Entries tagged with “Seafood at the Marine”.


Seafood at The Plettenberg View ocean Whale CottageOne of the better restaurants in Plettenberg Bay (there aren’t many, and two favorites The Grand and Nguni are currently closed for winter breaks) has been Sand at The Plettenberg.  Two years ago the restaurant changed its name to SeaFood at The Plettenberg, in line with a similar restaurant at sister hotel The Marine in Hermanus, and last year new Executive Chef Grant Parker took over the kitchen when the hotel re-opened after a long winter break.  The setting and selection of mainly seafood dishes was perfect on a beautiful day.

I had been assisted in the foyer of the hotel by Guest Relations Manager Laula, who did everything, including serving me in the restaurant.  She is a very new staff member, but was willing to find information for the questions which she could not answer.  She sent Annemie Parker, the General Manager and wife of the chef, wearing her Relais & Chateaux pin, to explain the changes in the branding of the restaurant. Little about the restaurant interior has changed since she took over in running the hotel a year ago, coming from Seafood at The Plettenberg Interior restaurant Whale CottageCybele Lodge, except for two panels of photographs with Southern Right whales, but hard to identify as such, with the way the light falls on the glass panels over them. Annemie said that McGrath Hotels Group Executive Chef Peter Tempelhoff comes to visit every two months or so.  She said that Chef Grant devised most of the dishes on the new restaurant menu, with guidance from Chef Peter, but with a section of The Collection signature dishes, which are served in all three the McGrath hotel restaurants, including The Conservatory at the Cellars-Hohenhort in Constantia.   With the change in restaurant name,  the style of the restaurant to that of a Bistro was also changed, away from fine-dining. (more…)

MasterChef 2 25 Judges and gateau Whale Cottage PortfolioDescribed as cool and aloof by viewers, Kamini Pather showed some emotion and her first tears in the 25th episode of MasterChef SA last night, frustrated in her efforts to bake a Lemon Meringue Gâteau, the focus of much of the episode.  Being the darling of viewers and tipped to win Season 2 of MasterChef SA, it was a surprise that viewers reacted with such vitriol against her performance at the end of the episode last night.

While Ozzy Osman was on his way to Gansbaai as a guest of Dyer Island Conservation Trust for having created the best month-end dish, the three Finalists who had to go into the Pressure Test as a result of their poor month-end ‘cuisine’ in episode 24 were only supported by Leandri van der Wat, watching her sister Seline, Kamini, and Jason Steel bake up a sweat in what was billed as the ‘most daunting Pressure Test‘ in the series. Chef Benny Masekwameng warned. It would test their limits, in replicating the ‘work of art and masterpiece‘ of invited guest Chef Kelvin (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Mutual & Federal Agri Wellington Wine Route’s ‘Quest for the Best’  is coming to Cape Town tomorrow at the Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, at the cost of R60.  Wellington wines will be offered for tasting, with the recently selected ‘Quest for the Best’ Top Ten Wines and Top Spirits. (received via Wellington Wine Route newsletter)

*   There are more than 40000 hotel rooms being built in Africa in the next four years, 10% of these in Lagos in Nigeria alone.  No South African city appears on the top hotel room construction list.

*   Retail sales only grew by 1,5% in the past year, and it is the low income shoppers who are shopping less and closer to home.   This has affected retailers at the bottom end (more…)

De Brasserie Bar counter Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Saturday I was introduced to De Brasserie in Strand by Annette Beller-Sogor, whom I had met at an art exhibition recently and who lives in Gordon’s Bay.  She raved about the excellence of the restaurant, and mentioned that it is owned by the Belgian wine family Van Almenkerk from Elgin.   We found an unexpected European haven in a most unlikely town!

It was the most beautiful clear day, with the snow capped mountains of Somerset West visible from Beach Road.  False Bay looked flat and one could even see Cape Point, the raised former Kaapzicht restaurant offering an excellent view.  The restaurant exterior looks very modern from outside, but the restaurant name could be difficult to read, being partiallyDe Brasserie Exterior Whale Cottage Portfolio blocked by beams.  In smaller type size it states ‘Est 2012 by Almenkerk’, which one cannot read from the road.  Having booked last minute, we were seated at the bar counter first, but were promised a table as soon as one became available.

De Brasserie is Joep van Almenkerk, who is a most amazing host, friendly, attractive, charming, attentive, and he makes one feel that he knew what was happening at each table, and that he made every (more…)

Seafood at The Marine interior Whale Cottage PortfolioAfter seeing a Tweet by The Collection by Liz McGrath Executive Chef Peter Tempelhoff about the new interior of SeaFood at The Marine earlier this week, I decided to lunch there yesterday, being in Hermanus for the day.  It was a most disappointing experience, given the five star and Relais & Chateaux status of the hotel.

