The Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl was the epitome of hospitality many years ago, German-owned and with cigar-smoking Hotelier Horst Frehse at the management helm. Its Bosman’s restaurant was our country’s number one for many years, until its star faded, Frehse left, and For Sale signs were seen for many years. Now the hotel is in new local hands, the name of the restaurant has changed, and it has a new Chef Patron to redevelop it! Continue reading →
Tag Archives: Roland Gorgosilich
Bosman’s at Grande Roche: business is ‘booming’, don’t need patrons’ payment!
I don’t visit Paarl very often, usually disappointed with the restaurant offering of the town. Last week I spent a day there, to visit Jan Willem & Seuns, and Melissa’s newish branch. I had given up on Bosman’s at Grande Roche, after repeated poor experiences in the restaurant. However, a chance meeting of Bosman’s new Restaurant Manager and its Sous Chef at Maison in Franschhoek a few days prior led me to return.
During the busy festive season days I took a break at The Kitchen at Maison in Franschhoek, and sat next to a table with a couple, which turned out to be Austrian Chef Christoph Terschan and Restaurant Manager Onwaba Maholwana of Bosman’s. We chatted for ages, talking through the whole Eat Out Top 20 restaurant list, and our respective experiences with the restaurants. Onwaba was well-informed about my previous Bosman’s disasters, and Continue reading →
WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 10 November
Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines
* FlySafair launches its Cape Town – George route on 13 November, at R399 one way, adding to its routes between the Mother City and Johannesburg and Port Elizabeth. Terms and conditions apply, in that extra charges are levied for extra luggage, special seating, and catering is charged for additionally.
* The Le Kap Lifestyle Fair will be held at Blaauwklippen on 6 December, and will be a showcase of fashion, food, wine, horses, and cars. Five top chefs, including Brad Ball, Gregory Czarnecki, Malika van Reenen, and Roland Gorgosilich, will prepare the food, and French champagne will be served. Veuve Clicquot, Glenmorangie, and Belvedere Vodka, as well as the wines of ten wine estates will be on offer, while ‘gourmet food markets‘ will be set up. There will be a dressage show, as well as a fashion show. Bentleys will be on display. R500 entrance, tickets via Computicket. (received via media release from Vivid Luxury)
* Coffee and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance will be the foundation of a new destination store Donford BMW Motorrad in Continue reading →
Eat Out DStv Food Network Top 20 Restaurant Finalists: a prediction
This year the newly-named mouthful of a Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards will see a number of changes, and hence predicting a Top 20 finalist is harder, as a number of new award categories have been introduced, including that Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly is the sole judge, which we have written about previously. Today the Top 20 Restaurant Award finalists will be announced.
As we did last year, we have made a prediction of the Top 20 Restaurant shortlist, with a motivation, as well as indicated which restaurants will not make it this year. We apologise for the very strong Western Cape bias:
1. Tokara: I firmly believe that Tokara in the Helshoogte Pass will be the number 1 restaurant this year, given the outstanding 13-course dinner which Chef Richard Carstens prepared on 30 July, in honour of the closing down of El Bulli on that day. The chef and his team received a standing ovation, and Ms Donnelly attended, and expressed her admiration of it. Chef Richard never stands still, stretching himself and his team with new dishes.
2. The Test Kitchen: Luke Dale-Roberts’ restaurant in the Old Biscuit Mill will be a close contender for the top crown, having been a number 1 winner whilst at La Colombe, and 12th on the San Pellegrino 50 World Best Restaurant Awards last year.
3. Pierneef à La Motte: This Franschhoek restaurant, with Chef Chris Erasmus, has consistently impressed with its creative interpretation of Winelands Cuisine, in a restaurant with outstanding decor and attention to detail, and prides itself on its quest for excellence.
4. The Tasting Room: Making an annual Top 10 list appearance, and the only South African restaurant making the San Pellegrino World Best 50 Awards, this Franschhoek restaurant, with Chef Margot Janse at the helm, is what has given Franschhoek its gourmet status in the past, now challenged by Stellenbosch, as is evident from this list.
5. Overture: The Stellenbosch restaurant has a beautiful view on the Hidden Valley wine estate, and an energetic, continually renewing Chef Bertus Basson. On the Top 10 list since it opened.
6. Planet Restaurant: The refurbished and modernised ex-Cape Colony restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel is headed by Chef Rudi Liebenberg, a previous Eat Out Top 20 finalist.
7. The Round House: Despite its arrogance, the restaurant has two excellent foraging chefs in the kitchen, being PJ Vadas and Eric Bulpitt (ex-Jardine). The restaurant is a previous Eat Out Top 10 winner, but did not make it last year.
8. Nobu: This One&Only Cape Town restaurant’s inclusion is uncertain, as it also deserves to win the newly introduced Best Asian Restaurant Award. It is not clear whether a restaurant can be eligible for participation in both categories.
9. Bosman’s: After a long absence, this Paarl-based Grande Roche Hotel restaurant featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list last year. Great work is being done to make the restaurant more accessible, through an amazing summer special. Chef Roland Gorgosilich has been in the kitchen for a number of years.
10. The Food Barn: This Noordhoek restaurant is quietly making a good name for itself, its owner and Chef Franck Dangereux having been a Eat Out Top 10 chef in the past.
11. The Greenhouse: Reports about Chef Peter Tempelhoff’s creativity at the Cellars Hohenhort Hotel are very positive. He has featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list in the past, whilst at Grande Provence.
12. Terroir: This restaurant on the Kleine Zalze estate has been on the Eat Out Top 10 list for a number of years, with Chef Michael Broughton.
13. Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine: The Chef and owner has featured on the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list whilst he was at Jardine, and also last year for his new restaurant. Consistent delivery on his creative food, and baking specialist.
14. Aubergine: The only current Eat Out Top 10 restaurant in Cape Town, and owned by Chef Harald Bresselschmidt, having been on the Eat Out Top 10 list for many years, but then fell of the list for a number of years too, until last year.
15. Delaire Graff: The restaurant is known for its good service and beautiful views, and Chef Christiaan Campbell and his team quietly get on with what they are good at.
16. Waterkloof: The Somerset West restaurant, with Chef Gregory Czarnecki, has an excellent view, interesting architecture, and good presentation.
17. The Restaurant at Grande Provence: Another low key restaurant, this Franschhoek restaurant has featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list twice, with chefs Jacques de Jager and Peter Tempelhoff. Chef Darren Roberts is passionate about cooking, and creates beautifully prepared and plated fare.
