opening from its winter break on 17 July

*   Terroir, Kleine Zalze: Closed from 25 June – 9 July. Open for dinner only 10 – 13 July. Open for lunch and dinner 14 July. Open for lunch 15 July.

*   Pane e Vino is closing from 1 – 31 July

*   Bistro 1682 at Steenberg is closed from 1 – 26 July.

*   The Kitchen at Maison is closed until 3 August

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij will be closed from 8 – 16 July

*   Massimo’s Pizza Club is closing from 23 – 31 July

*   Rust en Vrede is closed from 8 July – 6 August

*   Tokara is closed between 9 – 16 July

*   Reuben’s Franschhoek is closed from 16 July – 1 August

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

Hot new Cape restaurants opening: Burrata, Orphanage, Bruce’s Boat House, and more!

Our list of latest restaurant openings and closures fortunately lists more openings than closures, and will be updated continuously, as we receive information.

Cape Town

*   Neil Grant, ex-sommelier of Rust en Vrede, has opened Burrata, a new restaurant in the Old Biscuit Mill.  They will introduce a new 3-course food and wine pairing menu at the end of April.

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, Eat Out Top Chef, is to open a real test kitchen, called The Kitchen of Dreams, a private experimental place to develop new recipes, at the Old Biscuit Mill in June

*   Chef Bruce Robertson (ex-The Showroom) has opened Bruce’s Boat House for lunches, in Scarborough

*   La Belle Café & Bakery has opened in the Alphen Boutique Hotel.

*   5 Rooms Restaurant has opened at the Alphen Boutique Hotel

*   Sabrina’s, which opened about two months ago where Depasco was, at the corner of Kloof and Long Street, has also closed down

*   Chef Craig Paterson has started as Executive Chef at Dash (Queen Victoria Hotel), the V&A Hotel, and Dock House

*   Mitico has opened a pizzeria and ’spaghetteria’ on Kloof Street, where St Elmo’s used to be (son of the original Luigi from Hout Bay)

*   Don Pedro’s in Woodstock has re-opened, under Madame Zingara management

*   Myög has opened as a frozen yoghurt outlet, at 103 Kloof Street

*   Thai Café has opened in the old Cape Quarter

*   On a Roll has opened in Mowbray as a gourmet hot dog restaurant

*   The Dog’s Bollocks has opened as a burger pop-up restaurant

*   Jackal & Hide has opened on Kloof Street

*   Graham Beck’s Gorgeous bubbly bar has opened at Catharina’s at Steenberg.

*   Col’Cacchio is opening new outlets in Claremont and Westlake

*   Dale Thebus is the new chef at Salt restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel.

*   A new Vida é Caffe is opening on Prestwich Street

*   A  cupcake shop is said to be opening on Ebenezer Street, next to T & Co/Table 13, in Green Point

*   Il Cappero is moving from Barrack Street to Fairway Street in Camps Bay, opening on 2 June.

*   Saints on 84 Kloof has opened on Kloof Street

*   Sushibox has opened at Newlands Village

*   Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro has opened on Main/Glengariff Roads in Sea Point, as a dinner theatre (from May), and Bistro restaurant, owned by Richard Loring and Roland Seidel

*   ‘I my Laundry restaurant has opened on Buitengracht Street

*   West Street Café has opened in the new Woodstock Foundry, owned by Chef Alan West

*   Orphanage has opened as a cocktail and tapas emporium on Bree Street

*   Valora on Loop Street has closed down

*   ACT Restaurant and Play Bar at the Baxter Theatre closed down

*   Philip Arno Botes is the new Chef at Pure Restaurant at Hout Bay Manor.

*   Maz Sushi has closed down on Main Road Sea Point

*   Planet Green Salad Bar has opened on Kloof Street

*   Vanilla in the Cape Quarter has closed down.

*   Madame’s on Napier has opened in De Waterkant

*   Moyo is to open where the Paulaner Braühaus was in the V & A Waterfront.

*   Sinn has closed down its Deli at Wembley Square

*   Table Thirteen is closing down in Green Point and moving to Paarden Eiland at the end of May

*   Slug & Lettuce has opened on Kloof Street, where Mason was.

*   Pizza Vezuvio has opened in the Tygervalley Waterfront

*   Bistrot Milano has opened on Blaauwberg Road, Table View

*   Forneria Italia has opened in the Bayside Centre, Table View

*   Maharajah is selling food at the Baxter Theatre on a take-away basis prior to shows.

*   Hussar Grill is to open at Steenberg

*   Chef Fred Faucheux is the new Executive Chef at Nobu.

*   Cassis is opening a new Salon de Thé in the Gardens Centre in May

*   De Grendel has opened De Grendel Restaurant, with Chef Ian Bergh and owner Jonathan Davies

*   Toro Wine and Aperitif Bar has closed down

*   Piroschka’s Kitchen has moved from Bree Street to Waterkant Street, De Waterkant.

*   Honest Chocolate is opening a second outlet with a ‘production kitchen’ in the Woodstock Industrial Centre next month

*   The Fez is reopening as a nightclub on Friday, to be called Sideshow

*  MasterChef SA finalist Guy Clark, who was eliminated in episode 9, has started as a chef at the Madame Zingara restaurant group next week.

*   Josephine’s Cookhouse is to open in Newlands, where Caveau at Josephine’s Mill used to be, belonging to Societi Bistro owner

*   A new Vida e Caffe is to open on Maindean Place in Claremont.

*   Vovo Teli has opened in the V&A Waterfront, in half of the original Vaughn Johnson shop. They have branches in Port Elizabeth and Johannesburg already.  The name is Portuguese, and means ‘grandfather’s place’.

