Yesterday I visited Splash Café at the Vineyard Hotel, having parked close to it, to attend the Strauss & Co Art Auction. Clearly named after the king size pool onto which the Café opens, I was left with a sinking feeling of despair about one of the worst service experiences in a long time! Continue reading →
Good news for Atlantic Seaboarders is that The Creamery Café has opened off Beach Road in Mouille Point, around the corner from the new Hussar Grill (ex-Theo’s). Sea Point and Mouille Point have been sparse with quality ice cream outlets.
The Creamery is dedicated in Continue reading →
Chef Peter Tempelhoff, of Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant The Greenhouse at the Cellars-Hohenhort, has created a special dessert he calls ‘Table Mont Blanc’, in honour of Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014.
I received information about the dish from Cape Town Design NPC, the company managing Cape Town’s role as World Design Capital 2014, in its latest newsletter, which shared the news and the ingredients of the dish, but did not add a visual. I was impressed with the speed of response from both Eclipse PR, handling the PR locally for World Design Capital 2014, and from The Greenhouse, despite the restaurant being closed for its winter break. Very impressive was Chef Peter calling, to establish exactly what I required, not having seen the newsletter with the information about his dish.
The ‘Table Mont Blanc‘ dessert represents Table Mountain, according to Chef Peter, ‘but only abstractly… as we would rather leave a bit to the imagination. The real symbiosis between the dessert and the actual mountain is in the ingredients. Each integral part of the dessert is flavoured with an ingredient found on the slopes of the mountain’. The elements of the dessert are the following: Continue reading →
This is one of the hardest blogposts I have written, with a moral dilemma of being an invited guest at what one expected to be a social highlight for the year. The Gala Dinner for Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014 turned out to be an embarrassment in poor organisation and food! We trust that Cape Town Design NPC, the company operating the year-long design accolade, will forgive its frankness.
The Gala Dinner was the first substantial function organised for World Design Capital 2014, the New Year’s Eve concert having been an event shared with the City of Cape Town, and was intended to be for all the people of Cape Town. Only 270 guests were invited to the Gala Dinner, and included Cape Town Mayor de Lille and Stellenbosch Mayor Conrad Sidego; Minister of Science and Technology Derek Hanekom; sponsor company representatives such as Media24 Chairman Ton Vosloo; members of the diplomatic corps; top designers; members of the Board of Cape Town Design NPC; and a large media contingent, both local and international. Given the calibre of the guests, the fact that almost everything was wrong with the evening was an embarrassing disaster! The dress code was formal with a touch of yellow, given the World Design Capital 2014 colour for the year. The men seemed better in adding the yellow touches via gold or yellow ties and bow ties, while the ladies struggled to find something yellow in their wardrobes, including Cape Town Design NPC CEO Alayne Reesberg. Surprising was how many guests wore jeans and open shirts, despite the dress code specification.
The dinner was set up in a temporary structure for the Guild Fair, the decor exhibition which is running in conjunction with the Cape Town Art Fair at The Lookout in the V&A Waterfront. Tables seating 20 guests each were set up in long rows, with no decor other than sets of three yellow/gold Monkeybiz beaded animals on the tables. The last time I was in the neighbouring The Lookout venue was for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards in November, and the New Media Publishing team had done a fantastic job in decorating the massive venue. On Friday night there were no design features at all, and lighting was big industrial spotlights, Continue reading →
* Mark Shuttleworth may be the large Moyo investor who has forced the restaurant group to be placed under business review.
* The 17th Conference on AIDS and Sexually Transmitted Infections in Africa, with 10000 delegates, will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre from 7 – 10 December.
* Warwick Wines has added its Twitter handle @WarwickWine to its corks, in anticipation of the New York Stock Exchange listing of Twitter. (received via media release from Hazell PR and Wine Consultants)
* Nick Compton, editor of design magazine Wallpaper, is running a Twitter competition, requesting photographs of the best of South African art and design, to tie in with World Travel Market (WTM) this week.
* The Kimberley Diamond Cup world skateboarding championships have just been held in Kimberley.
A large part of the filming of the ‘Spud’ movie sequel ‘Spud – The Madness Continues‘ was done in Cape Town, even though the school featured in the books is Michaelhouse in KwaZulu-Natal. The new movie, which is to be released next year, promises to be as successful internationally as its predecessor was, not least because of its famous comedy star John Cleese. Filming for the movie was completed last week, co-inciding with the launch of author John van de Ruit’s fourth and final ‘Spud’ book, he has announced.
First published in 2005 by Van de Ruit as a biographical reflection of his life at one of the finest boarding schools in the country, the ‘Spud’ books describe boarding school life from a boy’s perspective. Van de Ruit related that he is very similar to the ‘Spud’-nicknamed main character John Milton, played by Troye Sivan: ‘He’s my soul, I suppose, a recreation of my youth, but this doesn’t mean that everything is true’. He admits that many of the characters were modelled on his family members. Van de Ruit’s father was an important inspiration for his writing, and also was the model for Spud’s father in the books. But he did admit that he is an ‘exaggerator’, always adding ‘my 10 percent to make it funnier, punchier’.
The first ‘Spud’ movie received interest from the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Belgium, the Netherlands, Luxembourg, the Scandinavian countries, Turkey, and the Middle East, and this encouraged local investors to fund the sequel.
All the school scenes for this movie were shot at SACS in Newlands in Cape Town, the oldest school in the country. South African audiences will enjoy seeing comedian Rob van Vuuren, of ‘Corné and Twakkie’ fame, playing the role of compère of a hotdog eating competition, set at a Nottingham farm show in the Midlands, but shot at Tokai forest in Cape Town. Other than Cleese, and Sivan being South African born but living in Australia, the 115 crew, cast and extras are all from South Africa.
The Van de Ruit ‘Spud’ books have made him this country’s most successful author in terms of book sales, the first book selling 250000 copies alone, and it has not gone out of print in the past seven years. More than 500000 copies of the three books have been sold to date. The first movie not only became successful due to actor John Cleese playing teacher and cricket coach‘The Guv’, but also because of the criticism of Cleese’s character by Judge Edwin Cameron. The movie grossed R17 million, reports The Mercury.
Van de Ruit released his fourth and final Spud book ‘Spud – Exit, Pursued by a Bear’ in Johannesburg last week, reported the Cape Argus. He wrote one book per year of his life at Michaelhouse. His first book was about the coming of age, the second about rebellion, the third about boy politics, and the newest one is about awakening, writes the Weekend Argus. His father passed away while the last book was written, and writing helped him ‘process(ing) the grief’. It is unknown whether any further films are planned of the last two Spud books.
Given the success of the three ‘Spud’ books and the first movie, ‘Spud – The Madness Continues’ can only continue to bring more fame for Van de Ruit. Van de Ruit is launching his new book at Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town on 13 August, at a dinner attended by another Michaelhouse old boy Aubrey Ngcungama, now a freelance chef. The cost to attend is R275.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
It was via Twitter that I first read about Starlings Café, which had opened more than four years ago, but only became well-known when they started Tweeting about six months ago, co-inciding with their new farmer-style market they host in their garden section on Wednesdays at 16h00 – 18h00.
Focusing on home-grown produce in the preparation of its food for the small menu, owner Trish Krutz offered her suppliers a small homely space in which they could display their organic and home-grown produce to the Starlings Café clients, a win-win situation for both the Café in attracting more business, and for the product suppliers, who are part of a market growing in popularity. Trish said she likes to stay below the radar, ‘behind the hedge’, she said. The Café prepares all its food, only buying croissants from Cassis.
One sees the Origin coffee branded umbrellas of Starlings Café only once one steps off the pavement on Belvedere Road, and the interior feels homely, consisting of two interleading rooms and an open-plan kitchen, and then leads onto the terrace outside, which is protected against the weather. Tables and chairs are mix and match, and each table has a different colour and pattern tablecloth. Walls are covered with sketches, paintings, and prints, giving it a very homely feeling, as if one is visiting a friend’s parents’ house, with vases of roses and rosemary on each table. The Willow Creek ceramic extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar containers suit the country-style restaurant, even if it is in the city, with unbranded salt and pepper grinders. Paper serviettes have a starling printed onto them. The menu is simply printed on white board, with a starling on it too. Its introduction states: “We love supporting local suppliers and using the best quality home grown produce we can find”. This is visible as Trish was connecting with her suppliers after the worst market buying rush was over. I tried the mozzarella fior di latte (using Puglia’s mozzarella), tomato and basil pesto salad stack (R45), with amazing wholewheat bread baked by the Café. It was a delicious combination, not needing butter or any of the condiments. One can also order a tart of the day; Thai chicken curry; Portabellini mushrooms, roasted tomato and artichoke risotto; or a hamburger; ranging from R45 – R65. A choice of salads is offered, including chicken caesar, and roasted vegetables (R55 – R69). Sandwiches with roast vegetable, feta and pesto; bacon, Dalewood brie and homemade tomato chilli jam; and chicken on rye with harissa and date dressing cost R50 – R59. Trish was extremely friendly, but her staff less so.
