Entries tagged with “Laurent Deslandes”.


The explosion of restaurant openings in Cape Town and the Winelands in the last two months is a concern to many, both as restaurant lovers, in that one cannot keep up, and as restaurant owners, as there is not enough business for everyone.

Last month saw the opening of Seta at Villa 47, Le coin Français by Darren Badenhorst in Franschhoek, The Bistro and Deli at La Paris outside Franschhoek, Chef Duncan Doherty’s Eatery at Colmant in Franschhoek, and Boschendal at Oude Bank in Stellenbosch, amongst others.

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously, and welcome such news.

Restaurant Openings

#  Villa 47 has relaunched its Stuzzico and Restaurant restaurants, as SETA and Pierino Penati, respectively. The latter restaurant (photograph) has opened in conjunction with Italian Michelin star restaurant owner Chef Theo Penati. (more…)

The explosion of restaurant openings in Cape Town and the Winelands in September is flowing into October too. Last month saw the opening of Tiger’s Milk Kloof Street, Marrow, Davy Croquettes, The Yard, Schoon de Companje in its new premises, Pierino Penati at Villa 47, and Firefish, amongst others. 

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously, and welcome such news.

Restaurant Openings

#   Tiger’s Milk has opened its restaurant and Bar Splendido on Kloof Street and Rheede Street in Cape Town (photograph) (more…)

After a quiet August as far as restaurant openings in Cape Town and the Winelands are concerned, September is seeing a number of new restaurants opening between now and the end of the month. 

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously, and welcome such news.

Restaurant Openings

#   Roast & Co has opened alongside HQ, in the former Bizerca Bistro space, in Heritage Square (photograph) (more…)

On Thursday a number of writers and I enjoyed lunch at the HQ Courtyard by Laurent, a pop-up which has been opened for the next two months or so, whilst the former Bizerca Bistrot is renovated for a new HQ concept restaurant to be opened in winter. Bistrot Bizerca, owned by Chef Laurent Deslandes and his wife Cyrillia, has closed down and Chef Laurent has been appointed as the new Executive Chef of HQ.  (more…)

A visit to Europe became more exciting when I decided to add a visit to France, dining at one Michelin star JAN restaurant in Nice, and continuing my World’s 50 Best Restaurants journey, eating at Mirazur in Menton (6th best), and at L’Arpège (19th best) and Septime (50th best) in Paris. Mirazur is the most highly ranked French restaurant, and has two Michelin stars. Mirazur means ‘look at the blue sea’. Last year I ate at the World’s 50 Best Restaurants in New York, and in London.  (more…)

MasterChef-2-14-Chef-David-dish-Whale-Cottage-Portfolio-300x225It’s that time of the year again, and this week Eat Out will announce its shortlisted Top 20 Restaurants for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards 2014.  The judges have been furiously eating their way around the country, and top restaurants are licking their lips in the hope of cracking the Top 20 list, from which the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants will be announced at the gala dinner in the V&A Waterfront on 10 November.

Given the turmoil in the judging of our country’s Top 10 restaurants in the past two years, Eat Out publisher New Media Publishing communicated with the industry, and invited past Top 20 chefs and some restaurant owners to chat about what they want in restaurant awards.  The overwhelming majority of respondents requested a panel of South African judges (British blogger ‘judge’ Bruce Palling used last (more…)

Neil Pendock, writing on his blog yesterday, knocked bloggers and food writers by applauding their absence at the inaugural Fleur du Cap 100 Places to Eat Cape Town 2011: What made the awards cocktail party unusual was that the usual cast of thousands – journos, hacks, bloggers, twits and hangers on – was conspicuous by its absence..” Yet the ‘Awards’ were organised by ‘little Irish devil‘ (his words) blogger Clare (‘Mack’) McKeon-McLoughlin!  How embarassing for sponsor Fleur du Cap, wishing to gain support from the media and bloggers for its brands, given that Pendock no doubt had an organising hand in the ‘Awards’!

Neil Pendock can be a really nice guy, as I experienced at the Compass Box Whisky Co tasting and blending afternoon a week ago.  But he has a nasty side too, as poor Su Birch of WOSA well knows, being the target of regular attacks in his Pendock Uncorked Sunday Times blog.   We can attest to his fierce loyalty to McKeon-McLoughlin, as he has blocked us on Twitter, due to our criticism of Cape Town Tourism’s involvement in his and McKeon-McLoughlin’s organisation of the frivolous ‘100 Women 100 Wines’ in August.