18. Reuben’s One&Only Cape Town: This restaurant could also be eligible for inclusion in the Best Bistro category. At best a token inclusion on this list.
19. Hartford House: This KwaZulu-Natal delivers consistently, and has been a regular on the Eat Out Top 10 list in past years, with passionate ‘local is cool’ Chef Jackie Cameron.
20. DW Eleven-13: This Johannesburg restaurant, with Chef Marthinus Ferreira, made its first appearance on the Eat Out Top 10 list last year.
Restaurants that will not appear on the Top 20 shortlist, we believe, are the following:
1. Rust en Vrede: Due to the departure of David Higgs, the new Chef John Shuttleworth has not run the wine estate restaurant kitchen for a full year, a criterion for the award. Number 1 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant last year.
2. La Colombe: Chef Scott Kirton probably needs some time to settle in, having worked with Luke Dale-Roberts previously.
3. Reuben’s Franschhoek: The opening of the Reuben’s One&Only Cape Town was at the expense of this restaurant, a previous Top 10, and even number 1 restaurant on the Eat Out Top 10 list.
4. New restaurants Dash, Casparus, Johan’s @ Longridge, and De Huguenot have not been open for twelve months, and therefore will not be eligible yet.
The Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards will be presented at the Rotunda at the Bay Hotel on 20 November. Last month the American Express Platinum Restaurant Awards were announced. JP Rossouw’s annual restaurant star award list has not been announced yet. It is interesting to hear that Spill Blog is planning to organise a new Restaurant Award next month, with potential funding by Cape Town Tourism, it is said.
POSTSCRIPT 5/10: The Top 20 Finalist list has just been announced (11h30): We had 15 of the 20 finalist correct. Our prediction of Aubergine (a surprise!), Delaire, Waterkloof, Reubens at the One&Only Cape Town, and The Food Barn were incorrect, not making the short-list. Five restaurants we did not have on our list, that are short-listed, are Azure at the Twelve Apostles, Babel at Babylonstoren, La Colombe, Roots in Gauteng, and Restaurant Mosaic at Orient in Pretoria.
POSTSCRIPT 13/10: Eat Out has presented an informative profile of each of the Top 20 chefs in its newsletter today.
POSTSCRIPT 23/10: Tony Jackman has written critically in the Weekend Argus about the Eat Out Top 20 Finalist List. He believes that new restaurants should not be included in such a list before they have not been open for two years. He questions the wisdom of not including Rust en Vrede. He believes that longevity of a restaurant should be taken into account. He is very critical about the 16 Cape restaurants on the list, compared to only 4 for the rest of the country. He wonders whether the geographical balance of the list would be the same if the publishers of Eat Out were based in Johannesburg, and says there should be more balance, given that it is a national publication. He highlights that none of the three Reuben’s are on the list. Interestingly, he questions how long Luke Dale-Roberts will stay in his current location. He raises the question as to whether great restaurants can remain great, irrespective of the chef, mentioning La Colombe and Bosman’s as examples of restaurants not influenced by who is the chef, and suggests ‘let’s lose this cult of the chef perosnality‘, adding ‘The restaurant should be the point – not the chef’. Jackman mentions every Top 20 finalist, with the following exceptions: Richard Carstens from Tokara, and Margot Janse from The Tasting Room.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Restaurant Review: Bosman’s Lunch Special amazing value!
We wrote earlier this year that Bosman’s, and the Grande Roche hotel with it, had shaken off its stiff five star hotel image, and had become friendlier. A return visit to this Eat Out Top 10 restaurant earlier this week, to try the recently introduced Lunch Special, confirmed that this is still the case, and found Bosman’s to be unbelievable value, designed to attract locals back into the Grande Roche, and to change the perception that it is expensive.
New GM Anja Bosken came to greet me, on crutches, due to a recent knee operation, and we discussed the reception I received at the security boom, the lady on duty asking aggressively why I was there (between 1 – 2 pm one would assume it is for lunch) and then said she had to check if she could let me in! Every time I come to the Grande Roche, there is an issue with the outsourced security. Ms Bosken had just come out of a security meeting, and as the ‘new broom’, she is trying to make changes one step at a time. A very friendly new Restaurant Manager is Nazlie Barnard, who ran the Cape Malay restaurant at the Cellars Hohenhort, and Zachary’s at Pezula, and she happened to be in the parking area, greeted me, and welcomed me by my surname. This was spoilt by the waitress who asked me if I would be eating, after I sat at one of the tables prepared for lunch on the outside terrace, on a gloriously sunny winter’s day! When I told her that I was just sitting there to look at the view, she accepted my answer, and walked away, without bringing a menu. I received the nicely presented Grande Roche (no Bosman’s branding) A5 menu with gold ribbon from Nazlie, and the waitress took the marble-look underplate away from the place setting. It is odd that they do that, as it looks really nice. A fish knife and a spoon was added for the first course, and the waitress stretched across to put down a fork, despite having enough space to put it down from the left. A rather ordinary bread plate of small slices of French baguette, ciabatta, rye bread, and a sesame seed roll (I missed a slice of seedloaf) was offered with butter (I miss their choice of three spreads), Tokara olive oil, and WMF salt and pepper grinders.
In the last month, the new Bosman’s lunch special has been launched, costing an unbelievably low R120 for two courses, and R155 for three. When paired with wine, the 2-course lunch costs R210, and R290 for the three courses. What is commendable is that it will continue throughout summer, until April, with the exception of the Christmas – New Year period. For starters, one can choose Asian-flavoured butternut soup and tuna springrolls (paired with 2009 False Bay Chenin Blanc), or a Mediteranean vegetable salad with kabeljou and aceto balsamico (paired with a 2008 Crios Bride Sauvignon Blanc). For the main course one of the options is Veal Osso Bucco with garlic potato mash and green bean cassoulet (paired with 2005 Rainbow’s End Shiraz). The Seafood tagliatelle was served with kingklip, cob, salmon trout, a prawn, and seafood foam, paired with a 2005 Rijk’s Semillon, the fish types not being specified on the menu, and some were different to what I was told verbally. Chef Roland Gorgosilich has a good hand with seafood, not over-complicating his fish dishes, but I find his salt hand too heavy, it not being the first time that I have experienced this. For dessert I chose the Espresso panna cotta, which was served with a berry confit (this is the description on the menu, but I liked the waiter’s wording of it being a ‘fruit ragout’) and shortbread sticks, beautifully presented. The panna cotta was very firm and creamy, and had a rich strong coffee taste. The wine pairing for this dessert was a 2007 Stellenrust Chenin D’Muscat, of which Sommelier Josephine Gutentoft brought me a glassful, with the compliments of Ms Bosken, to make up for the ‘booming’ reception. The alternative dessert choice was a Banana Chocolate spring roll and chocolate ganache, paired with a 2008 Buitenverwachting 1769 Natural Sweet wine. I was not asked about coffee after the meal.
