Tag Archives: Nigel Pace

Neil Ellis and Rianie Strydom Cabernet Sauvignons co-winners in Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report 2017!

Yesterday the 2017 Winemag.co.za Prescient Cabernet Sauvignon Report awards were presented at the colorful The Stack, a well attended function, and offering good lighting for photography. Winemag goes to great lengths to find interesting venues to host its awards. It is the sixth Cabernet Sauvignon Report presented by Winemag.
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Hermanuspietersfontein undergoing a transformation, introduces Kaalvoet Meisie 2015!

imageOn Thursday I had the pleasure of lunching with Hermanuspietersfontein ‘Creative Maverick’ Gerrie Heyneke and his assistant Anika de Goede, at the colourful The Stack. They introduced me to their Kaalvoet Meisie Sauvignon Blanc 2015, and shared details of the exciting transformation lying ahead for the winery, which was established eleven years ago. Continue reading →

Exciting restaurant openings and changes in Cape Town and Winelands today!

imageThe rate of new and planned restaurant openings seems slower than at the beginning of previous summer seasons.   Restaurateur Michael Townsend of the Harbour House Group continues unabated in opening new restaurants. Exciting news for Franschhoek is the ownership change today of Le Quartier Français by the Leeu Collection!  Today’s date of 1 September appears a number of times below!  We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously.

Restaurant Openings

*     Vicky Cristina’s tapas bar y restaurante espanol has opened in Camps Bay (photograph).

*   De Warenmarkt has opened in Stellenbosch, a mix of market, deli, bar, and pop-up restaurant 

*   Open Door has opened at Constantia Uitsig, the third restaurant to be opened by Neil Grant and his business Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 23 July

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines 

*   The South African Reserve Bank announced today that it will increase the interest rate by 0,25 %!

*   The Table Mountain Aerial Cableway will close for its annual maintenance on Monday 27 July until 9 August. Maintenance work will be undertaken, and the cable car cabins will be upgraded too. The maintenance work is overseen by Swiss engineers, to meet the global cableway safety standards of the Swiss Governing Body for Cableways.

*   Uber is looking at introducing UberPool, allowing the sharing of Continue reading →

Few new Restaurant openings lying ahead in Cape Town and Winelands!!

Open Door Kitchen and Bar Whale CottageWinter has set in, and the rate of new restaurant openings has almost ground to a halt, as has the move of chefs between restaurants.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*   Open Door has opened at Constantia Uitsig, the third restaurant to be opened by Neil Grant and his business partner Barry Engelbrecht (of Burrata and Bocca), previously the River Café. (photograph)

*   Michael Townsend of the Harbour House Group is planning to open two new restaurants on the Muizenberg beachfront: a 160-seater Live Bait, and Howlin’ Wolf, a burger and beer quick service restaurant. Continue reading →

Cape Town & Winelands Restaurant closures bad sign for winter to come!

Capetonians are still reeling from the news that the country’s and our city’s largest restaurant, Paulaner Bräuhaus, closed down on Sunday evening, after ten years of operating in the V & A Waterfront.  Our blogpost about this closure has received more than 1000 unique views in the past 48 hours, an unheard of high readership demonstrating the interest in this story.  Kloof Street appears to be experiencing a particularly bad series of restaurant closures, the street having the most restaurants in Cape Town.  Our list of latest restaurant openings and closures will be updated continuously, as we receive information.

Cape Town

*   Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room has opened on Bree Street, as an American-style diner, owned by Lyndall Maunder, ex-Superette

*   Chez Chez Espresso and Cheesecake Bar has closed down off Kloof Street, Tamboerskloof.

*   The Black Pearl (ex-Seven Sins) on Kloof Street has closed down

*   Andy Fenner (JamieWho?) and friends have opened Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in Metal Lane, 8 Kloof Street, opposite McDonald’s.  They are stocking Farmer Angus McIntosh’s beef, Richard Bosman’s pork, and eggs and chicken from Simply Wholesome.  A barista will make coffee, and Jason will bake special chorizo muffins and bacon brioche for them.

*   Neil Grant, ex-sommelier of Rust en Vrede, has opened Burrata, a new restaurant in the Old Biscuit Mill

*   Societi Brasserie has opened in Constantia

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, Eat Out Top Chef, has opened the Pot Luck Club, a Tapas Bar next to The Test Kitchen (photograph above). He will also open a real Test Kitchen, a private experimental place to develop new recipes

*   The Bungalow has opened as a 400-seater restaurant where La Med used to be, part of the Kovensky Group, also owning Pepenero, Paranga, The Kove and Zenzero.

*   La Belle Café & Bakery has opened in the Alphen Boutique Hotel.