On a lower level to the terrace are the tables set up for the market, with nine stands, protected against the heat by trees and more Origin umbrellas. Matt Allison is a friend from the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club, and his colourful table had vegetables on it that he had picked two hours previously. He was selling parsley, butter lettuce, carrots, red onions, tomatoes, potatoes, herbs, green peppers, green beans, and more. Interesting was the Boutique Garden Honey stand, at which honey from hives set up in Cape Town gardens is sold. I was fascinated to see the difference in the colour of the honey coming from Newlands (dark brown, a sign of fynbos, I was told) compared to that from Claremont (being far more golden) gardens. The garden honey costs R45, while their spingflower honey from the veld costs R25. They also sell interesting sounding honey-flavoured soaps, e.g. Rose geranium, Marigold and lemon, Myrrh and frankencense. Pets can be treated with wheat free low fat organic treats, for sale at the market. Simply Wholesome supplies restaurants and homes with organic and free range produce on order, with delivery, and evolved from a greater focus by the owners on eating healthily. One can buy salted and unsalted farm butter, eggs, ‘free run’ chicken and eggs, as well as Seville orange marmalade, fig preserve, sundried tomato mustard, and strawberry jam. The House of Pasta has a restaurant and take-away service at the bottom end of Long Street, and the owner is Italian. His charming wife explained all the pasta types to me, including gluten-free lasagne sheets and fusille, as well as tagliarini, and spinach and butternut pasta. The Creamery was selling delicious strawberry and lemon curd ice cream flavours. Richard Bosman’s charcuterie products were for sale, with a new smoked bacon. Julie Carter from Ocean Jewels Fresh Fish had a table. Afrikara Co-op is from Wolseley, and sells organic biodynamic natural yoghurt, cream, and feta cheese (labneh too usually, but not yesterday), as well as aubergines, and whatever fruit and vegetables they produce.
Attending the market yesterday allowed me to meet Karen Welter for the first time, who does the Tweeting for Starlings Café, and her late parents-in-law were friends of my parents many years ago. Karen is busy with a dissertation on ‘Sustainable Restaurants’ at the Sustainability Institute, which is part of the University of Stellenbosch. She is focusing on key issues for restaurants in terms of how they can operate their businesses in a more sustainable manner in terms of their energy usage, communication, sourcing products, best practice, and collaboration with others.
It was a very special experience at Starling’s Café, with friendly collaboration amongst the market stallholders evident, and friends clearly meeting there regularly. It felt like a mini-bazaar, for a special set of persons lucky to live close by to Starlings Café to allow them to visit regularly. It has none of the crowdedness that one experiences at the Slow Food Market at Oude Libertas or at the Old Biscuit Mill.
Starlings Café, 94 Belvedere Road, Claremont. Tel (021) 671-6875. Facebook Twitter:@StarlingsCafe. Monday – Friday 7h30 – 17h00, Saturday 8h00 – 16h00, Sunday 8h00 – 12h00. Market on Wednesday 16h00 – 18h00
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
I have been to Cassis Paris in the Gardens Centre many times, and often had a sit-down quiche at the tables and chairs just outside the shop there. The sit-down service there has been disappointing, not matching the wonderful products they serve in their Patisserie and Boulangerie. The owner Patrick Moreau now owns three Cassis Paris outlets, and has just added a good Salon de Thé to his Newlands branch, bringing Paris to Newlands, and matching the quality of his wonderful breads and pastries, with some service deficiencies.
Moreau was born in Brittany, but grew up in Paris. He met his South African wife on a cruise ship, where both were working, and they worked in Bangkok before Moreau had the yearning to start his own business. A holiday back ‘home’ in South Africa in 2007 led him to identify a gap in the market for an upmarket French-style patisserie and boulangerie. He opened in the Gardens Centre, well located next door to Raith Gourmet, three years ago, and in Newlands eighteen months ago. The Salon and the outlet in Constantia Village were opened in December. His products inside the display cabinets at the 15 on Orange hotel have been removed. The business is so successful that Moreau is at his Montague Gardens factory, overseeing the production of the pastries and breads, during the week. Over weekends he circulates between his outlets. He told me that Somerset West and Mouille Point are on his wishlist for future outlets.
