* South Africa’s 2015 wine harvest commenced two weeks earlier than usual, and was 1% smaller than in 2014, according to VinPro, representing 3000 grape growers and wine cellars. ‘The 2015 harvest had the earliest start in decades. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks’, said Francois Viljoen, manager of VinPro’s Consultation Service. It has also been described as one of the ‘healthiest in years’, with almost no disease or rot. Record crops were achieved in Worcester.
The City of Cape Town has awarded the tender to operate the long-operating The Company’s Garden restaurant to the Zingara Group, its sixth Cape Town restaurant opened in the past thirteen years, and will be called Haarlem & Hope.
The City called for tenders for the operation of the restaurant a year ago, as part of its revitalisation of the Company’s Garden. The Zingara Group met the criteria specified in the tender, and a year later received the go-ahead. The name comes from a Dutch ship Nieuwe Haarlem, which was shipwrecked at the Cape in 1647. Crew members stayed at the Cape for a year before being picked up by another passing Dutch ship, and in that time the crew planted vegetables, which they bartered for fresh meat from the Khoi living here already. Jan van Riebeek arrived five years later, picking up the vegetable gardening to create the Company’s Garden. Continue reading →
* Cape Town just cannot stay out of the New York Times! Travel writer Sarah Khan has profiled some of the city’s hottest coffee and quirky shops, linking the city to World Design Capital 2014. In the print edition on Sunday, the article headline ‘Have some Dim Sum with your shirts’ introduces the article with the story about the success of I ♥ My Laundry, which recently opened a second branch in the city centre. Other hot spots that are featured in the article are Loading Bay, Latitude 33, Haas, Pedersen & Lennard, House of Machines, and Los Muertos Motorcycles.
* Standard Bank’s economist Goolan Ballim says that South Africa’s economy has underperformed ever since the global meltdown, which commenced in 2008. He only sees a recovery in 2016 or 2017.
* One third of British travellers have visited 10 countries on average, a survey conducted on behalf of the London City Airport has found. The most popular 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 →
* Cape Town International is to introduce licence reading machines, to register one’s parking ticket number and where one has parked, to assist visitors with lost and unreadable parking tickets!
* SAA’s profitability is being influenced by high airport taxes in African destinations it flies to.
* London Gateway deep sea port has been completed and the first ship from South Africa has arrived with 1.7 million bottles of wine on board. The port is closer to London, which will reduce transport costs and will allow the products to get to customers more quickly.
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.