Last week I invited my friends Clint and Llewellyn Lambert (GM of the Franschhoek Boutique Hotel, and influential blogger at Hospitality Hedonist) to join me for dinner at Le Petit Manoir in Franschhoek, which opened in July. Having had more than enough time to settle in, it was a severely (and costly) experience, of a completely dysfunctional restaurant. I apologise for the longer than average Review, summarizing my experiences with Chef Kevin Grobler’s cooking since 2015. Continue reading →
One of Cape Town’s newest restaurants is Seabreeze Fish & Shell, the owner-run seafood restaurant which opened on Bree Street in February, as a pop-up focused on serving oysters initially. It now operates six days a week for both Lunch and Dinner, and is a seafood lover’s dream in offering ‘mid-market elegant and contemporary dining‘, at very reasonable prices. Continue reading →
It was a quiet Human Rights Day when I drove along Bree Street from one end to the other, to update my Blogpost about Cape Town’s famous food street, and saw a board outside Folk Coffee Anthropology, signaling that it was open. Continue reading →
Yesterday was only the second day of Open Door being open on Constantia Uitsig, but it felt as if it had always been there, with everything running smoothly. Open Door is the third restaurant of co-owners Neil Grant and Barry Engelbrecht, alongside Burrata and Bocca, and serves country fare.
Previously the home to The River Café on the wine estate, with a tasting room on the side which has moved across the driveway, the space of Open Door is large, being able to seat 250 patrons at full capacity, in different sections. One enters around the corner, and no longer at the former tasting room entrance. The main restaurant room is spacious, with a gas fireplace to come at the one end, and an open kitchen on the other end, with the bar close to the kitchen section, opposite of which is Neil’s precious wine collection, looking smaller than that of Burrata, but is not, Continue reading →
* Mosaic Team South Africa participating in the World Blind Challenge on 18 October in Champagne against 22 other teams will consist of the winners of the South African Wine Tasting Championship 2014: wine writer Samarie Smith, Chris Groenewald, Lizé Oosthuizen, Ralph Reynolds, and Gavin Whittaker. (received via e-mail from Jean Vincent Ridon)
* Nominations for the 34th Diners Club Winemaker of the Year (dry white blends) and 14th Young Winemaker of the Year (30 years or younger, producers of red blend) are now open, the winners receiving a flight to the USA for two as well as prize monies of R50000 and R25000, respectively. The winners will be announced in November. (received via media release from African Sky Media)
* Guinness is targeting its (black) beer at Africa, via a multimedia campaign using artists and performers from Africa, which positions the brand as #madeofblack.
* The 17 gold medal winners of the SA Olive Awards have been announced in three categories: in the Delicate Continue reading →
A month ago we were given the scoop of the then planned opening of Lanique Restaurant & Bar within Andiamo in the old Cape Quarter, which opened in the record time of two weeks thereafter. The former Andiamo Deli space is unrecognisable as the new Lanique Restaurant & Bar, and its new look reflects the history and heritage of the Lanique spirit.
The venue is named after the exclusive Lanique 200 year old Polish crafted liqueur made with Attar of Rose, the oil said to be worth its weight in gold. A former employer of Nigel Price, Lawrence Huggler from Jersey, liked the liqueur so much that he bought the brand! Nigel has been given the right to distribute Lanique in Africa, and Australia and New Zealand will follow. The Lanique Restaurant and Bar within Andiamo is a collaboration between Nigel and Andiamo owner Bruce Walker, who got to know each other as Nigel’s mineral water company aquav supplies Andiamo.
The previous Deli space has been cladded with red brick, to give the space an old world feel. A stage for live music, a dance floor, and a door separating Andiamo restaurant and Lanique have been built. Tables and bar stools have been made from wood, a banquette has blue and gold upholstery, and chandeliers have been added. During the day the Lanique Bar counter will be closed off, but lunch will be served and its coffee bar will be open throughout the day. The Lanique Bar within Andiamo will stock a full complement of spirits, beers, and wines, and its liquor licence will allow it to remain open until 2h00. Electro Swing Alternative is played when the dance floor operates. Free wifi Continue reading →
* ‘People love our country and continue to visit South Africa‘, said President Jacob Zuma in his State of the Nation Address at the opening of Parliament last night. He set our country’s tourism target at 15 million visitors per year by 2017, with a revenue of R125 billion generated.
* TripAdvisor is testing amongst a sample of American hotels a new Question and Answer service on listed property pages, so that guests can request further information before they book, including for example questions such as the cost of a mini-bar, availability of tickets to attractions at reception, opening times of the pool, etc. Other travelers and the property can answer the questions. Hotels in the same town are not allowed to answer about another hotel in the discussion forums.
* Much admired and liked Eat Out Top 10 Chef Jackie Cameron from Hartford House is leaving the KwaZulu-Natal hotel at the end of July, to open Jackie Cameron’s School of Food and Wine in Hilton in January next year. Continue reading →
Julia Hattingh is the fourth chef at Franschhoek Kitchen since Holden Manz bought the previously named Klein Genot wine estate, and it was renamed after the owners’ surnames. She is a breath of fresh air, and the restaurant will attract back customers, as Chef Julia settles in and takes the restaurant to a new level.
Security is stricter now, one having to fill in a sheet at the boom, but friendly. One walks through the downstairs tasting room to get to the upstairs restaurant, and I chose the smaller room with the fireplace. Front of House Manager Cobi Bosch is new, and he and I did not gel at all. He previously worked at Rhapsody’s at Cape Town International and in Bloemfontein. I knew that Manager Wayne Buckley would pop in, and I did want to meet Chef Julia, which made me stay. Cobi also served as the waiter on Monday. He recommended to a neighbouring table what his favourite dishes are, in guiding them what to order (they ordered a cheese platter to share in the end), but did not offer me this service. He brought two wine lists, one with Holden Manz wines, and the other with wines from their ‘friends’, being other wine estates in Franschhoek and one in Stellenbosch, telling me that the Chardonnay on the list was sold out already. He seemed most put out when I requested butter instead of the bottles of Willow Creek extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar, for the slices of olive oil bread which he had brought to the table. Continue reading →
After a superb sail around Table Bay, for the media launch of the Cape2Rio Yacht Race, during which we were escorted back into the harbour by a school of dolphins, my birthday lunch at Mondiall, previously The Green Dolphin, was a super spoil on Friday, both by Nicolette Waterford and the restaurant.
Mondiall is co-owned by Chef Peter Tempelhoff, Executive Chef of the McGrath Collection and Eat Out Top 10 Chef of The Greenhouse, and Patrick Symington, previous owner of Café Dharma and Asoka. Chef Peter remains at the McGrath Collection (we were told Mrs McGrath has eaten there four times since the restaurant opened at the beginning of the month), and pops in regularly. Patrick was in the restaurant on Friday, and was a most charming host, sitting down at our table to chat. I asked Patrick about their incorrect spelling of ‘Mondial‘, meaning around the world, apt for the V&A Waterfront location as South Africa’s leading tourist attraction. Patrick had a most plausible esoteric explanation for it numerologically (it’s a very lucky number 8, and balanced too), as well as design wise, the two legs of the ‘M’ balancing with the two ‘l’s at the end of the word! He said that it is a unique word, and is theirs now! Patrick is involved in solar heating now, when he is not at Mondiall. He said that they are ‘in for the long haul‘ with the restaurant, having signed a lease for 5 years, with an option to renew for a further five. Patrick led the staff in singing for my birthday! Chef Oliver Cattermole is one of my favourite chefs, having met him when he was at Dash at the Queen Victoria Hotel, whereafter he had a short stint at the former What’s On, and then he worked at the Le Franschhoek Hotel before joining and setting up the kitchen at Mondiall, the menu design being a partnership between Chefs Peter and Oliver. Suzanne Taylor, previously of former Constantia Uitsig, was a gracious Restaurant Manager. Continue reading →
An unique ‘The Guide to Extra Virgin Olive Oil in South Africa‘ has been published, the first of its kind, providing an overview of olive oil production in our country, and providing details of the top quality olive oil producers.
Olives were first brought to South Africa from California by Piet Cillie in 1893. A mere 14 years later Jan Minnaar from De Hoop farm in Paarl won the prize for the best olive oil produced in the British Empire at the 1907 London Show! Reni Hildenbrand now owns the farm in Wellington on which Piet Cillie farmed, and she has written a book ‘Olives and Olive Oils in South Africa‘. Ferdinando Costa arrived from Genoa in Italy a few years later, and brought in Italian plants, grafting them on the local Olienhout rootstock. He planted large numbers of olive trees in Paarl in 1925, and pressed his first olive oil in 1935. The Costa name is synonymous with olives and olive oil, and his relative Linda runs SA Olive, a quality standards body for the industry. Italian Baron Andreis began planting olive trees in the ‘Fifties, using Carlo Castiglione to make olive oil from 1972, under the Vesuvio brand. Its Extra Virgin Olive Oil won four awards in Italy for the first time, and regularly wins international awards. Italian Guilio Bertrand bought Morgenster next door to Vergelegen just over twenty years ago, and saw the potential to produce quality wines and olive oils. He now runs an olive oil nursery, and won the SA Olive Lifetime Achievement Award last year.
The quality of olive oil quality is influenced by the terroir, cultivar, climate, and the oil maker, similar to wines. The biggest threat to good quality local Extra Virgin Olive Oils is inferior olive oils which are imported, and bought by consumers in the belief that the imported products should be of a better quality. Extra Virgin Olive Oil is extracted from the olives at a temperature below 30° C, Continue reading →