The Marine hotel has a long heritage and was bought by Mrs McGrath a number of years ago. and sat on its own on the cliffs overlooking Walker Bay, technically a magnificent location, but little is made of the beautiful view.  A recent flurry of development across the road from the hotel has given it a lift.  Mrs McGrath appears to be like Le Quartier Français owner Susan Huxter who renovates her establishment annually.  Mrs McGrath did the latest interior design of SeaFood at The Marine, her staff told me.  The colour scheme now is grey, with grey chairs, grey tables, and grey (more…)

Diners Club Winelist Awards 2More restaurants in the Western Cape than in any other province entered and received a Diners Club International Winelist Award 2013. At the 30th Awards function held for the Western Cape at the Vineyard Hotel on Wednesday,  MasterChef SA Judge and Tsogo Sun Chef Benny Masekwameng announced the 38 winners in the Diamond, 30 in the Platinum, 26 in the Gold,  and 2 in the SilverDiners Club Chef Benny Whale Cotatge Portfolio Award categories, 96 awards in total.

Veteran wine critic Dave Hughes chaired the judging panel, which included fledgling judge Chef Benny, restaurant guide editor JP Rossouw,  wine judges Christine Rudman and Fiona McDonald,   Winestyle.biz owner Nikki Dumas, and the Cape Wine Academy head Marilyn Cooper.  He said that it was fitting that the Awards ceremony was held at The Vineyard hotel, the Newlands area having been the first in Cape Town in which grapes were grown, but soon (more…)

Western Cape restaurants won 41 of the 83 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards at a ceremony earlier this week, with Gauteng following in second place with 29 awards.

The Awards recognise ‘quality and creativity of cuisine, service, wine list, décor,  and ambiance as well as overall excellence’, reports Food24. Acceptance of American Express credit cards is a requirement.  Judges were Victor Strugo and Anna Trapido from Johannesburg, and Tamsin Snyman from Cape Town, a similar team judging the South African entries for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

Twelve first-time winners of an American Express Platinum Fine Dining award include Azure at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and Bombay Brasserie in the Taj hotel in Cape Town; The Kurland Hotel Restaurant in Plettenberg Bay; DW11-13 in Johannesburg; and Ninth Avenue Bistro in Durban.

Western Cape winners of American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards are the following: Aubergine, Azure, Bistro Sixteen82, Bombay Brasserie, Buitenverwachting, Bukhara in Burg Street, Catharina’s at Steenberg, Constantia Uitsig, The Foodbarn, Gold, The Greenhouse, Haiku, Il Leone, La Colombe, Nobu, Planet Restaurant, The Roundhouse, Savoy Cabbage, 96 Winery Road, Boschendal, Bosman’s, Bread & Wine, Fraai Uitzicht 1798, Grande Provence (photograph), Jardine at Jordan, Mimosa Lodge, Overture, The Pavilion at The Marine hotel, Pierneef à La Motte, Reuben’s in Franschhoek, Seafood at the Marine hotel, The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, La Locanda in George, Kurland Hotel Restaurant, Sand at The Plettenberg hotel, Zinzi at Tsala in Plettenberg Bay, Serendipity in Wilderness, Trans Karoo in Great Brak, Pembreys, Zacharays at Pezula, and Kalinka Karoo Cuisine.

Obvious exclusions from the list, probably due to not accepting Amex credit cards, are The Test Kitchen, Tokara, Delaire Graff, Terroir, Babylonstoren, Waterkloof, Makaron Restaurant, and Rust en Vrede.

The list is an interesting mix of top restaurants in the running for Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, some one wonders about having made the list, and some one has never heard of before.

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

The following restaurants are offering Valentine’s Day specials, and the list will be updated as we receive more information about Valentine’s Day offers:

*   Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz Wine Estate, Franschhoek: Picnic at R295 per couple, including bottle of Rosé;  3-course dinner with glass of Rosé R200 per person.   Tel (021) 876-2729

*   La Mouette in Sea Point: 4-course dinner R290, or R420 with wine.  Tel (021)433-0856

*   Café Chic, Breda Street, Gardens: 3-course dinner R225.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   Allée Bleue, Franschhoek.  3-course dinner (set menu) and performance by Nianell, Sunday 13 February 18h00,  R350 per person.   Tel (021) 874-1886

*   Cosecha, Noble Hill Wine Estate, Paarl:  Valentine’s Day picnic for two costs R218 on 14 February.   3-course set menu on 13 and 14 February with bottle of Noble Hill Chardonnay, R168 per person.  Tel (021) 874-3844.

