Despite having been open on Main Street in Plettenberg Bay for the past four years, I only noticed Clare’s Cakes (& Deli) on my visit to Plett last week. It offers very reasonably priced cakes, cupcakes, breads, as well as Deli items, in what is a pristine clean outlet. Service is Continue reading →
A week ago La Belle Bistro & Bakery opened in Mouille Point, next door to sister restaurant Pepenero, off Beach Road, bringing to ten the number of restaurants in the Kove Collection which have already opened, with one more to come in the V&A Waterfront.
Of the three La Belles (the other two are in Camps Bay, when Umi was divided in half and La Belle opened in one half, and in the Alphen Hotel), all belonging to the Kove Collection, the latter is the best run but Continue reading →
The bottom end of Chiappini Street has housed two of my favourite restaurants in their time – Bruce Robertson’s The Showroom and Cormac Keane’s Portofino, both the talking point of Cape Town in their time. After a surprisingly long tenancy by low class Leaf, a smart ‘5 star 100% Halaal Fine Dining Bistro‘ has opened, called TRUFFLE. The restaurant was opened to offer top-end Halaal cuisine, which has not been available in Cape Town before. The name was chosen for its association with indulgence, which is echoed throughout the restaurant.
I had seen the exterior branding whilst driving down Buitengracht Street a week ago, but could not find any website via Google. Yesterday I stopped by, and was astounded how the restaurant interior has changed since Leaf occupied the space until about a year ago. Mohammed Adam was kind enough to spend time with me, to share information about the restaurant. He and Nisreen Ebrahim are joint owners, Nisreen and her husband Rafiq being previous owners of four fast food outlets they would not reveal the names of (LinkedIn revealed that they were Nando’s outlets), and took over the space in January. Mohammed did all the interior design, after some building work was done, half of the upstairs being closed off by means of a wall now, to give the kitchen double volume space. Almost everything has been changed, other than the wooden floor in the outside section, with a new wooden floor upstairs; new wooden steps for the staircase to match the tops of the tables and the Continue reading →
I had been invited to try Seelan Restaurant & Bar a few days after it opened in March, and it was still in set-up phase at that time, a number of dishes on the menu not yet available, the menu and winelist not being perfect, and the service still needing to be streamlined. The restaurant’s new PR company Communication Services Africa invited me for a return evaluation, yesterday being a perfect day to do so, to enjoy the good weather at the outside seating, and the generous lunch.
Beverage Manager Dominic remembered me from the previous visit, and provided a media release which PR executive Kyle Krok had left for me, and copied the wine list for me. He went through the ‘menu’ I would be served, but came back after the first course, to tell me that Chef and owner Seelan Sundoo was preparing a special ‘adventurous’ menu for me. I was looked after with excellent service by Marilyn Baardman, whose late father had worked for Seelan. She is the best water topper-upper I have ever experienced, and was excellent in ‘reading’ me and my requirements. The multilingual front of house hostess Goshia, whom I met at the opening, has since left while Justin Paul Jansen is still there, but was not on duty yesterday.
Dominic told me that the Oakhurst olive oil they have on the table comes from an award-winning farm in Tulbagh, and judged as one of the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils in the World recently. The Aceto Balsamico di Modena balsamic vinegar is imported from Continue reading →
I received a media release from Communication Services Africa on Friday, to publicise the new weekend Breakfast offering of their client Shimmy Beach Club, the highlight being their Breakfast Pizza, of which they had sent along a photograph (left). Sadly the photograph sent did not match the Breakfast Pizza I was served yesterday.
The publicity photograph looked so good that I made sure to get to Shimmy on a grey Saturday before their Breakfast service finished at 11h00, making it just in time. I need not have rushed, as I was the only patron in the vast restaurant, which I wrote about a year ago. One of the hostesses took me through to my table, and excitedly I told her that I had come to try the Breakfast Pizza (R89), and described my dry cappuccino request to her. She promptly handed me over to Russian waitress Olga, repeating to her what I had just ordered. The LavAzza coffee did not come dry, being a full cup of coffee with a thin layer of foam. Kindly Olga got them to try it again, and the second attempt was much better. A plate with three containers of garlic, chili, and tomato sauce was brought to the table. Continue reading →
Liam Tomlin is the most internationally experienced and respected but one of the least known chefs working in Cape Town, despite having worked in our country for ten years. The recent move of his Chef’s Warehouse & Cookery School on New Church Street to Bree Street, now named Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, seems to have transformed him and he seems happier than he has been for a long time, being back in the kitchen and hands-on in his restaurant.
Located in a heritage building on food fashionable Bree Street, where Caveau used to be before it went under, Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen has been painted a soft grey, which brings out the best of its simple red Chef’s Warehouse branding. When I arrived to meet Judy for lunch, I spotted former Portofino restaurateur Cormac Keane having lunch as I was taking a photograph of the exterior of the building. Cormac was a maverick whilst he lived in Cape Town, and it is a shame that he left Cape Town to return to London, having shaken things up in the restaurant industry when he operated here until the World Cup 2010, it not living up to his expectations. The Irish roots of Chef Liam and Cormac created a friendship in the early days in Cape Town for both men, which still holds. Chef Liam started his career in Australia, and opened his restaurant BANC in Sydney, which earned him a 3 Hats award, as well as two Restaurant of the Year awards. He moved to our country ten years ago, and has written cookbooks (‘BANC’, ‘Season to Taste’, and ‘Lessons with Liam‘), which are available at Chef’s Warehouse, still serves on the British Airways Taste Team, and has assisted wine estates such as La Motte in setting up Pierneef à La Motte and its kitchen. For a year he operated at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek, selling cooking and baking utensils and vessels, and offering cooking courses, whilst also Continue reading →
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 →
The Sweet Service Award goes to the restaurant group of The Greek Fisherman, Meloncino, and City Grill in the V&A Waterfront, for the unusual way General Manager Barry Nieuwhoudt and Marketing executive Tammy Smit hosted the Camps Bay Guest House Association on Monday evening. Our Restaurant Safari started at The Greek Fisherman, where 18 guest house owners and managers met for starters, which included a selection of Greek mezes such as Greek salad, fried haloumi, feta-stuffed phyllo pastry rolls, dips with pita bread, and mussels. We then went upstairs to Meloncino (which once overlooked Granger Bay, but now is above City Grill), an Italian style ‘ristorante, bar, and pizzeria Italiano‘, where we were served a selection of their pasta, pizza, and meat Continue reading →
We were invited to try Shimmy Beach Club recently, not having had a chance to have a meal there since it opened six months ago, the restaurant, bar, and beach not being visible to visitors to the V&A Waterfront as it is hidden away in the port. Given the client profile, and the R40 million expenditure invested in the new building, we were surprised about the good value and friendly dining we experienced.
One drives to the harbour entrance near the Caltex garage, and initially signage leads the way. However, almost as one reaches a dead end, there is no further signage, until one sees a faded sign on top of a building with a guarded gate. We were told that there had been an issue with the Transnet National Port Authority about the signage, and it had to be removed. The building is adjacent to the Cape Town port authority, which regulates the shipping traffic entrance to and exit out of the port. There was enough parking, but it could be limited Continue reading →
The Sweet Service Award goes to Pick ‘n Pay Franschhoek, and its manager Craig, for organising individual Parmalat milk portions, a hospitality product one does not expect to buy at a retailer, but which we had seen sold in single servings at its Daily branch in Franschhoek. The main branch in Franschhoek did not have enough boxes in stock, so sent for the balance of our requirement from its Daily branch whilst we were shopping, and had them available within a few minutes. The price of the box of 50 Parmalat portions is R37,99, far cheaper than the price charged by Ciro.
The Sour Service Award goes to Ciro Beverage Solutions, a company servicing the hospitality industry with individual portions of Ciro coffee, Huletts sugar, Parmalat milk, Baker’s biscuits, Five Roses tea, LavAzza, House of Coffees, WEGA, N&W, Schaerer, Cafitesse, BUNN, Chilla Beverage, and more, and from which we have ordered for more than ten years. The service declined (except for the sales service from Debra Ruthven), the prices increased, and the trading conditions re quantity purchased and charging for delivery worsened over time, accompanied with rude interaction from the contracted-out delivery staff, who appeared to be new staff at every delivery. Complaints lodged were dealt with defensively, and in the 14 year period of doing business with them we have never met a Ciro staff member! Cheques posted to their head office in Johannesburg were stolen from their post box. The Cape Town branch manager Gustus Bergman was previously a financial manager at the Johannesburg head office, and does not know how to communicate with and treat his customers, nor has he fixed the service problems. For years we believed this company was the only source of hospitality products, and we are delighted that we can now source the Parmalat portions from Pick ‘n Pay at a far better price!
The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog. Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at email@example.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.