I saw an article by Post & Courier recently, randomly as I do not follow this publication, and was attracted to its topic, being the impact of restaurant reviews and their power to close a restaurant down. Being our country’s harshest restaurant reviewer, this got me thinking about why the top chefs in our country, including Giorgio Nava, Bertus Basson, Peter Tempelhoff, Liam Tomlin, and Scott Kirton & Co are so sensitive to constructive criticism by banning (or attempting to) me from their restaurants, yet new (to our country) chef Wunderkind Rikku O’Donnchü of Gåte Restaurant welcomes it so! Continue reading →
Restaurant history was made in this country yesterday, when a restaurant ban by Chef Peter Tempelhoff of the newly opened FYN Festaurant, instituted against me two days before the opening of the restaurant just over two weeks ago, was uplifted, in a settlement in which I agreed to make two changes to the Blogpost in which I shared the initial restaurant banning with my Blog readers. The restaurant ban contradicted a welcome to eat at the new restaurant, and a policy of patron non-discrimination, expressed to me by Chef Peter at the Eat Out Awards 2018 just ten days earlier. Continue reading →
Late last night I received an email from Chef Peter Tempelhoff, announcing that he is banning me from eating at his new FYN Restaurant. This is a reversal to what Tempelhoff told me at the Eat Out Awards ten days ago, in that I was welcome to eat at FYN, and that he does not discriminate against anyone, when I asked him directly! It can only signal that Tempelhoff is petrified that I might judge his new fine-dining restaurant, opening on Friday, to not be good enough! Continue reading →
I could not think it possible that the Eat Out Awards 2018 could be so refreshingly different, but it appears that new Head Judge Margot Janse has created a fresh new look at the restaurant judging criteria. Many of our top old-guard chefs took a severe beating at the Awards last night! Continue reading →
This afternoon Eat Out announced its list of the Top 30 restaurants in our country for this year. The Top 20 restaurants will be revealed at the Awards ceremony on 18 November at GrandWest, and the Top 10 list within that ranking. There are some surprise inclusions and exclusions in this list. Continue reading →
At the Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2017 this evening, held at GrandWest, some shock results stunned the restaurant industry. Eat Out continues its love affair with Chef Luke Dale-Roberts, with three of his four restaurants making the Top 10 Restaurant List, a spectacular achievement! The biggest shock was the spectacular slide of La Colombe, the restaurant which had all the opportunity to make the number one slot, but only making the seventh rank, a karmic reaction to the restaurant losing focus, opening too many restaurants, and getting involved in restaurant politics! Continue reading →
Having been on the receiving end of a deceiving, defamatory, and dishonest attempt to extract information about my guest houses from 2oceansvibe ‘Chief Whip’ Simon Hartley, we were interested to read about the dishonest past of 2oceansvibe founder ‘Seth Rotherham’ in the March issue of Playboy!
The article highlights the following about 2oceansvibe and its owner:
* Its slogan of ‘Work is a sideline, live the holiday‘, implying that the owner sits on the beach or at Café Caprice in Camps Bay all the time is obviously not truthful, and interestingly does not reflect the content of his website. Through the slogan he has created a profile of himself as a wealthy person who has hooked in some brand ‘partners’ at great expense to feed his extravagant lifestyle. Those who have met ‘Seth’ know that he works hard, writing for his website, and being involved in his Radio and TV stations 2OV. He has also run a luxury villa rental business (DG Rentals with the Dogon Group), but appears to have fallen out with its owner.
* A sensitive issue appears to be the use of the pseudonym ‘Seth Rotherham’, instead of his real name Will Mellor. When we sent an sms to ask him why he hides behind a false name, he referred us to Playboy, as he had been asked the same question by them. His weak reply was that he needed a clean name for the property rental business (but which he has not operated in the past 4 years), therefore using his real name for that business, and he created ‘Seth Rotherham’ for his 2oceansvibe website, as his ‘risqué party-times might not sit well with my daytime clients’.
* The article shares how dishonest he was whilst working as a Butlers pizza delivery boy, cheating the system so that he got the largest orders, guaranteeing him the largest tips, at the expense of his colleagues, and which led to him being fired!