*   Brunia Wines, Stanford: 3 course dinner, dance and welcome glass of sparkling wine, R180 per person. 12 February. Tel 028 341-0432.

*   Five Flies, Keerom Street: 3 courses and a glass of sparkling wine R250 per person.  Tel (021) 424-4442.

*   Warwick Wine Estate, Stellenbosch:  Picnic basket for 2 plus bottle of Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc R 375 per couple.  13 and 14 February  Tel (021) 884-3144 

*   Salmon Bar, Franschhoek: cocktail and 3-course meal plus Porcupine Ridge wine “gift pack”, 14 February. R 265 per person.  Tel (021) 876-4591

*   Pappa Grappa, Paarl: 4 course meal plus grappa and ‘mystery gift’, R 245 per person.  Tel (021) 8633 555

*   Laborie, Paarl: Picnic plus Casablanca movie screening 12/2 R400 per couple; “Phantom of the Opera” theme, rose, glass of Rosé, 4-course dinner 14/2 R 315.  Tel (021) 807-3390

*   Buitenverwachting, Constantia:  3-course dinner R295, 5 course R 375, includes glass of sparkling wine.  Tel (021) 794-3522

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel, Constantia:   Seafood grill for two R1400; 5-course dinner R695 per person 14/2 Tel (021) 713-2222  

*   Grand Daddy Hotel Rooftop, Long Street: Picnic basket with romantic movie R190 per person, add R50 for bottle of Beyerskloof sparkling wine.  Tel (021) 424-7247

*   French Toast Wine & Tapas Bar:  7 Tapas and glass of Graham Beck Brut Rosé R470 per couple.  14 February. Tel (021) 422-3839

*   Rick’s Café, Gardens:  1 course R125, 2 courses R150, 3 courses R175 + glass of Pongracz Rosé. Tel (021) 424-1100  

*   Cape Town Hotel School, Mouille Point: 3-course dinner R250 per person.  Tel (021) 440-5736

*   Trees Restaurant, Townhouse Hotel: Glass of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel and 3-course meal R180 per person

*   Rickety Bridge, Franschhoek: 3-course gourmet lunch, R200 per person. 13 February. Tel 083 377 4103

*   The Square Restaurant, Vineyard Hotel:  Glass of sparkling wine, red rose, 3-course dinner, departure gift R295.   Dinner at Liesbeeck River R425 per person.  Tel (021) 657-4500

*   1800 Degrees, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel: Glass of sparkling wine, amuse bouche, 3 courses  R250 per person.  14 February.  Tel (021) 430-0506.

*   Cuvée Restaurant, Simonsig wine estate, Stellenbosch: Candlelit 3-course dinner outdoors, bottle of Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel, and box of chocolates.  14 February. R 350 per person.  Tel (021) 888-4932

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, Stellenbosch: 6-course Tasting Menu and ‘lots of bubbly’.  R1200 per couple.  14 February.  Tel (021) 881-3612

*   Ken Forrester Vineyards, Stellenbosch: Glass of sparkling wines plus 3-course dinner R 295 per person. 14 February. Tel (021) 855-2374

*   Morgenhof, Stellenbosch: “Under the Stars Dinner Concert” – glass of wine and port, 5-course dinner, live music R 295.  14 February.  Tel (021) 889-5510

*   Hartenberg, Stellenbosch:  3-course dinner, with wine paired per course.  R280 per person.  Tel (021) 865-2541

*   Adega, Willowbridge: Glass of sparkling wine, 3-course meal, Don Pedro, R 275 per person.  Tel (021 914-5091

*   Planet Bar, Mount Nelson Hotel:  12 oysters and bottle of Pongracz Brut Rosé R 220.  Tel (021) 483-1948

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel:  4-course dinner R 395 per person. Tel (021) 483-1948

*   Il Cappero, Barrack Street: Glass of bubbly plus 3-course dinner R 300 per couple. 12, 13, 14 February.  Tel (021) 461-3168

*   Cognito Restaurant, Stellenbosch: 3-course dinner R 160. Tel (021) 882-8696

*   Glenwood wine estate, Franschhoek: Bring your own picnic, taste wine R30, wine and sweets R50, cheese platter R60, play boules. Sunday 13 February. Tel (021 876-2044

*   Pure Restaurant, Hout Bay Manor: 4-course dinner R440. 14 February.  Tel (021) 790-0116

*   Cafe Max, De Waterkant: Glass of bubbly and 3-course dinner R 220 per person. 14 February.  Tel (021) 425-5102. 