*   Orinoco has opened on Bree Street, serving Mexican and Venezualean food

*   Rotisserie 360° has changed its name to Café Frank

*   Gesellig on Regent Road in Sea Point is standing empty, closed down or undergoing a major renovation

*   Sapphire has closed down in Camps Bay

*   A new McDonalds is opening in the Sanlam Centre

*   Salt Deli has chanegd its name to Salt Café

*   Keenwa has opened the P.I.S.C.O Bar above its restaurants, open Thursdays – Saturdays from 5 pm

*   Characters has opened on Roeland Street

*   TRUTH Coffee has opened on Buitenkant Street

*   The V&A Food Court is closed for renovations until November.  A sign outside the construction area lists the following businesses moving into or returning to the area: Primi Express, Anat, Carnival, Nür Halaal, Royal Bavarian Bakery, KFC, Boost Juice, Simply Asia, Steers, Debonairs, Subway, Marcel’s, and Haagan Dazs.

Franschhoek

*   Leopard’s Leap has opened its Tasting room and Liam Tomlin Food Studio and Store outside Franschhoek, and the new Deli will open at the end of June

*    Reuben’s, which was said to be opening a Franschhoek branch in a building off the main road, when his Huguenot Road branch lease expires this year, appears to now be looking for an alternative restaurant venue on the main road, as the building purchase close to Place Vendome appears to have fallen through.

*   Donovan Dreyer is the new Restaurant Manager of Indochine at Delaire Graff.

*   Cheyne Morrisby is the new chef at the Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz

*   Chef Vanie Padayachee has joined Le Quartier Français

*   Chef Darren Roberts is leaving Grande Provence for a new appointment in the Seychelles at the end of April.  Chef Darren Badenhorst steps into his shoes.

*   Alton van Biljon has been appointed as Restaurant Manager at Haute Cabriere.

*  Wicked Treat has opened.

*   FEAST is to open where Franschhoek Food Emporium was, in Place Vendome

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks has opened, where the Reuben’s Deli used to be.

*   The bubbly Inge Hoffman has left Leopard’s Leap, and is the new Brand Manager for Boekenhoutskloof

*   Ryan’s Kitchen is now offering cooking classes on Friday mornings, starting on 1 June

*   Okamai Japanese restaurant has opened at Glenwood wine estate

*   Chef Shaun Schoeman of Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms Delta has the amazing honour to be working at Noma in Copenhagen for two weeks in July.  He also shared that Fyndraai will move to another building on the wine estate in November, and will offer fine dining.  The current restaurant will serve light lunches and picnics.

*  Taste South Africa, belonging to Cybercellar, has closed down in The Yard off the main road. They have Tweeted that they are looking for new premises.

Stellenbosch

*    Cavalli restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this year or next

*   Dorpstraat Deli has opened, where Cupcake used to be.

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened a bar, serving Bartinney wines, and craft beers.

* David Higgs has resigned as Executive Chef from Radisson Blu Gautrain in Johannesburg (previously with Rust en Vrede).  He starts at The Saxon in Johannesburg in May.

*   Slug & Lettuce is to open where Beads is on Church Street

*   Stables at Vergelegen Bistro has opened as a lunch restaurant in Somerset West.  Its Lady Phillips Restaurant is being given a make-over by Christo Barnard, and will open in June, with a new name called The Vergelegen Restaurant.

*   Warwick wine estate’s new chef is Dane Newton (ex-Chamonix, Cascade Manor).

*   Chef Bjorn Dingemans is to open up The Millhouse Kitchen restaurant on Lourensford wine estate in July

*   Chris Olivier has opened SimpliciTea Deli in Somerset West

*   Chef Jonathan Heath has left Indochine, and will be opening a restaurant at Coopmanshuijs on Dorp Street in June.

*   A new Hussar Grill is said to be opening in Stellenbosch

Wellington

*   Chef Johan van Schalkwyk has left the Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery.  He opens his own restaurant Twist Some More in Wellington in July.

Hermanus/Overberg

*   Rivendell Estate and Bistro has opened as a restaurant and winetasting venue on the road between Hermanus and the N2, near the Kleinmond turn-off.

*  Grilleri (ex-Mediterrea) has closed down, and Chef Shane (ex-La Vierge) is now heading the re-named La Pentola restaurant.

Riebeek Kasteel

*   Mama Cucina has opened

Robertson

*   Emile Fortuin has been appointed as Executive Chef at Reuben’s Robertson

Garden Route

*   Katarina’s has opened at the Kurland Hotel.

Restaurant breaks

*   La Colombe is closing for renovations from 17 May – 16 June.

*   Constantia Uitsig is taking a winter break from 25 June – 24 July.

*   The River Café is closing for a winter break from 13 August – 4 September.

*   Tokara closes for a winter break from 22 April, re-opens on 4 May

*   Nguni in Plettenberg Bay closes from 1 May – 31 July

*   The Foodbarn will be closed for renovations on 7 and 8 May

*   Bientang’s Cave in Hermanus is closed for renovations until 21 June.

*   The Kove in Camps Bay will be closed from 1 May – 30 August

*   The Test Kitchen will be closed from 13 – 28 May

*    Burgundy in Hermanus will be closed for dinners until 17 June

*   Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House will be closed in June

*   Olivello at Marianne Estate will be closed from 30 July – 21 August

*   Grande Provence is closing on Sunday evenings until the end of September.

*   Pierneef a La Motte will be closed from 18 June – 13 July.

*   The main Delaire Graff restaurant closes from 3 -24 June, but Indochine continues to trade.

*   Blues will be closed from 1 – 30 June

*   Waterkloof in Somerset West is closing for all June.

*   The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz is closed for all of June

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

Leopard’s Leap and Liam Tomlin Food leap onto Franschhoek culinary scene!

I was very impressed with the new state-of-the-art Leopard’s Leap Tasting Room and Liam Tomlin Culinary Studio and Culinary Store in Franschhoek, which opened yesterday with a demonstration to 80 chefs by Wild Peacock Pastry Chef Vanessa Quellec of Valrhona chocolates, and opens officially on Saturday.