* He explains in the magazine that he rarely takes calls (one a week, he says), wanting to be contacted on his terms, which is only via e-mail or sms, as we discovered last week, when I tried to contact him about Hartley’s information request. He explains that he is ‘actually quite shy. I need to be in my comfort zone and I don’t like surprises. I feel bad if I don’t remember people’ names. So, everything I do daily is managed digitally’. Having Will’s cell number, I attempted to call him, but I should have known that he never answers his phone. I sent an sms, and he (cowardly) wrote that he could not take the call as he was in a bad reception area (a predictable cop out), but surprisingly he was able to send sms’s perfectly, and almost immediately!
* His radio station 2OV, with Darren Scott’s Ballz, was embarrassed last year when IT expert Shaun Dewberry discovered that their radio listenership data was highly suspect and overstated. NetDynamix, the company hired by both radio stations to supply listener data, said the botch up was a miscommunication on its part and that the figures supplied to the radio stations referred to the number of times people had logged on to the station instead of the actual number of listeners. One wonders how someone as IT astute as Mellor would not have known instinctively that the numbers were inflated, and that he was misleading his brand ‘partners’ (including Pierre Jourdan – it was Boschendal until recently, Vespa, MINI, Mail & Guardian – just the other day it was still News24 – Block & Chisel, Puma, Jack Black, Vida e Caffè, The Westcliff, The Mount Nelson, De Grendel) in terms of claimed listenership! Will tells Playboy: ‘Darren and us (and indeed the public) were all duped by the same incorrect data’ – come on Will, you were paying the company to generate the data!
* The article claims that Mellor is karmic, and that he fired a staff member after four days of being employed, in not fitting the karma of his business, which led to Mellor being called to face a CCMA hearing, which he described as ‘not cool”!
2Oceansvibe has been a benchmark for bloggers, having been created long before most bloggers had even heard the B-word. Many envied ‘Seth Rotherham’ for his advertised lifestyle arrogantly communicated via its pay-off line. As a new blogger I had held Mellor in high esteem, especially after meeting him at a bloggers’ function. He generously organised a pair of Rayban sunglasses from his client Sunglass Hut when our hug led to my sunglasses being crushed.
However, I saw a different side to him and his business last week, when he allowed his website to post a story devoid of all journalistic ethics. On Friday afternoon we received a call from Hartley, mumbling indistinctly about a story he was ‘researching‘ relating to the SA Butler Academy, and requesting a radio interview. I told him that we were frantic, having had a large number of check-outs, and new check-ins expected for the afternoon. I requested more time, explained how busy I was, and asked Simon to e-mail the questions. He set a deadline for 3 pm, and would not budge. The two questions were not related to our SA Butler Academy blogpost at all (which it is evident that he never read, so much for balance!), and when I asked him to explain what the relevance of the questions was to the SA Butler Academy he brushed the question aside. He did not even send the link of the City of Cape Town’s property valuation roll, the crux of his story, and request an explanation. It is clear now that he was in a rush to leave Cape Town to get to Hermanus for the weekend, according to his Tweets. He did offer an opportunity to opt out if I did not want to respond, saying that ‘you will be credited as being unavailable for comment’, but that would have been dishonest, so I did not accept that option! I had sought advice from two communications specialists, and both encouraged me to do the interview initially. In the last minute however one of them sent an urgent sms: ‘Don’t agree to the interview. The chap is apparently not above board’. Seeing the story that Hartley wrote, the advice was spot on, as Hartley had not written about the SA Butler Academy at all, and had tried to dishonestly mislead me, not revealing the real topic of his story.