The view from the Grande Roche terrace onto the vineyards surrounding the hotel estate, and the Paarl mountains, is wonderful. The food is good, except for the saltiness, and the lunch is one of the best value offerings on our Winter Restaurant Specials list. I have no doubt that Ms Bosken will fix the security boom staff interaction issue, and Nazlie has to sharpen the waiter training. I will be back to try the other options on the Specials menu, and I am sure that Chef Roland will make changes to it over the next seven months, to keep it fresh.
Bosman’s Restaurant at Grande Roche, Plantasie Street, Paarl. Tel (021) 863-5100. www.grandroche.com (The website does not list the Lunch special, has very few food photographs in its Image Gallery, and does not have photographs of lunching on the terrace). Twitter: @Grande_Roche
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Grande Provence touches a nerve with its Multiple Sclerosis charity lunch!
For the past five years, with one exception, I have attended the Grande Provence charity lunch in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the proceeds of which go to the Society. The theme of the lunch is Big 5, and everything is done in multiples of five: five courses, prepared by five top chefs, paired with five Grande Provence wines, and five entertainers, creating a most enjoyable afternoon, and generating much needed funding for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.
Not cheap at R1100 a ticket, the Grande Provence charity lunch was attended by about a hundred supporters, and raised about R200 000, almost double the amount raised last year. All services are donated, and the full amount raised is donated to the Society. In addition to the ticket sales, a raffle raised funds, as did a charity auction, of accommodation, a helicopter flip, a dinner for ten cooked by Grande Provence chef Darren Roberts, and works of art, which raised half the monies, thanks to the amazing auctioneering charm of Ariella Kuper of Auction Alliance.
Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system which destroys the myelin, a ‘rubber coating around the nerves in one’s brain’. This leaves the nerves exposed, and blocks messages from the brain to parts of the body, creating physical problems, such as an inability to speak properly, to walk, to see, or to remember things. The Society uses the monies it raises to pay for a part-time social worker, to offer support at the homes of sufferers of this disease, to offer transport services, to train sufferers in coping with their disease, and to offer equipment for rental.
On arrival guests were offered Angels Tears Rosé, and canapés of salmon cones and oysters, prepared by Michel Louws, the chef at Huka Lodge in New Zealand, the sister property of Grande Provence. Chef Michel arrived in Franschhoek last week, and we attended a dinner on Friday evening as well, prepared by him in its entirety, with a focus on New Zealand cuisine, but more about that below. The programme was spread out over close to six hours, and a good time was had by all, Master of Ceremonies Ryan O’Connor from Kfm being a charming and funny host, and has donated his services for free for a number of years, and vowed to do so for the rest of his life. The programme interspersed food courses with the entertainment by five musicians (Darryl Walters, Kari, ex-Madame Zingara and Vaudeville performer Irit Noble, Tony Nelson, and Emil Struwig), and a few speeches. Non Smit, who runs the Multiple Sclerosis Society, described the disease as invisible, and expressed her gratitude for the support received, and explained how the monies are used. Shani Marais, wife of Grande Provence winemaker Jaco Marais, whose brainchild the lunch is, is a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer, and works tirelessly to organise the annual charity luncheons. Motivational speaker Sean Willard spoke on the subject of his book to be published in July, entitled “Have a Life Attack”, and advised all to have “a love attack, a laugh attack and a life attack” regularly! He said that Shani was a wonderful example of getting up, and not giving up.
The first course was prepared by Grande Roche Eat Out Top 10 chef Roland Gorgosilich, being a Trio of Ostrich (left), including carpaccio and a mince ball, served with Tandoori, paprika vinaigrette and coriander mayonnaise, and was paired with the Grande Provence Pinot Noir 2009, which I enjoyed so much that I stuck with it for the rest of the lunch. This was followed by Rainbow Trout gravadlax, presented with watercress, anchovy and smoked beetroot mayonnaise, Buffalo mozzarella, and a dill and lime gel, beautifully presented by Chef Gregory Czarnecki of Waterkloof Estate in Somerset West (right). This course was paired with Grande Provence Sauvignon Blanc 2010.
The main course was lamb neck, which had been cured and cooked for 36 hours. It was prepared by Chef Michel Louws from award-winning Huka Lodge in New Zealand, and he felt that lamb would represent his new home country, using Karoo lamb for the dish. It was topped with the tiniest croutons and lime peel, which gave the softest lamb a wonderful taste. The aroma of the lamb could be smelt throughout the room, and was enjoyed to ooos and aaas. Chef Michel has an interesting Dutch/New Zealand accent, and a most interesting hairstyle – he is bald-headed, but has a cute strand of hair which stands upright with the help of a special wax, he explained to us, saying that when he was at school they didn’t want his hair to be long, while his mother did not want him to shave everything off, so he chose the combination compromise. Chef Michel trained at Michelin-starred Dutch restaurants Le Cirque, de Librije, Inter Scaldis and Zusje, and then the restaurant at which he was the head chef, ‘t-Veerhuis, was awarded a Michelin star. He joined Huka Lodge two years ago. His restaurant will not feature on the New Zealand top 10 restaurant list, he said, as the restaurant is mainly for the guests of the Lodge, and a maximum of six outside guests can be considered per meal.
The 4-course New Zealand dinner prepared by Michel Louws on Friday evening, costing R495 per head, was preceded by canapes, including salmon cones. Chef Michel served scallops as a starter, one hot and one cold, with lemon, which was paired with Grande Provence Sauvignon Blanc 2010, and an excellent New Zealand Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2005. Then followed barbecued lobster served with a delicious liquid garlic sauce, paired with Grande Provence Chardonnay 2009 and New Zealand Clearview Reserve Chardonnay 2009. The main course was the lamb neck as well, served with Grande Provence Shiraz 2007 and New Zealand Craggy Range Block 14 Syrah 2005, and Chef Michel described the Karoo lamb he used for it as ‘bloody awesome’. Dessert was a ‘deconstructed Snickers’, consisting of malt, caramel, chocolate and peanuts, which was paired with Frangelico. Chef Michel wants to try the local restaurant highlights, and went to The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, saying it was ‘worldly’ and he liked that they served local wines. He also went to Pierneef à La Motte, where he had Bokkoms. In Holland they have a similar dish, made from air-dried herrings. He wants to get to The Test Kitchen, and we suggested Tokara, given his admiration for Ferran Adria of El Bulli.