Liam Tomlin is an international chef, and opened the Chef’s Warehouse and Cookery School in Cape Town two years ago. He has created a joint venture, Liam Tomlin Food, with Hein and Hanlie (Rupert) Koegelenberg, and Hanlie’s daughter Berdine Neethling, who is the Project Manager.   The venue will be shared with Leopard’s Leap wines, which has a central winetasting station, a dedicated group winetasting room, as well as a Boardroom and offices.  The building impresses with lots of woodwork on the exterior, which is carried through into the interior.  One walks in (carefully) through a glass floor over water, into an open plan space, starting with the Boardroom, and then the Lounge/Library decorated in the Leopard’s Leap colours of black, red and gold. The Lounge will have information about the Cape Leopard Trust projected onto one of the walls. Then comes the large interestingly-shaped winetasting desk, with contrasting white and natural wood, followed by a generous space for more than 50 chairs for cooking demonstrations, some chairs set up cinema style, and some around tables. Two large-screen TV’s project what is happening on the food preparation counter. Behind the demonstration counter is the shiny stainless steel kitchen, with 6 work stations for 4 persons each. The idea is for Liam Tomlin Food to get into culinary tourism, hosting cooking workshops on specific culinary themes.  Along the side is a group winetasting room, a wine storage area, and the Culinary Store, all with glass walls.  The shop will contain a selection of top quality products for chefs and food-lovers to buy, as well as produce from the Winelands, such as cheeses, charcuterie, mushrooms, and fresh herbs and vegetables.

The emphasis is on education in the building, and hence the tables have meat cut diagrams on them. I loved the whisk lamps in the demonstration seating area, and in the wallpaper in the shop. Whisks are very in all of a sudden, the ‘i’ in The Kitchen logo at Maison across the road being a whisk too!  The building was designed by Makeka Design Lab, and the interior decor was designed by Christo Barnard, who also designed the stylish Pierneef à La Motte.  A herb and vegetable garden will be planted alongside the building. Picnics will be introduced next summer.

The inaugural function was to celebrate the appointment of Vanessa Quellec as Pastry Chef at Wild Peacock, a ‘dream job’ she said, her sole focus being to promote Valrhona chocolate and to assist chefs in making the best of this delectable French chocolate.  I first got to know Chef Vanessa at Caffe Milano, and she only used Valrhona in her baking.  She left the restaurant earlier this year, and went to Valrhona’s training school in Paris, as well as its head office in the Rhone valley, where the chocolate is hand-made by locals, using the best cocoa beans sourced from around the world. Relationship-building is important to Valrhona, and Chef Vanessa is an excellent ambassador for its products, if the amazing turn-out of chefs from more than fifty restaurants, such as The Tasting Room (including Chef Margot Janse), Delaire Graff (with Chefs Christiaan Campbell and Jonathan Heath), The Mount Nelson, The Roundhouse, Bushman’s Kloof, Dear Me, and Aubergine is anything to go by.  Attendees were welcomed by Charlotte Codron from Valrhona in France, telling us that the company was established in 1922.  Its Ecole du Grand Chocolat provides a training facility for top pastry chefs around the world.  Eleven Valrhona couvertures are available locally, ranging from 85% dark chocolate to 34% milk chocolate.  Chef Vanessa demonstrated the making of a truly African dessert, which consisted of cocoa almond streussel, Valrhona Nyangbo (made from cocoa beans from Ghana) 68% cremeux, pink grapefruit sauce and segments, Rooibos infused ice cream, Valrhona Ivoire tempered chocolate shards containing rooibos tea, as well as Valrhona Nyangbo 68% chocolate shards.  Each attendee was served the dessert at the end of the demonstration, which I chose to have with a LavAzza cappuccino, available from the winetasting station, as an alternative to Leopard’s Leap’s wines.

Valrhona is imported from France by Wild Peacock, and will be for sale at Liam Tomlin Food Culinary Store, from its Deli in Stellenbosch, as well as on order.  I have only got to know Sue Baker more recently, seeing each other at many functions.  She told me that she was once a nursery school teacher, and found an opportunity to sell oysters from Knysna to leading restaurants in 1992.  Over time the chefs requested more and more lines from her, and she started sourcing foie gras, duck, mussels, free-range chicken, porcini mushrooms, French cheeses, and many more products.  Now she sources mussels and oysters from the West Coast. Her son Ross is responsible for adding more product lines and attracting new clients, while daughter Sarah, previously Manager of Rust en Vrede restaurant, runs the Food Emporium.  Husband Andrew is MD of Wineworks, handling the local distribution of eighteen wines, such as Warwick, Muratie, Veenwouden, and Etienne le Riche wines.  The Wild Peacock Food Emporium has just started a wine section.

The new Leopards’ Leap venue will help to regain Franschhoek’s gourmet reputation, with this new state-of-the-art Liam Tomlin Food Culinary Studio and Culinary Store, as well as Leopards’ Leap winetasting centre. The wine brand is a very successful one, making significant inroads into the Chinese market, thanks to the passion of Hein Koegelenberg.

POSTSCRIPT 3/12: Leopard’s Leap and Liam Tomlin Food have delayed the opening to Tuesday 6 December.

POSTSCRIPT 9/12:  I popped in at Leopard’s Leap today, where great strides have been made with the landscaping as well as building interior. Inge helped me to photograph the building interior from the upstairs offices.   Liam Tomlin showed me his completed cooking stations in the kitchen.  Next week the produce is expected to be sold in the Liam Tomlin Food Store.  The Leopard’s Leap branding has been erected on the wall facing the R45.

POSTSCRIPT 28/12: A leopard sculpture has recently been erected at Leopard’s Leap, made by artist Marco Cianfanelli.

POSTSCRIPT 17/2:  I attended the official opening of Leopard’s Leap Winery and Liam Tomlim Food last night, an amazing event attended by 300 guests, including Premier Helen Zille and Ex-President FW de Klerk.

Leopard’s Leap and Liam Tomlin Food Culinary Studio and Culinary Store, R45, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-8822.   www.leopards-leap.com www.liamtomlinfood.com Tuesday – Saturday, 9h00 – 17h00.

Wild Peacock Products and Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Str , Stellenbosch.  Tel (021) 801-3663.  Tel (021) 082 923 1582 (Ross Baker) 082 088 1629 (Vanessa Quellec). www.wildpeacock.co.za www.valrhona.com.  Food Emporium Monday – Sunday.

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

Stellenbosch Wine Route turns 40, celebrates with most excellent restaurants in SA on Stellenbosch Restaurant Route!

The pioneering Stellenbosch Wine Route, founded in 1971 by winemakers Frans Malan of Simonsig, Neil Joubert of Spier, and Spatz Sperling of Delheim, celebrates its 40th anniversary with an extensive wine and food feast and fest from 28 – 31 July.  The Route has established itself not only as one with the largest number of outstanding wine farms of the 18 wine routes in the country, representing 18% of all vines planted in South Africa, but also with the largest collection of outstanding restaurants in South Africa, Stellenbosch now wearing the Gourmet Capital crown.

The trio which established the Stellenbosch Wine Route was inspired by the wine route Routes de Vins at Morey St Denis in Burgundy, the late Frans Malan and Neil Joubert returning from their 1969 trip and connecting with Spatz Sperling to establish the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the first wine tourism activity in our country.  I was delighted to meet Spatz Sperling (who celebrated his 81st birthday last week) and his wife Vera, as well as daughter Nora and son Victor on their Delheim wine farm recently.  To create the Stellenbosch Wine Route, the founding wine farmers had to overcome red tape and bureaucracy, and even had to have wine legislation rewritten to accommodate the new Stellenbosch Wine Route.  Meals were not allowed to be served at wine estates, and bottled wine could not be sold from a winery in those days.

The renamed Stellenbosch American Express Wine Routes has 147 wine farms, making it the largest wine route in our country, but also is the only one to celebrate its assets with the Stellenbosch Wine Festival for the 10th year running.   Not focusing exclusively on wines, food has been added to the Festival.  Celebrity chefs from Towerbosch Earth Kitchen, The Restaurant @ Clos Malverne, The Restaurant at Waterkloof, and De Volkskombuis (the oldest restaurant in Stellenbosch) will be cooking in the Gourmet Lane at the Stellenbosch Wine Festival venue of Paul Roos Centre in Stellenbosch.  Presentations at the Clover Demo Kitchen will be done by outstanding photographer Russell Wasserfall with his wife Camilla on ‘Home Entertaining at its Best’ in conjunction with De Meye wines; by @KitchenVixen Bianca du Plessis, who reviews restaurants on the Expresso Show; by wine PRO Emile Joubert with wine writer Neil Pendock; by chef George Jardine of Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine on ‘Cheese if you Please’; and by Chef Greg Czarnecki of The Restaurant at Waterkloof, who celebrates the ‘French Connection’.

The Stellenbosch Wine Festival has been stretched out into the Stellenbosch Wine Week, which commenced on Friday, and continues until Sunday.  During the Stellenbosch Wine Week one can enjoy dinner with the Warwick family, a fundraising concert at Delheim, vertical tastings of Simonsig’s Kaapse Vonkel, vintage tastings of Scintilla Cap Classiques at the House of JC le Roux, a salt pairing with Fleur du Cap wines by Sofia chef Craig Cormack, a food and wine pairing dinner at Neethlingshof with Katinka van Niekerk, paired venison carpaccio with Vergenoegd wines, blend and bottle one’s own Cape Blend at Clos Malverene, enjoy free winetastings in the Waterkloof Tasting Room, vertical tasting of Kanonkop wines followed by a snoek braai, vintage and barrel tastings of Jan Boland Coetzee’s Vriesenhof wines, tasting with David Trafford of his De Trafford wines, taste rare Cabernet Sauvignon vintages at Le Riche, wine and venison pairing at Middelvlei, picnics at Chabivin with Champagnes and Cap Classique tastings, art-house films screened at Le Bonheur, ‘Dine and 30 Seconds’ dinners at Uitkyk, and participate in a chipping competition at Ernie Els Wines,

A new feature of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival will be a MCC Lounge, in which Simonsig Estate, which created South Africa’s first Méthode Cap Classique Kaapse Vonkel, Villiera, Mooiplaas, Longridge, Spier, and Pongrácz will be presenting their MCC’s, paired with oysters and other delicacies.

We wrote last year that the Stellenbosch Wine Route should create the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route, and while they have not yet done so, we have created it on this Blog nevertheless, and in honour of the cuisine excellence in Stellenbosch, list from it the restaurants on wine farms in Stellenbosch:

Rust en Vrede – named the best restaurant in the country in 2010 by Eat Out, a slick operation, previously with talented chef David Higgs, on the Rust en Vrede wine estate.  Featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list 2009, and 2010, number 74 on 50 Best Restaurants in the World 2010 list, and Top vineyard restaurant of 2010 Great Wine Capitals in the World – read the review here.  Tel (021) 881-3881

*   Overture – Chef Bertus Basson is a hard-working re-inventor of his menu and operation, always looking to improve.   On the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list for 2009 and 2010.  Fantastic views from the location on the Hidden Valley wine estate – read the review here.  Tel (021) 880-2721

*   Terroir is a perennial on the Eat Out Top 10 list, with Chef Michael Broughton.  The outside seating on the De Kleine Zalze wine and golf estate is great for a warm day.  Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Delaire at Delaire Graff –  no money was spared in building and decorating this restaurant and winery building, and it houses a most impressive art collection.   Chef Christian Campbell is doing outstanding work and good service. Read our review here.  Tel (021) 885-8160

*   Indochine at Delaire Graff- is relatively less opulent in its interior design compared to its sister restaurant.   Young chef Jonathan Heath is a star to watch, and his Asian fusion menu is sure to attract the attention of the Eat Out Top 10 judges.   He explains the menu, and the dishes when he serves them personally.  Read our review. Tel (021) 885-8160

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine –  a mouthful of a brand name but also a mouthful in value and excellent quality. Set at the end of a long road, on the Jordan wine estate, it overlooks a big pond and the beautiful Stellenbosch mountains in the far distance, teeming with birdlife.  Interior functional.  Most beautiful and unique ”bread” plate ever seen.   Read the review.  Tel (021) 881-3612

*   The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe – set at the end of a long road up a hill, above Rust en Vrede, on the Haskell Vineyards (marketers of Haskell and Dombeya wines), the food of Chef Corli Els is a wonderful surprise.  The restaurant interior and waiter service do not match the excellence of her food or the quality of the Haskell wines. The Papaya and Avo salad stands out as one of the special treats.   Read the Review. Tel (021) 881-3746

*   Warwick wine estate – owner Mike Ratcliffe is a good marketer, and his gourmet picnics are a great hit in summer.  Winter Tapas menu – read the picnic review here.  Tel (021) 884-3144

*   Tokara DeliCATessen – has a buffet lunch too, very large restaurant space combined with a deli, but service poor and food quality average – read the review here.   Tel (021) 808-5950

*   Eight at Spier – the menu was designed by Judy Badenhorst, ex-River Cafe, now running the Casa Labia Cafe in Muizenberg. Tel (021) 809-1188

Wild Peacock Food Emporium on Piet Retief Street – belongs to Sue Baker and is managed by ex-Rust en Vrede front of house manager and daughter Sarah, selling deli items, a range of cold meats, imported French and local cheese, fresh breads, and has a sit-down menu as well. Wine shop to come. Tel 082 697 0870

Pane E Vino – this food and wine bar is hidden to those who do not come to Bosman’s Crossing.  Owned by Elena Dalla Cia, husband George and father-in-law Giorgio do wine and grappa tastings in the restaurant too.  Good Italian fare. Tel (021) 883-8312

*   Bodega @Dornier – Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Cuvee Restaurant, Simonsig – interesting modernist Cape Dutch interior curation by Neil Stemmet. Impressive quality food, tableware, stemware, napery, and service.  Tel (021) 888-4932

*   Tokara – Etienne Bonthuys has left Tokara to open Casparus on Dorp Street, and Richard Carstens has stepped into the kitchen, cooking up a storm as South Africa’s Ferran Adria of El Bulli fame. Read the review. Tel (021) 808-5959.

*   Towerbosch Earth Kitchen on the Knorhoek wine estate, designed by Neil Stemmet. Lovely fairy-like setting, fantastic Boerekos feast served in bowls rather than dishing up per plate.  Read the review. Tel (021) 865-2114.

*   Johan’s at Longridge is a refreshing new restaurant on LongridgeWinery, with a focus on fresh vegetables from its large vegetable garden alongside the restaurant.  Co-owner Chef Johan comes from a Michelin two-star restaurant in Holland, as does Chef Marissa.  Attentive service led by Chris Olivier, excellent food, great wines.  Read the review.   Tel (021) 855-2004

*   Delheim restaurant – read about the visit during the Delheim Nouvelle Mushroom Week earlier this month.  Tel (021) 888-4600

*   The Table at De Meye opened in September, and won the Eat Out Best Country-Style Award in November.  It is only open for Friday. Saturday and Sunday lunches.

Stellenbosch Wine Festival, 28 – 31 July.  Paul Roos Centre, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 886-4310.    www.stellenboschwinefestival.co.za. Book www.webtickets.co.za.  Entry R120 on-line, R140 at door.  R350 for a pass for entry over the whole period of the Stellenbosch Wine Festival.

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

Restaurant Review: Indochine at Delaire Graff a fine high note, after flat start

It is not often that an evening that starts as a disaster ends off on such a high note.  Our evening at the two month old Indochine at Delaire Graff could have gone horribly wrong, but the service recovery from the Duty Manager Sabrina D’Agrossi, chef Jonathan Heath and waiter Nick all combined to rescue the evening, pulling out all the stops to ensure that we were made to feel very special, and to enjoy the outstanding unique and special Asian-fusion menu.

I had booked a table for a Thursday evening two days earlier, and confirmed that I had pronounced the name of the new restaurant correctly, so there was no mistaking at which of the two restaurants on the estate I wanted to book.   We drove through the open gates at the security entrance, passed the Delaire restaurant, looking for the new Hotel, designed by French architect Pierre Bories, but there was no signage yet for the hotel, and the security guard we asked in the parking area had never heard of Indochine, nor had the person he asked via his walkie-talkie!  I then Googled the telephone number on my phone, and had the luck that Sabrina answered the phone.  She gave me the news that the restaurant was closed as they had no bookings!   I told her about my booking, and she told me where to find the hotel, through the gates, ‘guarded’ by the two Dylan Lewis cheetahs.  Nick met us outside, and walked us into the restaurant, showing us the tiny cinema, and we noticed the outstanding artwork inside the generous hotel reception area.  The chef was called and he came to the restaurant from Stellenbosch, to prepare our meal, with such graciousness that you could have sworn that it was a pleasure for him to be called away from home.

The owner Laurence Graff (owner of Graff Diamonds International Ltd, victim of one of the biggest jewellery robberies in London last year) is known as an art collector from the original Delaire restaurant, and he has invested in four further Dylan Lewis cheetahs on the lawn outside the restaurant, each costing R 250000, we were told.  He has also focused on father Anton and son Lionel Smit, with sculptures and paintings by the Smits, especially the latter featuring strongly.