*   Bovlei Valley Retreat, Wellington: 4-course dinner R 200 per person.  14 February

*   Diemersfontein, Wellington: Glass of bubbly, picnic basket and bottle of wine R R450 per couple, lunch and dinner, 14 February

*   Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: Glass of bubbly, 4 prawns, 200g steak and strawberry daiquiri R 95 per person. 14 February.  Tel (021) 418-9393

*   Blakes, Gardens: Masquerade theme evening – glass of bubbly, DJ, platters of tapas.  R120 (webtickets.co.za) or R150 at door.   Tel (021) 426-2369

*   Pavilion at The Marine, Hermanus: 3-course dinner, glass of sparkling wine, 2 oysrters and ‘sweet treat’ R 320.  14 February. Tel (028) 313-1000.

*   Seafood at The Marine, Hermanus: 3-course dinner, glass of sparkling wine, 2 oysters, ‘sweet treat’,  R295.  14 February. Tel (028) 313-1000.

*   Café Benedict, Franschhoek:   Glass of Dieu Donné sparkling wine and 5 course dinner R 200 per person. 14 February.   Tel (021) 876-4404

*   Trinity, Bennett Street:  3-course dinner R300 per person. Tel (021) 418-0624

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

This week marks the official launch of two competing but neighbouring restaurants in the new Cape Quarter extension on Somerset Road in De Waterkant.   Cru Cafe’ (see review here) has been open since the beginning of the month, but celebrated its launch on Tuesday.  Vanilla has also opened, and its launch evening is on Friday.   In general, these are the two ‘serious’ restaurants in this new lifestyle centre, that is set to take off as Capetonians discover its unique combination of high quality shops.   Lazari is a restaurant that disappointed on a first visit, with a shrieking pink interior, and the restaurant staff and the patrons being unsure as to which of their two terraces are for smokers and non-smokers!   The visible food preparation area when one enters the restaurant is enough to put one off from entering and sitting down!

This week saw the opening of the long-awaited Crepe et Cidre in Franschhoek, near Huguenot Fine Chocolates.  It belongs to Robert Maingard, the largest hospitality owner in the village, also owning Le Franschhoek, and Dieu Donne, and he is also set to open a sports bar in the old station building soon.  He is opening two further restaurants in Franschhoek, on opposite sides of the main road, when he completes the malls next year, one being on the current Pick ‘n Pay site and the other on the site where the Huguenot Hotel was located.   Crepe et Cidre will be run by Gerhard van Staden, previously chef of the Le Franschhoek.  The creperie has “imported” Yann Guyonvarch from Brittany in France to train the staff in crepe-making.  His true French accent is a delight, but his stay will be a short 2 weeks.  Imported French cider is served.

At La Brasserie in Franschhoek, the Friday jazz evenings will start again tomorrow (30 October), and the opening session will be dedicated to the launch of a CD ‘Tribute to Alex van Heerden’, who played with the Cape Dutch Connection, and passed away tragically.

In Hermanus the new Hermanos restaurant has opened in the building in which Joubert restaurant operated before closing down earlier this year, with a new chef and owner Wayne Spencer.  He was originally the Executive Chef at Birkenhead House in Hermanus, and at Phinda Game Reserve, and worked at the Michelin-starred Port Palace in Monaco.   He says of his new restaurant that it is fine-dining but that it is not intimidating, and he will not place a lot of emphasis on plating the food.  He intends to come out of the kitchen, to chat to his guests, which is commendable – too few chefs do so.   The menu is small, with 5 starters (R36 – 48), 7 mains (R68 – R 110), and 4 desserts (ranging betwen R 30 – R 40), and sounds interesting. The winelist is more extensive, and is very proudly-Hermanus.  The restaurant is open Mondays to Saturdays for dinner only initially, and can be booked at tel 028 313-1916.  

The Seafood at The Marine restaurant in Hermanus was a pleasant surprise earlier this week, when the most delicious kingklip was served.  The restaurant offers a choice of two courses at R 180 and 3 courses cost R 215.   A number of irritations on arrival – struggling to find the booking on the reservation list and a wobbly table – were sorted out when addressed, and the Relais & Chateaux crested butter arrived rock hard, so much so that it was unspreadable.  The restaurant has no ambiance, it being too brightly lit and it not having any attempt at a decor focus.  But the food cooks, and the hand of Executive Chef Peter Tempelhoff, a previous Eat Out Top Ten chef whilst at Grande Provence, is evident.  The biggest surprise was the presentation of three scoops of ice cream on a block of ice, serving a functional as well as an aesthetic role.   The whale-shaped biscuit served with the coffee, whilst not new, remains a cute and clever touch.   The service is friendly and willing, and a miscommunication between the waiter and the kitchen was quickly rectified.   No senior management was visible all evening.   The cloakrooms are most disappointing for a five-star hotel, and the owner Liz McGrath would do well to invest some monies in upgrading these at The Marine.

The speculation in a previous WhaleTales blog post that Ginja is to move to New Church Street (between Buitengracht and Kloofnek Roads), into the previous Relish and Nova restaurant space, has been confirmed by the EatOut website.  “Executive Chef Chris Erasmus will continue the Ginja legacy with his playful take on gastronomy, abundant with colour, texture and taste – using the finest local produce”, the website says. 

Allee Bleue in Franschhoek is hosting its first Sushi and wine-pairing evening on Friday 6 November, at R 195, with a miso soup and tempura prawn starter, and five main sushi courses, each paired with a different Allee Bleue wine.   The dessert is a green tea brulee.  Chef Dane Newton, previously at Chamonix, is known in Franschhoek for his sushi.    In addition to Allee Bleue’s Bistro, the new Winetasting Courtyard 5-item menu, and the scrumptious picnic baskets, a small beer garden menu is also available to be enjoyed with the Paulaner draught beer served at the lower end of the estate.

Jordan wine estate is opening its The Restaurant at Jordan on 21 November.   The e-mail sent to announce the opening looks amateurish, and is an instant turn-off, as one is asked to commit to the food one would like to eat on that day, and the exact time slot in which one would like to eat it in.  Payment must also be done by bank transfer prior to arrival.  For a weekend treat, a visit to a wine estate is enjoyed in leisurely fashion, without being so prescriptive!  George Jardine of Jardine is the new chef of the country restaurant.

Cafe’ Sofia is boldly advertising its seven branches (Green Point, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Rondebosch, Gardens, Greenside and Blouberg) in a striking half-page advertisement: “Come and experience our new 2010 menu, the best breakfast in town or Happy Hour Cocktails.  You may be in for a surprise”.  The Happy Hour cocktails are priced at R 25 for cocktails and R 15 for beer on tap between 17h00 – 19h00, while breakfasts range from R 19 – R 29. 

It was a food book launch week last week, with“Franschhoek Food”, written by Myrna Robbins, featuring the main chefs of Franschhoek’s restaurants, and some of their favourite restaurant menu recipes, as well as wine pairing suggestions.   “South Africa On a Plate” was also launched, a book featuring restaurants that deduct R 5 off the patron’s bill to go toward the Streetsmart charity.   A three-course dinner suggestion, with the recipes, is featured for each restaurant.   Grande Provence, Cafe’ 1999, Jewel of India, Auberge Michel, Ginga, Haiku, Rust en Vrede, Jardine, La Colombe, Ninth Avenue Bistro, Myoga, Mosaic, Bosman’s, Hartford House, Roots, The Saxon, Ile Maurice, and Terroir are some of the restaurants included in the book.   The inspiration for the book comes from Jess Meredith-Watts and his fiance’ Louise, who were touched by beggars on the streets, and felt that they could make a difference, by giving all the profits of the book sales to the Streetsmart charity.   More details about the book are available here.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio www.whalecottage.com

Wilbur Smith’s heaven-on-earth is Hermanus, he says in an article he wrote in yesterday’s Telegraph, in a series of “Heaven-on-Earth” articles written by celebrities.

Smith is an internationally recognised and prolific writer, having just published his 32 nd book ‘Assegai’, and lives in Cape Town.  He enthused about Hermanus as follows:

“Hermanus is famous for whale watching during South Africa’s winter and spring – the whales can be seen from the town’s cliffs as early as June. It also hosts an annual whale festival during the mating season at the end of September. 

The area has some beautiful beaches while the interior is quite mountainous and a great place to cycle and hike.The hinterland is dotted with vineyards, all of which are so good I find it hard to single out any one in particular. Just be sure to drink some of South Africa’s delicious wines before heading home.    I invariably stay at The Marine (0027 28 313 1000; www.marine-hermanus.co.za),a superb five-star hotel perched on top of a cliff and run by a lovely lady called Liz McGrath. It offers wonderful views of the sea from the bedrooms. It also has a fantastic restaurant, Seafood at the Marine, which I can thoroughly recommend, though if you want to find out more about the other restaurants I’d suggest visiting the town’s website (www.hermanus.co.za)