I don’t often visit Lifestyle on Kloof, but needed to buy something at Wellness Warehouse yesterday morning, so spent an interesting morning, revisiting the centre, and some of its more quirky shops. My shock surprise was discovering the jam-packed Olive Branch Deli, a ‘Community Grocer‘ which has been in the centre, adjacent to Woolworths, for 18 months already! Continue reading →
At the SA Olive Oil Awards held outside Paarl earlier this week, 36 extra virgin olive oils received Gold Awards, while 53 Silver and 11 Bronze medals were awarded.
* Minister of Tourism Derek Hanekom has acknowledged that visitor numbers from China have dropped dramatically in the second half of last year, by close to 25%, and attributes this to the new Immigration regulations but to Ebola as well.
* Highly acclaimed UK wine journalist Jancis Robinson has expressed her concern about the supply of grapes for the ‘Young Gun‘ winemakers, most not owning their own land. In addition, the suppliers of their grapes Continue reading →
Yesterday I spent a most entertaining afternoon at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl, to observe the last phase of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier World Cup competition, the announcement and evaluation of the Top 3, and the awarding of the prize to the winning sommelier Will Predhomme.
The invited guests were the twelve finalists for the Sommelier World Cup, media representatives from the USA (I sat next to Rebecca Canan from the Terroirist Blog), Sweden, and Belgium, local writers, the local and international sommelier judges, and WOSA staff from its international offices as well as from its head office in Stellenbosch. After a welcome glass of wine, we sat down for lunch at Bosman’s, and it was clear to see why this Continue reading →
Rhapsody’s opened in Green Point last week, where Doppio Zero used to be, perfectly positioned for business when the Cape Town Stadium hosts events, and for locals in general. It is the first full-scale restaurant of this Pretoria-based franchise group in Cape Town, and the 12th for the group, which has ambitious restaurant opening plans for next year. It was chatting to the Executive Chef Claire Brown, previously of Pierneef à La Motte, and some of the passionate managers that gave me confidence that this restaurant won’t be another franchise restaurant, but one that wants to make a difference for Capetonians.
I was intrigued when I first saw the logo on the boards outside the restaurant when I visited neighbouring Café Extrablatt about a month ago, and they told me the name of the restaurant. The franchisor of the group and owner of the Cape Town branch is Michalis Xekalos, who opened his first Rhapsody’s branch in Menlyn, Pretoria ten years ago. There are Rhapsody’s restaurants in Ghana, Bloemfontein, Polokwane, and Bedfordview, and an ambitious expansion plan for next year includes Continue reading →
One of the exciting things about winter is that a number of restaurants are offering excellent value Gourmet evenings, with top wine makers presenting their wines, paired with special dishes prepared by the chefs of the restaurants. It is a shame that some of the dates clash.
The Pavilion at The Marine Hotel, Hermanus
6 May: Bouchard Finlayson Winery
3 June: Paul Cluver Wines
1 July: Klein Constantia Wine Estate
5 August: Creation Wines
2 September: Hamilton Russell Vineyards & Southern Right
The 5-course dinners, paired with wines, cost R 320 per person. Tel (028) 313-1000
The Grand Café Camps Bay
11 May: Peter Falke Wines
15 June: Stellekaya
13 July: Haute Cabriere
The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300. Tel (021) 438-4253 NOTE THAT THE RESTAURANT IS CLOSED UNTIL END JULY, CONTRADICTING THE NOTICE ABOUT THE PAIRINGS THEY SENT
The Grand on the Beach
18 May: Antonij Rupert Wines
22 June: Ernst Gouws & Co
20 July: Peter Falke
The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300. Tel (021) 425-0551
Bosman’s, Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl
27 May: AA Badenhorst Family Wines with winemaker Adi Badenhorst
10 June: The House of Krone with winemaker Matthew Krone
22 July: Glen Carlou with winemaker Arco Laarman
26 August: Backsberg with winemaker Guillaume Nell
3 September: Nederburg Auction Pre-dinner with cellarmaster Razvan Macici
28 October: Raats Family Wines with winemaker Bruwer Raats
The 5-course meal with wine, coffee, canapés and petit fours costs R690. Tel (021) 863-5100