The restaurant is a large open plan one, with the bar at the entrance, and two comfortable chairs if one wants to sit at the fireplace.  The interior design has been done by London-based David Collins, who did the Delaire restaurant and wine centre too.  If the Delaire restaurant leans to the orange side in terms of its decor, Indochine is definitely blue – blue leather chairs (strangely low, indirectly admitted by Sabrina as not intended to have been so low), and small blue leather couches with round dining tables, one could say “cut-up” and small versions of the large orange couches in the Delaire restaurant. The tables have a copper top, the colour a warm decor touch, but with a wooden bar underneath the tables facing one, which means that one can bump one’s knees against it, and one therefore has to put one’s legs on each side of it, an uncomfortable position. There is little art inside the restaurant, and it is understated relative to the sister Delaire restaurant.  The view must be magnificent by day, onto Stellenbosch.  The glassware probably is from Riedel, the cutlery is the most modern chic Italian, and a wooden board on the table holds a lantern with a candle.  The music is reasonably soft Eastern style.   The Hotel building only houses the spa and restaurant, and guests are accommodated in 10 “lodges” outside the hotel, with Cape Dutch style gables (the cost for one night starts at R8000).  Graff has so much faith in his team, that he has supervised the building work via DVD, the staff tell us, and he has yet to see his new hotel and restaurant.

We were presented the blue-cover menu and winelist, and were served a glass of Delaire Sauvignon Blanc (initially the Chardonnay was brought to the table in error) for my guest, and a Red Blend 2006 for myself (the Delaire Shiraz was a 2009, so I declined), expensive I felt at R50 and R60, respectively.  Only the Delaire wines are served by the glass.  Nick told us that they had not intended to serve wines by the glass, but have realised that there is a demand for it, so they will be added to the winelist.   Nick struggled to get away from serving us bottled water, when I asked for fresh Stellenbosch water.   The Delaire wine labels are beautifully designed. The winelist is interesting, in being only two pages (not likely to win the Diner’s Club Winelist Award), and offering a very restricted choice of no more than four/five brands, but in many cases only one or two per varietal.  Only the champagne (Billecart-Salmon Rose, Laurent-Perrier and Louis Roederer Cristal), and six other wines are imported (the Chateau Pichon Lalande 2005 costing R 5500, Hospices De Beaune 2002 R 1950), and Delaire Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose’, and the Red Blend are offered.   Vintages are specified on the winelist, but no wine descriptions are provided.

I noticed references to chilli, pepper and curry in the menu, and did not want to order anything that was too hot.   The chef came to the table, and explained the menu to us (what a great touch, given that the menu creation is his “baby”, so who better to describe it?).  I had not heard of Chef Jonathan Heath before, and most of his experience after he started his apprenticeship at the Lord Charles Hotel in Somerset West was at Southern Sun Hotels both domestically and in Africa, his last stop having been the opening of a Southern Sun in Nigeria.   He loves Asian-fusion food, and is therefore in his element.   Mr Graff does too, and that is why such a style of restaurant was selected for the hotel.   It also contrasts the cuisine of the Delaire restaurant, is healthier in that the food is only steamed and poached, and is light.   Chef Jonathan is a big fan of Heston Blumenthal, and is into foams and froths, and molecular gastronomy, he says.  He also sources organic produce where he possibly can.

Sabrina came to the table with a customer feedback form, so that the problems experienced can be addressed by the management, as well as a media pack.  She also brought a gift pack with a bottle of Delaire Shiraz, to express her apology.  She offered me her card, so that I could book directly with her in future.

The menu offers 2 courses for R 225, 3 courses for R290, 4 courses for R385, and 5 courses for R 470.  Like Overture, one may choose the dishes from any of the sections on the menu.   The Chef quickly sent an amuse bouche of duck liver parfait and a home-made paneer cheese, with a strong lingering aftertaste.  Chef Jonathan impressed us by bringing each of the dishes to the table, and explaining the ingredients to us.  My guest’s Tikka Duck Marsala was served with curried lentils, coriander, cumin, spring onion and red pepper, garnished with pea shoots, and had a wonderful cucumber and cumin riatta.  My duck springroll was made from rice paper and was steamed, Chef Jonathan saying that it has close to zero calories, with julienned carrots and beans, and served with pickled cucumber and daikon radish, a bamboo shoot salad and dipping sauces.   Other starters are marinated beef salad, tuna loin, poached tiger prawns, and wild mushroom salad.  This was followed by a wildberry and litchi sorbet.

My guest had the salmon trout, topped with squid and caviar, with tomato and chilli broth poured over it by the Chef at the table.  My four 7-Thai-spice braised pork belly slices also had caviar on them.  We ordered a bowl of Jasmine rice and a butternut salad with the main course (one is allowed one side dish each).   Other mains offered are seared scallops, steamed line fish, duck breast, and Green tea poached Quail Breast.  We did not order dessert, but were served a trio of treats with our cappuccino – pistachio mousse, a chocolate amaretto cycle, and a macadamia nut spear.   Dessert choices are de-molded chai brulee, butternut sponge, citrus baked cheesecake, 5-spice malva pudding, and passion fruit panna cotta.

Chef Jonathan impressed us with his ability to interact with his guests, with his creativity in food preparation and presentation, and the generosity of what was sent out of the kitchen (a 2-course meal had an added amuse bouche, sorbet and sweet treats).   He comes to greet and chats with guests as a matter of course.  One hopes it stays this way.  But none of this would have been possible without the calm and efficient way in which the Duty Manager Sabrina dealt with the problem, and had turned it into a wonderful evening.  The restaurant is one of the finest in Stellenbosch, its addition strengthening our call for Stellenbosch to be given the Gourmet Capital crown, and to develop a Restaurant Route.  Another fan of foams and froths, Richard Carstens, opens across the road at Tokara in October.

Indochine, Delaire Graff Lodges & Spa, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 885-8160 (Ask for Sabrina to book). www.delaire.co.za.  On the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route.

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

Introducing the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route!

Stellenbosch has always been top of the pops as far as its wine selection and quality goes (i.e. wines winning awards), but has played poor cousin to Franschhoek for many years when it comes to its restaurant status, that is until recently, when the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list included more Top 10 restaurants in Stellenbosch (Rust en Vrede, Overture and Terroir) than in Franschhoek (The Tasting Room and The Restaurant at Grande Provence).  Stellenbosch has always been the best marketed collective wine region, and was the first to introduce the Wine Route concept, which has been adopted by most wine-growing regions now.

My visit to Stellenbosch last week, to experience recently opened restaurants, confirmed my view that Stellenbosch by rights now should be called the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, not only due to the Eat Out Top 10 listings, but also in terms of the newer restaurants bubbling under.  I believe that the tourism authority should be ahead of the game, and introduce a Restaurant Route for Stellenbosch, given the wealth of its creative and gourmet talent.   It is easy to see that opening good quality restaurants on wine estates is a growing trend in Stellenbosch, and is good for business, as Werner Els told me at Haskell Vineyards, its Long Table restaurant leading to wine sales from restaurant patrons.

My recommendation for the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route is the following, based on own experience and recommendations.  It is not comprehensive.  I have added links to the restaurant listings that I have reviewed, and reviews of the newer restaurants will be published shortly.

Rust en Vrede – probably the best restaurant in the town currently, a slick operation, run by modest but talented chef David Higgs, on the Rust en Vrede wine estate.  Featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list 2009 and 2010, number 74 on 50 Best Restaurants in the World 2010 list, and Top vineyard restaurant of 2010 Great Wine Capitals in the World – read the review here.  Tel (021) 881-3881  CHEF DAVID HIGGS LEFT THE RESTAURANT ON 25 JUNE, NOW WORKING AT RADISSON’S BLU GAUTRAIN HOTEL IN JOHANNESBURG. 

*   Overture – Chef Bertus Basson is a hard-working re-inventor of his menu and operation, always looking to improve his complete package.   On the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list for 2009 and 2010.  Fantastic views from the location on the Hidden Valley wine estate – read the review here.  Tel (021) 880-2721

*   Terroir does nothing for me, I must admit, and therefore I do not understand that it is a perennial on the Eat Out Top 10 list (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 – the Terroir website does not list the awards after 2006, so some awards may have been left out!).  I have been there a number of times, and have not been excited about its menu, restaurant interior, and service.  The outside seating on the De Kleine Zalze wine and golf estate is great for a warm day.  Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Restaurant Christophe – Die Skuinshuis is the setting for this exceptional restaurant, Chef Christophe Dehosse being the hands-on owner and chef, who talks to his customers in his charming French accent, a rare treat in restaurants.  The foie gras, served with toasted brioche, is to die for – read the review here.  Tel. (021) 886-8763. THE RESTAURANT CLOSED DOWN ON 24 JUNE.

*   Delaire at Delaire Graff –  no money was spared in building and decorating this restaurant and winery building, and it houses a most impressive art collection.   Chef Christian Campbell is doing outstanding work, and his crayfish lasagne is exceptional.  Turnover of staff has reduced the quality of service  – read our latest review     Tel (021) 885-8160

*   Indochine at Delaire Graff – this is the newest Stellenbosch restaurant, and is relatively less opulent in its interior design compared to its sister restaurant.   Young chef Jonathan Heath is a star to watch, and his Asian fusion menu is sure to attract the attention of the Eat Out Top 10 judges.   He explains the menu, and the dishes when he serves them personally.  The two course special at R225 sounds expensive, but it does not reflect the amuse bouche, sorbet and sweet treats (with cappuccino) one receives at no extra charge.  The Tikka Duck Marsala starter is excellent –  read our review.  Tel (021) 885-8160

Restaurant at Majeka House –the restaurant is overshadowed by the Boutique Hotel in terms of its branding, and is not known to most foodlovers, a hidden gem in Paradyskloof, a suburb opposite the Stellenbosch Golf Course.   Its young Chef Anri Diener trained at Tokara and Delaire, and is a rising star, presenting exciting French cuisine.  The Millefeuille of chocolate mousse served with coffee meringue bars is to die for – Read the review.  Tel (021) 880-1512

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine –  a mouthful of a brand name but also a mouthful in value and excellent quality, a far cry from Jardine, which he co-owns in Cape Town, but rarely still cooks at.  It is set at the end of a long road, on the Jordan wine estate, overlooks a big pond and the beautiful Stellenbosch mountains in the far distance, teeming with birdlife.  Interior functional, as in Cape Town.  Most beautiful and unique “bread” plate ever seen.   Read the review.  Tel (021) 881-3612

*   The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe – set at the end of a long road up a hill, above Rust en Vrede, on the Haskell Vineyards (marketers of Haskell and Dombeya wines), the food of Chef Corli Els is a wonderful surprise.  The restaurant interior and waiter service do not match the excellence of her food or the quality of the Haskell wines. The Papaya and Avo salad stands out as one of the special treats I enjoyed last week.   Read the Review.  Tel (021) 881-3746

*   The Big Easy – set on Dorp Street with some parking, and owned by Ernie Els and Johan Rupert, the restaurant is large, but divided into different rooms, allowing private functions.  Average food, below average service generally.  Sweet Service Award.  tel (021) 887-3462

*   Warwick wine estate – owner Mike Ratcliffe is a good marketer, and his gourmet picnics, designed by Chef Bruce Robertson, and prepared by their chef Bruce, are a great hit in summer.  Winter warmer foods available too – read the picnic review here.  Tel (021) 884-3144

*   Nook Eatery – has been operating for a year, and has developed a reputation for good value, healthy (organic where possible) and wholesome food.  Restaurant location in ‘League of Glory’ TV series, and next door to Restaurant Christophe.  Good value buffet lunch, Wednesday pizza evenings, and sweet treats throughout the day.  Hands-on owners Luke and passionate Chef Jess do not open the Eatery if they are not there themselves.  Read the review here.  tel (021) 887-7703  

*   Tokara DeliCATessen – has a buffet lunch too, very large restaurant space combined with a deli, but service poor and food quality average – read the review here.   Tel (021) 808-5950

*   Eight at Spier – the menu was designed by Judy Badenhorst, ex-River Cafe, and now running the Casa Labia Cafe in Muizenberg.  Have not read much about it, and not experienced yet.   Tel (021) 809-1188

*   Melissa’s on Dorp Street – a perennial favourite, with a limited menu and standardised across all the branches.  Fresh and wholesome foods, service not always great.  Sour Service Award Tel (021) 887-0000

Wild Peacock Food Emporium on Piet Retief Street (ex Okasie) – this is the newest eatery to open, belongs to Sue Baker and is managed by ex-Rust en Vrede front of house manager and daughter Sarah, selling deli items, a range of cold meats, imported French and local cheese, fresh breads, and has a sit-down menu as well.    Review to follow.  Tel 082 697 0870

*   Mila, The Cake Shop– this must be the tiniest eatery interior in Stellenbosch, next door to The Big Easy, but it is crammed full of the most delectable cakes and pastries.  Service not great when sitting outside.  Review to follow.  Tel 074 354 2142.

*   Cupcake – serves a range of cupcakes, but not as wide a variety as one would expect.  Good sandwiches and cappuccino, pretty square with water feature in which to sit.  No review written.  Tel (021) 886-6376

*   Umami – set in the Black Horse Centre on Dorp Street, this restaurant had not wowed me, but serves satisfactory lunches and dinners.   No review written, and I rarely hear anyone talk about it.  Tel (021) 887-5204

*   Wijnhuis – located on Andringa Street, in the vicinity of tourism outlets.  Given its name, it should be very popular in this town, and given the connection to its namesake in Newlands, and its parental link to La Perla, it should offer a lot better food quality and service than it does.  Not reviewed, and would not recommend.  Tel (021) 887-5844

  Pane E Vino – this food and wine bar is hidden to those who do not come to Bosman’s Crossing.  Owned by Elena Dalla Cia, husband George and father-in-law Giorgio do wine and grappa tastings in the restaurant too.  Good Italian fare. Not reviewed yet.  Tel (021) 883-8312 

*   Cafe Dijon – French-style bistro on Plein Street.  One experience not satisfactory due to owner not being there.  Rated by JP Rossouw of Rossouw’s Restaurants.  Tel (021) 886-7023

*   Bodega @Dornier – I have not been to this restaurant on the Dornier wine estate, and have not read any reviews yet.  Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Cuvee Restaurant, Simonsig – Interesting Cape Dutch modernist interior curation by Neil Stemmet. Excellent quality food, Simonsig wines, napery, cutlery, tableware, stemware, and service.  Read the Review Tel (021) 888-4932

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Church Street – newly opened, opposite Vida e Caffe, this artisan bakery and cafe allows one to order from a list of cold meats, cheese and preserves what one wants to eat with the breads they sell.  Read the review.  Tel (021) 883- 2188  

*   Tokara – Etienne Bonthuys has left Tokara, and Richard Carstens is said to be stepping in his shoes, when his contract with Chez d’Or in Franschhoek finishes in September (he left in July already). Tokara denied that Carstens is taking over the restaurant lease.   It has now (30/7) been confirmed that Jardine’s Wilhelm Kuehn is taking over Tokara, and that Richard Carstens will be the Executive Chef.  Opened on 19/10.  Read the review. Tel (021) 808-5959.

*   Towerbosch Earth Kitchen on the Knorhoek wine estate. Lovely fairy-like setting, fantastic Boerekos feast served in bowls rather than dishing up per plate.  Read the review.   Tel (021) 865-2114.

*   Stellenbosch Slow Food Market, Oude Libertas – previously the Bosman’s Crossing Market, it moved to Oude Libertas late last year.    Good quality and often organic foods, not quite as top level and exciting as in its previous location, only open on Saturdays

*   Casparus is the name of Etienne Bonthuys’ new restaurant on Dorp Street, an amazing marriage between the cuisine creativity of Bonthuys and the interior design creativity of partner Strijdom van der Merwe.  There is no restaurant like this in South Africa!   Read the review.   Tel (021) 882-8124.

*   Johan’s at Longridge is a refreshing new restaurant on Longridge Winery, with a focus on fresh vegetables from its large vegetable garden alongside the restaurant.  Co-owner Chef Johan comes from a Michelin two-star restaurant in Holland, as does Chef Marissa.  Attentive service led by Chris Olivier, excellent food, great wines.  Read the review.   Tel (021) 855-2004 

*  de Huguenot, on De Huguenot Estate in Johannesdal, Pniel, is a superb fine-dining restaurant which opens in July, headed up by Chef Tanja Kruger, a member of the South African Culinary Olympic team.  Beautiful view onto Groot Drakenstein mountains.  Read the review.

POSTSCRIPT 17/10:  The Top 20 finalists for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards were announced at the end of last month, and the list contains five Stellenbosch restaurants (compared to only two from Franschhoek):  Rust en Vrede, Overture, Terroir, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, and Restaurant Christophe.   The Top 10 winners will be announced on 28 November.

POSTSCRIPT 29/11:  Stellenbosch now wears the Gourmet Capital crown, with four Eat Out Top 10 restaurants:  Overture, Rust & Vrede (now South Africa’s number one restaurant and top chef David Higgs), Terroir, and Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine.

POSTSCRIPT 15/4:  It has been announced that David Higgs has resigned, and will leave Rust en Vrede mid-June.

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