The charity lunch dessert was prepared by Rudi Liebenberg and his pastry chef from the Mount Nelson Hotel and their Planet restaurant. It was a collection of ‘chocolate stuff’, including peanut and chocolate sable, chocolate créme, dark chocolate sorbet, and a thin slab of Valrhona chocolate. This was paired with Grande Provence Shiraz 2007. The final course was a cheese plate served on a slate plate, beautifully presented by Chef Darren Roberts of Grande Provence. It contained a stilton, roasted cashew nuts, preserved fig, olive biscuits, compressed melon goats’ cheese sorbet, balsamic foam, Welsh Rarebit, and a refreshing raspberry aniseed puree, and was paired with Grande Provence Chardonnay 2010.
Grande Provence has re-positioned itself as one of the top restaurants in Franschhoek, with the two excellent top food events it organised over the past weekend. It was announced by Grande Provence GM Amanda Roberts that they plan to bring out more guest chefs from Australia and Asia. The collaboration with top local chefs in preparing food for the Multiple Sclerosis Society charity lunch is a great opportunity to see the creativity of the chefs under one roof, so to speak, whilst supporting a worthwhile cause.
Grande Provence, Main Road, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-8600. www.grandeprovence.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Grande Provence brings Michelin star to Franschhoek
Grande Provence is sharing the star-quality of the chef of its sister property, New Zealand-based Huka Lodge. Chef Michel Louws will be cooking at a special New Zealand-themed dinner on the wine estate in Franschhoek on Friday evening (27 May), and allows local foodlovers to experience the culinary talents of a chef who has worked at a number of Michelin-starred restaurants in Holland.
Born in Holland, and sharpening his chef’s knives at de Librije (3*), Inter Scaldis (2*), Le Cirque (1*) and Zusje (1*), it was his work as Head Chef at ‘t-Veerhuis that earned the restaurant a Michelin star, and made him known “for superb cuisine, originality and a proven passion for creating exceptional dining experiences for those fortunate enough to enjoy his dishes”. Louws now works at Huka Lodge, which regularly features on top 100 lists for excellent accommodation.
The four-course dinner, with Huka Lodge-style signature dishes, including a scallop starter, a fish dish, lamb neck main course, and a pineapple, mascarpone, coconut and coriander dessert, will be served with both New Zealand and Grande Provence wines, and costs R495 per person.
Michel Louws will also be cooking one of the five courses for the Multiple Sclerosis Society fundraising lunch at Grande Provence on Sunday 29 May, together with a star cast of chefs: Grande Provence chef Darren Roberts, Grande Roche chef Roland Gorgosilich, Waterkloof chef Gregory Czarnecki, and Mount Nelson chef Rudi Liebenberg
Grande Provence, Franschhoek. 27 May. Tel (021) 876-8600. www.grandeprovence.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio : www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Restaurant Review: Dinner at Grande Provence a special treat
I have been to Grande Provence many times, yet have not written a review of their dinner, but have written about their High Tea, and Chef Darren Roberts’ visit to Hong Kong late last year. A pre-Valentine’s Day dinner on Sunday evening was a very special treat, not just in terms of the quality of the food served, but also because of the service, the beautiful interior, and extreme friendliness.
It started when Food & Beverage Manager Donovan Dreyer came towards us as we walked to the restaurant from the parking area, to welcome us. He had called earlier in the day, to confirm the reservation, and had apologised for not being there, as he had the evening off. He seated us, introduced us to our waitress Shasta, and was most helpful in printing the menu for me. He then went off, after sending two glasses of sparkling wine to the table, with the compliments of Grande Provence.
Since 2005 Grande Provence (previously belonging to Count Augusta) has belonged to a Dutch consortium called The Huka Retreats, under the management of Alex van Heeren, and they also own Huka Lodge in New Zealand (usually on the Top 100 world accommodation lists) and the privately owned Dolphin Island in Fiji. The business card describes the positioning of the company to be :”Intimate . Sensual . Elegant”. Grande Provence supports good causes, and its highlight is the annual fundraising lunch prepared in honour of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, sponsored in its entirety by Grande Provence. This year it will be held on 29 May, and Grande Provence Chef Darren Roberts, his Huka Lodge counterpart Michel Louws, Rudi Liebenberg of the Mount Nelson Hotel, Gregory Czarnecki of Waterkloof and Roland Gorgosilich of the Grande Roche will each prepare one of the five courses. I have attended two of these outstanding lunches in the past.
Chef Darren has worked as a Pastry Chef at L’Heiner Konditorei in Vienna, as well as in London, Johannesburg, Melbourne and the Seychelles. Before joining Grande Provence last year, he worked at Farncourt Hotel, and he has been a restaurant consultant. He always makes time to come out of his kitchen to say hello.
Similarly to Delaire Graff and Glen Carlou, Grande Provence invests in art and also has an art gallery, with regularly changing exhibitions. I love the interior decor of Grande Provence, and Virginia Fisher is the decorator to the group of properties, and is based in New Zealand. The tasting room has a counter made from industrial steel, and the bar chairs are the cleverest I have ever seen on a wine estate, with a tractor seat, surprisingly comfortable to sit on. In the restaurant, she used industrial steel tables, and blue chairs in the two outside rows, and the finest white leather high-back chairs in the central row. The restaurant has a fireplace too, and is lit, even on some nights when it does not seem necessary. The table has linen runners in white with blue stripes, which look a little like fancy drying cloths. The wooden salt and pepper grinders look ordinary and out of place with the silver theme (same criticism as at Glen Carlou), given the stature of and price one pays for a meal at Grande Provence. Two sets of cutlery are laid, and the glassware is excellent. Each table has a silver side table (more attractive than the wooden ‘handbag tables’ at Mange Tout) on which the ice bucket and the water jug go, leaving the table free for the really important reason for being there, being the food! Staff wear black ‘GP’ branded shirts, and black pants, with a grey apron. I was happy to see that the denim staff clothing has been done away with.
