Tag Archives: Roots

Inaugural 2016/2017 Gourmet Guide launched, Top 21 SA restaurants ‘plated’!

imageToday the inaugural ‘2016/2017 Gourmet Guide: Top South African Restaurants, their Chefs & Recipes‘ was launched at the Good Food & Wine Show. Twenty one top restaurants were honored with one or two plates, acknowledging them as the best restaurants in our country.
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American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards 2016; 2017 Platinum Taste Awards to challenge Eat Out Awards?

Amex Award tableLast night (7 September) the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards 2016 were presented for Cape Town, the Winelands, and the Garden Route at The Watershed in the V&A Waterfront, a total of 31 awards presented. Last night (14 September) the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards were presented at Katy’s Palace Bar in imageJohannesburg.

Interesting announcements made during the evening in Cape Town appear to indicate that the Platinum Taste Awards (new name from next year) will take Eat Out head on next year! At the awards event, the name change for next year was announced, as was that the Platinum Taste Awards will introduce seven award categories. It is no longer a criterion for a restaurant to accept Continue reading →

Rate of restaurant openings and chef changes slows down in Cape Town and Winelands, as winter approaches!

Bertus Basson at SR Interior doilies Whale CottageWinter is on the way, and the rate of new restaurant openings has slowed down dramatically, as has the move of chefs between restaurants, which was dramatic in 2014.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*   Bertus Basson at Spice Route has opened as a ‘modern South African restaurant‘ at Spice Route, the kitchen run by Chef Alistair Lawrence, previously from Roots and Overture (photograph).

*   Bacon on Bree has opened at 217 Bree Street, a bacon-inspired restaurant by charcuterier Richard Bosman and Continue reading →

Chef Reuben Riffel goes back to his restaurant roots with Racine in Franschhoek!

Racine signage Whal e CottageI met with Chef Reuben Riffel in December, for a coffee date at Crisp.  I spoke to him about going to Racine, his second restaurant in Franschhoek which he opened two years ago, and he requested that he accompany me to Racine. Last Thursday our diaries both had a lunch opening, and we met for what was an early but long lunch.

He told me that the idea of the second restaurant arose when Chamonix wine estate owner Chris Hellinger ate at Reuben’s Franschhoek, and suggested that Chef Reuben take over what was already a vacant Racine Chef Nico Whale Cottagerestaurant, after the owners of the former Mon Plaisir had left.  The rental offer by Mr Hellinger was a very generous one, and Chef Nico Pretorius working with Chef Reuben at the One&Only Cape Town was looking for growth, so Chef Reuben signed the lease and offered Chef Nico the job two years ago.  I met Chef Nico when I arrived, and he seems very quiet and introverted, not returning to our table during our three-hour lunch.

Having only been to Racine once before, I had not noticed that Racine has its own entrance,  Continue reading →

Bertus Basson at Spice Route : a modern South African restaurant!

Bertus Basson at SR Interior doilies Whale CottageI received a personal invitation from Chef Bertus Basson to join him for lunch at his new Bertus Basson at Spice Route restaurant, which opened on the Paarl wine farm 6 weeks ago. He and his charming wife Mareli managed to re-invent the restaurant within five days from taking over the space, modernising it to reflect their promise of ‘A Modern South African Restaurant’, both in terms of its decor and its food offeringBertus Basson at SR Bertus Whale Cottage.

A lot has changed at Spice Route, my last visit having been when Charles Back had taken over the wine estate, previously called Seidelberg, next door to his Fairview.  I didn’t have time to see all the artisan businesses which have opened at Spice Route since Back took over, but they include a Richard Bosman charcuterie outlet, with tastings at R30 (a bit cheeky I thought), a wine tasting centre, and Cape Brewing Co, about which I Continue reading →

Chefs still on the move between Cape Town and Winelands restaurants!

Palma Interior candles Whale CottageEven though we are almost at the end of the summer season, chefs are still moving between restaurants, a number of chef changes having taken place at the end of February.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*     Italian restaurant Palma has opened on Bree Street (photograph)

*   Bacon on Bree has opened at 217 Bree Street, a bacon-inspired restaurant by charcuterier Richard Bosman and his wife Justine Seymour.

*   Culture Club cheese and wine shop has opened at 215 Bree Street, its owner previously having been the GM of La Fromagerie on Marylebone High Street in London!

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill has opened next to Sotano in Mouille Point.

*   Baked in the Wood is to open on Bree Street, offering craft beer and tapas, owned by Zahir Mohamed of Baked Bistro.

*   Honest Chocolate Café has opened next door to its original shop on Wale Street.

*   Tasha’s has opened in Canal Walk

*   Localé Cocktail & Pincho Bar has opened in Mowbray, as a joint venture between Baked Bistro Continue reading →

New restaurant openings awaited in Cape Town & Winelands!

Bistro 13 Interior plus serving hatch Whale CottageAn unusually high number of new restaurants has opened or will do so in the next month or two.  There have never been so many chefs leaving their employers to start their own restaurants, or to join other employers!  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Kokkedoor judge and Chef Nic van Wyk and Roxy Laker have opened bistro 13 at Stellenbosch Vineyards (Welmoed) (photograph)

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill has opened next to Sotano in Mouille Point.

*   Michael Townsend (who own the La Parada, Lucky Fish, Harbour House emporium) has opened Tiger’s Milk in Muizenberg, the venue having previously been earmarked for a steakhouse.

*   Neil Grant and his business partner Barry Engelbrecht (of Burrata) have opened new restaurant Bocca on the corner of BreeContinue reading →

2015 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards restaurants announced, Western Cape loses eight restaurants!

Chenin Blanc Top 10 Huguenot Cheese Brulee Whale CottageThe 2015 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards have been announced, the Western Cape (39) having a small head start over Gauteng (33) in the number of restaurants on the list of 89 restaurants in total.  Five new restaurants have been added to the list: 95 Keerom, Delaire Graff Restaurant, Kitima, and Makaron at Majeka House, all in the Western Cape, as well as The Leopard in Johannesburg.

Restaurants that were eligible to receive an American Express Platinum Fine Dining Award have to accept the credit card as payment, and have to accept a booking for four by a Platinum Card holder within four days of booking. Excellence, creativity, and offering guests an exquisite culinary experience are evaluated.

New head of the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards is Tamsin Snyman, who also is the Africa and Indian Ocean Islands chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards.  She has taken over the Awards management from Victor Strugo, who had been involved for the past 16 years.

Nedbank Head of Corporate Card Services Pamela White said about the awards: ‘The awards continue to reflect the country’s rising culinary spirit and serve as a catalyst in championing the enhancement of the fine dining industry and experience in South Africa. As the exclusive issuer of American Express in South Africa, we are honoured to be associated with this initiative as it not only celebrates South African restaurateurs but also promotes fine dining’.

Last year the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards list had 95 restaurants, the Western Cape list having reduced by four restaurants on the list, despite having added four new restaurants, therefore a total loss of eight restaurants.  Western Cape restaurants no longer on the list this year are La Colombe (probably due to the long period of closure and its new premises not yet operating), Zachary’s, Bukhara, Bombay Brasserie at The Taj, Savoy Cabbage, Kurland Hotel Restaurant, Constantia Uitsig (closed down), and Serendipity’s.  The reason for the restaurants dropping off the list may be the tough economic climate, some of the restaurants purposely no longer accepting Amex credit cards due to their high merchant commission rate, or they have been judged to no longer meet the standards.  Missing from the Western Cape list altogether but being in a Top 20 Restaurant league are The Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club, The Kitchen at Maison, Equus, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Tokara, Burrata, Springfontein Eats, Indochine, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, and Jardine at Jordan.

The 2015 Award winners are: Continue reading →