On Friday evening I attended the launch of the 40th edition of the Diners Club International 2020 South African Wine Guide, at the Table Bay Hotel in the Waterfront, an event that is pretty much the same in format every year, yet was different this year, in the interest of making the event shorter.
More than 8000 wines from more than 900 producers were rated for the 2020 Platter’s Wine Guide edition. Of the 125 5-star wines awarded, 26 went to Chenin Blanc brands, 18 to Shiraz/Syrah, and 11 to Chardonnay brands.
A record 111 South African wines received a coveted 2018 Platter’s Guide five-star rating at the Awards ceremony held at the Table Bay Hotel tonight. Raats Family Wines was named as the 2018 Winery of the Year. Continue reading →
* The International Air Transport Association (IATA) has reacted to the additional Immigration Regulations introduced on Monday, requesting our government ‘to act in the best interests of the country and review‚ modify‚ and if necessary‚ rescind‚ the new measures if they do not have the desired effect and if they act as a handbrake on travel‚ tourism and economic growth‚ not just for South Africa — which is experiencing its weakest GDP performance in decades — but for the entire region. From a commercial and economic perspective‚ the industry is concerned that the harsh and onerous requirements South Africa has prescribed for travellers will negatively impact on the sustainability of air services‚ travel‚ trade and tourism to‚ from and via South Africa‘!
* The inaugural Cabernet Franc Carnival will be held at Avontuur on 20 June, with thirteen producers presenting their wines to taste, including Ridgeback Wines, Avontuur, Lynx Wines, Hermanuspietersfontein, Camberley Wines, Cape Chamonix, CK Wines, Doolhof Wine Estate, Druk-My-Niet Wine Estate, Mont du Toit, Ormonde Vineyards, Raats Family Wines, and Nelson Family Vineyards. Entrance R120.
I had been invited to try Seelan Restaurant & Bar a few days after it opened in March, and it was still in set-up phase at that time, a number of dishes on the menu not yet available, the menu and winelist not being perfect, and the service still needing to be streamlined. The restaurant’s new PR company Communication Services Africa invited me for a return evaluation, yesterday being a perfect day to do so, to enjoy the good weather at the outside seating, and the generous lunch.
Beverage Manager Dominic remembered me from the previous visit, and provided a media release which PR executive Kyle Krok had left for me, and copied the wine list for me. He went through the ‘menu’ I would be served, but came back after the first course, to tell me that Chef and owner Seelan Sundoo was preparing a special ‘adventurous’ menu for me. I was looked after with excellent service by Marilyn Baardman, whose late father had worked for Seelan. She is the best water topper-upper I have ever experienced, and was excellent in ‘reading’ me and my requirements. The multilingual front of house hostess Goshia, whom I met at the opening, has since left while Justin Paul Jansen is still there, but was not on duty yesterday.
Dominic told me that the Oakhurst olive oil they have on the table comes from an award-winning farm in Tulbagh, and judged as one of the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils in the World recently. The Aceto Balsamico di Modena balsamic vinegar is imported from Continue reading →
For the first time Chef Seelan Sundoo has opened his own restaurant, after having been used by investors and operators in the past to be their front man, but not getting the recognition from them for the following he has, which I observed when I was invited to enjoy lunch at Seelan Restaurant & Bar at Quay 5 in the V&A Waterfront yesterday. Seelan Restaurant & Bar reflects the past connections of Seelan as chef at the Grand Café and La Perla, but his Shimmy Beach Club and Reserve Brasseriepast are not visible.
Seelan worked as Head Chef at La Perla in Sea Point for many years, and he has employed eight staff from La Perla. One cannot help but feel that one is in La Perla, with the smart white tuxedo jackets which the male-only waiters wear. Seelan was attracted to The Grand Camps Bay, which he headed up, with Justin Paul Jansen at his side. Justin displayed his knack of attracting patrons to the restaurants, remembering their names and faces, and offering excellent service. The woven cane chairs in the outside section of Seelan remind one of The Grand. Justin was offered the opportunity to open The Reserve on St George’s Mall, and Seelan moved to The Grand on the Beach. Justin later called in Seelan to open the Reserve Brasserie, and to be its Chef. When The Reserve closed down, Justin went to New York, and Seelan started up the Shimmy Beach Club as co-owner, being its front person. It being time to move on, Seelan made the long overdue decision to open his own Mediterranean style restaurant. Justin said that Seelan is a ‘man of taste and class’, and that Shimmy Beach Club did not suit his style. Continue reading →