I was impressed to see Patrick hands-on behind the counter of his Newlands branch, in which the patisserie counter was filled with the most beautiful selection of pastries. A smaller counter deeper in the shop sells a selection of breads, croissants and brioche.
The Salon de Thé is a smallish space, with white tables and chairs set inside as well as outside, with branded Cassis Paris umbrellas protecting the outside tables against the heat. My table was wobbly, but the waiter quickly fixed this problem. The colour scheme at Cassis Paris is a most definite purple, and the bench attached to the wall inside the restaurant is purple. Cutlery is by Fortis, and is obviously shiny new, offered with a purple paper serviette. The menu cover is purple, as is the apron the staff wear over a black shirt and black pants. The menu is extensive, and is neatly presented in plastic sleeves. It focuses on the products which Cassis makes, presented in the French style. French style chanson music was switched on after about an hour of my arrival, and was well matched to the theme.
I love that the Salon serves an all day breakfast, even if their breakfast dishes differ from our usual South African taste. I had the Cocotte Cassis, served as a one-pot (in a purple Le Creuset mini-pot) breakfast with potato croquettes, tomato, eggs and bacon (R38), served with toast. It consisted mostly of potato. Other Light Meals are muesli, yoghurt and fruit (R35); the Le Classique two-egg and bacon breakfasts costs R30; Pain Perdu (French Toast) costs R 22; a Cocotte Paris consists of crème fraîche, camembert, Toulouse sausage, bacon, spinach, onions, croûtons and egg (R45). The La Complète is a savoury pancake containing Gypsey ham and egg, and costs R40; salads range in price from R 32 – R50; lovely quiches (spinach and feta, and ham and cheese) cost R26; a Provençale tart costs R28, and sandwiches R25 – R33. The Viennoisseries section lists about fifteen pastries which are available from the patisserie. Brioche, croissants, pain au chocolate and apple turnovers can also be ordered. A full page of the menu is dedicated to twenty-five “Sweets”, including chocolate eclairs (R16) and their popular Concerto (chocolate mousse and chocolate biscuit) costing R26. My dessert choice was a Tiramisu (R28), served in a plastic cup that looked shabby in that it had a crack in it. Its content was excellent however, drier than we are used to locally, with not much creaminess. Imported French teas Mariage Frères are available at R24. If one would like wine with one’s meal, one can buy it next door at Wine Concepts.
Initially the waiter serving me was attentive, and fetched and carried what I requested, but once I had finished eating, he left me stranded, and I had to ask another waitress to bring a dessert and Illy cappuccino (R14). Moreau’s wife came to take over the service, and apologised, explaining that my waiter had to take over the coffee-making as the person designated to do this had to have a lunch break! If one takes any pastries away, they are neatly packed in a purple Cassis Paris box, with branding in gold and a golden board on which the pastry is presented. The bill says thank you in English and French.
Cassis Paris has a fantastic opportunity to win business from the nearby Melissa’s, which is attracting greater dissatisfaction from its long-standing customers. However, it needs to improve its service, as this is Melissa’s weakness too. There is only a service door connecting the shop and the Salon, which could mean that Cassis Paris staff may neglect the clients in the sitdown Salon de Thé. I walked past Melissa’s to get to my car, and Melissa’s was half full, showing that it had lost some custom to Cassis on that day. Moreau will have to check on his branches – I was in the Constantia branch yesterday, and was served by a chewing gum chewing staff member, an absolute no-no in the hospitality industry. Cassis Paris has an opportunity to serve teas and coffees from its Constantia branch on a reduced scale, served with its great pastries, given the poor coffees served by the close-by The Village Beanery.
POSTSCRIPT 3/6/12: Cassis Salon de thé has just opened in Gardens’ Centre, with a superb menu and excellent service. It is located on the upstairs level, and not next to its shop. The Vol au vent is excellent value at R48. All pastries stocked in the shop can be ordered to eat or take-away at the restaurant, but at a surcharge. Opening hours are Monday – Friday 7h30 – 19h00; Saturday 7h30 – 17h30; Sunday 7h30 – 14h30.