The Garden Room, Mount Nelson Hotel
29 April: Vergelegen with winemaker Andre van Rensburg
27 May: Bouchard Finlayson with winemaker and owner Peter Finlayson
24 June: Neil Ellis Wines with owner Neil Ellis
29 July: Groote Post with winemaker Lukas Wentzel
26 August: Rust en Vrede with winemaker Coenie Snyman
30 September: Deetlefs with winemaker Willie Stofberg
28 October: Boschendal with winemaker Lizelle Gerber
15 November: Moreson with winemaker Clayton Reabow
9 December: Boekenhoutskloof with winemaker Marc Kent.
The 7-course dinner costs R 395 per person with matching wines. Tel (021) 483-1000
Chenin Wine Bar and Restaurant
26 May: Ernie Els Wines
Cost is R 100. Tel (021) 425-2200
28 April: Buitenverwachting winemaker Brad Paton
Cost of the 5-course meal is R460. Tel (021) 794-3522
Nobu at One&Only Cape Town
29 April: Stark-Condé Wines
Cost of the 7-course meal is R R480. Tel (021) 431-5111
What’s On, Watson Street
7 May: Fleur du Cap winemaker Christoff de Wet
Cost of the 6-course dinner and wines is R300 per person or R500 per couple. Tel (021) 422-5652
9 May: Mischa and Eventide
6 June: Barton Wines winemaker JP Geyer
4 July: Nabygelegen with winemaker James McKenzie
Cost of 5-course dinner and wines is R 200. Tel (021) 465-2727
1800°C Grill Room, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel
7 May: Hartenberg Estate
2 June: Morgenhof
7 July: Warwick wine estate
4 August: La Motte Wine Estate
Cost of 4-course dinner with welcome drink and wines R335. Tel (021) 430-0506
Casa Nostra, Sea Point
28 May: Fairview
2 July: Klein Constantia
Cost of 4-course meal R230. Tel (021) 433-0187
30 June: Fleur du Cap Unfiltered
Cost of 5-course meal, Wine and Flavoured Salt tasting by Craig Cormack of Sofia’s is R400. Tel (021) 809-8025
22 June: L’Avenir Vineyards
6 July: Constantia Glen
3 August : Diemersdal
7 September: Creation Wines
5 October: Rustenberg Wines
Cost of 3-course Tapas and wine pairing R 220 per person. Tel (021) 422-3839.
24 August: Overgaauw vintage port pairing (with David van Velden) with food, R80. Tel (021) 422-3839
Café BonBon, Franschhoek
8 June: Jacoline Haasbroek from My Wyn
22 June: Haut Espoir
4-course dinner and wine pairing R195 per person. Tel (021) 876-3936
La Mouette, Sea Point
8 June: Arco Laarman from Glen Carlou
4-course French theme dinner R240 per person. Tel (021) 433-0856
Swiss & Austrian Social Club, Sea Point
11 June: Waverley Hills Organic Wines
5-course dinner paired with five wines R250. Tel (021) 434-8405
19 July: Joubert-Tradauw
9-course emal paired with wines R225. Tel (021) 424-6334
15 on Orange
21 July: Warwick wines
6-course meal paired with wines R295. Tel (021) 469-8000
27 July: Glenwood Wines
4-course meal paired with wines R220. Tel (021) 551-5000
Warwick Wine Estate
22 and 29 July: 4-course dinner paired with Warwick wines, celebrating Stellenbosch Wine Festival. R390. Tel (021) 884-4410
The Class Room, Hermanus
12 August: Rust en Vrede
3-course dinner paired with wines R195. Tel (028) 316-3582
Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions
3 August: Avontuur Wine Estate
5-course dinner paired with 7 Avontuur wines R345. Tel (021) 434-2351
5 October: Luddite
5-course dinner paired with 6 Luddite wines at R345 per person Tel (021) 434-2351
Sinn’s, Wembley Square
25 August: Durbanville Hills with winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee
4-course dinner paired with 4 wines R225. Tel (021) 465-0967
Pure Restaurant, Hout Bay Manor
24 September: Groote Post wine estate
5-course dinner paired with wines R 260. Tel (021) 791-9393
96 Winery Road
28 September: Van Ryn’s
4-course dinner paired with Van Ryn’s brandy R320. Tel (021) 842-2020
Cassia Restaurant, Nitida wine estate, Durbanville
30 September: Nitida wines
4-course dinner paired with Nitida wines R 300. Tel (021) 976-0640
Bayside Café, Camps Bay
30 September: Beyerskloof Wines
5-course dinner paired with Beyerskloof Wines R 175 per person. Tel (021) 438-2650
Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch
28 October: Clos Malverne wines
5-course dinner paired with Clos Malverne wines R 445. Tel (021) 865-2022
La Residence, Franschhoek
18 November: Waterford Wines with winemaker Francois Haasbroek
6-course Dinner paired with Waterford wines R 800. Tel (021) 876-4100
The Vineyard Hotel
Friday 13 May
Schalk Burger & Sons
Friday 27 May
Warwick & Vilafonté
Friday 10 June
West Coast Wines with Tierhoek
Friday 24 June
Stellakaya with Ntsiki Biyela
Friday 1 July
Friday 15 July
Solms Delta Wine Estate
Friday 5 August
Dombeya Wines with Rianie Strydom
Friday 19 August
Catherine Marshall Wines
Friday 2 September
Meerlust Wine Estate
Friday 16 September
Favourites from Wine Concepts
Friday 7 October
Friday 21 October
Wines from the Swartland (Kloovenburg, Babylon’s Peak)
Friday 28 October
Constantia Valley Wines
The dinner costs R 250 per person. Tel (021) 657-4500.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
A mid-winter break in Paternoster had to include a repeat visit to Gaaitjie – Salt Water Restaurant, a restaurant with the most stunning setting on the rocks overlooking the bay, and one of the best restaurants on the West Coast.