It made me wonder why 2Oceansvibe would have wanted to publish a non-story, with such a weak headline as ‘Outspoken Guest House owner Knee-Deep in Controversy‘! Short of traffic they are not, with ‘350000 unique readers and nearly a million page views in the past month‘, Mellor smsd proudly, and he was clearly annoyed and sounded almost threatening when I decided to turn the tables, and asked him a few questions, just as Hartley had done to ourselves: ‘Chris I think I need to make something very clear to you because it seems you might be going down a bad path here’. Quoting his readership and page views, he continued: ‘I say that to make clear the fact that it is no longer a blog, it’s a news outlet with 10 permanent editorial staff. Simon is the editor overseeing all of that. This is his job. I can only interfere to a certain point’. He continued, now clearly fired up and concerned about this blogpost: ‘Regarding standards, I expect my staff to be thorough and truthful and to give subjects an opportunity to respond. I also insist they include comment post-publication, if the subject was initially unable to respond. Again I must stress that I can only interfere with Simon’s work to a certain extent. He is a highly ethical person and known for his integrity. Chris I assure you that I am giving every effort to ensure this doesn’t come out as bad as it could, and will keep doing so’ (our underlining). Now please Mr Mellor, don’t think that we will buy that – you ARE brand 2Oceansvibe! You have been lied to by your editor, and the PR industry does not agree with your faith in Hartley either. ‘Response’ is not answering two questions unrelated to the false and misleading topic Hartley spoke about, meaning that Mellor’s instructions are not being followed by his staff! On the top right of the website ‘Seth Rotherham’ is introduced as ‘Editor in Chief’, with no mention of Hartley!
A long sms from Mellor highlighted that ‘I insisted he (Hartley) gets your side of the story before publishing’. This did not happen, as Hartley unprofessionally denied us the opportunity to be told the real topic of his story, or even be given an opportunity to see the full story before it was posted. A follow-up sms from us, to express the disappointment with Hartley’s unprofessional conduct, received Mellor’s reply: ‘I don’t have browsing internet access where I am – data very slow. Simon smsd to say he tried to get comment from you and were able to reply more than once but refused to‘, which is devoid of all truth! Clearly Hartley was desperate to get the story posted, and used Mellor’s absence to post it without any ‘journalistic’ integrity!
Our blog being highlighted as being controversial is not newsworthy, and we carry the badge from the SA Blog Awards, having been nominated as ‘Top 10 Most Controversial Blog’ in 2010 (the category has been discontinued since then), a category that was won by 2oceansvibe in that year, even though it wasn’t controversial, it never was a blog, and Mellor was a judge for the Awards too, showing how poor his ethics are, his sms claim of no longer being a blog being noted – it never was! In fact, his website is nothing more than a rehash of other writers’ work, with little original writing! He is not universally liked, seen by many to be arrogant and a ‘cheat’: here, here, here, here.
In one of Mellor’s sms messages he wrote that he has opened his own Twitter account (@SethRotherham): ‘I even had to get my own twitter handle as I can no longer use 2oceansvibe twitter for personal use‘
That brings us to Hartley, someone I have never met. Asking what his agenda was with the story, he replied that ‘I was following a journalistic lead’, and that we had not met previously. However via Twitter (great research medium which Hartley likes to use too for his so-called ‘research’) we discovered that he had been alerted to the story by Twitch Marthèlize Tredoux, a good friend of Hartley’s wife Lize, and a continual abusive Tweeter (as @konfytbekkie) about ourselves (she and I have never met, but she does love our Blog and Tweets, obsessively reading them and writing about them ad nauseam)! Unsurprisingly, Hartley’s defamatory call via Twitter for information for his ‘research’ was eagerly replied to by Skye Grove, PR and Communications Manager of Cape Town Tourism!
Asking Hartley why he did not send me a copy of his story before posting it, so that I could give him a detailed response, he arrogantly replied: “There is no onus on 2oceansvibe, or any other publication (sic) to send the subject of their investigations an entire article before it is published. On which journalistic handbook do you base this expectation? The onus on the publication is to strive for a balance of views, which we did in earnest by calling, texting and emailing you. Despite your ability to answer multiple emails, you did not comment on two short questions. Quite frankly, I did answer your questions as to how my questions for you were related to your dispute with SABA. I informed you that dozens of readers alerted us to the dispute you had/have with SABA, and while reading all of the available correspondence, an important lead appeared (you’ll see the screenshot in our post) – a lead that required its own investigation. So, as I answered at the time: the questions to you arose over the course of our reading through your dispute with SABA. I completely reject any assertions that I or 2oceansvibe Media acted dishonestly at any point in the investigation or publishing of the article, and should you be able to demonstrate any error in our reporting (we are confident there is none), we will gladly publish an amendment”.