Cassis Paris Salon de Thé, Newlands Village, corner Kildare and Main Road, Newlands. Tel (021) 671-1305. French Oven Head Office Tel (021) 552-1305. www.cassis.co.za. (The website contains a listing of every product sold in the stores, with a description and a good quality photograph of each. The website does not list the new Constantia store, nor the Salon de Thé). Monday – Friday 8h00 – 18h00, Saturday 8h00 – 16h00, Sunday 8h00 – 14h00.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
For the past six months we have run a Restaurant winter specials list, many of which were extended until the end of September.
We are delighted that many restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands have seen the benefit of offering specials, and have decided to continue to do so for summer. The list follows below, and will be updated continuously:
* Pure at Hout Bay Manor: 3 course dinner for R200, and R280 with a glass of wine added, summer. Tel (021) 790-0116.
* Pepenero in Mouille Point : sirloin and chips R 79, seafood platter R 129, 1 kg prawn platter R 99, oysters R 9 each, sushi platter R109. Half price sushi all day. Summer. Tel (021) 439-9027
* Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square: lunch (6 options) at R 50. 3-course dinner at R 150, Autumn. Tel (021) 465-0967
* Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: oysters R 6 each, 1 kg prawns R 99, line fish R79, for lunch and dinner. 300 gram sirloin steak, spatchcock chicken peri peri, 500 gram spare ribs all R 79 for lunch only. Full sushi platter R99, half platter R50. Summer. Tel (021) 439-3494.
* Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront: half price sushi Monday – Saturday 12 – 6 pm; 25 % off sushi Sunday 12 – 2pm, 50 % off 2 – 6 pm. Summer. Tel (021) 421-5134
* 1800 Degrees in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Main Road, Green Point: 100g sirloin + 100g rump + 100g rib eye, and sauce = R99. Until end March. Tel (021) 430-0506
* Myoga at Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 6 course dinner, with 5 choices per course, for R 195, Mondays – Saturdays, continues throughout summer Tel (021) 657-4545
* Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 1 kg Prawns R 99; 50 % off sushi and cocktails all day Sunday, and from 12h00 – 19h00 weekdays. Mondays – Saturdays. Summer Tel (021) 418-2948.
* 221 Waterfront: 3-course meal and live music R135 on Wednesdays. Dine & Cruise package: 1,5 hour cruise, 2 glasses sparkling wine, 3-course meal R 370; Lunch & Cruise package: 1 hour cruise and meal R210. Until 30 April. Tel (021) 418-3633
* Jakes in the Village/on Summerley, in Tokai and Kenilworth, respectively: 25 % off all dishes but must have a main course as a minimum, 5 – 7 pm only, 25 % off flatbreads on Mondays; Free Peroni, glass of wine or coffee for lunch; every 6th lunch free on Loyalty Card. Mondays – Saturdays, Summer. Tel (021) 701 3272
* The Lookout Deck, Hout Bay: 1 kg for prawns R 99, pay for 12 oysters and get 18, until end March. Tel (021) 790-0900
* La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point: Autumn Tasting Menu dinner 6 courses R 240 for 2 persons, Tuesday – Sunday lunch and dinner. Tel (021) 433-0856
* Bertha’s in Simonstown: 1 kg mussels, 1 kg Queen prawns or 1 kg mini seafood platter cost R 99 each, R11 for Peroni linked to seafood platter. Calamari, mussel, chips, BBQ chicken and wing platter R99. Summer. Tel (021) 786-2138
* Pepperclub Luxury Hotel & Spa: 6 oysters and a glass of bubbly R60, Fridays from 16h00, with jazz. Current.
* Aubergine: 2-course lunch R184, 3-course lunch R235, Wednesdays – Fridays, Summer. Tel (021) 465-4909
* Balducci’s: All pizzas (except Flaming Prawns) R49, 26-piece Platinum Sushi Plate for R99, Burgers from R55. Monday – Sunday, 12h00 – 18h00, indefinite. Tel (021) 421-6002
* Ferryman’s Tavern, V&A Waterfront: Combo-specials R100 (linefish + calamari), R85 (sirloin + calamari), R99 (pork rib + chicken wings), Mussel hotpot R75, chocolate mudpie R26. Summer. Tel (021) 419-7748
* Hildebrand: 2 courses R 99, 3 courses R 130; Summer. Tel (021) 425-3385
* Chenin Restaurant and Bar: 200g Sirloin steak R65, Cape Malay prawn curry R70, Moussaka R60 + glass of wine. From 5 May, for Autumn. Tel 021 425-2200
* Leaf Restaurant and Bar: 51 % off sushi from 11h00 – 19h00, and all day on Sunday; 12 prawn platter R89, Dimsum 30 % off. 50 % off cocktails all day Sunday. Summer. Tel (021) 418-4500
* Blowfish in Blouberg: R49 lunch specials, e.g. chicken schnitzel, 12-piece sushi, 6 oysters, hake and chips. Current Tel (021) 556-5464
* Cafe Chic: Six Moroccan tapas for R 70. 2 course meal R 100, 3 course meal R 120. Until 15 April. Tel (021) 465-7218
* OYO at V&A Hotel : 500g crayfish special R185. Summer. Tel (021) 419-6677
* Vanilla, Cape Quarter: 1/2 price sushi 12h00 – 18h00, half-price cocktails. Summer. Tel (021) 421-1391
* Adega, Sea Point: 1 kg King Prawns R119. Summer. Tel (021) 434-3029
* Knife restaurant, Century City: Bagel R35; Salad R45; Rib, meatball, chicken wing and chip platter R60, all specials include a beer/glass of wine/colddrink and coffee. Lunch special, 12h00 – 15h00, Mondays – Fridays. Summer. Tel (021) 551-5000
* St Elmo’s, Kloof Str, Gardens: Cheese-filled crust slices R17,90, until 17h00 daily; 2 large regular pizzas R99,90 daily all hours; 2 pizzas R79,90 Tuesdays all hours. Dipping strips – two for R99,90. Individual small pizza + Coke R29,90 Monday – Friday, until 16h00 daily. Summer. Tel (021) 422-2261
* Saul’s Sushi @ Vegas, Sea Point: Eat as much sushi as you like = R120 – Mondays and Tuesdays; 30 piece sushi platter R99 – Wednesdays and Thursdays; Oriental Buffet = R79 – Fridays and Saturdays; two for the price of one – Sundays. Current. Tel 087 151 4595
* Bhandaris Indian Restaurant: Buffet R99 Wednesday dinner and Sunday lunch and dinner. Two main meals for R99 on Mondays. 30 % off for pensioners on Tuesdays. Until 30 April. Tel (021) 702-2975/Tel (021) 782-1525.
* Zorba’s, Lagoon Beach Hotel, Milnerton: Starter and main course R100 on Monday nights. Summer. Tel (021) 528-2093
* San Marco, V&A Waterfront: 3 course meal plus Peroni or glass of wine and tea/coffee R99. Until 15 December, 15 January – 31 March. Tel (021) 418-5434
* Trees Restaurant, Townhouse Hotel, Cape Town: 2 course dinner R95, 3 courses R130. Summer. Tel (021) 465-7050
* Down South Food Bar, 267 Long Street: Rib & Prawn Platter including a side and sauces R75, until end February. Tel (021) 422-1155.
* Mainland China Restaurant, 111 Main Road, Claremont: Seafood Buffet R89, Saturdays 18h30 – 21h00; Buffet R 49; 50 % sushi discount Tuesday – Sunday. Tel (021) 674-2654
* Il Cappero, Barrack Street: “Eat as much as you can” lunch buffet R75, Monday – Friday. Summer. Tel 461-3168
* Cape Town Fish Market: Sirloin and Calamari Surf and Turf R64,65; Surf and Turf Supreme, with 8 prawns, R99,95. Until 2 May. Calamari duo and 300ml soda R68,95, only at V&A Waterfront, until 15 April. Tel (021) 418-5977
* Trinity, Bennett Street: “All you can eat” Dim Sum R135. Two-for-one burgers Wednesdays. Pizza R50 until 7 pm daily. “All you can eat” ribs Mondays R99. Tel (021) 418-0624
* French Toast, Bree Street: Bruschetta tapas free; Sauvignon.com R 20 per glass. Monday – Saturdays 5 – 7 pm. Tel (021) 422-3839.
* Cru Café Restaurant & Wine Bar, Cape Quarter: Scrambled egg and salmon breakfast for 2 plus bottomless cup of coffee R 78, Weekdays; 2 gourmet burgers with onion rings, French fries and Stella Artois beer R120 weekday lunch; Two pastas and two glasses of wine R99. Sunday – Tuesday evenings. Comfort food (Bobotie or Bredie) for two for R 119, including 2 glasses of wine, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. T-bone steak (350g) for two at R150, Friday and Saturday evenings. Until September. Tel (021) 418-6334
* Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: Beef ribs 500 gram BBQ-basted beef ribs and starch R75, Wednesdays only Tel (021) 418-9393
* The Square, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: ‘Tastes of 2011’ focuses on different theme every month, from April – September. April theme is ‘Best of British’, with British menu change weekly, 2 courses R 140 or 3 courses R 170. Dinner only, Monday – Sunday. Tel ()21) 657-4500
* Dunes, Hout Bay : Sunday brunch with smoked salmon, oysters and cooked breakfast R 100. Tel (021) 790-1876
* Sinn’s Restaurant, Wembley Square: Lunch R 50 (choice of six options); 3-course dinner plus glass of wine R 150. Autumn Tel (021) 465-0967
* Café Nood, Claremont: Pizza and glass of wine or a Peroni at R45 via Dealio. Current. Tel (021) 671-4475
* Arnold’s on Kloof, 60 Kloof Street, Gardens: Jack Black stew (type of stew changes throughout winter)for two plus bottle of Altydgedacht R99. Tel (021) 424-4344. Throughout winter.
* Five Flies, Keerom Street: 350g steak plus glass of wine R110. 15 April – 15 May. Tel (021) 424-4442
* Balducci’s, V&A Waterfront: Alfresco Lunch specials – soup and salad R89, fish R89, calamari R89, seafood platter for two R245, Steak Roll and chips R85, Steak and chips R99, Burgers from R55 – R75, Glass of wine R27, bottle R99. daily 12h00 – 16h00. Tel (021) 421-6002
* Harbour House, Kalk Bay: 2-courses R140, 3-courses R160. May. Tel (021) 788-4133
* Live Bait, Kalk Bay: Prawns and stir fry Asian noodle salad R 60. Sunday – Thursday evenings in May. Tel (021) 788-5755
* Polana, Kalk Bay: Steak, chips and mushroom sauce, R50, Sunday – Wednesday dinner April; Half free-range flame-grilled chicken R50, Sunday – Thursday dinner and Saturday lunch, May. Tel (021) 788-7162
* Massimo’s Pizza Club, Hout Bay: “Order any 2 adult take away (pizza, pasta salad)” to a minimum value of R100, and get an &Union beer, Darling Brew beer or a 500ml bottle of Bob’s Your Uncle wine for free, all day Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays until 17h00. Current Tel 073 390 1373.
* Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250g steaks at R 115, including a glass of estate wine, current. Lunch until 7 pm, Sunday – Thursday. Sunday Spit Braai with live music R175. Summer Tel (021) 874-1021
* Olivello, Klapmuts, outside Stellenbosch: 2-course meal R 115, 3-course meal R 135 plus glass of wine. Summer. Tel (021) 875-5443
* Ryan’s Kitchen at Rusthof, Franschhoek : 3-course dinner R 195; 6 course Taste of Africa dinner R295. Autumn. Tel (021) 876-4598.
* Restaurant Christophe, Stellenbosch: business lunch – 2 courses R130, 3 courses R 150, Tuesday – Friday, served within one hour, all year. Tel (021) 886-8763
* Allora in Franschhoek: mini-seafood platter R100, gorgonzola rump steak R95, marinated venison R95; 3-course Sunday lunch R99. Summer. Tel (021) 876-4375.
* L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 3 course lunch and glass of wine R 140. Current. Tel (021) 876-9200
* Laborie Restaurant in Paarl: 3 courses plus a glass of wine R145, until April.
* The Restaurant @ Clos Malverne: 4 course Food and Wine pairing menu R148, includes four courses and four wines. Tuesday – Sundays.
* 96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: Free main course for May birthday boys and girls, to celebrate the restaurant’s 15th birthday. Tel (021 842-2020
* Dornier Bodega, Stellenbosch: Meat-free Mondays, Comfort Tuesdays, Pasta Wednesdays, Soup Thursdays, Fish Fridays, R79, lunch, May – September, Tel (021) 880-0557
* Towerbosch Restaurant, Knorhoek Wine Estate, Stellenbosch: Soup & Bredie Menu with soup and bredie R90, Wednesdays – Saturdays; Asado Argentian-style braai on Sundays R165. May – August. Tel (021) 865-2958
* Season in Hermanus: Sunday roast R 65 – R75, 3-course Sunday lunch R 110. Summer. Tel (028) 316-2854
* Mediterrea in Hermanus: 3 course meal R 195, Monday – Thursday dinners and Sunday lunches, current Tel (028) 313-1685
* The Class Room Restaurant, Hermanus: 3 course meal plus amuse bouche, palate cleanser, coffee and friandises R 165. 6 – 30 April. Tel (028) 316-3582
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Copyright: Whale Cottage Portfolio
Foresters Arms, or Forries as it is commonly known, is a Newlands landmark, having been built as an inn in 1880, as a halfway station between Cape Town and Simonstown. With its English Tudor style building, I chose it as the pub to watch the England versus Slovenia match.
