Entries tagged with “Mastrantonio”.


Amex Award tableLast night (7 September) the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards 2016 were presented for Cape Town, the Winelands, and the Garden Route at The Watershed in the V&A Waterfront, a total of 31 awards presented. Last night (14 September) the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards were presented at Katy’s Palace Bar in imageJohannesburg.

Interesting announcements made during the evening in Cape Town appear to indicate that the Platinum Taste Awards (new name from next year) will take Eat Out head on next year! At the awards event, the name change for next year was announced, as was that the Platinum Taste Awards will introduce seven award categories. It is no longer a criterion for a restaurant to accept (more…)

Chenin Blanc Top 10 Huguenot Cheese Brulee Whale CottageThe 2015 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards have been announced, the Western Cape (39) having a small head start over Gauteng (33) in the number of restaurants on the list of 89 restaurants in total.  Five new restaurants have been added to the list: 95 Keerom, Delaire Graff Restaurant, Kitima, and Makaron at Majeka House, all in the Western Cape, as well as The Leopard in Johannesburg.

Restaurants that were eligible to receive an American Express Platinum Fine Dining Award have to accept the credit card as payment, and have to accept a booking for four by a Platinum Card holder within four days of booking. Excellence, creativity, and offering guests an exquisite culinary experience are evaluated.

New head of the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards is Tamsin Snyman, who also is the Africa and Indian Ocean Islands chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.  She has taken over the Awards management from Victor Strugo, who had been involved for the past 16 years.

Nedbank Head of Corporate Card Services Pamela White said about the awards: ‘The awards continue to reflect the country’s rising culinary spirit and serve as a catalyst in championing the enhancement of the fine dining industry and experience in South Africa. As the exclusive issuer of American Express in South Africa, we are honoured to be associated with this initiative as it not only celebrates South African restaurateurs but also promotes fine dining’.

Last year the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards list had 95 restaurants, the Western Cape list having reduced by four restaurants on the list, despite having added four new restaurants, therefore a total loss of eight restaurants.  Western Cape restaurants no longer on the list this year are La Colombe (probably due to the long period of closure and its new premises not yet operating), Zachary’s, Bukhara, Bombay Brasserie at The Taj, Savoy Cabbage, Kurland Hotel Restaurant, Constantia Uitsig (closed down), and Serendipity’s.  The reason for the restaurants dropping off the list may be the tough economic climate, some of the restaurants purposely no longer accepting Amex credit cards due to their high merchant commission rate, or they have been judged to no longer meet the standards.  Missing from the Western Cape list altogether but being in a Top 20 Restaurant league are The Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club, The Kitchen at Maison, Equus, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Tokara, Burrata, Springfontein Eats, Indochine, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, and Jardine at Jordan.

The 2015 Award winners are: (more…)

MasterChef 2 14 Chef David dish Whale Cottage PortfolioOnce again the Western Cape has shown that it is the country’s culinary champion in its performance in and dominance of the 2014 American Express® Platinum Fine Dining Awards, which were awarded in Johannesburg last week, and in Cape Town on Monday evening.   Of 95 award winning restaurants in the 16th year of review, 43 are from the Western Cape, 35 from Gauteng, 9 from KwaZulu Natal, and another eight from other provinces.

Evaluated by a judging panel consisting of Anna Trapido (previous Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge) and Victor Strugo, under the chairmanship of Tamsin Snyman, the Award-winning restaurants had to meet the criteria of offering ‘culinary excellence to discerning diners’.   Eligibility for (more…)

Predicting the Top 20 shortlist for the 2010 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards was relatively easy.  Predicting the Top 10 winners out of this list, which Eat Out will announce at its gala dinner tomorrow evening, is much harder.  Here is our predicted list of Top 10, in no particular order, and admittedly uncertain about the non-Cape Town restaurants.  We have analysed JP Rossouw’s list of 23 three-star Rossouw’s Restaurants (the highest rating he awards), to help us make the prediction.  See more about Rossouw’s list below. 

*   Rust en Vrede – as written before, I boldly predict this will be the number one restaurant on the Top 10 list.  David Higgs is doing excellent work, without any fanfare, and he made top 100 of S. Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World list earlier this year.  He was also recognised as joint winner as the best vineyard restaurant by the Great Wine Capitals of the World.  An absolute professional. (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list, and Rossouw has awarded the restaurant his one and only Platinum Award, motivated as follows: “consistently deliver an exceptional dining experience in all respects”).

*   Jardine – cooking at the gala dinner, and this is a sure predictor.  Chef Eric Bulpitt has returned from 6 weeks of working in the Noma kitchen, the number 1 of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World, at no compensation, demonstrating Eric’s dedication to and passion for his craft.  (Surprisingly, not on Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list!).

*   Jordan’s Restaurant with George Jardine – the interior decor (or lack of) may leave a lot to be desired, but George Jardine is a dedicated chef, and has won many a Top 10 Eat Out award whilst at Jardine (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list).

*   Overture – Chef Bertus Basson has been on the Top 10 list for two years running, and re-invents his restaurant continuously.  Stunning location on Hidden Valley estate. (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list).

*   The Green House – Chef Peter Tempelhoff has been a past winner, both for this Cellars Hohenhort hotel restaurant as well as for Grande Provence in Franschhoek. (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list).

*   The Tasting Room – Chef Margot Janse.  Not liked by all, and very expensive, but probably the most-crowned restaurant in the history of the Top 10 Restaurant Awards (Back on Rossouws’ Restaurants’ 3-star list, after falling off it in the 2010 edition).

*   Restaurant Christophe – Chef Christophe Dehosse is the most charming French restaurateur, serving excellent foie gras and other French-style food.  (Not on Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list, despite Rossouw first highlighting Dehosse’s talents whilst he was at Joostenberg). 

*   Mosaic– chef Chantel Dartnall from Pretoria is cooking at the Awards dinner, and made the number 2 slot last year.  (Not on Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list)

*   The Roundhouse – on the Top 10 list last year, and chef PJ Vadas cooking for the Awards Gala dinner (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list).

*   La Colombe – this is a difficult one.  Luke Dale-Roberts has led this restaurant to the top of the Eat Out list two years running, and was recognised internationally in reaching 12th position on the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list.   Dale-Roberts is a consultant chef to La Colombe now, and has opened his own new restaurant The Test Kitchen.  I predict that he will be acknowledged for his excellent performance this year, but will not be awarded the number one position due to his reduced La Colombe involvement.  His recent whirlwind visit to The Fat Duck and El Bulli, both on the S. Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World list, just after he opened The Test Kitchen, is a reflection of his dedication to improving himself even further.

The other restaurants on the Eat Out Top 10 shortlist are:  Reuben’s Franschhoek, Aubergine, Terroir, and Zachary’s, all of which have also made Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list.    Bosman’s, DW Eleven-13, Linger Longer, Roots, Waterkloof Restaurant and Hartford House are also top 20 finalists, but do not appear on Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list. 

Rossouws’ Restaurants 2011 3-star restaurant list is as follows: Assaggi, Butcher Shop and Grill, Mastrantonio, The Grillhouse, Thomas Maxwell Bistro, all in Johannesburg; Ritrovo in Pretoria; 95 Keerom, Aubergine, Bizerca Bistro, La Colombe, Magica Roma, The Greenhouse, The Roundhouse, and Nobu in Cape Town; Jordan with George Jardine, Rust en Vrede, Overture, Terroir, Reuben’s Franschhoek, Tasting Room in Stellenbosch/Franschhoek; Zachary’s and Ile de Pain in Knysna; and Marianna’s in Stanford.  Rossouw defines a 3-star restaurant as one that “shines in its price point and offers a truly special food experience…. it’s the all-round feeling of pleasure that’s created by a lovely space, warm hospitality, good service, and crackerjack food.  Track record is also important : three star restaurants should consistently deliver on their promise”.  No doubt his inclusion of Magica Roma will have critics sniggering again, the response to the same inclusion in 2008.

The Eat Out 2010 Awards Gala evening at the Westin Grand hotel will be a wonderfully festive one, no matter what the outcome of the Top 10 list will be.  No doubt it will be controversial, but not anything as controversial as the results were in 2009!

POSTSCRIPT 28/12: I was surprised to see an Erratum slip fall out of Rossouw’s Restaurants when I paged through it at Exclusive Books yesterday.   It concerns the 3-star Restaurant list, Rossouw’s highest accolade.  In the book Glen Carlou was incorrectly added to the 3-star list, and Magica Roma was left out, the note states.   This is a very poor reflection on Rossouw’s editing and production skills.

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

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

More restaurant opening and movement news continues to reach WhaleTales.

Klein Genot is ending its relationship with Mark Radnay, of the Overture partnership with Top 10 chef Bertus Basson, after a one-year marriage, due to the restaurant not being financially viable, says Basson.   Angie Diamond, the owner of the luxury 5-star Klein Genot boutique hotel and winery called WhaleTales to say that she is taking over the Genot restaurant, with a name refinement to Genot Restaurant Cigar Bar, from 1 November, and is celebrating the opening with a Frank Sinatra tribute evening on 5 November, and a jazz evening on 6 November.    Diamond says her new restaurant model is Baia, the upmarket seafood restaurant in the V & A Waterfront, but at far reduced prices.  Starters range in price from R 38 for sardines to R 68 for parma ham and melon, with mussel and prawn starters costing R 58.   Salads average R 48, and the fish main courses range between R 78 for the calamari and sole to R 98 for baby kingklip.   Meat dishes range from R 78 for a spatchcock chicken to R 138 for rack of lamb. Pasta dishes are available at R 48 – 58, and desserts cost R 48 each.  Live music will be offered on Friday and Saturday evenings.   The restaurant is also offering a new service to guest houses, with complimentary transfers to the restaurant.   Genot is also offering picnic baskets, to be enjoyed at 20 picnic spots along the riverbank of the wine estate.

Overture restaurant on the Hidden Valley wine estate outside Stellenbosch is going from strength to strength, and chef Bertus Basson says a younger more affluent clientele is booking at the restaurant.   A sommelier starts at Overture at the beginning of October.   The sister catering company has been awarded the catering for all events at Lourensford, and will be moving its operation to the Somerset West wine estate.

Chef Bruce Robertson has revealed that two of his current restaurant consulting projects are for two hotels managed by Queensgate Holdings.  The Upper East Side Hotel is opening as a 4-star conference hotel in Woodstock in May 2010, and Robertson is setting up a 260-seater restaurant and kitchen.   He is also setting up the 160-seater restaurant and kitchen for the hotel Queensgate is opening in Pearl House on Adderley Street,   Furthermore, Robertson is setting up a gourmet picnic service at Warwick Estate in November, according to a recent tweet from Mike Ratcliffe (“Gourmet picnic project with Chef Bruce Robertson taking shape”).   About the Franschhoek restaurant that he is helping to set up, Robertson is staying mum, only revealing that it is on a wine estate.   Robertson has also become a gourmet tour guide, and has teamed up with Bon Appetit magazine and Ryan Hilton from AdmiralityTravel to bring tour groups from the USA to South Africa, with Robertson taking them to unusual gourmet highlights, including slowfood, outstanding herb gardens, wine biodiversity, and cooking for his guests.

More than seventy restaurants received 2010 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards this month, 13 of these going to new restaurants winners, reports TravelWires.   The new restaurant winners in the Western Cape include Bizerca, Gold, Salt, The Pavilion in Hermanus, Grande Provence, and Rust en Vrede.  Those from other parts of the country, receiving the Awards for the first time, include Mastrantonio, Osteria Tre Nonni, Sel et Poivre, Harvey’s, Roma Revolving Restaurant, and Orange.   The Award winners are judged on the basis of cuisine, service, wine list, decor, ambiance and overall excellence and consistency.   Standards are checked regularly, says American Express.

The Caviar Group of restaurants, which already includes Beluga and Sevruga, as well as the Caviar deli in the V & A Waterfront, is opening its first non-caviar named restaurant, to be called Blonde.   Its newsletter is keeping the location of the new restaurant a secret, but hints at the decor and style as follows:  it will be a 120-seater restaurant offering ‘fine-dining cuisine’, and will only be open in the evenings.  It is in a Victorian building, it has a ‘seductive interior of bar and lounge’, it has ‘couches covered in rich fabrics, the gorgeous wooden floors and high ceilings, to the crisp white linen, designer chairs, beautiful staircase, and romantic balcony”  They gush on : “One thing’s for sure.  Blonde will be in a class of its own.   We love Blonde!”   It refers one to the website www.blondedining.co.za for more information, but there is none!  Caviar’s design agency Malossol has tweeted on Twitter that they are currently designing a Caviar “group menu”, which means that Blonde could be opening soon.

Ginja restaurant, currently located off Buitengracht Street, in a building which has not benefited the image of the restaurant, and once a national top 10 restaurant, is said to move to the building in which Nova restaurant was, on New Union Street in the City Bowl.

George Jardine of Jardines is said to be opening the new restaurant on Jordan Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, and to be moving to the Winelands, for a lifestyle change.

Allee Bleue’s plans to open a fine dining restaurant lower down on the Franschhoek estate appear to be on ice, due to the economic climate.   However, construction work on its second informal restaurant linked to its wine tasting venue, adjacent to the security entrance, is almost complete.

Few details are available about the restaurant which is opening at La Motte wine estate. About ten days ago Hein Koegelenberg, the owner, posted the following blog post: “Construction of La Motte’s restaurant and art gallery is coming along nicely on the grounds of the estate in Franschhoek….A bridge will connect the restaurant and the tasting room.  Whilst the team …is working hard to build the structure, other teams are equally busy to make sure that the restaurant and gallery are going to be world class and offer unforgettable experiences”. 

Reuben and Maryke Riffel’s baby daughter Latika was born last Monday.   Congratulations go to them from all at Whale Cottage.

DoppioZero in Main Road, Green Point, has an impressive decor, with the luxury of space.  It has opened a bakery in the restaurant, with breads, rolls, croissants, cakes and other sweet treats for sale.   The franchisor was hands-on in the restaurant last weekend, serving customers, and checking customer satisfaction, to ensure the success of this newest restaurant in the franchise chain, having opened less than 2 weeks ago.   An interesting and clever service offered by the restaurant is a “mess-bib”, Doppio branded, which is put around patrons eating pasta or any dishes with a sauce.

New restaurant Le Tique opens in the Sugar Hotel on Main Road in Green Point tomorrow.   Restaurant-lovers can pay R 250 each to attend the opening.  “Entice yourself with the finest gourmet from the earliest renaissance, contemporary twisted, French with a hint of European Influences. Featuring South Africa’s Finest Venison.  Platinum wines of this worlds, proudly South African viticulture. Bellini’s & cocktails to lure your fantasies” is the copy contained in the invitation.

Basil O’Hagan, whose O’Hagan’s pub chain was liquidated 8 years ago, is reinventing himself and has launched a new pub and restaurant chain called Brazen Head, with 23 pubs planned for the greater Cape Town area in the next ten years, including the city center, Hermanus, Paarl, Somerset West, George, Knysna, and Tygervalley.   An outlet is already trading in Stellenbosch, reports Cape Business News, and other Brazen Head pubs are already operating in Gauteng.

Bukhara was to have re-opened its restaurant in Burg Street, but the person answering the call yesterday said that there is no opening date in sight yet, it probably being another 2 – 3 weeks.   Bukhara is doing renovations and repairwork after a fire caused damage in the restaurant some time ago.   A restricted Bukhara menu is available at Haiku, the sister restaurant downstairs from Bukhara.

Late casualties of the credit crunch are Aqua D’or and the Franschhoek Water Company, both of which have closed down.  The Franschhoek Water Company was the supplier of the L’Aubade and Franschhoek mineral water brands.  Earlier this year the Franschhoek Water Company had handed over the distribution of its water brands to Aqua D’or, but took the distribution back when customers complained about the poor service from Aqua D’or. NOTE: SINCE THIS POST WAS WRITTEN, AQUAD’OR HAVE CONTACTED WHALETALES TO DENY THEIR CLOSURE.  THE INFORMATION OF THE CLOSURE WAS INDUSTRY TALK, AND WHEN THE COMPANY WAS CALLED FOR CONFIRMATION, THE SALES AND ADMIN DEPARTMENT LINES JUST RANG, WHICH WAS TAKEN AS A CONFIRMATION OF THE CLOSURE OF THE COMPANY.  EARLIER THIS YEAR AQUA D’OR FACED PROVISIONAL LIQUIDATION.   WE APOLOGISE TO AQUA D’OR FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE WHICH THIS POST MAY HAVE CREATED.

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