*   5 Rooms Restaurant has opened at the Alphen Boutique Hotel

*   Gypsy Café has opened in Observatory

*   Kuzina in the Cape Quarter has been sold, and is now called Rocca.

*   Sabrina’s, which opened about two months ago where Depasco was, at the corner of Kloof and Long Street, has closed down

*   Arts Café has opened at Artscape.

*   Chef Craig Paterson has started as Executive Chef at Dash (Queen Victoria Hotel), the V&A Hotel, and Dock House

*   Caveau at the Josephine Mill has closed down

*   Café Sofia in Green Point has become Slainte

*   Knead has opened a large outlet in Lifestyle on Kloof, Gardens

*   Mitico has opened a pizzeria and ’spaghetteria’ on Kloof Street, where St Elmo’s used to be

*   Mamma Mia in Steenberg has closed down

*   Don Pedro’s in Woodstock has re-opened, under Madame Zingara management

*   Madame Zingara is said to be re-opening in its original building on Loop Street

*   Tong Lok on Kloof Street has closed down.

*   Mason on Kloof Street has closed down (to become a Slug & Lettuce)

*   Buzz on Kloof Street has closed down

*   Myög has opened as a frozen yoghurt outlet, at 103 Kloof Street

*   Thai Café has opened in the old Cape Quarter

*   Paulaner Bräuhaus in the V&A Waterfront has closed down!

*   The Fez is closing down.

*   Giorgio Nava’s Down South Food Bar has closed down

*   Fat Back Soul has been renamed South China Dim Sum Bar

*   On a Roll has opened in Mowbray as a gourmet hot dog restaurant

*   The Dog’s Bollocks has opened as a burger pop-up restaurant

*   Saints Burger Joint has opened on Kloof Street

*   Cape Bubble Tea, which recently opened in Camps Bay, has closed down

*   Dear Me has opened its Pantry

*   Chef Jannie Melis has left French Toast

*   Jackal & Hide has opened on Kloof Street

*   Eat on Breda Street has closed down

*   Graham Beck’s Gorgeous bubbly bar has opened at Catharina’s at Steenberg, with Jenna Adams as the Manager.

*   Operator Pamela Trevelyan and Chef Lana Doyle have left Sunbird Bistro in Camps Bay.

*   Col’Cacchio is opening new outlets in Claremont and Westlake

*   Chef Daniel Botha, who started at Salt restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel in November, has left. Dale Thebus is the new head chef.

*   Vaudeville has closed down

*   Shin Tai Asian Kitchen is opening on Regent Road in Sea Point

*   Bistro 1682 Manager Juergen Welp has left, and has been replaced by Marc Cowen.  Assistant Manager Jenna Adams has moved over to Catharina’s to run Gorgeous by Graham Beck.  New assistant managers are Cable Ermstrom and Hilton Klassen.

*   A new Vida é Caffe is opening on Prestwich Street in April, and a cupcake shop is said to be opening around the corner, on Ebenezer Street, next to T & Co/Table 13, in Green Point

*   GM Nigel Pace has left the Cape Grace Hotel

*   Il Cappero will moving from Barrack Street to Fairway Street in Camps Bay, opening in May.

*   Saints on 84 Kloof has opened on Kloof Street

*   Sushibox has opened at Newlands Village

*   Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro has opened on Main/Glengariff Roads in Sea Point, as a dinner theatre (from May), and restaurant, owned by Richard Loring and Roland Seidel

*   ‘I my Laundry laundry restaurant has opened on Buitengracht Street

*   West Street Café has opened in the new Woodstock Foundry, owned by Chef Alan West

*   Orphanage has opened as a cocktail and tapas emporium on Bree Street

*   Valora on Loop Street has closed down

*   ACT Restaurant and Play Bar at the Baxter Theatre closed down overnight on the last March weekend, without paying its rent for the past three months.

*   Philip Arno Botes is the new Chef at Pure Restaurant at Hout Bay Manor.

*  Take & Bake German Bakery has closed down on Main Road Sea Point

*  Maz Sushi has closed down on Main Road Sea Point

*   Planet Green Salad Bar has opened on Kloof Street

*  Burrata will introduce a new 3-course food and wine pairing menu before the end of April.

*  Vanilla in the Cape Quarter has closed down.

*   Chef Bruce Robertson has opened Bruce’s Beach House for lunches, in Scarborough

*   Cake designer Martin Senekal has closed Cafeteria in De Waterkant, now only selling on order and at the Old Biscuit Mill market

*   Madame’s on Napier has opened in De Waterkant

*   Moyo is to open where the Paulaner Braühaus was in the V & A Waterfront.

*   Sinn has closed down its Deli at Wembley Square

*   Table Thirteen is closing down in Green Point and moving to Paarden Eiland at the end of May


* Leopard’s Leap has opened its Tasting room and Liam Tomlin Food Studio and Store outside Franschhoek

*    Reuben’s is opening a Franschhoek branch in his self-owned building off the main road, when his Huguenot Road branch lease expires this year

*   Dieu Donné in Franschhoek has leased its restaurant to Martin and Marco from Durban, and they have renamed it Roca.

*   The sushi restaurant has closed down

*   MCC Franschhoek has opened in the Village Square, opposite the church, stocking 34 MCC’s from Franschhoek and serving food as well

*  Babel Tea House has opened at Babylonstoren, serving sandwiches, cake and teas.

*  Donovan Dreyer from Grande Provence has resigned, and started as Restaurant Manager of Indochine at Delaire Graff.  Aldo du Plessis has taken over as Restaurant Manager at Grande Provence.

*  The Franschhoek Food Emporium has closed down.

*   Bijoux Chocolates has closed down its chocolate manufacture, will continue selling chocolates.

*   Chef Bjorn Dingemans has left The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz, to open up a new restaurant on Lourensford wine estate in spring. Cheyne Morrisby is the new chef at the Franschhoek Kitchen.

*   Chef Vanie Padayachee has joined Le Quartier Français

*   Chef Darren Roberts is leaving Grande Provence for a new appointment in the Seychelles at the end of April.

*   Alton van Biljon has been appointed as Restaurant Manager at Haute Cabriere.


*    Cavallo restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this year or next

*   Cupcake on Dorp Street has closed down, and Dorpstraat Deli will open

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened a bar, serving Bartinney wines, and craft beers.

*   Bruce von Pressentin has been appointed as Executive Chef at The Restaurant @ Longridge

*   David Higgs has resigned as Executive Chef from Radisson Blu Gautrain in Johannesburg (previously with Rust en Vrede), and was said to be headed for his home country Namibia.  He starts at The Saxon in Johannesburg in May.

*   Slug & Lettuce will open where Beads is on Church Street

*   De Huguenot, with its Harry Q Bar and wedding reception facilities, will be auctioned on 14 March.

*   Stables at Vergelegen Bistro has opened as a lunch restaurant in Somerset West.  Its Lady Phillips Restaurant is being given a make-over by Christo Barnard, and will open in June, with a new name called The Vergelegen Restaurant.

*   Warwick wine estate’s new chef is Dane Newton (ex-Chamonix, Cascade Manor).

* Tokara closes for a winter break from 22 April, re-opens on 4 May


* Chef Matthew Gordon has opened Harvest, a new restaurant at Laborie

*  The Spice Route Restaurant has opened on the ex-Seidelberg, now belonging to Fairview.


*    Simone’s Restaurant has opened in Napier

*   Tipples Bar and Grill has opened in Hermanus

*   Rivendell Estate and Bistro has opened as a restaurant and winetasting venue on the road between Hermanus and the N2, near the Kleinmond turn-off.

*  Grilleri has closed down

Garden Route

*   Katarina’s has opened at the Kurland Hotel.

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

FEDHASA is a farce!

FEDHASA is an association purporting to represent the interests of the hospitality industry.  However, the association pays lip service to its Small Accommodation segment, consisting of B&B’s, Guest Houses and Self-Catering establishments, and in essence therefore is nothing more than a hotel association. 

Currently four of the six FEDHASA Cape Board members (Phillip Couvaras from the Table Bay Hotel, Nigel Pace from the Cape Grace Hotel, Nils Heckscher from the Winchester Mansions, and Susanne Faussner from the Greenways Hotel) are from the Hotel segment, despite roughly equal numbers of hotels, small accommodation establishments, restaurants and allied suppliers making up the roughly 550 membership of FEDHASA Cape. Currently there is no Small Accommodation owner to look after the interests of this segment on the Board.  

In June, Faussner allowed herself to be nominated in the Small Accommodation segment, despite her hotel not meeting the description of B&B, Guest House or Self-Catering establishment.   This nomination was condoned by then-Chairman Nils Heckscher, who motivated his decision on the basis of the Greenways Hotel being “small”, clearly not  being aware that the FEDHASA Cape website clearly defines which type of establishments are represented in the Small Accommodation segment.  Hotels are a separate segment within FEDHASA Cape. 

Couvaras was elected as the new Chairman of FEDHASA Cape at the AGM in June, against a Guest House owner and a Restaurant representative.  He had only been in the country for four months when he was elected, an unknown entity in the local hospitality industry.   He naively admitted that he had been encouraged by the FEDHASA Board to stand as Chairman, to prevent the control of FEDHASA Cape from falling into non-Hotel hands!   After his election, he admitted that he did not know anything about Cape Town Routes Unlimited and Cape Town Tourism, and what they stood for. 

The recent press release sent out by FEDHASA Cape about MATCH is testimony to the big hotel perspective that FEDHASA propogates, especially as it has a MATCH representative on the National FEDHASA Board.  FEDHASA has encouraged all its members, including small accommodation establishments, to sign up with MATCH, despite hearing that MATCH is not favourable for Small Accommodation establishments.  Faussner was dead against the MATCH terms a year ago, when she was the Alternate Director of FEDHASA Cape! 

Couvaras angered his Alternate Directors by keeping them from the 1 August Board meeting by means of a dishonest e-mail, announcing the postponement of the Board meeting to a later date.  However the Board meeting did in fact take place.  An e-mail written to Couvaras 9 weeks ago, with subsequent reminders, to question the reason for the dishonesty, and the reasons for excluding the attendance of Alternate Directors at the Board meeting, remains unanswered, as do telephonic messages left with his efficient-sounding secretary.   Support for a reply from Couvaras was sought from National FEDHASA Board Chairman Eddy Khosa, who promised to return calls, but never did, and from Brett Dungan, CEO of FEDHASA’s national office, who refused to discuss the matter and rudely put down the phone.    Khosa remains Chairman of FEDHASA’s national board, despite having been suspended as CEO from the Johannesburg Tourism Company earlier this year. 

None of the Board members of FEDHASA Cape were elected constitutionally at the AGM, but this was written off to a “technical omission” and has been ignored.  Past Chairman Nils Heckscher and Couvaras have a very elastic interpretation of the Constitution, to suit their needs.

FEDHASA Cape recently tried to exaggerate the restaurant robbery situation is Sea Point, probably because one of its Director’s restaurants was affected, for the sake of obtaining publicity for the association.  The Sea Point police expressed its dissatisfaction about the misleading information in FEDHASA’s media statement.

For many years FEDHASA has set itself up as the lobbying body for the hospitality industry, and its media releases claim that it is “.. the lobbying body and watchdog for the South African hospitality industry nationally, and in all tiers of government on tourism, legislation, trading conditions, taxation, education and related industry issues.”   This is a hugely overstated claim, as no such discussions take place in FEDHASA Cape board meetings.  The Association did not manage to achieve any success in getting its input to the Sectoral Determination for the Hospitality Industry to be adopted by the Department of Labour.   Surprisingly, the Department of Labour is not represented on the national Board of FEDHASA, being one of the most important stakeholders for the industry.

Since its inception four years ago, Cape Town Routes Unlimited (CTRU) had one Board position for a FEDHASA Cape representative, taken up by Previous-FEDHASA Cape Chairmen Neil Markovitz and Nils Heckscher.   Heckscher resigned from the CTRU Board earlier this year, but would not tell his FEDHASA Cape Board why he had done so, other than citing “personal reasons”.   His letter of resignation from the CTRU Board was subsequently leaked to the Cape Argus, and cited the Board politics as one of his reasons for the resignation.  It is surprising that Heckscher did not persevere, in using his often-quoted strategy of “quiet diplomacy” to sort things out.  His resignation is detrimental to the hospitality industry, as it no longer has representation on the CTRU Board, now chaired by ex-Sun International CEO Peter Bacon.  FEDHASA Cape and CTRU have had an incestuous relationship, in that CTRU Executive Director Bekithemba Langilabele has been co-opted on to the FEDHASA Cape Board for the past few years. Despite the industry’s criticism of the ineffectiveness of CTRU in marketing Cape Town and the Western Cape, discussions about CTRU and how it could be given input by FEDHASA to meet the industry’s needs better were not encouraged by Heckscher.

Last year Heckscher and Langalibalele set about a rewrite of the Constitution, and their most important change was the introduction of a clause giving the Board the power to eject a fellow Director from the Board, despite directors being nominated and elected by the FEDHASA membership. 

Many FEDHASA members have questioned their membership benefits, and complain about being bombarded with e-mails from the association.   The administration and the marketing of the Association leave much to be desired, but this is condoned by the Board.   The fiduciary duty of the Board directors, prescribed by the Companies’ Act, cannot be exercised as the financials are never discussed in Board meetings.  The organisation’s finances are not very stable, with more members resigning than joining. The 2007/2008 financials were presented to the Board one week prior to the AGM.  Questions were refused, and directors were told to ask them at the AGM!

Couvaras, his Board and Executive Officer should be asked to resign, given their dishonest and discourteous behaviour towards the Alternate Directors.

The unprofessional and dishonest behaviour by Couvaras, and condonation thereof by his fellow directors, has led to the resignation of this writer as Alternate Director from the Board of FEDHASA, and the termination of the membership of all four Whale Cottages as FEDHASA Cape members.