Now poor Abigail Donnelly is the next target, being the sole judge and editor of the Eat Out DStv Food Network Top 10 Restaurant Awards for the first time.  This year the judging committee of Pete Goffe-Wood, Anna Trapido and Arnold Tanzer, who received a substantial remuneration, it is said, fell away, and whilst there has been some muttering about this, I have not heard any chef denigrate Mrs Donnelly because of the organisational change. The Top 20 Eat Out finalist list has been announced, and the only rumblings about it is that Rust en Vrede is not on the list, having been the winning restaurant on the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list last year, but its Chef David Higgs left mid-year, and that Chef Henrico Grobbelaar has not been at Azure Restaurant of the Twelve Apostles Hotel for a full twelve months, which is what the Eat Out rules dictate.

On Sunday McKeon-McLoughlin had invited some of the Fleur du Cap ‘Top 100’ restaurants and announced the following (alphabetically listed) restaurants to be the Top 10 Restaurants in Cape Town, out of an initial list of 100:

95 Keerom – Giorgio Nava.

Aubergine – Harald Bresselschmidt

Bizerca – Laurent Deslandes

Dear Me – Vanessa Marx

The Foodbarn – Franck Dangereux

The Greenhouse – Peter Templehoff

Hemelhuijs – Jacques Erasmus

Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson – Rudi Liebenberg

Societi Bistro – Stefan Marais

The Test Kitchen – Luke Dale Roberts

If one compares the list to the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Top 20 Finalist list, Azure at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, The Round House, and Nobu at the One&Only Cape Town are obvious exclusions, while The Test Kitchen, The Greenhouse, and Planet Restaurant also feature on the Eat Out Top 20 list.  What makes the list above lose all credibility is the inclusion of Societi Bistro – whilst very popular amongst bloggers, who are regularly invited for lunch or dinner, and appears to be the McKeon-McLoughlin’s permanent dining room, it certainly does not feature on anyone’s top restaurant list for Cape Town!  Amusing is that Aubergine fell off the Eat Out Top 20 Finalist list, whilst having been an Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant last year, and appears on the above list!  A number of restaurant lovers queried its Eat Out inclusion last year.   Hemelhuijs and Dear Me Foodworld are great lunch venues, but only open in the evening once a week, and therefore are not in the same league as the other restaurants on the list, which serve lunch and dinner.

Ironic too is that Cape Town has lost its reputation as a top restaurant city, this accolade now having moved to the Winelands, Stellenbosch in particular, and therefore a list focusing on Cape Town only is like only handing out a second prize!   Pendock writes about the judges Bianca Coleman, Jos Baker and Anna Trapido that they are the ‘biggest culinary cannons’, an extreme exaggeration!  Trapido lives in Johannesburg, and hardly would have been able to judge all 100 Cape Town restaurants, especially given the short time between conceptualisation and execution of the Fleur du Cap Restaurant list.

A request sent to Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly for a list of the finalists in the new categories of the Eat Out Awards has surprisingly been declined, even though some restaurants on the list are ‘bragging’ about their inclusion.  All eyes will be on Eat Out and Abigail Donnelly on 20 November, when the country’s Eat Out Top 10 Restaurants will be announced, in ranked order!

POSTSCRIPT 8/11: Interestingly, the Fleur du Cap website has no reference to the Top 100 Cape Town Restaurants list, nor to the Top 10 Cape Town Restaurants.  The media release issued by the Fleur du Cap PR consultancy GC Communications oddly does not provide any quotes by nor contact details for the Fleur du Cap Brand Manager Danelle Kietzmann!

POSTSCRIPT 8/11: This evening I chatted to Jos Baker, one of the four judges of the Fleur du Cap Top 100 and Top 10 Places to Eat Cape Town 2011, at the Platter’s launch.  I asked what the criteria for inclusion were, and she said it was to find restaurants that would ‘not be intimidating‘, ranging from the top-end to the ‘hole-in-the-wall’, to give a good spread!  She told me that most of the judges’ deliberations were done via e-mail.  When I asked her about Eat Out having one judge only, she said ‘no comment’.  When I asked her if further regional lists would be published, she gave me a look that confirmed this, without answering directly.

POSTSCRIPT 9/11:  One would have thought that the Mount Nelson Hotel’s marketing department would have known better than to have described their inclusion in the Fleur du Cap Top 10 Places to eat list as ‘a most sought after achievement’ in their November newsletter today!

POSTSCRIPT 10/11:  Food24 has included a link to this blogpost in its newsletter today.

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

On 23 September Eat Out will announce its Top 10 Restaurant Awards list of twenty finalists.   Ten of these will be chosen by three judges (Abigail Donnelly, Peter Goffe-Wood and Arnold Tanzer), and announced at the Eat Out 2010 Restaurant Awards gala dinner at the Westin Grand Hotel on 28 November.

To live up to my reputation in having been nominated for the SA Blog Awards in the “Most Controversial Blog” category, I have done a prediction of some of the Top 20 Restaurants we might expect on the list, as well as those that will fall off the list, in my opinion.  I have also predicted which restaurants will make it onto the list for the Eat Out Restaurant Awards 2011.  It is important to note that Eat Out specifies that a chef must have been with a restaurant for a year, to be selected for consideration for this prestigious award, the “Oscar” of the Restaurant industry.

Top 20 list

1.  Rust & Vrede (chef David Higgs) in Stellenbosch: I predict that Rust & Vrede will make the number one slot of the Top 10 list, given that Luke Dale-Roberts is no longer at La Colombe full-time.   David’s food is consistently good, creative, and the restaurant made it in the top 100 on the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list earlier this year.  David Higgs is one of four chefs preparing the meal for the Restaurant Awards’ dinner, and this is a sure-fire predictor of being on the Top 10 list

2. Overture (chef Bertus Basson) in Stellenbosch: Consistently good, and always re-inventing his restaurant, Bertus deserves better than joint 10th, which happened in 2009.  Definitely a Top 10 contender

3.   Mosaic Restaurant in Pretoria (chef Chantel Dartnall):  Chantel is also a chef at the Restaurant Awards dinner, so an automatic Top 10 contender

4.   The Roundhouse in Camps Bay (Chef PJ Vadal) : not everyone’s favourite due to the arrogance of the management, but the fact that the chef is cooking at the Awards dinner is a sure predictor of Top 10

5.   Restaurant Christophe, Stellenbosch (chef Christophe Dehosse):  no glitz or glamour in terms of its interior, yet the Spookhuis is steeped in history.  Christophe is charmingly French, and is a hands-on chef both in the kitchen and inside the restaurant.   His food is excellent.

6.  The Greenhouse at the Cellars,  Cellars Hohenhort Hotel, Constantia (chef Peter Tempelhoff) : Peter is a favourite on the Top Restaurant list, and has been on the Top 10 list twice, at the current restaurant, and at Grande Provence before that

7.   Jardine’s on Bree Street, Cape Town (chef Eric Bulpitt):  Eric is cooking at the Awards’ dinner, so an automatic Top 10 candidate.  He is also about to return from Copenhagen, where he spent 6 weeks in the kitchen at Noma, to gain inspiration. Noma is the top restaurant of the Top 50 restaurants in the world.

8.   Jordan’s Restaurant with George Jardine, Stellenbosch (chef George Jardine) – last year’s move to his new restaurant at Jordan Winery no doubt cost George Jardine a place on the Top 10 list, a shock, as he had been number 2 on the list the year before.   He had announced the move to Stellenbosch for personal reasons, and the judges had clearly taken this into account.  George Jardine has been on the Top 10 list for a number of years, whilst at Jardine’s.  George Jardine’s food preparation is excellent, but as at Jardine’s, the restaurant interior leaves a lot to be desired.

9.   Bizerca Bistro, Cape Town (chef Laurent Deslandes):  Bizerca seems to be every chef’s favourite restaurant, when they are not cooking in their own kitchen.   Last year the industry laughed when the restaurant received a ‘consolation prize’ Best Bistro Award, a category not announced previously, and having no competition in it (9th Avenue Bistro in Durban was also on the Top 20 list, and made Top 10)

10.  Terroir, Stellenbosch (Michael Broughton):  Terroir has won numerous Top 10 awards, and seems to be a favourite of the judges.

11.   The Tasting Room, Franschhoek (chef Margot Janse):  the restaurant seems to have a love/hate relationship with Eat Out, in that it was left off the Top 10 list for three years, from 2004 – 2007, and that it had to endure the humiliation in sharing 10th place with Overture on the Top 10 restaurant list last year (a first for Eat Out in having a joint winner), indicating that the judges did not want to offend any of the two restaurants, but it became an insult to both restaurants instead.  This created a Top 12 Restaurant list in reality, and the judges will be sure to not lose face to make compromise selections again this year!  The interesting contrast is that the restaurant has featured in the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list, but for the first time another South African restaurant overtook it, La Colombe making it to an unbelievable 8th place on the international list.

12.   Grande Provence, Franschhoek (chef Darren Roberts):  Chef Darren is a highly talented chef, and has been around the block for 20 years in South Africa alone, but has been sadly neglected by Grande Provence’s Marketing department.  He has just returned from a week cooking at the Grill Room at the Hong Kong Country Club, one of the most exclusive eateries in the city, sharing his menu and the wines of Grande Provence.  (POSTSCRIPT 21/9:  Chef Darren says that his restaurant is not eligible for the 2010 Awards, as he only started in January, therefore not giving him a full 12 months at the restaurant, a requirement for the Awards).

13.    A Durban restaurant – to not be seen to show Cape Town and the Cape as the center of the cuisine universe, a restaurant from this city is normally selected by Eat Out.  The choice of 9th Avenue Bistro has raised eyebrows for its inclusion in the Top 10 list in the past, especially for its location in a parking lot.  The owner/chef appears to have left in the past year.

14.   To be politically correct, a Johannesburg restaurant also needs to be on the Top 10 list.  Roots at the Cradle of Humankind has been a winner for a number of years.

Other potential Top 20 short-listed restaurants could include The Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West, Bistro 1682 at Steenberg, Delaire restaurant at Delaire Graff, 95 Keerom Street (see why for Carne below) and Bosman’s at Grande Roche (once the top restaurant in the country, but it has been left off the shortlist for so many years now).

Restaurants not making Top 10

1.   Reuben’s in Franschhoek – winning Top Chef and Top Restaurant in 2004, Reuben’s has not made it back on the Top 10 list since 2006.  Too many service-related complaints have dogged the restaurant, and Reuben will have to make sure he does not stretch himself too thin when he takes on his biggest challenge yet at the One&Only Cape Town from October.

2.   Carne was on the Top 20 list last year, and fortunately for Eat Out they did not select it to the Top 10 list, given our disclosure of the restaurant’s dishonest claim that all its meat is from its Karoo farm and is organic.  Carne has since removed this claim from its website.  However, owner Giorgio Nava is a most charming and determined man, and has a close relationship with Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, who refused to respond to our allegations about Carne’s claim, even when it was proven to be correct!  I therefore predict that 95 Keerom Street will receive a ‘consolation’ Top 20 nomination in its place.

3.   Cape Colony at the Mount Nelson Hotel –  Chef Rudi Liebenberg made the Top 20 list two years running, whilst at The Saxon in 2008, and the Mount Nelson in 2009.  It is unlikely that the restaurant can make the Top 10 list, given that it is undergoing a major renovation as well as a re-invention of its menu currently, and will only open again in November.

4.   Salt restaurant – coming to the restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay, from Grande Provence, for which he received a Top 10 listing, chef Jacques de Jager’s presence is so low key at Salt that I regularly phone to check if he is still there.  His wonderful cuisine hand one knows from Grande Provence does not seem to have made the journey to Cape Town yet, in that his menu and the food quality is disappointing!

5.  La Colombe – given that ex-chef Luke-Dale Roberts has moved to a consulting role at La Colombe, it is unlikely that the restaurant should make the Top 10 list.  This is re-inforced by Luke’s announcemnet (on 20/9) that he is to open his own restaurant The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock in November.

Bubbling under for Eat Out Top 20 in 2011

Given the new restaurant openings in the past few months, a number of exciting contenders are on the potential Top 20 list for 2011, as they will have operated for a year by then:

1.  Pierneef à La Motte at La Motte in Franschhoek – wow, wow, wow, and that was only after having been open for 2 days!   Top 10 for 2011 for sure.

2.   Indochine at Delaire Graff– I thought that the original Delaire restaurant would make Top 20 this year when I first visited it a year ago.  But it has lost many staff members, including a talented sommelier and Maitre’d, and service and food reports are not as positive as when it opened.  The new sister restaurant Indochine has great potential, and could make the Top 20 list in a year.

3.   Richard Carstens opens at Tokara Restaurant next month, and has been an Eat Out Top 10 chef six times.   Hopefully he has staying power to last a year at the restaurant.

4.  The Bombay Brasserie at The Taj hotel.

5.   Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town – this is a ‘grown-up’ and sophisticated Reuben’s, yet has some of Reuben’s favourite dishes, such as calf’s liver.

6.   The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill, Woodstock – given that Luke Dale-Roberts has been named the world’s 12th best chef in the world in 2010, this is a no-brainer for his new restaurant, set to open in November!

7.  Grande Provence does not qualify for the 2010 Awards, as Chef Darren Roberts has not been at the wine estate for a full 12 months.  He would be a natural candidate for the 2011 Top 20 shortlist.

We would love to have your nominations and predictions before 23 September, as well as comments about ours – please e-mail me at info@whalecottage.com

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

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