Suzi Holtzhausen is the owner of Gaaitjie, and moved to Paternoster from Johannesburg, where she had a cookery school, six years ago. She started off setting up the Salt Coast Inn, offering self-catering accommodation, followed by the Eatery, which offered breakfasts, “lite meals and sweet treats”, the business card says. Here I once had a bizarre cheese omelet (ordered as such) drowned in a boerewors and onion sauce for breakfast. Suzi ran cookery courses. Suzi’s mother ran the Eatery when Suzi opened Gaaitjie six months ago, but it has been closed down now.
Gaaitjie probably is better suited to a summer visit – in the early summer evening it is still light enough to sit on the terrace outside (I learnt that it is important to book the exact room you want to sit in), and to enjoy the beautiful view onto the sea, and to hear the waves crashing. Blankets are provided should it become chilly once the sun sets. For lunches outside it is perfect. In winter customers have to sit inside, and this makes space restricted, and last-minute bookings hard to make. The best tables in the main restaurant room, with a fireplace, are the first to go. I thought I had done well with a booking five days ahead, but other bookings had been received a month ago, I was told, making my power to change my table allocation close to zero. I was seated furthest from the action, in a room that only had a very smelly gas heater, so I asked to be moved to the main restaurant room. This is when I learnt of my low rank from Camilla. The best she could do was to seat me in the entrance room, which has one table, but also a fireplace. For a single diner it is a very lonely place, but Susan, the manager for the evening and a good friend of Suzi, kept me company as she was buzzing along, checking on everyone. She is an absolute natural at customer care and friendliness, unlike Camilla, who looked unfriendly. A new waitress struggled with a simple order for cold water. She received training behind the counter, which I could hear. Given the stature of Suzi’s cooking, the new waitress was not yet an asset to the restaurant. She was allocated to my table – again I felt to have hit rock bottom.
Gaaitjie is the name of the building which Suzi rents from the local Sea Fisheries’ department, and they renovated it to her requirements. It looks like a Greek cottage, as do most of those in Paternoster. One can only see the signage from the road, as the restaurant is so low down, at close to sea-level. The kitchen is in the middle of the building, and one has to walk through it to get to the main restaurant room and terrace. The generator for the fridge ticks away, and evokes a farmhouse memory. The ceiling is covered in reeds, giving it a further Greek feel. The doorways are low, especially for tall gentlemen passing through them. The walls have framed yellowing newspaper clippings with general articles about Paternoster. The cutlery is nothing special, but the serviettes are made from material, with a shell forming a serviette ring. Here and there a fishy decor touch can be seen – an ashtray filled with shells, a fish-shaped water bottle, and a ceramic fish on the bar counter.
Gaaitjie’s menu is restricted to seven starters and mains each, and four desserts. Each one of Suzi’s dishes are unique, and her stature as a chef comes from her marriage of ingredients, often demanding a brave palate from her patrons in trying unusual ingredients or combinations. The paper menu starts with the sentence: “Taking time to prepare the best of what’s around the West Coast area, served by the people of Paternoster”. The menu can change daily, depending on the produce that Suzi can get hold of. Gaaitjie is not inexpensive, and hence it is mainly Capetonians and other out-of-town visitors who eat there. I recognised a fellow Slow Food Cape Town member arriving with a party of six others.
I chose the mielie chowder with scallop and green pea wontons, at R 50, an ideal dish for the first chilly night of the winter. The wontons were deliciously crispy, and the chowder very filling, topped with green beans, and I regretted having it before the main course, both being very filling dishes. My pork belly choice was stated on the menu as requiring 45 minutes’ preparation time, so the chowder was a good way to pass the time, giving little action on Twitter that evening. The chowder was served with the most unusual muffin-shaped bread with an onion marmalade centre and crowned with black sesame seeds and fresh herbs. It was served with an anchovy, garlic and olive tapenade. Anchovies are one of few things I do not eat, so I was presented with a slice of butter, beautifully served with a twig of chive balancing on top of the slice standing on the plate, so simple but so attractive. Other starter options were angelfish bobotie spring roll on coconut and bean sambal; chicken liver peri peri vetkoek with creme fraiche and roasted chilics; spinach and curd samoosas on hot tomato and basil salad; grilled pear and deep-friend labna cheese salad; and a house salad of greens, feta style cheese, cucumber, tomato and seeds, all costing between R45 – R55. On a summer visit I had eaten the chilled pea and fresh crayfish soup, at R75, which was outstanding, but there was no crayfish on the menu as the season closed a month ago.
The main courses range in price from R110 for the snoek lasagne to R125 for a braised lamb shank and butter bean pie with mint and pumpkin broth. Other mains were yellowtail fillets simmered in curry leaf masala and lentil rice; a stew of black mussels, baby calamari, sweet pepper and spicy sausage; the crisp pork belly (and crisp it was, with the most delicious crackling, which I left for last) served with an unusual leek mash; roasted quail on a hot beetroot salad; and chicken breast with pesto pasta.
Dessert choices were preserved naartjie and ginger praline cheesecake; malva pudding topped with molten local blue cheese and melon preserve; baked custard with Witblitz-soaked Cape gooseberries; and rich chocolate mousse with salt dust (I wanted to order the mousse, but could not get a good description of its ingredients, as it was new on the menu that evening – the fact that part of the mousse was white chocolate which contained passion fruit made me decide against it, and none of the other dessert options attracted me).
The winelist is on a separate sheet of paper, and is introduced as follows: “We keep waste to a minimum and km’s travelled low so choices are local and small”. For this reason most wines are from the West Coast. Each wine is briefly described, and the wine estate it comes from mentioned. Corkage is charged at R 40. One sparkling wine (Kasteelberg) is offered at R 135, five white wines range from R 95 for a Kloovenburg Chardonnay and an unknown La Capra Chenin Blanc from Fairview, to R 145 for Fryer’s Cove Bamboes Bay Sauvignon Blanc, and The Ollo from Altydgedacht. Four red wines include two Shirazes (Spice Route at R 165 and Nieuwedrift at R 95), an unsual sounding Cappupino Ccinotage (R105) and Cloof Inkspot R 105. The wine-by-the-glass choice is limited to Cloof (white and rose’ at R 25), and MAN Vintners Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 at R 30.
I left with mixed feelings, having enjoyed my two previous dinners at Gaaitjie more. The food is outstanding, but one must make a lot of allowances in the other things one expects from a restaurant in terms of decor, service and wine selection. Suzi strikes me as one of a rare breed of restaurateurs who believes that a focus on food is of paramount importance in a restaurant, and that little else matters.
Gaaitjie – Salt Water Restaurant, off St. Augustine’s Road, Paternoster. Tel 022 752 2242. www.saltcoast.co.za/gaaitjie (page does not open). Open for lunch and dinner on all days except Tuesdays and Wednesdays.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com
In the annual competition organised by S A Olive, Annalene du Toit of Kloovenburg estate in the Riebeeck Valley won the 2009 ABSA Olive Achiever of the Year Award, for her “passion and contribution to the growth of the industry”, says a report in Bolander. She also recently won the Sanlam/Landbouweekblad Woman Entrepreneur in Agriculture for 2008/9. She offers 40 different olive-based products, including a cosmetics range which is exported.
In the commercial olive oil class, the top achievers winning gold medals were Kloovenburg, Olyfberg, Morgenster and Rio Largo. In the boutique class, Diepsak Farm, The Greenleaf Olive Co., The Olive Lady, Muiskraal, Olyven Houdt, and Waterfall River won gold awards. All entries for the annual awards were tasted blind.
For a full list of gold, silver and bronze winners in the Commercial and Boutique classes click here
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com