Entries tagged with “Steenberg Hotel”.


Restaurant fireplaceThe Winter 2014 specials for more than 90 Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and are updated continuously. We welcome information about new specials, and the feedback about your meals at these restaurants:

Cape Town

*   Umi in Camps Bay: 3 course set menu R260, 5 courses R360, both include a shared bottle of Warwick First Lady. Order 3 meals off a la carte menu, get the 4th free.  Slow cooked shortrib R110, Karan beef sirloin R95, Japanese beer marinated Karan beef fillet R120, pork belly R90, warm salmon and black bean R120, and fish & fries R85.  Tel (021) 437-1802 (added 10/5/14)

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : Order 3 meals and get 4th (cheapest) free; Sirloin R89, Rump R89, Lamb cutlets R99, Seafood platter R149, Sushi platter R129, Crayfish tails R169, Veal schnitzel R95, Soup of day R40,  Prawn platter R139, Oxtail R110, and Osso Buco R89.  Half price sushi (selected items) all day. Daily. Tel (021) 439-9027 (updated 10/5/14)

*    5 Rooms, Alphen Boutique Hotel: 2 courses R170; 2 courses with bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R220; 3 courses R 220; 3 courses plus bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R 270. Sirloin R95, Baby chicken R95, Braised oxtail R110, Seafood bouillabaisse R135, Grilled Prawn R99, Slow braised lamb shank R115. Tel (021) 795-6313 (updated 10/5/14)

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay:    2 courses R160; 2 courses with bottle of Warwick First Lady (shared between two) R210;  3 courses (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   South Africans are ‘shady travelers’, and not always welcomed visa-free, due to their reputation of smuggling in non-allowed items (sometimes drugs but mostly biltong), having lied to Customs’ officials, taken photographs where it is not allowed,  and ‘stealing from hotel rooms’.

*   The ‘Tops at Spar Bierfest‘ will be held at Newlands Brewery from 7 – 10 November. (received via e-mail)

*   Stellenrust has won the International Chenin Blanc Trophy at the International Wine and Spirits Competition for the second year running.

*   About 20% of British travelers would spend more on their holidays in 2014, and 16% said that they would cut back.  The balance would spend the same.

*   The Food, Wine and Design Fair will be held at the Hyde Park Corner centre in (more…)

Taking our intern Lorraine Bourgogne from Reunion on a recent sightseeing tour of Cape Point and Boulder’s Beach, we stopped at Groot Constantia, to ask for a map of the Constantia Wine Route.  To our surprise, the best we were given was a hand-drawn map, an experience that was replicated at two other wine estates in the valley.  A week later we returned to Constantia, and stopped at the wine estates we did not manage to get to last Thursday.  It appears that little or no marketing, other than a few events, has been undertaken for the Constantia Wine Route, that there is confusion as to who is handling the marketing for the Route, and that there is huge disparity in the wine tasting experience across the ten wine estates on the Constantia Wine Route. Confusion exists amongst the wine estate staff between the Constantia Wine Route and the Constantia Valley Association, and between the roles of Karen Michalowsky of the Constantia Valley Association (a not-very-nice person on Twitter), and Carryn Wiltscher of the Constantia Wine Route, both first names sounding similar! (more…)

Every year around this time, the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards are announced, resulting in a flurry of media releases to praise achievements in various categories.  TripAdvisor sceptics know how easy it is to generate both positive and negative false reviews on the world’s largest travel customer feedback site, and therefore take the results with a pinch of salt.

This year the Cape Grace hotel made it to the number two rank on the TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards 2013 Top 25 Hotels in the World category, and is ranked top hotel in Africa.  The Africa list included the Twelve Apostles Hotel at 14th position, the Mount Nelson Hotel at 18th place, The Oyster Box at 19th place, the One&Only Cape Town at 21st place, Kapama River Lodge at number 22, and the Table Bay Hotel at 23rd position.

Ironic for the Cape Grace hotel is that in the same week as the TripAdvisor award ranking was announced, yet another scandal hit the hotel, this time a hotel guest from the UK allegedly having been drugged by having her drink spiked, filmed in a comprising position in her hotel bedroom with her tour guide, and subsequently robbed of all her money, computer equipment, and jewellery over the festive season, reported the Sunday Times.   The hotel shot to ‘fame’ for all the wrong reasons when it was the honeymoon home of Shrien Dewani, who allegedly organised the murder of his bride Anni from the hotel two years ago.  The hotel’s most famous guests to date have been ex-USA President Bill Clinton and his wife Hilary, and James Bond, in the latest ‘Carte Blanche’ 007 novel by Jeffery Deaver.

Out of her depth in the wording she used in a media statement, Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold is quoted as saying: ‘The Cape Grace has always been an exemplary hotel and a benchmark for the best in Cape Town hospitality. We are so pleased  that it has been recognised in such an authoritative way‘ (our underlining), immediately offending many other top Cape Town hotels!

The TripAdvisor Travelers’ Choice Awards do not reflect the results of the highly regarded Conde Nast Travelers’ Awards, in which the Steenberg Hotel was voted as the best hotel in Africa in 2011, and was ranked 9th on the continent last year.

It is fortunate that TripAdvisor does not do a similar Restaurants Awards list, as a week doesn’t go by that a restaurateur in Cape Town and Franschhoek does not refer to colleagues posting false positive TripAdvisor reviews about their own establishments, or posting false reviews about restaurants near the top of the list in their city or village, to topple them from the top position.  ‘Reviews’ by aggrieved ex-employees are another source of negative reviews, as are customers who are angry when they do not receive refunds when they contravene agreed cancellation policies.

Anyone that reads and believes TripAdvisor reviews deserves to get what they receive when they make their accommodation and restaurant choices based on this website! TripAdvisor is a particularly important reference guide for tourists from the UK, and it is shame that they allow themselves to be deceived by so much false information.  TripAdvisor would enhance its credibility vastly if it had a review verification system, and demanded a response from the owner or manager of the establishment, before posting any review, to allow both sides of the story to be presented jointly and fairly.

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

A year ago we first conducted a survey of top-end hotel rates in Cape Town.  We repeated the survey in August 2011, and in November 2011, to track hotel pricing trends. Ellerman House has re-established itself as the most expensive Cape Town hotel, starting at R 4590 per room, and the Peninsula All Suite Hotel remains the least expensive 5-star hotel, at R1200 per room, the same rate as November 2011 and lower than a year ago.  The hotels in Cape Town appear more confident about the coming winter season, judging by their pricing policy, only half of them having decreased their rates relative to the past summer.

The survey found that the average rate of the sixteen 5-star Cape Town hotels surveyed is R 2780 per room, just under R1400 per person, an average decrease by 23% relative to the November 2011 rates.   Across all 29 hotels surveyed, the average rate per room is R 2297, or just over R 1100 per person, 21% lower on average than in November. The most expensive Presidential Suite is at the One & Only Cape Town, at R58541 per day, a rate which has not changed since November.  Interesting is that larger top-end suites seem to have seen rate increases, while the standard rooms are more likely to be discounted.

Once again it was interesting to hear how the calls were handled, most hotel reservation departments asking careful questions, to identify if the caller was a travel agent/tour operator or a corporate caller, the questioning being very specific in this regard. Holders of a Protea Hotel Prokard would have had different rates quoted.  Few hotels called had a rate sheet from which to quote immediately, having to access their computer for the ‘best available rate’ information, costing time, one hotel putting the call on hold to piped music while they did their rate calculations.  The poor quality of the call handling and quoting by the hotel Reservations departments must be a concern for their bosses, quoting odd rates (i.e. not rounded off) very quickly, making it difficult to understand and record them accurately; interrupting while one was still speaking; inability to understand and hear the request, having to repeat the dates, and the number of persons;  the question ‘group or individual’ is asked bluntly, without explanation; not all hotels quote rates with breakfast included, despite being asked for this rate (Protea Hotels quote room only, and seem surprised when asked to add the breakfast rate); The Protea Hotel group quotes day by day rates, and the reservations staff struggle to quote an average rate, making it tedious to obtain quotes from them, as they have to quote the average rate and then add the breakfast rate. The Portswood/Commodore Hotels, Bay Hotel/Village & Life, and Newmark Hotels group have the same switchboard for different hotels, and even if one dials the specific hotel selected, one is asked which hotel one wants to book at!  For hoteliers it must be frightening to hear that not one of the 29 hotels called had a call to action, in encouraging one to make a booking, given that Cape Town has the best hotels in Africa.

Half the hotels have decreased their rates since November 2011, now quoting winter rates.  However, Steenberg Hotel increased its rate from November 2011, by 4%.  Interesting is the 36 % rate increase in the past five months for the African Pride Hotels 15 on Orange and Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa.  The Ambassador Hotel has increased its rate by 27 % since November 2011.  The Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge has been known for its competitive rates, but has increased them by 24 % for winter, and is no longer the cheapest hotel of those surveyed.      The largest rate decreases since November 2011 were by the V&A Hotel (45%),  Dock House (37%), and the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel (35%).  The rate of the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice increased by a dramatic 107% relative to last winter!  The Commodore Hotel (61%) and Portswood Hotel (45%) also increased their winter rates strongly. Interesting is that the Steenberg Hotel, voted the best hotel in Africa by Conde Nast Traveler readers, ranks 4th on price now,  having ranked at 10th position a mere five months ago.  The Protea Hotel-operated properties generally are at the lower end of the price ranking, being more attractively priced to fill their beds.

The rates were checked telephonically yesterday for today, for the next three days, i.e. 3 – 6 May per room for 2 adults sharing and inclusive of Breakfast per day, so as to compare the rates fairly . We added breakfast to the rates where these were quoted separately.   We have ranked the hotel rates from most to least expensive, and reflect the rate change on the lowest priced room relative to our survey for May 2011 in brackets:

Ellerman House, 5 star, R4590 – R14680. (The 3-room villa was offered at R45441 and the 5-room villa at R68000). Tel (021) 430-3200 (8% rate decrease)

Cape Grace Hotel, 5 star, R4555.10 – R15388 for the penthouse, Tel (021) 410-7100 (1% increase)

Mount Nelson Hotel, 5 star, R3730 – R11290. Tel (021) 483-1000 (24% rate increase)

Steenberg Hotel, 5 star, R3580– R14580. Tel (021) 713-2222 (Not included in May 2011)

One & Only Cape Town, 5 star, R3490 – R58541 for the Presidential Suite.  The non-South African resident rate starts at R4856 Tel (021) 431-5888 (10% rate decrease)

15 on Orange Hotel, 5 star, R2750 – R5370 for the one-bedroom penthouse, Tel (021) 469-8000 (1 % rate decrease)

Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, 5 star, R2650 – R3750.  Tel (021) 525-3888 (25% rate increase)

Commodore Hotel, 4 star, R2580 – R8040.  Tel (021) 415-1000 (61% rate increase)

The Westin Cape Town, 5 star, R2410 – R40000 for Presidential Suite. Tel (021) 412-9999 (19 % rate decrease)

Dock House, 5 star, R 2396 – R3115. Tel (021) 421-9334 (37% rate decrease)

Table Bay Hotel, 5 star, R2360 – R4760 for South African residents, R2840 – R6050 for non-South Africans. Tel (021) 406-5000 (25% rate decrease)

Twelve Apostles Hotel, 5 star, R2325 – R4565 for Bed & Breakfast, 3-course dinner, movie and popcorn, only for South African residents.  Non-South Africans pay R4165 – R8845 per room and breakfast.  Tel (021) 437-9000 (19% rate decrease)

Portswood Hotel, 4 star, R 2320 – R 3960.  Tel (021) 415-1000 (45% rate increase)

Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, 5 star, R2300 – R10000 for the Presidential Suite.  Tel (021) 430-0500 (35% rate decrease)

The Taj Hotel, 5 star, R2300 – R40000 for Presidential Suite. Tel (021) 819-2000 (5% rate increase)

Queen Victoria Hotel, not graded yet but seeking 5 stars, R2028 – R15000, Tel (021) 418-1466 (8% rate increase)

Bay Hotel, 5 star, R2000- R2800.  Tel (021) 438-4444 (25% rate increase)

Protea Fire & Ice Hotel, 3 star,  R1860 – R2110, Tel (021) 488-2555 (107% rate increase!)

Cullinan Hotel, 5 star, R1850  – R5159.  Tel (021) 415-4000 (14% rate decrease)

Victoria Junction Hotel, 4 star, R 1850 – R 2150 Tel (021) 418-1234 (10% rate increase)

V & A Hotel, 4 star, R1720 – R2170 . Tel (021) 415-1000 (45% rate decrease)

Ambassador Hotel, 4 star, R1590 – R2020. Tel (021) 439-6176 (17% rate decrease)

Winchester Mansions Hotel, 4 star, R1550 – R3550.  Tel (021) 434-2351 (5 % rate increase)

Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, 4 star, R1550 – R3220. Tel (021) 409-4000 (11 % rate decrease).

Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, no star grading, R1445 standard room, R1690 business suite. Tel (021) 406-1911 (12% rate increase).

President Hotel, 4 star, R1306 – R1723. Tel (021) 434-8111 (11% rate decrease)

Peninsula All Suite Hotel, 5 star, R1200 – R3490.  Tel (021) 430-7777 (24% rate decrease)

Vineyard Hotel, 4 star, R1165 – R4270. Tel (021) 657-4500. (Not included in May 2011)

Cape Sun Hotel, 4 star, R1160 – R5920 for Presidential Suite.  Tel (021) 488-5100 (23% rate decrease).

POSTSCRIPT 4/5: Two Cape Town hotels, the Alphen Boutique Hotel (not yet included in this survey) and the Queen Victoria Hotel, are the only two South African hotels on the Conde Nast Traveler Hot List of Best New Hotels 2012.  Frommers.com has selected Steenberg Hotel in its Top 12 ‘Best Vineyards Inns & Hotels around the World’, the only South African hotel on the list.

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

Taste of Cape Town is part of an international festival of food, run with the same name in cities around the world annually, and is running in Cape Town for the fifth year, at the conveniently located Green Point Cricket Club. The food quality of the dishes prepared in less than ideal conditions by fourteen top restaurants is much improved compared to previous years, when it felt ‘mass produced’, and is excellent this year.  It is an inexpensive way to get a taste of what some of the Cape’s best chefs are capable of.  Commendable was that the chefs were hands-on and on duty at their stands. We rated Pop-Up stand Tokara tops, when we attended on opening day on Thursday evening.

Parking is an annual nightmare, and if one is not there when the gates open, one has to be prepared to walk quite a distance.  The road outside the festival entrance had parking on one side only when we arrived, but had doubled up to the other side of the road on our return. Parking can only get harder to find over the next two days. The lady in the ticket office was unprofessional when selling us the entrance tickets.  The entry package is confusing, costing R80 only for entrance and a tasting glass, or R200 for a tasting glass, entrance and 20 crowns (the payment method for food and drinks) but is marked as R120, or R650 for a special package price.

The organisers appear to have struggled to get restaurants to participate, only a handful having committed when Taste of Cape Town 2012 was first announced.  We have heard that they had to beg restaurants to participate, the deal being that there is no stand fee payable, and that the organisers and restaurants equally share the crown income.  Some high profile restaurants participating in the past (e.g. Le Quartier Français, Pierneef a La Motte, Reuben’s) were visible by their absence. There seemed to be more space allocated for the stands this year, especially the restaurant ones, which allowed them to bring decor elements from their restaurants into the stand.  Signal Restaurant of the Cape Grace Hotel (photograph above) was probably the most attractively decorated, but small touches and large photographs of their interior were used by most restaurants to attract attention to their stands.  Each restaurant offered a selection of three dishes, which were priced in terms of crowns (1 crown is R5).  The average crown price for a main course dish is 6 – 8 crowns, allowing three dishes at most to be bought from one booklet.  The stand layout is circular, and one tends to start at the right and make one’s way around.  The stands are widely spread over the field, so that one does not feel crowded. The hardest decision is to choose at which restaurant stands to spend one’s crowns.  Running parallel to the restaurant stands were wine and beer brand stands, which did not attract as much attention as those of the restaurants, mainly because they were smaller. It took us at least an hour to walk around the field once, with many chat stops along the way, and generous offers of chefs to try their dishes. Chef Henrico Grobbelaar of the Azure Restaurant at the Twelve Apostles Hotel ran out of his makeshift kitchen, and asked us to try his Beef fillet with lentil ragout, almond cream and parmesan crumbs, the steak being beautifully soft.

Tokara Restaurant had taken the Taste Pop-Up stand on Thursday, which will be rotated daily, with Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine hosting it today, and La Mouette tomorrow.  Tokara’s stand had by far the most beautiful and sophisticated food of all the stands we tried, and they reflect Chef Richard Carstens’ recently launched winter menu, rich in flavour, and beautiful in colour (left), especially his Bobotie-spiced chicken with eggplant pickle, turmeric crisp and tomato, but his Togarashi beef sashimi tartare, sushi rice, wasabi mayonnaise, ponzu, jalapeno and cashews impressing as well.  The Japanese style cheesecake was light as a feather, a lovely medley of tastes of pear, jasmine, green tea, and almonds.  The SABC2 Expresso Show was filming Chef Richard when we arrived at the stand.

Chef Bertus Basson shared his Overture stand with partner Craig Cormack of Sofia’s at Morgenster, and their star attraction was one of Bertus’ new projects, being his ‘WORS-ROL’ served with home-made ketchup and ‘wonder-mostert sous‘.  Chef Bertus wore the T-shirt as well, and stickers with the fun sub-brand were handed out. Other chefs with stands came to get this special hot dog.  The beetroot risotto, beetroot puree, served with beetroot, honey and cumin ice cream looked very striking. River trout pastrami, cocette potatoes, and lemon preserve salad, as well as a Banana split with caramel and peanuts were also served.  La Colombe is next to the Pop-up stand, and Chef Scot Kirton served a prawn, coconut and lemongrass velouté, with prawns and chestnut, creatively in an egg shell on a stand. They also offer an Asian style beef carpaccio with shitake mushrooms, sesame crema, avcado and nori puffs. The dessert was a delicious sounding chocolate torte, tobacco caramel, Hennessy marshmallow fluff, coffee meringues and hazelnut crumble. One of the stands with the largest number of food lovers was that of Makaron of Majeka House in Stellenbosch.  Chef Tanja Kruger’s Majeka burger is made from Spier pasture-reared beef, in a brioche bun, with foie gras butter, caramelised red onion and crispy coppa. They also offered a prawn laksa with sesame, coconut, basmati rice and sauce; as well as Cauliflower custards, popcorn powder, popped wild rice, truffle caviar, and sweetcorn velouté.

I had an interesting chat with the Food & Beverage Manager of 15 on Orange about whether hotel restaurants can ever reach the standards of independent restaurants.   Food & Beverage Manager Andreas van Breda at the Mount Nelson Hotel was at the Planet Restaurant counter, and told me the Titanic dinner had been a great success.  Chef Rudi Liebenberg came to say hello, and said that they are running an amended version of the menu until the end of April, at R330. Other restaurant stands were Bistro Sixteen82 with Chef Brad Ball and his team from Steenberg Hotel, Fyndraai Restaurant with chef Shaun Schoeman, the Taj Hotel restaurant collection of Mint and Bombay Brasserie, led by Chef Shyam Langani, Il leone Mastrantonio with Chef Daniel Toledo, 96 Winery Road with Chef Natasha Wray, and The Westin Executive Club Restaurant led by Chef Johann Breedt.

There appeared to be fewer beverage stands this year.  Some of the exhibitors included Boston Breweries, De Wetshof, Ernie Els, Gordon’s Gin, Hardenberg Kleiner Keiler Spicy Cherry Liqueur, Hermanuspietersfontein, Idiom, Jägermeister, Neil Joubert, Morgenster, Castle Milk Stout, The Goose, Thelema/Sutherland, Villiera, Vinotria, Warwick, Waterford, Waverley Hills, and Wedderwill.  A small market has been set up, as in previous years, and includes Bottega, Buffalo Ridge, Cape Mountain Charcuterie, La Petite France cheeses, ORYX desert salt, Queen of Tarts, Sugar Coated Raindrops with beautiful cupcakes, Yummy Brownies, and lots more.  Pick ‘n Pay is a major participant, with a Fresh Living Chef’s Theatre which has demo’s by most of the chefs with stands demonstrating the making of their Taste of Cape Town or other dishes. There is also a Wine and Canapé Experience.  Entrance to the Pick ‘n Pay events is free of charge, but is not made clear.  There are no announcements about the events prior to their start.

It is impossible to get close to trying all 43 of the dishes offered by the 14 restaurants, and therefore it is advisable to take one’s time to check out the menus of each stand, and then to go back to choose the three most special ones, to buy from one’s booklet of crowns.  Eating a top chef’s food with biodegradable cutlery and crockery, ‘mass produced’ under trying conditions is not the best way to appreciate the chefs’ dishes, but Taste of Cape Town 2012 is a good first and inexpensive way to get a bite of what some of our top Cape restaurants have to offer.

Taste of Cape Town 2012, Green Point Cricket Club, Cape Town. 21 April 13h00 – 17h00 and 18h30 – 22h30, and 22 April 12h00 – 17h00. www.tastefestivalssa.co.za Twitter: @TasteofCT

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

The Winter 2012 specials for Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and will be updated continuously:

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : Sirloin and chips R89, Seafood platter R 129, 1 kg prawn platter R99, Sushi platter R109, Mussels and chips R79, Pasta of the day R79, Chicken schnitzel R79, Lamb chops R109, Crayfish tails R149. Half price sushi all day. Daily. Winter. Tel (021) 439-9027 (checked 11/8)

*   Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square:  Lunch (6 options) at R55. Monday – Saturday, 11h00 – 17h00.  Current. Tel (021) 465-0967 (updated 9/8)

*   Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: Oysters R 6 each, 15 prawns R99, 250g Sirloin steak R99, 3 lamb chops R99,  400g Rump Espetada R110, Kingklip and 6 prawns R99, 250g Lobster and 6 prawns R125. Current. Tel (021) 439-3494 (updated 9/8)

*   Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront: half price sushi Monday – Saturday 2 – 6 pm; 25 % off sushi, daily 12 – 2pm, 50 % off Sunday 2 – 6 pm, 3-course menu R160, lunch and dinner; 2-course lunch R120. Current. Tel (021) 421-5134 (updated 9/8)

*   Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 50 % off sushi, dimsum and cocktails all day Sunday, and from 12h00 – 19h00 other weekdays. 2-course lunch R120; 3-course lunch and dinner R160.  Current. Tel (021) 418-2948 (updated 9/8)

*   La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point : 6-course Tasting Menu R 185, with wines paired R 370. Monday – Sunday dinner, Friday and Saturday lunch. September. Tel (021) 433-0856 (updated 1/9).

*   Bertha’s in Simonstown: 1 kg Queen prawns cost R99 each, 1kg mussels R99, 1 kg chicken wings R99,  Half rack of ribs R59. Bertha’s seafood platter R109. 2 courses R 120, 3 courses R150. Until end September. Tel (021) 786-2138 (updated 9/8)

*   Aubergine:  2-course lunch R198,  3-course lunch R254, Wednesdays – Fridays.  Monday – Saturdays except public holidays. Daily dinner specials. 3-course R365, 4-course R425, 5-course R 495 meat and seafood degustation menu. Winter Bistro 2 courses R200, 3 courses R 275, optional wine pairing.End August. Tel (021) 465-4909 (updated 17/8)

*   Ferryman’s Tavern, V&A Waterfront: Ostrich burger plus red wine R 75. T-bone steak plus a beer R95. Winter. Tel (021) 419-7748 (updated 9/8)

*   Hildebrand: Main course R90, 2 courses R 120, 3 courses R150.  Until August. Tel (021) 425-3385 (updated 9/8)

*   Blowfish in Blouberg: half-price sushi Wednesday  and Sunday 5 – 8 pm; Seafood platter plus two glasses of Sauvignon Blanc R150, Rump steak plus glass of red wine R99, Chicken curry R79, seafood linguini R69.  Current. Tel (021) 556-5464 (updated 9/8)

*   Knife restaurant, Century City:  Bagels R35/R45/R55 Lunch special, 12h00 – 15h00, Mondays – Fridays. Indefinite. Tel (021) 551-5000 (updated 9/8)

*   Saul’s Sushi @ Vegas, Sea Point: Eat as much sushi as you like for R120 Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturday; Mongolian eat as much as you can R79; Sushi 30 % off on Wednesdays; Sundays 40 % off. Winter. Tel 087 151 4595

*   Trees Restaurant, Townhouse Hotel, Cape Town:  Grill special plus glass of wine R125 daily, buffet R155 Sundays – Thursdays. Indefinite. Tel (021) 465-7050 (updated 9/8)

*   Trinity, Bennett Street:  All you can eat rib R99 Mondays ; 2 Pizzas and 2 glasses of wine R99 Monday – Thursday from 12 pm;  I/2 price sushi, cocktails and tapas Monday – Thursday 16h00 – 22h00. Current. Tel (021) 418-0624

*   French Toast, Bree Street: Bruschetta tapas free with glass of wine Mondays – Saturdays, 5 – 7 pm.  All wines costing R 400 or less half price on Mondays.  Daily lunch specials. Current. Tel (021) 422-3839

* The Square, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 5 course menu R 195/R295 with wines, dinner only. Half price sushi 5 – 7 pm.  Monday – Sunday.  Current. Tel ()21) 657-4500 (updated 9/8)

*   Dunes, Hout Bay : Sunday buffet with smoked salmon, oysters and cooked breakfast R120. Current. Tel (021) 790-1876

*   Arnold’s on Kloof, 60 Kloof Street, Gardens:  Early bird breakfast half-price special if order before 7h00 Monday – Friday.  Peppa Poppers R35, Biltong fillet steak mens/ladies R69/R99, Stew for U2 R110, Chicken Kloof R 59.  Until 15 July. Tel (021) 424-4344.

*   Five Flies, Half price for all main courses. Mondays – Sundays. August and September. Tel (021) 424-4442 (updated 2/8)

*   Codfather, Camps Bay:  half-price sushi 12h00 – 18h00, daily.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 438-0782

*   Black Marlin, Simonstown:  2-course meal R115, 3-course R140. Indefinite. Tel (021) 786-1621

*   Cape Town Fish Market, Big Bay, V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk, Tyger Valley, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Tokai, Grand West Casino: “All you can eat Breakfast Buffet” R60, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays; 4-course Seafood buffet lunch R125, Sundays and public holidays.  Buy one, get one free – hake on Mondays, sushi on Tuesdays, calamari on Wednesdays.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 554-5962.

*   La Bruixa, Sea Point: Seafood paella for two for R260, includes a salad.  Current. Tel (021) 434-8797

*   La Boheme, Sea Point: 2-courses R95, 3-courses R 120. Current. Tel (021) 434-8797

*   The Round House, Camps Bay: 4-course a la carte menu R450, 6-course set tasting menu R595. 3 course lunch R220.  Current. Tel (021) 438-4347

*   Planet Restaurant,  Mount Nelson Hotel:  5-course Vegan Journey menu (R300), 5-course The Journey menu R330. Current. 5-course Titanic Menu R330, until 30 April. Tel (021) 483-1000.