The menu is in a holder made from the same fine white leather, as is the winelist. One must have a minimum of three courses, costing R295, four courses cost R380, and five courses R 450. Once again, a three course meal is more than adequate, as one receives an amuse bouche as well as a palate cleanser too, adding a further two courses. While the courses listed are identifiable as starters, mains and desserts, one may choose any three on the menu, and in any order, even if one has the dessert first! Unusual is the bold red note on the menu that one should advise the waitrons if one would like breaks between courses. We absolutely loved the mini wholewheat loaf that was served in small slices, containing pieces of fruit, and topped with poppy and sesame seeds. It is sold in the tasting room, and costs R15 a loaf. An amuse bouche was brought to the table, being a mushroom tart with mushroom puree, similar to a quiche, and placed on top of the most crispy fried parma ham, and hidden under basil leaves when served. I was impressed with how warm the plates were when they were brought from the kitchen, and I cannot recall when last I experienced a hot plate on my restaurant visits. My starter of Tempura langoustine tail, blackened corn and tomato was brought to the table in a soup plate, and the sweet-tasting sweetcorn velouté was poured into the plate by a waiter at the table, with much more style than we had experienced at the new Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel. The tempura batter was very light and not very crispy. My partner had ordered a Green Pea and Shimeji mushroom ravioli, which he enjoyed, but felt it to be salty. Other starters are Tom Yum prawn risotto, caramelised eel and foie gras terrine, rillettes of duck, pork and rabbit, quail, Stilton and curried pear tartlet, carpaccio of beetroot, and duck prosciutto. A palate cleanser of plum sorbet and lemon compote was a surprise course.
I loved the juicy Tagine of duck, served with green olives, dates, pistachio nuts, sweetcorn polenta and walnut arancini (with a R25 surcharge). I missed Chef Darren’s colourful plating touch, as the plate only had shades of brown on it. My partner’s Asian braised pork belly, by contrast, had colour appeal, with oranges creating a colour contrast, and was served with tatsoi, roasted onion infused mashed potato, and a hazelnut and apple crumble. Further main courses to choose from include Baby chicken, hake, beef fillet with lobster tail, springbok and Karoo lamb neck. Donovan had told me that the most popular dishes ordered are the Grande Provence Seafood Selection, with his own special XO broth that Chef Darren came back with from Hong Kong last year, and crème brûlée served with a strawberry salsa, and a refreshing strawberry and mint sorbet served on a spoon, which was my dessert choice. The brûlée was soft and creamy. My partner chose the Prince Albert Regal cheese, served with brioche and olives. Other dessert options are chocolate calzone, summer fruit jelly and a chocolate tart.
The winelist has mainly Grande Provence (including Angel Tears) wines, and the wine prices are roughly 50 % of cost of sales, influenced by availability and awards won. We were impressed with the generous wine quantity poured by the glass. My reaction to the chilled (17°C) 2007 Shiraz was picked up by the waitress, and she came back with a bottle at room temperature, and allowed me to taste that one as well, and I far preferred the non-chilled glassful. The paper in the wine list we were given seemed heavily used. Innovative was the first page listing of all the awards that the Grande Provence wines have won. Wines by the glass include the Grande Provence Chardonnay (R56/R180), Sauvignon Blanc (R46/R160), Viognier and Chenin Blanc blend (R42/R140), Cabernet Sauvignon and Shiraz (both R55/R190), Pinot Noir (R60/R230) as well as Angel Tears Sauvignon Blanc (R22/R80), White (R20/R70), Red (R22/R80), Pink (R20/R70) and Blanc de Blanc MCC (R45/R200), very affordable prices. The Grande Provence, the wine estate’s flagship wine, costs R700. Pongracz (R185), Pierre Jourdan Belle Rosé (R44/210), Piper Heidsiek (720) and Billecart Salmon Brut Rosé (R1500) are also available.
Donovan proudly told me about the new Rosetta imported coffee range that they will be introducing soon. Grande Provence guests will be able to order their coffee made from beans of the origin of their choice, much as one can order a type of tea. Beans will be available from Papua New Guinea, two options from Ethiopia, Panama, Brazil, and Indonesia. The Illy coffees will remain the baseline coffee at Grande Provence.
Grande Provence has been an Eat Out Top 10 restaurant, its previous chefs Peter Tempelhoff and Jacques de Jager having been awarded this accolade. I am convinced that Chef Darren can achieve the same, and have found him to be one of the most creative platers and food designers, especially as far his desserts go. I felt disappointed that our dinner did not reflect enough of this talent, which I have seen on so many previous occasions, and I told Chef Darren so when he came to say hello. Our waitress was good and attentive, but I was annoyed when she interrupted a heated discussion between my partner and I, just to ask our permission to serve the next course, an odd touch, as one is normally in the hands of the chef as far as serving timing goes. A sign of the professionalism of Grande Provence, and of F&B Manager Donovan, was his call the following day, to check if everything had been to our satisfaction, proactively requesting feedback. It is this care and friendliness that makes me go back to Grande Provence over and over again.
Restaurant at Grande Provence, Main Road/R45, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-8600. www.grandeprovence.co.za. (The website contains the menu, a profile of Chef Darren, and a description of the restaurant interior. Disappointingly there is no Image Gallery to display Chef Darren’s beautiful dishes). Monday – Sunday lunch and dinner.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Restaurant Review: Bosman’s back on Top 10, fired up, much more friendly!
After having been announced as a Top 10 restaurant a month ago, a sojourn in Franschhoek gave me the opportunity to try Bosman’s for lunch on Monday, and to celebrate a special birthday at dinner last night. I was amazed at the radical change in the “personality” of Bosman’s at the Grande Roche Hotel in Paarl, from a restaurant that was stiff and unwelcoming on my last visit, to one that bends over backwards, oozes friendliness, and has made some important changes which clearly are paying off, in that Bosman’s is back on the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list, after a long absence, and it was the joint winner (with Zachary’s at Pezula) of the Diner’s Club of the Year Winelist Awards. Whilst is offers excellent value for lunch, it probably is the most expensive Cape restaurant for dinner.
The person who is probably most responsible for the changes is the Food & Beverage Manager Alan Bailes, and is now also acting-GM. He impressed when he contacted me after my last visit to Bosman’s, and was non-defensive in his reaction. Bailes is so hands-on that he walks the floor and makes time to chat to the restaurant patrons, something I have never seen of a hotel GM before. He laughed when I said that to him, and he said that he still is the F&B Manager, but even then these are rarely seen inside a restaurant in general. The restaurant’s flexibility is commendable, in that I overheard Bailes telling other guests that the kitchen can prepare anything for them, with 24 hours notice.
Bailes is one of a number of new GM’s at Grande Roche, after Horst Frehse left, and told me that the most important change that they have made was to cancel their Relais & Chateaux accreditation, without dropping their standards, he emphasized. They have chosen to use the marketing power of the Mantis Collection to attract business. The Relais & Chateaux decision came from the unsatisfactory return received for the high cost of the accreditation. Ironically, Horst Frehse was known as “Mr Relais & Chateaux” when he was the (cigar-smoking) GM of the Grande Roche. I wrote about Asara Hotel’s recent Relais & Chateaux accreditation, and that it may be dropping the accreditation, having just obtained it with the help of Frehse, who has left and is heading for the Twelve Apostles Hotel as GM next month. The only local Relais & Chateaux properties are Asara Hotel, Le Quartier Français, Cellars Hohenhort, The Marine and The Plettenberg. The focus has also been on making the lunch far more casual, and the prices far more affordable. Whilst the dinner menu is far different to that for lunch, and offers two Tasting menu and a la carte options, the formality has been removed, especially when the restaurant was literally moved outdoors on a lovely 30+C evening.
The service experienced at both lunch and dinner was outstanding and attentive, Glenroy du Plessis, the Wine Steward who recently was crowned as best in the country by Diner’s Club, and who must be one of the nicest hospitality staff around, spoiling us. Nothing is too much trouble, and he crosses the line between waiter and wine steward. The sommelier Josephine Gutentoft recently moved across to Bosman’s, and while we clashed badly at Reuben’s, she was charm herself last night. Raymond is another manager I know from Reuben’s. Two German staff gave an extra dimension to service quality. Charming Restaurant Manager Alessandro de Laco talks with a heavy Italian accent, but can speak French and German, coming from Switzerland. He and waiter Stefan had come to the Grande Roche earlier this year due to the World Cup. Waitress Loreen had come to the Grande Roche with her boyfriend, who works in the kitchen, and will stay until April. Staff look smart in a white shirt and black tie, and black apron.
There were some rough edges, like Ra-ida getting my booking wrong for the dinner, mixing up the date and the number of persons booked. I also noticed two broken umbrellas on the lunch terrace, probably due to the wind. A Manager should have picked this up, given that the Grande Roche is a 5-star hotel. My pet hate is security and a boom, and while it was perfect for my arrival for lunch, the chap who was on duty in the evening mumbled something about whether we wanted a table for two, but we had made a reservation. Yet he did not ask for the name. They are an outsourced service.
Lunch 3 January
My lunch was extremely relaxed, and was probably made so because of the friendly service by Glenroy and Raymond, who were both on duty, and looked after me, together with German waiter Stefan.
The outside tables have granite tops, and underplates that have a similar look, but these plates are removed before the food is served, so are purely decorative. Good quality serviettes are on the table, but while mine was clean, it had a stain on it. An unusually large collection of glasses is on the table, for a lunchtime. The cutlery shows its age, in being heavily used. A waitress brought a lovely cool facecloth to the table, a nice way to cool down on the 30 C Paarl day. Tokara olive oil was brought to the table with a nicely presented plate of three undescribed bread types – baguette, rye and wholewheat – wrapped in a serviette. The menu is a narrow page, set in a red and black menu holder. I did not see initially that the winelist was on the reverse. As a starter I chose a delicious chilled cucumber soup, with two crispy crumbed prawns (R50). The prawns were brought to the table first, and then a waitress came with a jug of the soup and poured it with far greater style than the asparagus soup I had at the Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson recently. Other starter choices are Caesar salad with chicken leg and quail egg; Beef Carpaccio; Salmon Trout; Braised Roma tomatoes and mozzarella, all costing R75. Mixed baby salad with avocado, goat’s cheese and biltong costs R65; and Asian marinated yellowtail tartare costs R70.
Main courses clearly have been kept as close to R100 as possible, and makes the portions a little smaller, not a bad thing for a lunch, especially when one has more than one course. I ordered the Pan-fried kingklip with pea risotto, beurre noisette foam, and biltong (R95), the biltong not adding anything to the fish dish, and adding a saltiness I would have preferred to do without. The kingklipwas firm and well prepared, and the peas in the risotto gave the dish a colourful touch. A fish knife was served with the dish. Other main courses choices include Seafood Bowl (R115), Pan-fried prawns with seafood ravioli and Bouillabaisse broth (R115); Linguine (R80), Asian stir fried beef fillet (R140); and Free-range chicken breast (R95). Dessert options are “Mohr im Hemd” (rum and raisin ice cream), nougat potato ravioli and Amarula Creme Brûlée, costing around R45, and an Exotic Trio at R50, consisting of Creme Brûlée, fruit salsa, and passion fruit sorbet.
The lunch winelist is short and sweet! Ten wines-by-the-glass are offered, starting at R40 for Newton Johnson ‘Felicite’ Dry, and peaking at R280 for 87ml of NV Laurent Perrier Brut Rosé. The Migliarina Shiraz seems expensive at R75 a glass. Six white wines can be ordered by the bottle, Maison Single Vineyard Chenin Blanc costing R150, while A.A. Badenhorst’s Family White Blend costs R580. Eight red wines start at R280 for a bottle of Rainbow’s End 2005, up to R650 for a Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2005.
Dinner 5 January
We went to celebrate my son’s birthday today with dinner last night. The table outside was perfect, was laid with a good quality tablecloth, and three sets of knives and forks as well as a spoon. A staff member put the serviettes on our laps, an old-fashioned touch. There were fewer glasses on the table than at lunch. Glenroy brought an ice bucket, and kept it filled up throughout the evening. There are no salt and pepper containers on the table, as Chef Roland feels the kitchen should spice the food correctly. One may request salt and pepper however.
The winelist dominates one’s impressions at Bosman’s, and obviously is the definitive one, judging by its Diner’s Club accolade. It is a weighty document bound in a grey leather cover, and runs to 62 pages and the hotel’s wine collection exceeds 600 labels, Glenroy told us. Unfortunately it uses pages that are hooked in, to give flexibility in terms of availability, but a number of these pages had slipped out, making the winelist look just a little unprofessional, despite its impressive collection. Sommelier Josephine wants to increase this number, by adding smaller producers. Similarly to the Asara winelist (Frehse probably used that of Bosman’s as the benchmark when preparing the Asara one), the Bosman’s winelist provides a history of the winemaking in this country, describes the winegrowing areas, dedicates a section to South African wine awards, and provides a map of the wine regions. I joked and said that it would take me the whole evening to go through the winelist alone, and therefore it was recommended that the wine steward advises one about the wines, which is probably what usually happens. Something I have never seen on a winelist is the name of the winemaker(s). Obviously regions, vintages and descriptions are provided per wine.
The wines-by-the-glass section spans two pages, and four are MCC sparkling wines: Silverthorn Blanc de Blanes Brut (R85), Silverthorn Genie Rosé (R95), Colmant Reserve Brut (R65) and Graham Beck Bliss Demi Sec (R65). Laurent Perrier can be ordered in a dinky at R280, and Billecart Salmon Rosé Brut costs R290. Eight white wines are available by the glass, starting at R 48 for AA Badenhorst Family Secateurs as well as Crios Bride Sauvignon Blanc, and peaking at R70 for Scali Blanc. The Rosé is by Newton Johnson, at R40. Six red wines are available: starting at R70 is the Ataraxia “Serenity” and going up to R185 for a Kanonkop. By the bottle, 25 MCC sparkling wines are offered, starting at R175 for Seidelberg’s Blanc de Blancs Brut at R175, up to R540 for La Motte’s Brut. There are 42 Shiraz wines listed, Veenwouden “Thornhill” the best priced at R260, and Mont Destin’s Destiny the most expensive at R1150.
A cold facecloth was brought to the table, to cool one down and to wipe one’s hands, also an old-fashioned touch, but welcome in the heat. A young waiter came with the bread basket, and offered us a choice of seven breads, the largest choice I have ever seen, and one looked more attractive than the other. Choices include parma ham and garlic, pumpkin seed loaf, tomato rolls, pretzel rolls and a lovely seedloaf. Bosman’s is generous with its bread offering, and the waiter came by at least three times. The bread is served with a collection of three trademark Bosman’s spreads – unsalted butter, lard with garlic and bacon, and cottage cheese with chives. A gazpacho with white tomato jelly and agar was brought as an amuse bouche, the spicy soup poured out of a jug at the table. It did not impress me, if one takes an amuse bouche to be a small taste of the chef’s skills.
The menu has a welcome by Executive Head Chef Roland Gorgosilich: “We trust you will have a relaxing and enjoyable evening with us”, the new Planet Restaurant also having such a ‘personalised’ signed touch in its menu. Gorgosilich is Austrian, and has a low profile. It is a shame that he does not come out of the kitchen, to chat to the guests. One can enjoy a 9-course European-style tasting menu at R 660 per person, as well as a reduced “Harmony of the South” menu, 4-courses costing R 520, and 5-courses R580. This menu is meant to be a representation of South African cuisine.
For his starter my son had a hot butternut soup (R55) off the a la carte menu, despite the hot evening, which was also poured at the table over three little pieces of braised duck breast. It was not an exceptional soup, in my opinion. My foie gras order, billed to be served with Baumkuchentorte, and costing an extravagant R175, was a let down, as the layered cake was barely visible and could not be tasted around the slice of foie gras. The foie gras itself was wonderful, served with a cherry, and red cabbage puree, which did not add to the foie grasenjoyment. Other starter choices include quail (R95); wild mushroom risotto with parma ham, which looked delicious served at neighbouring tables (R75); poached salmon trout (R105); and poached veal fillet with pan-fried scallops (R155).
The highlight of the dinner without a doubt was the Fillet Mignon flambee (R200). It is usually prepared at the table inside, but due to the outsideseating, and the fire danger, we went inside to see Alessandro prepare it for us in the dining room, a most dramatic preparation, especially when the Martellbrandy was added. The steak was butter soft. It was served with tagliatelle and mushroom ragout, the most delicious I have had in a long time, simple and focused on providing enjoyment. An excellent serrated steak knife was served for this dish, barely necessary due to the soft steak. Other main course choices include Beef fillet Rossini (R285); springbok loin (R210); vanilla milk poached kingklip (R175); pan-fried hake and crayfish (R225); sole and stuffed calamari (R195) and oddly a tomato consommé at R145. What adds class to the dinner at Bosman’s is another old-fashioned touch – presenting the main course dishes with domes, which the waiters all lift simultaneously at the table. The waitress then reminds each diner what he/she has ordered, a nice touch.
For dessert, one is presented with a separate menu, to which is added a number of further beverage options. Strawberry rhubarb, and an interesting sounding peach lavender soup served with chocolate ganache and peanut croquant cost R65; chocolate fondant costs R75; crepe suzetteR80; and a cheese trolley R150, presumably which can be shared. I had arranged with Alessandro for a surprise birthday chocolate cake, which was decorated with strawberries on the side, came with a candle, and looked beautiful on a glass plate. We were not charged for this birthday treat. I had a good cappuccino.
The bathroom entrance is attractive and luxurious with a beautiful orchid display. But when one steps inside, the wooden doors are still there, not in keeping with the quality standards of the hotel.
Bosman’s is not an everyday dinner venue, but one for a special celebration, given how expensive it is. Yet for lunchtime visits to Paarl it is perfect, as it is affordable and and the food light. I enjoyed both my visits to Bosman’s this week.
POSTSCRIPT 22/7: Being in Paarl, I popped in at Bosman’s for lunch today. Once again, I had a problem with the poor quality of outsourced security staff manning the boom. I was refused entry for lunch at the boom initially, and asked for the phone number, so that I could call. Instead, the security person decided to call the Restaurant Manager himself, and this caused a traffic jam at the boom! I was eventually allowed in and welcomed on arrival, and wondered why this had been necessary in the first place. Thereafter the service was excellent. I was happy to meet the new GM Anja Bosken, She told me that they are working hard at increasing the awareness of the Grande Roche, and went onto Twitter last week. They are also working on being less stiff and more friendly. Seven members of staff were retrenched before her arrival, she said, and some staff members did not renew their fixed-term contracts. Bosman’s is very professional, and I enjoyed a main course of kingklip and prawns, with Mediterranean vegetables and seafood ravioli (R95), followed by Apfelstrudel (R45), prices which are very reasonable for a Top 10 restaurant at a 5-star hotel. Alan Bailes and Alessandro de Laco have left the Grande Roche.
Bosman’s Restaurant, Grande Roche Hotel, Plantasie Street, Paarl. Tel (021) 863-5100. www.granderoche.com (The website has an Image Gallery, with few food photographs, and all the menus are listed). Twitter: @Grande_Roche
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
2010 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant, Top Chef, Top Service awards go to David Higgs and Rust en Vrede
In a hotly contested 2010 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards last night, Rust en Vrede and chef David Higgs won all three top categories of the Awards, in being named the number 1 restaurant in the country, Top Chef, as well as the restaurant offering Top Service. Even before the Top 20 finalists were announced, we had predicted that Rust en Vrede would be named as the best restaurant in South Africa, for the excellent work of Higgs and his team.
With four Eat Out Top 10 restaurants now in Stellenbosch (Rust en Vrede, Overture, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine and Terroir), there can no longer be a debate about Stellenbosch being the new Gourmet Capital of South Africa. Cape Town, Paarl, and Franschhoek each have one restaurant in the Top 10 list.
But it was the other Top 10 winners on the list that caused some upsets, in that it appeared that being invited to cook for the Awards evening is no longer an indicator of instant inclusion on the Top 10 list (of the four chefs preparing the meal, only Higgs was in the Top 10 list). Also having been on the Top 10 list last year was no guarantee of being on the list this year. So, for example:
* Number one restaurant for two years running, and 12th ranked restaurant in the world, La Colombe did not make the Top 10 list. Luke Dale-Roberts, now consultant chef to La Colombe and owner of his new restaurant The Test Kitchen, suffered the same fate as George Jardine did last year, in falling off the list due to the new restaurant. No doubt Dale-Roberts will be back on the Top 10 list next year.
* Number 2 restaurant in 2009, and Top Chef last year, and cooking at the dinner, Chantel Dartnall of Mosaic Restaurant in Pretoria, did not feature on the Top 10 list
* Aubergine and Bosman’s are back on the Top 10 list, after an absence of many years for both restaurants
* The Roundhouse made it to the Top 10 list last year, but fell off this year, and chef PJ Vadas also cooked. Eric Bulpitt from Jardine also cooked for the gala dinner, but did not make the Top 10 list, despite the judges’ emphasis on foraging as an important source of ingredients, something Bulpitt does with his team on the slopes of Table Mountain.
The judges looked for passion (this was emphasised) in restaurants they evaluated, as well as ambiance, seafood sustainability in following the SASSI list for seafood, the pairing of wine and food, service levels, consistency of delivery, the plates used, the relationship with suppliers, serving real food, sincerity, and a new trend – foraging. Ultimately, the test was whether the restaurant offered their patrons a memorable experience.
The Top 10 Restaurant List, as ranked by the Eat Out judges Abigail Donnelly, Pete Goffe-Wood, Arnold Tanzer and Anna Trapido, is as follows:
1. Rust en Vrede, Chef David Higgs, Stellenbosch
2. The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Francais, Chef Margot Janse, Franschhoek
3. Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, Chef George Jardine, Stellenbosch
4. Bosman’s ,Grand Roche, Chef Roland Gorgosilich, Paarl
5. DW Eleven-13, Chef Marthinus Ferreira, Johannesburg
6. Terroir, Chef Michael Broughton, Stellenbosch
7. Aubergine, Chef Harald Bresselschmidt, Cape Town
8. Roots, Chef Allistaire Lawrence, Johannesburg
9. Overture, Chef Bertus Basson, Stellenbosch
10. Hartford House, Chef Jackie Cameron, Mooi River
The remaining finalists on the Top 20 shortlist were the following: The Greenhouse (Peter Tempelhoff), Jardine(Eric Bulpitt), La Colombe (Luke Dale-Roberts), Linger Longer (Walter Ulz), Mosaic Restaurant (Chantel Dartnall), The Restaurant at Waterkloof (Gregory Czarnecki), Restaurant Christophe(Christophe Dehosse), Reuben’s (Reuben Riffel), The Roundhouse (PJ Vadas), and Zachary’s (Geoffrey Murray).
A newly named Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award went to chef Walter Ulz of Linger Longer, a Top 20 finalist, and celebrating his 30 years of involvement with the restaurant, as well as the restaurant’s 50th anniversary on 1 April next year. Margot Janse read a most moving tribute to Lannice Snyman, the first editor of Eat Out.
The Top 10 restaurant award list countdown only commenced after a four course dinner was served at the Westin Grand. The hotel’s chef Grant served the canapes, enjoyed on arrival, and I loved the clever mini- “Magnums”, frozen cheese coated in chocolate and on a stick, looking like the ice cream brand in miniature form. The starter was prepared by Chef PJ Vadas from The Roundhouse, and was a beautifully floral minimalist Buffalo Ridge ricotta served wrapped in pickled Magic Man beetroot and drizzled with Morgenster Olive Oil and balsamic vinegar. It was paired with La Motte 2009 Chardonnay.
The first main course was prepared by Chantel Dartnall of Mosaic Restaurant, and was called “Land and Sea”, linking langoustine tails to pea purÃ©e and asparagus, served with a langoustine foam, and paired with La Motte’s 2010 Pierneef Chardonnay. David Higgs of Rust en Vrede prepared the second main course, pan roasted fillet of beef, a sweetbread and caper sausage, warm salad of tongue and cabbage, with a smoked raisin purÃ©e, paired with 2007 Rust en Vrede Bordeaux Blend.
Eric Bulpitt of Jardine served his “Pear in ember’ dessert on their trademark wooden boards, with pear jelly, smoked and dried pear ice cream, chocolate streussel, black sesame and walnuts, paired with Nuy White Muscadel.
Given that there are 8000 restaurants in South Africa, all restaurants having made Top 20 on the Eat Out shortlist are worthy of congratulation, said Abigail Donnelly, Eat Out editor. More than 3000 restaurants are listed in the 2010 Eat Out Guide, which is available in outlets from today.
The 2010 Eat Out Top 10 Awards evening was most enjoyable – the lovely company of the Veritas team, led by Duimpie Bayly and his wife Sue, as well as of Bennie Howard, and Eat Out staff, including writer Annette Klinger, the granddaughter of our neighbours in Wellington from many moons ago, next to whom I was lucky enough to sit. We were the last to leave, with the lovely Anel and Jan from Spit or Swallow blog.
I cannot wait for the 2011 Eat Out Awards, with the outstanding new restaurants that have opened recently, which will challenge the Top 10 winners of this year, particularly Pierneef à La Motte with Chris Erasmus, Babel at Babylonstoren with Simone Rossouw, the new Tokara with Richard Carstens, and The Test Kitchen with Luke Dale-Roberts.
POSTSCRIPT 15/4: It has been announced that David Higgs has resigned, and will leave Rust en Vrede in mid-June.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage