An unlucky restaurant location for the Cape Town branch of Bouillabaisse, and new sister restaurant Crepe Suzette, in the Rockwell Centre in De Waterkant in Cape Town, in what was meant to have become Conrad Gallagher’s Epicurean Gourmet Market before he fled the country with huge debts, resulted in both the restaurants closing down in September. These restaurants have fused, and have just opened as Camil’s Restaurant, ironically in the previous location of Gallagher’s Geisha Wok in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel on Main Road in Green Point. Whilst now fused into one restaurant, a creperie menu and an a la carte menu will be offered to all patrons. Camil and Ingrid Haas are to run the operational side of the restaurant, while the new partner Jochen Buechel, previous owner of the Place on the Bay in Camps Bay, will look after the marketing of the restaurant. It is bold to close two restaurant brands which were marketed jointly, off the base of the respected Bouillabaisse brand in Franschhoek, and to start from scratch with the new Camil’s brand. A review of Camil’s will follow.
A new “Caffe”, which opened five weeks ago, is L’Aperitivo, a wine and cocktail bar that serves breakfast, and light lunches and dinners from “9h00 till late”, the sign on the door says. Owners Andrea Gargiulo (Italian) and Stef Rau (Swiss) are charming hosts. They met two years ago, on a cruise liner, and fell in love with Cape Town. Before setting up their restaurant, they ran the Primi Piatti in the V&A Waterfront for two years. It is located next door to the Bang Bang Club, a favoured haunt of teenage disco lovers, adding a free bonus to L’Aperitivo patrons, if they enjoy the music and watching the youngsters coming and going from the venue from Wednesdays – Saturdays. The food menu is written onto a blackboard: the base Insalata L’Aperitivo costs R 30, and R 40 when tuna or chicken mayonnaise are added, and R 55 if salmon is added. The Frittata costs R 40, the Chicken Parmigiana and a salad (just some green leaves) R 55, Roast Beef with baby potatoes and salad costs R 58, and sandwiches R 45. For dessert the choices were an Affogato at R 22 and half a pineapple and ice cream at R 25. Every day fresh ingredients are bought, and the menu changed to reflect what is available. L’Aperitivo only stocks the very good Glen Carlou wines at the moment, Stef having a close relationship with the Swiss owner Hess. They plan to offer 30 – 40 wines-by-the-glass, a commendable goal (Stef used to work at Belthezar, known for its wide selection of wines-by-the-glass). Andrea was previously a ‘mixologist’, he says, a cool word for a barman! His favourite restaurant is Aubergine. L’Aperitivo stands for fresh quality food, and good and prompt service. An ordered take-away Parma ham and brie roll turned out to be a salami roll when opened, a disappointment in an otherwise good experience! Its brochure states: “L’Aperitivo is a Wine & Cocktail Bar with a Caffe providing a variety of freshly produced food, and which encapsulates a European style of life. Enjoy the gathering of like-minded people to understand the way of life. The setting is intimate, comfortable and relaxing, to ensure you enjoy your stay at whatever time you visit L’Aperitivo”. L’Aperitivo, 70 Loop Street, tel 076 574 1805/082 898 7079. Open Mondays – Saturdays.
Vanilla officially opened in the Cape Quarter just over a week ago, to a record crowd of 250 guests, the launch invitation being such a hit that the expected one-third no-show did not happen. This created a problem for the owners initially in coping with serving the drinks and excellent snacks, but was quickly addressed. It is a shame that the City of Cape Town cannot get the paving completed outside the main Somerset Road entrance to the Cape Quarter. In fact, the main entrance to the centre was closed off on Thursday evening, meaning that one would have to find the entrance from the street behind the centre. Franschhoek chef Matthew Gordon is the consultant chef to Vanilla, while its chef is Evan Coosner, previously with Reubens in Franschhoek and at Ginja. A review of Vanilla is to follow.
The Grand Cafe’ branches in Plettenberg Bay and Camps Bay are soon to be joined by a third branch in The Water Club in Granger Bay, adjacent to the V&A Waterfront.
Franschhoek is set to see the opening of a new bakery and cafe’ in the building which once housed the Franschhoek Tourism Bureau and, more recently, Winelands Experience. The new La Place Vendome, a stylish center set to open at the entrance to Franschhoek soon, will house another new coffee shop, a deli and food hall, and a champagne bar.
Genot restaurant on Klein Genot wine estate in Franschhoek was relaunched last week, with the owner Angie Diamond taking over the management of the restaurant. It is beautifully located above the wine cellar, with a view of the vineyards and surrounding Franschhoek mountains when one sits on the terrace outside. Inside no expense has been spared in the large restaurant space, with lots of chandeliers perhaps making it too bright at night. The restaurant’s model is Baia, a well-known seafood restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, but at far more reasonable pricing. Angie feels that Franschhoek does not offer its visitors a good selection of fish dishes. The winelist is restricted with about five choices per variety, one of them being the Klein Genot, where applicable. The Klein Genot Shiraz is the lowest priced, at R 158 per bottle, but is still very young, being a 2007 vintage. The chefs come from Malawi, Mocambique and Zimbabwe, and they add an African feel to dishes, Angie says. Eleven starters are priced from R 38 (chicken livers, sardines) to R 58 (mussels, and a delicious prawn cocktail), with oysters costing R 18 each. Five salads (Caprese, Greek, etc) cost about R 48 and three soup choices are also offered, at R 48. Eight seafood main courses range in price from R 78 for the calamari to R 228 for a seafood platter, and include two kingklip dishes. The baby kingklip was huge, and came on the bone, which re-created an old childhood fear of bones. The restaurant would have filleted it, had one requested it. Steaks cost R 138 for a 500 gram fillet, and R 78 for a stuffed chicken dish. Eight desserts (excellent Pavlova being one of them) cost R 48 each. On weekend nights live music will be offered, and a Frank Sinatra interpretor Andre Ahlers entertained the fully booked restaurant. It was a pleasure to meet a fellow Twitterer @MarcKatzy, who came over to introduce himself. Genot, Klein Genot estate, Franschhoek, tel 021 876-2738, www.kleingenot.com
Rust & Vrede has just been named the best Restaurant of all wine regions in the world, in the 2010 Best of Wine Tourism Awards, organised by the Great Wine Capitals Global Wine Network. It was lauded for its “welcoming, top quality restaurant”. It is the only South African entry to have won an accolade. Will it become South Africa’s Top restaurant of the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, presented on 22 November?
Steenberg Winery is opening a new restaurant this week, called Bistro Sixteen82, serving breakfast, lunch and tapas seven days a week, its ad says. Reservations tel 021 713 2211.
Beefcakes is a new restaurant with a large space on Somerset Road in Green Point, close to Limnos. It is clearly set to cater for hungry soccer fans when they walk along Somerset Road to and from the Cape Town Stadium for the 2010 World Cup!
Ginja has made the move into its new premises at the previous Nova/Relish location, at the start of New Church Street. Chef Chris Erasmus and executive chef Michael Bassett run the restaurant, which now also serves lunches.
Bukhara has re-opened in its Burg Street location in Cape Town, after a fire necessitated a renovation lasting about three months. “Bukhara Cape Town is proud to announce the opening of their new look restaurant”, its ad says. Tel 021 424-0000.
Doppio Zero has a special Breakfast offer of R 35 for a cooked breakfast, or fruit and yoghurt, with toast and a cappuccino or a fruit juice, at its Main Road, Green Point branch, from Mondays to Fridays. Tel 021 434-9581, www.doppio.co.za
Clos Malverne wine estate is one of a number of wine estates to open a restaurant this month (George Jardine opens The Restaurant at Jordan next week). The restaurant opened last week on the Stellenbosch Devon Valley estate, simply called “The Restaurant”. It offers a choice of five starters, ranging from R 39 – R 44, seven main courses, ranging in price from R 89 – R 98, and four desserts, at R 35 – R39. The ad refers to the restaurant as follows: “…this Contemporary South African cuisine style restaurant will truly tantalize your taste buds”. The Restaurant is open on Tuesdays – Sundays for lunch only. Tel 021 865-2022.
Reuben’s in Robertson was a refreshing pit stop on a trip to Plettenberg Bay last week. The 30-seater restaurant is located in the 10-bedroom Small Robertson Hotel, a beautifully renovated historical building creating an oasis in an otherwise dreary town. The staff at all levels were extremely friendly. The menu design is the same as that of the Reuben’s Franschhoek branch, but the menu items differ vastly. Four starters range in price from R 58 for a salad of beetroot and goat’s cheese to R 70 for salmon sashimi. Five main courses start with R 78 for a gnocchi, to R 135 for the veal fillet. Two cheese courses are offered, at around R 65, and four desserts range in price from R 30 – R 62. Whilst our party of four loved our food and the good service, one was left with a feeling that the prices may be too high for a small town restaurant, no matter how good it is, and that its menu may not be appropriate for someone wanting a good light lunch, having a further 2 – 4 hours to travel to the Garden Route or to Cape Town. As per the Reuben’s menu in Franschhoek, the menu lists Reuben Riffel as the Concept Chef. The Reuben’s Robertson team are Aviv Liebenberg as the Executive Chef, and Christien van der Westhuizen as the Pastry Chef. An interesting feature of the menu not seen on the Franschhoek menu is a listing of the suppliers of the fruit and vegetable, dairy and olive products, and the pork (including Happy Hog!). Reuben’s Robertson is located at 58 Van Reenen Street, tel 023 626 7200. www.therobertsonsmallhotel.com.
Reuben Riffel has been a Brand Ambassador for South African Tourism, in its campaign on CNN. Erstwhile Top 10 chef Richard Carstens is said to be cooking at Reuben’s in Franschhoek. Recently he was helping out at Roots restaurant in Gauteng, after Nova closed down.
Alle’e Bleue in Franschhoek has a new surprise every few weeks, and the latest is its menu for its beer garden adjacent to the picnic area at the bottom end of the wine estate. One can order Paulaner beer and a spinach and smoked chicken salad, a quiche and salad, a Swiss sausage salad or a local cheese platter, at prices ranging from R 45 – R 59. It hosted its first sushi/wine pairing dinner on Friday, and its first High Tea yesterday.
Grande Provence received a rave review in the Weekend Australian last month, journalist Susan Kurosawa describing it as the “best restaurant in South Africa’s winelands”. She makes one odd comment about the Grand Provence menu: “The menu is seasonal but, for this being South Africa, expect cute wildlife to be involved. ….. I can’t pronounce much of it, let alone countenance eating Bambi’s relatives”!
Allora in Franschhoek, an Italian restaurant that is part of a chain with a number of branches in Johannesburg, has introduced a restaurant booking incentive called the Allora Miles Program. The Allora Miles Card will be handed to accommodation staff, and they will receive points each time they make a booking for guests (who arrive!). Prizes are awarded on the basis of points accumulated, and include airtime and Allora vouchers, vouchers for shopping at Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay, and electrical appliances. Feedback supplied to the restaurant is that the incentive programme is ‘too Johannesburg-like’ to be a success in Franschhoek.
Col’cacchio Pizzeria makes delicious pizzas (in Camps Bay at least), and all eight branches in the greater Cape Town area, including Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, are offering a special “Mix & Match” lunch offer, with two courses on the lunch menu for R 99 on Mondays – Thursdays, between 12h00 – 17h00.
Baraza in Camps Bay is to relaunch itself next week as Sapphire.
Nando’s, South Africa’s most creative chicken restaurant chain, is turning up the heat in Turkey, when it opened its first branch in Istanbul last week, reports the Hurriyet Daily News of Turkey. The company aims to open 60 Nando’s in Turkey, to add to its total of 850 restaurants in 26 countries. Known for its sharp marketing and cheeky advertising campaigns in South Africa, the Nando’s co-founder Robert Brozin said at the Istanbul opening: “I think that we are representing our leader Nelson Mandela with our restaurants. Nando’s is like a messenger of South Africa. With each new restaurant that Nando’s launches in other countries, Mandela sends a signed letter to us”! Nando’s in Knysna has just closed down, reports CX Express.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com