Tag Archives: mediterranean

Mercado de San Miguel puts beautiful Madrid food on a plate!

I had not heard of the Mercado San Miguel Food Market in Madrid until the Hotel receptionist Davide told me about it, he not knowing of my interest in food. Compared to the TimeOut Market in Lisbon, the Madrid market is smaller, has less seating, but its food is more beautifully presented. Continue reading →

Summary of #JAN TV series episode 5 on viaTV: ‘A boy’s first superhero’!

Episode 5 of the JAN TV series of nine episodes broadcast weekly on viaTV, and dedicated to our country’s best chef  Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen of JAN restaurant in Nice, focused on the relationship between sons and their fathers, and more specifically between Chef Jan-Hendrik and his dad.  Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 14 September

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The announcement last week of the discovery of a new hominid species Homo Naledi at The Cradle of Humankind at Maropeng, and its international media coverage by National Geographic in particular, could give Tourism to our country a much-needed boost.

*.  The 31st Nedbank Cape Winemakers Guild will be held at Spier on Continue reading →

Restaurant Review: Sirocco in Knysna more than loadshedding problems, service-shedding too!

Sirocco facing Sushi Bar Whale CottageI had been led to believe that one of the better restaurants in Knysna is Sirocco, and I do recall having eaten there once before, when it was more of a fine-dining restaurant.  I was very disappointed when I spent part of my S&T allowance from the Department of Justice at Sirocco last night. Sirocco entrance Whale CottageLoadshedding was not the only problem the restaurant had to cope with, Manager Sonia de Lange having shed her service ethic too!

I had popped in at Thesen Island earlier in the afternoon, and had a look at the fire-damaged Ile de Pain, speaking to staff at a neighbouring shop, and they recommended Sirocco.  When I visited Knysna a month ago, also with the compliments of the Department of Justice, I had experienced
dreadful service at three restaurants I had attempted to eat at, in particular at the Island Café at The Turbine Hotel & Spa! On Facebook a number of visitors to Knysna shared that the town appears to have a problem with restaurant service.

It was hard to see the entrance to the restaurant, as there is a Col’Cacchio now, and Continue reading →

Bree Street: Cape Town’s favourite restaurant street!

Chefs-Warehouse-Chef-Liam-and-chefs-Whale-Cottage-Portfolio-300x225Slowly but surely Bree Street in the Cape Town city centre has become the most talked about restaurant street, with ten new restaurants having opened in the past twelve months, and more are to come.

We have compiled a list of the 26 restaurants on Bree Street below.  While Kloof Street has about ten restaurants more, the Bree Street restaurants generally are of a higher standard, with only one franchised restaurant outlet on Bree Street, unlike Kloof Street.  We have started our Bree Street restaurant list from the Table Mountain side, moving down towards the harbour, the FNB building being the bottom boundary: Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 19 December

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   South Africa is the most attractive tourist destination in Africa, overtaking Egypt for the first time, and is on the Top 25 global tourism destination list,  in the Bloom Consulting’s Country Brand Ranking Tourism Edition 2014/2015. Close to 200 countries were included in the survey, which measured the performance of the tourism industry, brand strategy, and online presence.  South Africa was followed by Egypt and Morocco in Africa.

*  South African accommodation establishments Babylonstoren, Belmond Mount Nelson Hotel, Cape Grace hotel, and the Saxon Boutique Hotel & Spa have made the Condé Nast Traveler 2015 Gold List of 100 World’s Best Hotels. 

*   Global tourism should exceed 1 billion this year, already at  978 million between January and October this year, as Continue reading →

‘Chopped South Africa’: first SA professional chef reality TV competition show!

ChoppedSA Banner Whale CottageChopped South Africa’ was launched at Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris’ studio in De Waterkant yesterday, to publicise the 10 programme Food Network series on DStv channel 175, commencing on Wednesday 23 July at 21h00.

Chopped South Africa‘ is the first professional chef reality TV competition in South Africa, based on the American ‘Chopped‘, but with a South African flavour. It is the first international adaption of the programme, and was created due to the series’ very strong following in our country, with 25000 viewers per programme, I was told by Nikki Cooper, the Commissioning Editor of ‘Chopped South Africa‘, based in London and working with programming for Europe, the Middle East, and Africa.  She said that she was ‘blown away by the talent and graciousness’ of our local chefs.  Due to the strong support of South African viewers, Food Network is investing in creating content for our country, but with appeal to its international viewers too.

We were welcomed by Jacques Verster. He introduced the four judges, being Jenny Morris who has hosted programmes on Moroccan and on Mediterranean cooking for Food Network (and who turned out to be a tough judge, explaining that she wanted to be honest with her feedback, and for it to have integrity); David van Staden, the Executive Chef of the Tsogo Sun Group; Siba Mtongana, who has her own ‘Siba’s Table’ program on Food Network; guest judge Rebecca Hurst, who runs the Hurst cookeryChopped SA judges Whale Cottage school; and guest judge and Chef Lindsay Venn of Tsogo Sun The Cullinan (not in the photograph).  We were told how strongly the judges believed in their standards, and fought for their point of view in deciding which chef would be ‘chopped’. Heinz is the main programme sponsor, while Shoprite-Checkers provided all the ingredients for the cooking on the program.

Nikki explained how the series works, with each of the ten programmes having four contestants, 40 selected from many applications received from young professional chefs in South African kitchens.  Shot in Johannesburg, hosted by Denvor Phokaners, produced by Sue Nel from Snelco in association with Continue reading →

Many Mediterranean-style restaurants open in Cape Town!

La Parada Kitchen with Bull head Whale Cottage PortfolioDespite 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:

Restaurant Openings

*   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.

*   Equus restaurant on the Cavalli stud and wine farm on the R44 has opened. Continue reading →

Steenberg’s Bistro Sixteen82 : ‘Taking Tapas to Turkey’ a Turkish delight!

We were invited to try the new themed Tapas dinners at Steenberg’s Bistro Sixteen82, my first evening visit to one of my favourite restaurants headed by one of the nicest and most honest chefs.  We enjoyed a tantalising ‘Taking Tapas to Turkey’ evening, which was the theme for June, and for the last few days of July.

On entering the wine tasting area the striking chandelier attracted my attention once again, in symbolising red and white grapes, making a powerful statement.  The restaurant was cosy, being brightly lit, with modern gas heating, and had a buzz from the patrons having arrived at the early dinner time.  A shock was the new grass green colour of the ladies’ cloakroom, which Chef Brad Ball agreed was extreme, but better than the ‘prison orange’ in the gents’ loo, and the shocking pink of the disabled loo, being the choice of interior designer Richard Perfect, Brad said!  However, compared to the other Constantia Valley Wine Route estates we had visited earlier that day, surprising in their ordinariness, Steenberg is by far the most attractive and professional of all the Constantia wine estates.

While the Bistro is more relaxed than its sister restaurant Catharina’s at the Steenberg Hotel, the neat presentation of the side plate with a material serviette embroidered with the restaurant name and good cutlery give a classy impression, as does the beautiful display of the Steenberg wines on both sides of the restaurant.  A modern Maxwell & Williams salt cellar adds a sophisticated touch.  Flower arrangements have always been striking in the building, with proteas in tall glass vases. Continue reading →

Mezepoli Meze and Wine Bar Sweet and FNB Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Mezepoli Meze and Wine Bar in Camps Bay, for hosting the members of the Camps Bay Guest House Association for lunch last week. The restaurant has a sister restaurant at Melrose Arch in Johannesburg, and can seat more than 100 guests. It serves sushi as well as a selection of nearly 100 Mediterranean and Middle East meze dishes, including cheeses, vegetarian mezes, dips, salads, meats, seafoods, and desserts.  The restaurant offers platters for a set price of R135, including salads, haloumi, dips with pita bread, falafel, spanakopita, dolmades, calamari, keftethes, and souvlaki chicken, which we sampled, a very enjoyable meal.

The Sour Service Award goes to FNB, and its poor service in supplying its client, the V&A Waterfront’s newly opened Vovo Telo, with a credit card machine.  Having eaten and shopped at Vovo Telo soon after it opened, it was a surprise to hear that they did not have a credit card machine, which meant that the goods selected had to be returned.  A few days later the situation was the same, so we decided to call on customer Twitter power, Tweeting FNB MD @MichaelJordaan about the problem.  He delegated this to @RBJacobs, who calls himself the ‘FNBGuy’, and he seemed a real go-getter initially, in  terms of his Twitter responses. Every deadline FNB gave Vovo Telo Cape Town in terms of delivery date and time was not met by them, and when they delivered a credit card machine four days after the commencement of the Twitter requests, and two weeks after the outlet opened, it was a fixed line one, and not a portable credit card machine required by restaurants!  Their service levels are unacceptable, and FNB demonstrated that it cannot satisfy basic customer needs on Social Media, not even if Tweets are directed to its MD.

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 info@whalecottage.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.