Entries tagged with “One&Only”.

It had been rumoured that Chefs Richard Carstens and Reuben Riffel were starting a joint venture after Chef Richard left Tokara Restaurant, after eight years in its kitchen, at the end of September. Despite requesting both chefs for information about the new partnership since then, the collaboration of the two chefs in the restaurant consultancy RiffelCarstens was only formally announced this week. (more…)

This afternoon Eat Out announced its list of the Top 30 restaurants in our country for this year. The Top 20 restaurants will be revealed at the Awards ceremony on 18 November at GrandWest, and the Top 10 list within that ranking. There are some surprise inclusions and exclusions in this list.  (more…)

I had the misfortune to experience Dubai under less than perfect conditions, and with it Emirates airline, which once was the best airline in the world (now dropped to number four, as rated by Skytrax)! A City Tour by Sun Tours helped to restore my appreciation for what Dubai has to offer! (more…)

imageThe second Winelands Chocolate Festival takes place at the Blaauwklippen Wine Estate this weekend, celebrating all things chocolate!  (more…)

Fabtinel branding Whale CottageYesterday we went Italian at worldly Mondiall, enjoying nine very fine and fantastic Fantinel wines, with a broad spectrum of Prosecco, light white wines, and rich earthy red wines, introduced by Dr Marco Fantinel, President of Gruppo Vinicolo Fantinel. The company is adding South Africa to its list of elite distribution points.Fantinel DR Marco Fantinel Whale Cottage

We were served a glass of Fantinel Prosecco Extra Dry as the welcome drink, and served canapés of ceviche on sesame crisps, as well as pork belly.  The pork belly canapés appeared just as we were going upstairs for the tasting, and were finished before I could photograph them!

Dr Fantinel traced the development of the company back to his grandfather Mario Fantinel, a hotelier and retaurateur in Fruili, in (more…)

Burrata 'Pick me Up'  dessert Whale CottageLast year New Media Publishing changed its annual Eat Out magazine, having featured 1100 restaurants in earlier years.  Last year the Eat Out Top 500 restaurant guide was based on applications sent by restaurants themselves, and the top 500 selected by 50 food and restaurant writers and lovers.  This year the Eat Out 500 top restaurants could be nominated by anyone, mainly the public, and chosen and reviewed by a panel of 30, mainly food writers.

Earlier this week Eat Out announced the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist, which will guarantee those restaurants a space in the 2015 Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant Guide.

The selection and evaluation of the Eat Out Top 500 is sketchy: ‘...a list of candidates was selected (how, on which criteria?), rated (on which scale, on which criteria?), and reviewed by the panel‘ (the criteria for reviewing are mentioned as food – defined as menu composition, seasonality, and presentation – and ambiance, service, and wine/beverage selection).  Surely they mean that a particular member of the panel reviewed a particular restaurant?  The end result is described by Eat Out (twice in its media release) as a ‘power list of great restaurants‘! Someone alerted me to the hard sell to new restaurants by Eat Out to be listed on (more…)

Restaurant fireplaceThe Winter 2014 specials for more than 90 Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and are updated continuously. We welcome information about new specials, and the feedback about your meals at these restaurants:

Cape Town

*   Umi in Camps Bay: 3 course set menu R260, 5 courses R360, both include a shared bottle of Warwick First Lady. Order 3 meals off a la carte menu, get the 4th free.  Slow cooked shortrib R110, Karan beef sirloin R95, Japanese beer marinated Karan beef fillet R120, pork belly R90, warm salmon and black bean R120, and fish & fries R85.  Tel (021) 437-1802 (added 10/5/14)

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : Order 3 meals and get 4th (cheapest) free; Sirloin R89, Rump R89, Lamb cutlets R99, Seafood platter R149, Sushi platter R129, Crayfish tails R169, Veal schnitzel R95, Soup of day R40,  Prawn platter R139, Oxtail R110, and Osso Buco R89.  Half price sushi (selected items) all day. Daily. Tel (021) 439-9027 (updated 10/5/14)

*    5 Rooms, Alphen Boutique Hotel: 2 courses R170; 2 courses with bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R220; 3 courses R 220; 3 courses plus bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R 270. Sirloin R95, Baby chicken R95, Braised oxtail R110, Seafood bouillabaisse R135, Grilled Prawn R99, Slow braised lamb shank R115. Tel (021) 795-6313 (updated 10/5/14)

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay:    2 courses R160; 2 courses with bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R210;  3 courses (more…)

Eat Out magazine 2014 Whale Cottage PortfolioAs the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards were held early in November, it was the first time that we did not receive the annual Eat Out magazine at the gala dinner. It was however sent by post, a surprise gift, last week. A real surprise was that Johannesburg (24%) has almost as many Top 500 restaurants as Cape Town (26%) out of the total of 500.

New Media Publishing changed a number of aspects of its judging of the Top 10 Restaurant Awards this year, and this included their magazine as well. Instead of sending a number of freelance evaluators out to find the best restaurants country-wide, and to write a short summary review about them, they sent theireditorial panel‘ of 50 persons a spreadsheet of their restaurant database, requesting them to rate the restaurants they had eaten at in the last six months.  A number of aspects of the restaurants were evaluated, and the scores were added up, from which the top scoring 500 restaurants were selected.  The restaurant summaries in the magazine are based on a summary each restaurant that applied to be on the Top 500 restaurant list had supplied!

Cape Town has 132 ‘top‘ restaurants on the list, which oddly includes Cattle Baron (a steak restaurant chain), Col’Cacchio (a pizza chain), Dias Tavern (!), Hudson’s Burger Joint (a mini hamburger chain), Hussar Grill (a steak house chain), Jason (a bakery), My Basaar (a coffee shop), Reuben’s One & Only (!), Sababa Kitchen & Deli (predominantly take-away, with only a few chairs at the Bree Street branch), and taschas (coffee shop chain), all in the company of Eat Out Top 10 restaurants The Greenhouse and The Test Kitchen.  It is nice to see the relatively new Cheyne’s (more…)

Christmas Eve

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 6-course dinner and glass of Prosecco R350. Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel : 5-course menu R910.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Oasis Bistro, Mount Nelson Hotel: Buffet R650.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Tobago’s, Raddison Blu:  3-course R450.  Tel (021) 441-3000

*   The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: 3 courses R375.  Tel (021) 876-2729

Christmas Day lunch

*   The Square Restaurant, Vineyard Hotel: 3-course lunch R 415. Tel (021) 657-4500

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel: Buffet lunch, party hats, gift, crackers R945.  Tel (021) 437-9052 (sold out)

*   The Pavilion at The Marine, Marine Hotel, Hermanus: welcome drink, canapés, Christmas lunch, petit fours R 595.  Tel (028) 313-1000

* Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 6-course lunch with glass of Prosecco R350  Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson hotel: 5-course lunch R 950. Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Ballroom, Mount Nelson hotel: Buffet R700.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   1800° Restaurant, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: Christmas Lunch Buffet R320. Tel (021) 430-0506.

*   Tobago’s, Radisson Blu: Buffet R595.  Tel (021) 441-3000

*   Le Franschhoek hotel, Franschhoek:  Buffet R 395.  Tel (021) 876-8900

*   Le Coq Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Franschhoek: 3 courses R240. Tel (021) 876-4404

*  The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek:   3 courses R375.  Tel ()21) 876-2729

New Year’s Eve

* Café Chic: 6-course dinner R485.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 8-course dinner and glass of Prosecco R 450.  Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Blues, Camps Bay: 4-course dinner, DJ, and unlimited bubbly R1700   Tel (021) 438-2040

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay:  3-course dinner and welcome drink R 1000.  Tel (021) 438-0007

*   Hussar Grill, Camps Bay: 4-courses R475.  Tel (021) 438-0151

*   Azure at Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: Buffet and live music R 1895.  Tel ()21) 437-9000

*   The Conservatory at The Cellars-Hohenhort, R750.  Tel (021) 794-2137

*   Constantia Uitsig: 5-course dinner R 850.  Tel (021) 794-4480

*   Five Flies: 4-course menu, masked ball, and sparkling wine R600.  Tel (021) 424-4442

*   The Greenhouse, Cellars-Hohenhort, Constantia: 9-course dinner R950, or R1250 with wine.  Tel (021) 794-2137

*   La Colombe, Constantia: 5-course dinner, DJ, sparkling wine at midnight R1600.  Tel (021) 794-2390

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 5-course meal and glass of sparkling wine R795. Tel (021) 433-0856

* 1800° Restaurant, Green Point: 6-course dinner, and entrance to the VIP Sky Bar R1200.  Tel (021) 430-0506

*   Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course meal at R850.  Tel (021) 657-4545

*   Nobu, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront: 8-course dinner and band R2250. Tel (021) 431-5222

*   Orinoco: 3-course dinner, ‘Sixties’ theme, DJ, welcome cocktail, canapés, glass of sparkling wine R600.  Tel (021) 418-4544

*   Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town: 5-course dinner and band R1750.  Tel (021) 431-5222

*   The Roundhouse, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner, live music and DJ, sparkling wine R1650.  Tel (021) 438-4347

*   Salt Restaurant, Ambassador Hotel: 8-course tasting menu, glass of sparkling wine, band R995.  Tel (021) 439-7258

*   Savoy Cabbage: Canapés, Christmas cocktail, gala dinner R995.  Tel (021) 424-2626

*   Signal, Cape Grace hotel, V&A Waterfront:  4-course dinnerR1950.  Tel (021) 410-7100

*   The Table Bay Hotel, V&A Waterfront: cocktail reception, Buffet dinner, sparkling wine R2100.  Tel (021) 406-5000

*   Tjing Tjing Bar, Dear Me: entrance fee, food, and party R300.  Tel (021) 422-4920

*   The Boat House, Scarborough: 5-course dinner and sparkling wine R980.  Transfer R500 pp.  Tel 083 305 8533

*   Massimo’s, Hout Bay: Welcome drink, 4 course dinner R425.  Tel (021) 790-5645

*   GOLD: Cocktail on arrival, drumming, live music, ‘African Feast’, bubbly R1100.  Tel (021) 421-4653

*   Makaron, Majeka House, Stellenbosch: 4-course dinner R625.  Tel (021) 880-1549

*   Moyo, Spier, Stellenbosch: Welcome drink, 3-course meal, R495.  Tel (021) 809-1133

*   Restaurant at Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch: 8-course food and wine pairing R468.  Tel (021) 865-2022

*   Tokara, Stellenbosch: 8-course dinner R950.  Tel (021) 885-2550

*   Eat @ Simonsig, Paarl:   Live band, 3-courses, bubbly at midnight R275.  Tel (021) 863-3845.

*   The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Franschhoek: Welcome drink and midnight glass of sparkling wine as well as dancing, 7-course dinner R790.  Tel (021) 876-8600

*   The Kitchen, Maison, Franschhoek: 8 courses, each paired with a Maison Estate wine, R950.  Tel (021) 876-2116.

*   Reuben’s, Franschhoek: 6-course dinner R1200. Tel (021) 876-3772

*   Le Coq Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Franschhoek: 3 courses and a glass of sparkling wine R280. Tel (021) 876-4404

*   The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Somerset West: 6-course meal R650, or R825 with wine.  Tel (021) 858-1292

*   The Pavilion at The Marine, Marine Hotel, Hermanus:  Canapés, welcome drink, 6-course menu, R1150.  Tel (028) 313-1000

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

The Chenin Blanc Association hosted the ‘Cape Chenin Unveiled’ seminar at the One&Only Cape Town yesterday, and its main focus was the presentation of a comprehensive three year research project on South African Chenin Blanc wines, a tasting of twelve Chenin Blancs, and a pairing of five dishes at Nobu with fifteen Chenin Blancs.  The research presentation by Dr Hélène Nieuwoudt of the Institute for Wine Biotechnology at the University of Stellenbosch highlighted that despite Chenin Blanc being South Africa’s largest cultivar at 19% of production, it is one of the least known and understood by wine drinkers.

Dr Nieuwoudt related that scientific research was conducted between 2010 and earlier this year, at three levels: at the chemistry level, analyses were done on grapes, fermentation, and maturation; at the sensory level, the sensory intrinsics, taste and smell were evaluated; and at the consumer level, the perceptions and psychology of wine-drinking were analysed.  The research project has been conducted in conjunction with Stellenbosch University, Consumer Check (in Norway, Italy, Australia, South Africa and the Netherlands), and Consumer Perception (in France and USA).  Chenin Blanc was one of the wine cultivars which was evaluated in the study.

The diversity of Chenin Blanc in its chemistry, sensory make-up and consumer perceptions led the researchers to conclude that Chenin Blanc suffers from a ‘confusion of style identity’, as to whether it is dry or off-dry. Seventy cellars making 170 wines were evaluated, and at the chemical level there was no obvious measurement of the chemistry of Chenin Blanc.  At the sensory level a database of descriptors was built up, and lemon, citrus, peach, pear, and apple were most often identified, and recorded in terms of number of mentions, but also their intensity.

Research conducted amongst 5261 consumers at the Johannesburg Wine Fair and Robertson Wine Fair found that Chenin Blanc has a ‘vague knowledge as a wine style’ amongst local consumers, with only 8% of all respondents interviewed knowing and understanding the cultivar. Chenin Blanc had a very low level of awareness amongst wine drinkers, which would result in a low likelihood of it being bought.  The research also showed that there is a confused segmentation of local Chenin Blancs, ranging from ‘fresh and fruity’ (and also less expensive) on one end of the spectrum, to the other end of the spectrum of ‘rich and ripe’, being the more expensive Chenin Blancs.  A spontaneous Liking score of 5,8 out of 10 increased to about 7 out of 10 when respondents were exposed to information about Chenin Blanc, showing that consumers need to be informed about Chenin Blanc, to improve their probability of buying it.  Dr Nieuwoudt said that consumers are becoming label readers in general, and suggested to Chenin Blanc producers that they evaluate how they are communicating the cultivar on their labels.

Ross Sleet summarised the research findings, and said that the Chenin Blanc Association had contributed financially to the research, to improve the ‘production of quality Chenin Blanc in South Africa.’  The Association wants to position Chenin Blanc as a ‘desirable drink‘, he added.  Whether ordered by the bottle or glass, Chenin Blanc is an excellent wine to pair with food. An ‘on-bottle device is being investigated to demonstrate the continuum of Chenin Blanc styles‘, said Sleet.

Jeff Grier, winemaker at Villiera, took the delegates through a wine tasting, segmented into ‘Fresh and Fruity’ and ‘Rich and Ripe‘ Chenin Blancs:

*   Fresh and Fruity: Perdeberg 2012, Slanghoek 2012, and Simonsig 2012 were the entry level Chenin Blancs, costing below R40, a price point which is excellent for younger drinkers.  These young drinkers will evolve into ‘Rich and Ripe’ drinkers over time.   Lutzville Diamond Collection 2011, Radford Dale Renaissance 2010, and Mulderbosch Small Change 2009 are lightly wooded, medium bodied, with minerality, and not too high in alcohol. The latter two wines cost around R200.

*   Rich and Ripe:   Spier 21 Gables 2010, Rudera Robusto 2009, and Rijk’s Reserve 2008 are wooded, while Remhoogte Honeybunch 2011, Graham Beck Bowed Head 2010, and Ken Forrester FMC 2010 are noble late harvest wines influenced by botrytis.  Generally these wines have more tropical fruit, and more yeast on the palate. The Rijk’s costs R170, the Ken Forrester FMC R325, and the other wines in this segment around R120.

Stellenbosch is associated with Chenin Blancs, and the majority of the wines selected for the tastings were from this region, reflecting that a large proportion of Chenin Blanc is made here, with low yields of 7 tons per hectare.  The Chenin Blanc Association was formed to collectively market the category, the ‘Fresh and Fruity’ Chenin Blanc brands being used to draw consumers into the category. Jeff warned that Chenin Blanc should not make a Chardonnay look-alike, given that international feedback reflects that our Chenin Blancs are excessively wooded. He recommended using bigger barrels, and coopers in Loire and Burgundy to help the ‘wooding’.

Ken Forrester is the Chairman of the Chenin Blanc Association, which is administered by Ina Smith.

At lunch at Nobu I was lucky to sit at what someone described as a ‘VIP table’, with Jeff Grier, Chenin Blanc Association founder and MW Irina von Holdt, Alan Mullins from Woolworths, wine writer Norman McFarlane, and Olivia Mitchell from garagiste Andy Mitchell in Greyton.  For each of the five courses, three Chenin Blancs were poured for pairing, the first 12 being the same Chenin Blancs we had tasted in the seminar. The Whitefish New-Style Sashimi with chives, ginger puree, garlic, and yuzu citrus soy sauce was paired with Perdeberg 2012, Slanghoek 2012, and Simonsig 2012.  The latter wine was found by our table to pair best.

This was followed by a Baby Spinach Salad with Lobster, a sprinkling of parmesan, and a drizzle of truffle oil and yuzu, which was paired with Lutzville 2011, Radford Dale Renaissance 2010, and Mulderbosch 2009.  The table found the Radford Dale to pair the best.  Shrimp Tempura Cut Roll was served with light soy, and was paired with Spier 21 Gables 2010, Rudera Robusto 2009, and Rijk’s Reserve 2008, the table choosing the Rudera as the most suitable Chenin Blanc to pair with the dish.  Irina von Holdt shared that Chenin Blanc is the ‘ultimate restaurant wine‘, she said, being so versatile.

Grilled salmon topped with a salmon skin crisp, served with brown rice salsa, with a light soy sauce, a jalapeno dressing, lemon juice and olive oil was paired with Remhoogte Honeybunch Reserve 2011, Graham Beck Bowed Head 2010, and Ken Forrester FMC 2010, the Graham Beck found at our table to pair best.  The dessert was excellent, being a Passion fruit Brûlée served with coconut ice cream, and was paired with Villiera Inspiration 2010, Kanu Kia-Ora Noble Late Harvest (NLH) 2008, and Joostenberg NLH 2005.  Jeff explained that the Villiera wine name came from a trip to France, which he and his team had won in a blending competition, where they tasted lots of Chenin Blanc and Noble Late Harvest, which was the inspiration for the creation of the Villiera.

The Nobu lunch demonstrated how well the spectrum of Chenin Blanc wines can be paired with foods, and will have gained Chenin Blanc producers a whole lot more fans.

Disclosure: We received a bottle of Villiera Chenin Blanc 2011.

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