Tag Archives: Newport deli

Café Chic reopens with slick service, excellent cuisine, hands-on but controversial Chef Conrad Gallagher!

Cafe Chic exterior Whale CottageCafé Chic opened in Gardens in 1999, a Victorian building with a chic interior created by French owner Francoise Queyroi.  A year ago the restaurant was closed and placed on the market, but has not yet found a buyer. It was a surprise that Chef Conrad Gallagher has taken over the building, renting it lock, stock and barrel, including its cutlery (by Helcometals from Egypt/France), crockery, glassware, table cloths, and serviettes, with a view to buying it in future.  Given Chef Conrad’s reputation related to a Cafe Chic Conrad Gallagher Whale Cottageprevious era of owning restaurants in Cape Town, it is brave of him to return!

Chef Conrad had opened Geisha in 2007 in the building alongside Newport Deli in Mouille Point, spending R3,5 million on its interior, when he received an eviction order, being informed that the building was to be demolished, to make way for a new building.  He moved to the Cape Royale Continue reading →

Many restaurant openings in Cape Town and Winelands contrary to past winter trend!

Chef's Warehouse Street Food logo Whale Cottage PortfolioCape Town is seeing an amazing number of restaurant openings in mid-winter, a time during which one expects the opposite, it being usual to see restaurant closures.  Although a concern to some, we are seeing a rise in restaurant entrepreneurs, opening more than one restaurant in Cape Town, including Neil Grant with business partner Barry Engelbrecht (opening on Bree Street, as well as at the former River Café; Michael Townsend of the Harbour House Group, who must be the fastest restaurant-opener at the moment, also bringing star Chef Andres Conde from Michelin star restaurants in Spain to Cape Town; and grumpy Giorgio Nava, who is opening two Carne restaurants shortly! This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen has opened Street Food below the neighbouring hotel, offering Deluxe coffee, pastries, and Asian-inspired lunch take-outs. Operates from 7h00 – 15h00.

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   Lucky Fish & Chips has opened on Bree Street, on Regent Road in Sea Point, on Long Street, in Kalk Bay, and in Muizenberg, belonging to Harbour House group.  

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill is opening next to Sotano in Mouille Point.

*   Ragafellows has opened on Main Road in Hout Bay.

*   The Dogfather has opened in Sea Point.

*   The Restaurant at Cape Point Vineyards has opened, with Chef Clayton Bell of the former Constantia Uitsig Continue reading →

Winter restaurant openings in Cape Town and Winelands contrary to closures in past winters!

Chef's Warehouse Street Food logo Whale Cottage PortfolioCape Town is seeing an amazing number of restaurant openings in mid-winter, a time during which one expects the opposite, it being usual to see restaurant closures.  Although a concern to some, we are seeing a rise in restaurant entrepreneurs, opening more than one restaurant in Cape Town, including Neil Grant with business partner Barry Engelbrecht (opening on Bree Street, as well as at the former River Café; Michael Townsend of the Harbour House Group, who must be the fastest restaurant-opener at the moment, also bringing star Chef Andres Conde from Michelin star restaurants in Spain to Cape Town; and grumpy Giorgio Nava, who is opening two Carne restaurants shortly!   This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen has opened Street Food below the neighbouring hotel, offering Deluxe coffee, pastries, and Asian-inspired lunch take-outs. Operates from 7h00 – 15h00.

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   Lucky Fish & Chips has opened on Bree Street, on Regent Road in Sea Point, on Long Street, in Kalk Bay, and in Muizenberg, belonging to Harbour House group.  

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill is opening next to Sotano in Mouille Point.

*   Ragafellows has opened on Main Road in Hout Bay.

*   The Dogfather has opened in Sea Point.

*   The Restaurant at Cape Point Vineyards has opened, with Chef Clayton Bell of the former Constantia Uitsig at Continue reading →

First signs of winter as first Cape Town/Winelands restaurants close down!

Chef's Warehouse Bree Street Whale Cottage Portfolio (2)Many restaurants opened this summer, but the industry is taking its first toll, with restaurants closing down.  It may be a tough winter ahead, given the poor state of the economy.  Yet Neil Grant and Barry Engelbrecht (Burrata), Clayton Howard and Mico Botha (I Love my Laundry), and Michael Townsend (La Parada, Lucky Fish, Harbour House) are expanding their portfolios.

This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Chef’s Warehouse & Cookery School has moved to Bree Street, in the Cape Heritage hotel building, where Awestruck/Caveau used to be, and is now called Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, with Chef Liam Tomlin in the kitchen.  Street Food has also opened as a take-away outlet (7h00 – 15h00)

*   Diesel & Creme, a diner, restaurant, and coffee shop, has opened on the R62 in Barrydale.

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   The Tap Room has opened at Devils’ Peak Brewery

*   I  my Laundry has opened another (its third) branch on Buitenkant Street.

*   Jordan Wines has launched a Deli and Bakery.

*   Lucky Fish & Chips has opened on Bree Street, on Regent Road in Sea Point, on Long Street, in Kalk Bay, and in Muizenberg, belonging to Michael Townsend of the Harbour House group.

  Tümi has opened as a health food café in St John’s Piazza in Sea Point, being part of the Col’Cocchia group. Continue reading →

Many new restaurants open in Cape Town and Winelands! How long will they last?

Umi Interior Pink blossoms Whale Cottage PortfolioMany 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:

Restaurant Openings

*    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 →

Carne (and other restaurant) cons!

While we all love to eat out, it is disappointing when one gets taken for a ride by restaurants making false claims, or if they are dishonest in the presentation of their product and service.

My favourite hobby horse is wines-by-the-glass.  I have discovered regularly that the chosen vintage for such wines is seldom that which is advertised on the winelist.   Few winelists have a disclaimer, covering them for a vintage running out.   I always ask for the wine to be poured at the table – I also want to taste it before a glassful is poured.  Few restaurants do this.  Last week, at Wijnhuis in Newlands, a restaurant that places wines prominently in the foreground, I ordered a glass of Delheim Shiraz 2004, as per the winelist.   The waiter brought the poured glass to the table.  When I asked him to pour it at the table he came with a 2006 bottle.  When questioned about the vintage difference, he shrugged his shoulders.  The vintages had run out, he said, as if to say – so what?!    The older the wine, the more expensive it is.  So therefore, by deduction, a restaurant should charge less if the vintage is younger than advertised. 

At Vaudeville earlier this month four glasses of wine were poured out of a bottle, and the bottle was not left on the table.  When we asked for the rest of the wine, we were told that it was finished.  Any restaurateur will tell you that you can pour up to 6 glasses of wine out of a 750 ml bottle.   The GM begrudgingly brought 2 further glasses of wine to the table.   Surprisingly they do not tell you that the bottle is finished, nor sell you another!  

Newport Deli in Mouille Point wipes the mayonnaise off the tuna and chicken from the previous day’s sandwiches, puts them onto fresh bread, adds new mayonnaise, and calls the sandwiches “fresh”!

According to an ex-waiter of Bayside Cafe in Camps Bay, the left-over vegetables (usually butternut and spinach) returned from the table are put back into containers, and re-used for the next patrons!

A more devious dishonesty is when a restaurant makes a claim on its menu and website that it serves only organic beef, lamb and game from the owner’s farm in the Karoo, and an insider whistleblower tells friends that the restaurant in fact uses meat delivered from the same meat suppliers used by other restaurants in Cape Town.   The restaurant in question is Carne, well-known as a specialist meat/steak restaurant, which states on its website:  “Dedicated entirely to meat as is evident from its Italian name, Carne SA is a carnivore’s paradise serving a unique offering of the finest cuts of Romagnola beef, Dorper lamb and game, all organically grown on Giorgio’s own Karoo farms.   To test this allegation before confronting Carne, the December statement and an invoice from one of Carne’s largest meat suppliers – Gastro Foods – which supplied about R60 000 worth of meat, including Romagnola “beef T-bone”, “beef prime rib Carne” and “Beef Rump Swiss”, to Carne in December, were checked.  Botes Meat Centre also supplied Carne with meat to the value of about R15 000 in the same month.   We then wrote to Carne owner Giorgio Nava, asking him to comment on the allegation that not all his meat, as claimed on his website and his menu, comes from his farm and that not all of it is organic.   This was his reply:   The traditional meat suppliers in cape town supply us from time to time with offal ( because we need fresh daily, impossible from the Karoo ) and two traditional suppliers store my carcase when ,my two cold rooms are full. One traditional supplier cuts my meat from time to time when I cannot handle the amount of work. We buy samples of meat from many suppliers to compare regularly with our grass fed meat. Hope my answer satisfies you.  Regards,  Giorgio Nava”!   With a purchase of R 30 000 – R 60 000 per month of beef from Gastro Foods, and about R 15 000 – R 20 000 from Botes Meat Centre, it appears likely that most of the beef served at Carne is NOT from the Karoo, NOR is all of it organic!!!   This is outright dishonesty, unacceptable for any restaurant, and especially for one on the Eat Out Top 20 list.

POSTSCRIPT (30 January)

Since this post was published, Giorgio Nava has called, and explained that he rears beef on his farm in the Karoo, and sells the carcasses to meat suppliers such as Gastro Foods at market-related prices.  They cut these up, and he buys the beef cuts that he serves at Carne back from them, at market-related prices.   This was his written reply:  Chris I think you’ve got the wrong information. The two butchers you mentioned in your article buy my whole carcases they mature for me they cut for me as I stated before and they sell back to me the cut I need for my menu  as I cannot utilise the whole carcase in my restaurant.”  

This was confirmed by Andreas Reichmuth, the GM of Gastro Foods, who called proactively to support Carne.   HOWEVER, Mr Reichmuth spontaneously volunteered, without being asked, that he delivers ostrich and game to Carne too, which does not come from Mr Nava’s Karoo farm.   Gastro Foods does not supply lamb.

Despite legal pressure from Mr Nava and his lawyer, we stand by our story that not all meat prepared at Carne is from Mr Nava’s Karoo farm, and may not all be organic,on the following grounds:

1.  Mr Nava has confirmed that he does buy in “meat from many suppliers to compare regularly with our grass fed meat”.

2.  Gastro Foods’ GM confirmed on 29 January that his company supplies to Carne game that is not from Mr Nava’s farm

3.  Rossouw’s Restaurants wrote on 10 January 2009 that “….plus some of the meat comes from Nava’s own farm”, implying that not all of it does come from the Karoo farm.

We have requested Mr Nava to provide us with details of the lamb that he uses, and whether it is supplied by a meat supplier, and whether this is done on the same basis as the arrangement he has with Gastro Foods for the beef supply.   We have also asked for organic certification of his meats.  Both requests were denied, and the writer has been referred to Mr Nava’s lawyer.

We are surprised that Mr Nava did not explain the sale of his beef carcasses and buy-back relationship when he was approached for comment prior to the publishing of the post.  He offered no information about his lamb and game supply.   We asked Mr Nava: “I have been told that your website may be misleading in claiming that all the meats that you use are organically produced on your Karoo farms, and that they might in fact be delivered by traditional meat suppliers in Cape Town”.

POSTCRIPT (2 February) 

Mr Nava’s lawyer has written to confirm that Carne has a similar sell/buy-back relationship with Botes Meat Centre as far as his lamb and game is concerned.  He did not address the request for the organic certification.   He also wrote that “Mr Nava considers this matter to be at an end”. 

The controversial claim on the Carne website has not yet been amended.

POSTSCRIPT 3 (24 April)

Carne has finally “admitted” that its marketing has been misleading – read our follow-up story here.

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

Southern Right Charters Sweet and Newport Deli Sour Service Awards

The Sweet Service Award goes to Southern Right Charters in Hermanus, who spontaneously gave Whale Cottage Hermanus guests a 50 % refund on the whale watching trip fee, as they had only seen 3 whales in the 2,5 hour cruise in December. 

 

 

 

The Sour Service Award goes to Newport Deli in Mouille Point, whose kitchen staff take the previous day’s leftover sandwiches, wipe the mayonnaise off the chicken or tuna filling, add new mayonnaise and place this back on a fresh slice of bread, calling their sandwiches “fresh” on their menu!

 

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.