I had not been to Forries since an Ikeys/Maties Intervarsity rugby match about 35 years ago, and it felt as if the interior of the pub had not changed one bit since then! It comes across as a goldmine, into which no money has been re-invested for years, at least not as far as its decor goes. Its wagon-wheel lamps, black and white photographs of the original inn, its wooden benches and tables, set up school-wise so that one sees the backs of the persons in front of one, and old-fashioned menu design all date the pub. I was disappointed with the lack of “gees’ of the predominantly England supporters, even though the pub had lots of flags up outside the building, the staff wore soccer shirts (the only pub visited that showed its World Cup spirit in this way), and England was winning.
In addition to the very extensive menu, a reduced World Cup laminated menu is presented. The reduced menu offers 200 gram baskets of crumbed mushrooms for R 47, and barbeque ribs for R 43, and a 250 gram basket of peri-peri chicken wings for R 40. A 250 gram “super rump” steak sounds good value at R 78, while three wrap choices cost around R 60. A Moroccan chicken salad costs R 58. I saw some patrons order chips, probably the most popular item on the menu, which cost R 17/R34.
The main menu, whilst offering varied choices, almost seems overdone, especially as I hardly saw anyone eating during or before the match. It offers every possible food type, starting with breakfast options ranging from R 28 – R 49; eight starters range from R 35 – R 58, and include chicken livers, mussels, springbok carpaccio; all steaks are 250 gram, and the most expensive is the fillet steak at R 135, not inexpensive at that price. Salads range in price from R58 – R 65, and it is surprising there is such a choice available, given that most patrons I saw were male. Fourteen pizza options are offered, the most expensive being a Figaro Pizza (bacon, blue cheese, and figs). I had the pizza with a mushroom, asparagus and avocado topping, and was extremely disappointed – I could not taste the asparagus, yet tasted something in a sauce, covered in cheese. It tasted most unappetising, and was not attractive either, yet cost R 68. Fish and chips cost R 60. Schnitzel, chilli steak and steak rolls are also available. As if this is not enough choice, they have a section called “A la carte” – was the rest of the menu not that already? – with a mix-match of Gourmet Karoo Lamb Burger (R65), calamari strips, tiger prawns (8 for R 135), steak and kidney pie, chicken pie, mussels, gammon steak, green chicken curry and pork ribs. A carvery at R 95 is another option, but is only served on Sundays and public holidays. The manager told me that the steak and kidney pie, the Forries pizza and their burgers are by far the most popular menu items.
The winelist is introduced as follows: “The wines we have selected have also been accredited by the Platter Wine Guide”. One cannot imagine anyone drinking other than beer at Forries, but they do sell some very inexpensive wines by the glass (R18 for Robertson Chapel white and rose), Savanha Chardonnay costs R 22, and Spier Cabernet Sauvignon and Barista cost R 35 each. John B wines cost R23. But Forries also stocks Moet et Chandon at R 700; Simonsig and Graham Beck sparkling wine at around R 200; Spier Private Cellar shiraz costs R 230. Corkage is charged at R 30.
“Forries offers the largest selection of draught beer in the Cape”, according to the winelist, and its 500ml Amstel and Windhoek cost R20,50; Castle costs R18,50; Hansa R18; Mitchels R20; Peroni R22,50; Pilsner Urquell R24,50; and Guinness R25,50 – these prices are very good value compared to bottled beers served at other pubs. The quantity of beer is not specified nor requested when ordering, and I was only told afterwards that a 330ml size was available for all the draught beers.
It is hard to imagine what attracts clients to Forries, other than the tradition of going there from varsity days, good parking availability, and its good value and range of draught beer. It cannot be the food (the worst of all the pubs to date) nor the decor. I rated it luke-warm on World Cup “gees”, and nothing would drag me back to Forries again.
Foresters Arms, 57 Newlands Avenue, Newlands. Tel 021 689-5949. No website, but www.forries.co.za will go live in “about a month”!
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com