We have highlighted the dishonesty of his misleading approach, and his unprofessional unwillingness to reveal what the story was really about. There was no balance sought, as claimed, as Hartley did not even verify which aspects of the SA Butler Academy blogpost were indeed honest and truthful (we did not terminate the services of Mrs Novacovic, for example, as he claimed, both our blogpost and that of the SA Butler Academy stating that, reflecting his poor research capability!). He spent three hours looking for information, yet gave us an unfairly short lead time to respond. He Tweeted libellously during his research, as he did on Tuesday too, proving how unprofessional he is: ‘Currently standing behind J Arthur Brown in the line for Cirque du Soleil. He’s looking terrifically rested for a criminal’.
‘Infamous’ 2oceansvibe (Hartley’s description) has a chequered past as far as honesty goes, and it makes one wonder how honest and balanced any writing on the website is! Clearly ethics and honesty are not part of the 2oceansvibe karma and vibe!
POSTSCRIPT 8/3: A blog reader asked about the tax liability of Mellor receiving the use of the MINI and the Vespa for free. We sent him a text message: ‘Hi Will, one of my readers has asked if you pay tax on the use of the MINI and the Vespa? What value is placed on each of these two vehicles?’ It was sent at 20h36 last night, and given no reply, again at 9h56 this morning. There has been no response from Mellor!
POSTSCRIPT 20/3: We have sent a lawyer’s letter to 2oceansvibe about their blogpost, which contained numerous untruths and is defamatory. Will Mellor has reacted in anger, and launched another attack. The two (unanswered!) sms messages (the second one was a repeat of the first because of non-reply!) we sent him about his own affairs (the value of and tax paid on his MINI and Vespa) he labels as ‘harrassment’, rich coming from someone who does not allow one to call, and who deals with communication with humans via sms or e-mail, on his terms. This is what we wrote: “Hi Will, one of my readers has asked if you pay tax on the use of the MINI and the Vespa? What value is placed on each of these two vehicles?”. So much for ‘harassment’!
POSTSCRIPT 20/3: 2oceansvibe has added a further article to their website, an angry reaction by Will Mellor to our request to the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA) to take down the defamatory and dishonest 2oceansvibe article. Their response ridicules the Take Down notice they received, as well as the ISPA Code of Conduct, especially the clauses relating to “Lawful Conduct’.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
It would appear as if the world-wide recession has only hit South Africa, and the Cape in particular, now and with a severe bang. There is almost daily news of restaurant closures, three alone in the past three days, sad given how much the restaurants have invested in building a brand name and a regular following for their businesses.
The more than 100 restaurants in Cape Town and in the Winelands that are offering such generous Winter specials must be commended, and we will do our best to make their specials known to as many persons as possible. We encourage our readers to do the same, to prevent any further closures.
The following restaurants have closed down in the past few months, and these may not be the only ones as the winter takes its toll:
* Liquorice and Lime has closed down on St George’s Mall
* Cheyne has closed on Bree Street
* The Kitchen Bar in the Quarters’ Hotel in Hermanus has closed
* The Bistro in Franschhoek has closed down
* The Sandbar in Camps Bay has closed down
* The Blonde building is up for sale, and does not appear to be re-opening in August, as was announced by The Caviar Group, owners of Blonde
* The Green Dolphin Jazz Club in the V & A Waterfront has closed down
* Mezzaluna in Loop Street has closed down
* Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge Pete Goffe-Wood’s Wild Woods Restaurant has closed down.
* Restaurant Christophe closed down in Stellenbosch on 25 June. Eat Out Top 20 Chef Christophe Dehosse will be back at Joostenberg from August.
* Nando’s in Camps Bay has closed down
* Haute Cabriere, under the chefmanship of Matthew Gordon, closed on 7 June at the wine tasting venue with the same name in Franschhoek. See below for re-opening.
* Karma closed down in Camps Bay
* Hermanos in Hermanus has closed down
* Fizz Affair Champagne and Wine Bar has closed down in Franschhoek
* Doppio Zero in Green Point has closed down
* Nzolo Brand Café has closed down in Church Street
* L’Aperitivo has closed down. See below for Valora.
* On Broadway’s in-house restaurant has closed down. Re-opened as Roberto’s on 7 July – see below.
* Doppio Zero Claremont has closed down
* Brio 1893 is closing down on 12 August
* Chenin has closed in the old Cape Quarter
* Cafe Max has closed down in De Waterkant
* Bella Lucia has closed down in Wynberg
* Iconic restaurant Linger Longer has closed down in Johannesburg after the death of chef Walter Ulz, 2010 Eat Out Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award recipient.
* Postocini Express has closed on Greenmarket Square
* De Huguenot Restaurant, only having open for six months, closes at the end of October. The Harry Q bar will continue operating, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. The De Huguenot Estate will concentrate on weddings and events.
* Wildflour has closed down on Regent Road in Sea Point.
* The Olive Shack in Franschhoek has closed its restaurant operation, and will only operate as a shop selling olive-related products.
* 221 Waterfront has closed down in the V&A Waterfront
* What’s On Eatery in Watson Street has closed down
But all is not doom and gloom, and the restaurateurs that are opening restaurants in these difficult times must be congratulated and wished well. These restaurants opened their doors this year :
* Etienne Bonthuys (ex-Tokara) has opened his long-awaited restaurant on Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, called Casparus, in partnership with artist Strijdom van der Merwe (left).
* DISH has opened at Inn on the Square, Greenmarket Square
* The Olive Shack at Allora in Franschhoek has opened as a deli, doing olive oil tastings, and serving Breakfast, Greek lunches and picnics
* Tables restaurant has opened at Nitida wine estate in Durbanville
* Mozzarella Bar has opened on Kloof Street, Gardens
* Café Benedict has opened on the main road in Franschhoek.
* Trinity has opened as a ‘super club’ in Bennett Street in Green Point
* Il Cappero Italian Restaurant* has opened in Barrack Street
* Caffé Milano* has opened on Kloof Street, Gardens
* The Stone Kitchen has opened at Dunstone Winery in Wellington
* The Franschhoek Food Emporium has open in Place Vendome, and is owned by legendary Topsi Venter’s daughter Danielle
* What’s On Eatery* has opened in Watson Street, between Loop and Bree Street
* Haas Coffee Collective has opened on Rose Street in Bo-Kaap
* Dear Me Brasserie and Tjing Tjing Bar has opened on Longmarket Street (right).
* Act Restaurant and Play Bar have opened at the Baxter Theatre
* Le Coq has opened in Franschhoek
* Dash has opened in the Queen Victoria Hotel in the Waterfront
* Café Dijon has opened another branch at Zorgvliet wine estate
* Harbour House has opened a branch in the V & A Waterfront, where Fisherman’s Choice was
* KOS Coffee & Cuisine has opened in The Regency on Regent Road in Sea Point
* Café Extrablatt has opened where shu used to be, in Green Point
* Skinny Legs & All has opened on Loop Street
* Leopard’s Leap will open its picnic facility, tasting room and cookery school outside Franschhoek in November/December
* De Huguenot Estate has opened The Marianne, Harry Q Bar and Fraiche, with ex-Hunter’s Country Lodge chef Tanya Kruger in the kitchen. (The De Huguenot restaurant closes at the end of October – see in closures above, and Fraiche Deli will no longer open).
* Cicciobella Pizzeria has opened in Hout Bay
* Takumi has opened, with Chef Papa San the Sushi Master
* Sunbird Bistro has opened in the ex-Sandbar space on Victoria Road in Camps Bay, with Lana Doyle as chef and Pamela Trevelyan as Manager. Smart blue/white interior. Serve breakfast, lunch, dinner, cocktails and tapas.
* The Grand Camps Bay will be operated by the ex-Sandbar for Breakfast and lunch. The Grand takes over from 4 pm.
* Mezepoli from Johannesburg is opening in the Nando’s space in Camps Bay on 20 October
* Saboroso has opened in Bakoven, where Marika’s used to operate
* Café Le Chocolatier has opened a chocolate manufacturing and demo outlet Le Chocolatier Factory, next to its restaurant, in Franschhoek, utilising Lindt equipment and chocolate
* Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant has re-opened, with new chef Ryan Shell.
* Cavallo restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, in 2012 or 2013
* Roberto’s has opened underneath On Broadway, owned by Chef Roberto de Carvalho, ex-chef at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and the One & Only Cape Town
* Luigi’s is opening in Paarl where Ciao Bella used to be
* Our Place is opening in Durbanville where Avocado used to be
* Friends Café has opened at 44 Belvedere Street, Claremont. Tel (021) 674-5510
* Valora has opened where L’Aperitivo was, on Loop Street
* Rococoa has opened in The Palms Decor and Lifestyle Centre in Woodstock
* Luke Dale-Roberts (The Test Kitchen) is opening another restaurant in Wynberg, said to be where Bella Lucia is – this report, initially announced on the Spill blog, has been denied by Luke Dale-Roberts
* Reuben’s is opening another Franschhoek branch off the main road, and will run it concurrently until its main road branch lease expires next year.
* Toro has opened in the old Cape Quarter, near the back entrance of Andiamo, as a Wine/Aperitivo Bar, with an ex-Overture chef
* Goloso Italian Deli and Wine Bar has opened on Regent Road in Sea Point, next door to Wildflour.
* Franschhoek Famous Pancake House, with owner Gideon, has opened as a take-away pancake outlet, in Mont View Centre, next to the gym, in Fabriek Street, Franschhoek.
* Cafeteria has opened in De Waterkant, initially selling wraps, sandwiches, coffee, and beautiful pastries, cakes and macaroons by Martin Senekal as take-aways, and planning to expand into a sit-down coffee shop in October.
* A late night dinner and dance restaurant will open in the ex-Brio space in October, with a chef from St Tropez, and a DJ from Cannes
* LM Grills has opened in Onrus, outside Hermanus, previous owners of restaurants with same name in Johannesburg and Mocambique
* Chez Chez has opened as an Espresso and Cheesecake Bar (serving 13 different cheesecakes), 3 De Lorentz Street, Tamboerskloof.
* Bistro on Rose has opened at 35 Rose Street
* The Slug & Lettuce has opened on Long Street
* Rhapsody’s franchise restaurant, mainly in Pretoria, is to open next door to Café Extrablatt in Green Point, where Doppio Zero used to be
* Wale Rose Lifestyle has opened in Bo-Kaap, on the corner of Wale and Rose Street, serving Cape Malay as well as ‘cosmopolitan food’.
* Andy Fenner (JamieWho?) and friends are opening Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants on Kloof Street, opposite McDonald’s, in December
* The Kitchen at Maison opens on Maison wine estate in Franschhoek on 16 November, with Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg (ex-Ginja, ex-Myoga), and Manager Julian Smith (ex-Grande Provence, ex-Waterkloof, ex-Pierneef a La Motte)
* McDonald’s is opening a ‘concept store’ in the V&A Waterfront, where 221 Waterfront used to be
* Batho’s Place African Restaurant has opened in the township in Franschhoek. 082 090 8660
* Liam Tomlim’s Cookery School opens at Leopard’s Leap at the end of November, next door to La Motte in Franschhoek, also serving picnics.
* F.east Indian Restaurant has opened corner Long and Bloem Streets, in Cape Town
* Chef Jacques de Jager, has left Salt Restaurant, after about 18 months
* Restaurant Manager Darren Morgan has left Dash Restaurant, and is now at the One&Only Cape Town
* Food & Beverage Manager of Dock House, Queen Victoria Hotel and V&A Hotel, Alton van Biljon, has left
* Chef Lucas Carstens has left Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town, and joined Cuvée Restaurant, at Simonsig wine estate
* Blues in Camps Bay is reducing the size of its restaurant, and re-opens as Blues Beach House on 14 October
* Chef Leigh Trout has left Mange Tout at the Mont Rochelle Hotel, and has bought Bird Café and Gourmet Eatery on Bree Street, with Kevin Mink. They re-opened on 1 September with an amended interior and a new menu.
* Ex-Hermanos chef/owner Wayne Spencer is now at Burgundy in Hermanus
* Carl Habel, Sommelier of The Mount Nelson Hotel, has been appointed Restaurant Manager of Planet Restaurant too
* Peaches and Cream on the Main Road in Paarl has been taken over by Anica Bester
* Mediterrea in Hermanus has changed its name to Grilleri
* Patron Chef Stefan Louw has taken over the running of Heaven on Newton Johnson wine estate in the Hemel en Aarde wine valley.
* The Black Pearl is the new name of the Tapas, Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, with new owners, of the ex-Seven Sins on Kloof Street.
* Chef Oliver Cattermole has left Dash restaurant at the Queen Victoria Hotel, and joined What’s On Eatery on 1 October.
* Cocoa Oola has opened on Kloof Street, where Oishii used to be
* Chef Anri Diener has left Majeka House, and Chef Tanja Kruger from De Huguenot Restaurant takes over her position
* Chef Daniel Botha has left Le Franschhoek Hotel, and starts at Salt Restaurant on 1 November
* Chef Oliver Cattermole, previously with Dash and What’s On Eatery, has started as Executive Chef at Le Franschhoek Hotel on 7 November.
* Chef Matthew Gordon in Franschhoek is opening a new restaurant in Paarl
* Dieu Donné in Franschhoek has leased its restaurant to Martin and Marco from Durban, and they have renamed it La Rocca. Chef Jo van Staden has returned to Durban with her husband, Chef Gerard van Staden, who has returned to the Beverley Hills Hotel.
* Chef Chris Smit of Café BonBon has resigned
* Chef Christo Pretorius, previously of De Huguenot, has started at 1800 Restaurant at the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel
* Sommelier Neil Grant of Rust en Vrede has resigned, leaves at the end of November, and is said to open a new restaurant in the Old Biscuit Mill
The following restaurants are taking a winter break:
* La Colombe: 30 May – 20 June
* River Café: 10 – 30 August
* Constantia Uitsig: 4 – 26 July
* The Grand Café Camps Bay: June and July
* Pure Restaurant: 1 – 31 July
* Terroir: 1 – 11 July
* Grande Provence: 18 – 31 July
* Pierneef à La Motte: 15 June – 15 July
* French Connection: 30 May – 20 June
* Freedom Hill: July and August
* Overture: July
* Waterkloof: 27 June – 20 July
* French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar 18 – 24 July
* Tasting Room and Common Room at Le Quartier Francais closed until 31 July
* The Olive Shack at Allora in Franschhoek is closed until the end of September
* Tokara Restaurant: closed 8 – 22 August
* Blues in Camps Bay is closing for a month from 22 August – 2 October, for renovations to reduce the size of the restaurant
* Allée Bleue will not be serving lunch on Mondays and Tuesdays during September.
* The Kove in Camps Bay is closed until mid-September for renovations
* Laborie Restaurant in Paarl is closed for renovations until end October.
POSTSCRIPT 28/7: Pete Goffe-Wood, ex-owner of Wild Woods in Hout Bay, has written a frank article on Food24 about why he recently closed his restaurant. He blames Capetonians for not supporting restaurants in winter months, which means that they have to cover costs out of savings created in summer, to keep the business afloat in winter (this is a general Cape winter scenario for all businesses in the tourism industry – if one does not know about this, one should not be in the business in the first place!). He writes that Johannesburg restaurants do not suffer this seasonality. The recent 2-week summery spell proved what an important role the weather plays – business was booming for restaurants and accommodation as Capetonians left their homes, went out, and spent money, a welcome cash injection in these difficult times. The Bastille Festival in Franschhoek had record attendance during this period.
Restaurant Specials cause cost undercutting, which attracts business and provides cashflow, but does not help the industry, he writes. If specials weren’t offered, one probably would have seen a far greater number of restaurants closing down. They are hugely popular, and on this blog the Restaurant Specials listings are the most popular of all blogposts. He also blames restaurant owners, often chefs, for being too ’emotional’ about their businesses, and for not seeing the signs of tough times early enough, which may call for closing one’s restaurant. Clearly opening any business at the moment is high risk, and for a hospitality business the risk is even higher. Goffe-Wood also lashes out at the recent Weekend Argus article about Restaurant Closures, using names from this blogpost. As much as he blames journalist Helen Bamford for getting her facts wrong, he does too, in calling her Linda! Describing a non-renewal of a restaurant lease as not being a restaurant closure or failure is very debatable – if things were going well, leases would have been renewed, especially for a restaurant like Haute Cabriere, where Chef Matthew Gordon had operated for 16 years!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage