Yesterday I posted an overview of the Media Visit day we spent in McGregor for Wacky Wine Weekend, my first taste of the wine event covering the Robertson Wine Valley, which continues until the end of today. It is the 14th Wacky Wine Weekend. I was unable to ascertain where the ‘Wacky’ part of the event name comes from! Continue reading →
Clever Capetonians stay far away from restaurants over the Festive Season, given poor past experiences with service and food quality. It seems that many locals are brave enough or naive enough to go out during the Continue reading →
The Blue Café opened in Tamboerskloof on Saturday, after a few months of renovation, having operated as The Daily Deli for 18 years. The small building with attitude has a heritage dating back to 1904, and is set to become the new secret food treasure in the hood of Tamboerskloof. Pricing is very reasonable.
I drove past yesterday afternoon, having seen a Tweet referring to its opening, and met the charming Murray von Hirschberg, co-owner with his wife Jeanne, with input from her mother Lynda Loubser. Jeanne started working at Melissa’s Kloof Street as a teenager, first as waitress during weekends and school holidays, and then joined them full-time doing product development, having worked there for 13 years, and giving up a dream to study medicine. She told me that she loved working for Melissa van Hoogstraten. It is Jeanne’s distinctive handwriting that was used for all price labels at Melissa’s for all the years that she worked for them. Murray told me proudly that Jeanne was accepted to do an MBA at UCT without a base degree, that she received a scholarship to study Organisation Development at Cornell University in the USA, and will start working on her PhD shortly. Murray was an investment banker in New York, owns a massage company Enmasse, and has launched a unique Enmasse rooibos tea blend, telling Continue reading →
Many restaurants opened this summer, but the industry is taking its first toll, with restaurants closing down. It may be a tough winter ahead, given the poor state of the economy. Yet Neil Grant and Barry Engelbrecht (Burrata), Clayton Howard and Mico Botha (I Love my Laundry), and Michael Townsend (La Parada, Lucky Fish, Harbour House) are expanding their portfolios.
This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* Chef’s Warehouse & Cookery School has moved to Bree Street, in the Cape Heritage hotel building, where Awestruck/Caveau used to be, and is now called Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, with Chef Liam Tomlin in the kitchen. Street Food has also opened as a take-away outlet (7h00 – 15h00)
* Diesel & Creme, a diner, restaurant, and coffee shop, has opened on the R62 in Barrydale.
* Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.
* The Tap Room has opened at Devils’ Peak Brewery
* I ♥ my Laundry has opened another (its third) branch on Buitenkant Street.
* Jordan Wines has launched a Deli and Bakery.
* Lucky Fish & Chips has opened on Bree Street, on Regent Road in Sea Point, on Long Street, in Kalk Bay, and in Muizenberg, belonging to Michael Townsend of the Harbour House group.
* Tümi has opened as a health food café in St John’s Piazza in Sea Point, being part of the Col’Cocchia group. Continue reading →
Many restaurants are opening and have opened this summer, with only three months of the summer season left in which they can create awareness and make an impact before the dreaded winter arrives after the Easter weekend. New restaurants are far more casual, with informal dining.
This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* Umi Asian restaurant opened in December with The Marly hotel in the Camps Bay Promenade, owned by The Cove (Kovensky) Group (photograph above).
* Equus restaurant on the Cavalli stud and wine farm on the R44 has opened. Carl Habel left the Mount Nelson Hotel as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier to join the restaurant, but left before it opened. Chef Henrico Grobbelaar from the Twelve Apostles heads up the kitchen.
* Shake your Honey is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street this year, according to an iolTravel report. The ‘vibrant spirit of India’ is to be reflected in the 5-storey building, with a theatre, markets, restaurants, and shops.
* A new restaurant and micro brewery is to open next door to The Bromwell in Woodstock (name not yet known).
* TriBakery has opened on Bree Street.
* Vida e Caffe is opening coffee shops at Shell petrol stations, 40 initially and 300in total. It has also opened in Garden’s Centre, and in St John’s Piazza in Sea Point.
* The Black Sheep Restaurant has opened on Kloof Street. Continue reading →
Yesterday was the most chaotic day I have seen in Camps Bay in 20 years of living in the suburb. We know that New Year’s Day is busy, and is a stay-away zone, due to the thousands of Cape Town residents who come from other areas and take ownership of the beach in the suburb, without the City of Cape Town sending any reinforcements to secure the suburb. What was experienced in Camps Bay yesterday may be the deathknell for tourism in Camps Bay and Cape Town.
We warn our guests to stay away from the Camps Bay beach on 26 December and 1 January, but nothing could have prepared us for yesterday. One should have known that chaos was coming, when all the restaurants on the street level of the whole beachfront strip, with the exception of health food franchise Kauai, were closed for business! When I was advising my guests about alternatives of things to do and places to eat, I had to admit to them that most restaurants in Cape Town are closed on New Year’s Day, despite the city teeming with tourists! I drove down Kloof Street, and was pleasantly surprised that about half the restaurants on this popular restaurant street were open for business, a few proudly Tweeting that they would be open until about 22h00 last night, which is a whole lot better than last year, when only the franchise restaurants were operating. Manna Epicure, Da Vinci’s, Arnold’s on Kloof, Vovo Telo, Hudson on Kloof, Knead, Mozzarella Bar, and newly opened The Black Sheep are some of the restaurants that were operating, and should be commended for feeding the many tourists in Cape Town. The restaurants in the city centre were all closed.
In Camps Bay I needed Bay Response at my guest house, but they had to cut short their service when they were called to assist Pick ‘n Pay Camps Bay, of which the front door was being broken down by unruly beachgoers! We heard sirens throughout the day, especially early afternoon, when there was a near-drowning on Camps Bay beach, despite lifeguard services offered. The beach is just too full, and often inexperienced bathers and unsafe rip tides can lead to loss of life.
I had driven to town for a quick coffee break in the early afternoon, and it took 15 minutes to travel 250 meters from Hussar Grill Continue reading →
Despite one of the worst winters ever experienced by the Cape hospitality industry, most restaurants appear to have survived it. A surprise trend is the number of Mediterranean style restaurants opening, with true Spanish and Italian owners and/or staff. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* The Harbour House group has opened La Parada Spanish Tapas restaurant on Bree Street, with a subterranean bar/nightclub (above).
* Café Puerto Cabo has opened on Loop Street, a Spanish eatery and men’s clothing shop.
* The House of Machines has opened on Shortmarket Street, building motorcycles, offering good Evil Twin coffee, and serving very healthy food.
* Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.
The restaurant at 65 Main Road used to be one of Green Point’s most popular when it was called Miss K, but nose-dived when it was taken over by an Italian owner and he renamed it after his daughter Giulia a year ago. He lasted a few months before returning to his homeland, as his wife did not like Cape Town. This left the space for Whitney Wentzel to take it over and to open 65 on Main within two weeks, at the beginning of August. It was a surprise discovery, following a most mediocre Camps Bay experience earlier that day!
I underestimated Whitney on first appearance, and thought her to be the manager, as a waiter came out to greet me even though she was outside as well. I was left in the care of a second waiter Sheldon, who informed me that Whitney is in fact the owner. Whitney studied at the Hotel School in Granger Bay, having graduated just before the World Cup, and worked as F&B Manager at The Taj, The Cullinan, Zimbali, and the Arabella Kleinmond hotels since then. She had a dream to run her own restaurant, and told me that she dutifully saved as much as she could, having been taught by her portfolio asset manager mother. Although only 25 years old, I sensed that Whitney pays attention to detail, and knows exactly what she is doing, and that her establishment Continue reading →
We had heard good things about the Four & Twenty Café & Pantry, which opened in Wynberg’s trendy Wolfe Street two months ago, and popped in for a cappuccino and pastries three weeks ago. From outside, the Café & Pantry looks impressive, a large space which has the Café in the front section, and the Pantry as well as coffee shop seating in the back section. It is a cute Café and Pantry with character and energy.
The origin of the Café & Pantry is an interesting story. Tracy-Leigh Genricks studied at Silwood School of Cookery, and stayed on as a lecturer when she had completed her course. One of her students was Marijke Duminy (right), who had previously studied law at UCT. They became firm friends, which they could not reveal whilst in the student/lecturer relationship, but decided to open a restaurant, Marijke having done her internship at La Colombe as part of her studies. To prepare for this, the two 24 years old Cordon Bleu trained chefs went on a one month ‘eating fest’ in France. When getting to the Eiffel Tower, with a handful of macaroons, they knew that the restaurant had to have a French theme, as they loved the French obsession with food. They do not only serve French style food, serving Asian and Spanish foods too. Returning to Cape Town they had to wait for the right spot to make their dream come true. The name for the Café & Deli came from their age at the time of making the decision to open the restaurant, from 24 hours in a day, and from a line in their favourite childhood rhyme ‘Sing a Song of Sixpence’: ‘Four and twenty blackbirds baked in a pie‘. Continue reading →
One can commend Franschhoek Wine Valley tourism for constantly finding new ways to attract visitors to its gourmet food and wine village. Now it has launched the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route, attracting attention to the diversity of 21 hand-made high quality small quantity food producers in the valley, with more to be added.
The little A5 Franschhoek Wine Valley leaflet about the Franschhoek Artisan Food Route does not do justice to the quality of the food artisans on the Route, and one wonders why they skimped to keep the map so small, when the Wine and Restaurant map is A3 in size! The result is that the detail provided is minimal, just three lines per food artisan, with the exception of La Motte’s entry. The Franschhoek Artisan Food Route will be launched to the media later this week. Many of the food artisans on the Route have operated in the valley for years. Not all the listed artisanal outlets seem true to the definition provided in the Route map: ‘Artisan producers understand and respect the raw materials with which they work. They know where these materials come from and what is particularly good about them’! A number of artisanal producers have been left off the list, Continue reading →