*   Café Manhattan, 74 Waterkant Street: 2 Beef burgers + 2 chicken burgers + 2 chips + 2 cokes + 2 draft beers or 2 glasses of house wine R200; Pasta and a glass of house wine R 69. May and June. Tel (021) 421-6666

*   Savour Restaurant, 51 on Orange: Sunday Lunch Buffet plus ‘never-ending supply of Methodé Cap Classique’ R265.  Current. Tel (021) 469-8037

*   La Colombe, Constantia: 8-course Gourmand menu R 625, or with wine R850, Monday – Saturday, Current. 3 course lunch R240 from 16 June – 15 November, 5 course dinner R395 with wine, R310 without wine 16 June – 31 October.  Specials do not apply to Sundays.  (Renovation break 16 May – 16 June). Tel (021) 794-2390

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel: 2-course lunch R185, 3-course lunch R215, 3-course dinner R250.  Current.  Tel (021) 713-2222

*   Constantia Uitsig: 3-course lunch and dinner R390, Monday – Saturday. Current. 3-course lunch R210 . 17 April – 15 November, 3-course dinner R250 from 17 April – 31 October. Specials do not apply to Sundays.  (Winter break from 25 June – 24 July). Tel (021) 794-4480

*   River Café:  2 course lunch plus tea/coffee R99, 3 courses R 119;  tea/coffee plus muffin, scone, croissant or slice of cake of the day R35 15h00 – 16h30. Not available on Sundays. (Winter break from 13 August – 4 September).  1 May – 31 October. Tel (021) 794-3010

*   Rick’s Café Américain, Park Road: Lunch specials R45, change daily; and more specials on drinks. Indefinite.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   Barocca, Camps Bay Club: 2 for the price of one burgers Tuesday evenings; From 5 pm. Indefinite. Tel (021) 438-1992

*   Seaforth Restaurant, Simonstown: Cheese Burger R38 Mondays, Deep fried prawns R90 Tuesdays; hake and chips R38 Wednesdays; Eat as much calamari as you like R49 Thursdays; Steak and calamari R88 Fridays; Eat as much as you like pork spare ribs R88 Saturdays. From 6 pm. Current. Tel (021) 786-4810 (Closing at 5 pm Mondays and Sundays June, July and August)

*   Pizzeria Villagio, Howard Centre, Pinelands: Free glass of Teddy Hall wine with home-made pasta on Tuesdays; get cheaper main course free for table of two, or 20 % of bill for table of more than two, on Wednesdays.  Winter. Tel (021) 531-4473

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 5-courses R315 includes movie and popcorn, Current. Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Diva Pizza, Buitenkant Street: 2 large margherita pizzas with choice of two toppings R89, Sunday, Monday, Tuesday.  Sit-down pizza for two, with two toppings and two glasses of wine R99 on Sundays and Tuesdays.  Current. Tel (021) 461-0013

*   Tokyo Restaurant & Sushi Bar: Buy two get one free daily until 5pm; Sushi Buffet Fridays and Saturday from 5 pm, 7 plates R99, unlimited number of plates R118.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 424-5108

*   BlueFin Seafood & Sushi, Plattekloof: 50 % off sushi 11h00 – 17h00; ‘Eat as much a you like’ Sushi R129; Platters ½ price from 11h00 – 19h00. Monday – Sunday. Current. Tel (021) 558-4281

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 50 % off sushi daily from 10h00 – 20h00. Current. Tel (021) 434-3004

*   Reuben’s, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront: One&Only Seafood Platter for Two R995. Dish of the day and glass of wine R99 lunch. Sunday lunch buffet R225. Current. Tel (021) 431-5888

*   Bayside Café, Camps Bay:  Order two main courses, and second person gets lower priced dish free. Until end August. Tel (021) 438-2650.

*   Café Chameleon, Plattekloof: Monday – Friday lunch special of small pizza R 45.  Monday and Saturday dinner large pizza special R55.  Ongoing. Tel (021) 911-1025

*   Taiwan City Chinese Cuisine, Century City: 3 courses for 2 persons for R175. Until 30 June. Tel (021) 555-3081

*   Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course dinner R 225. Until April.  Tel (021) 657-4545.

*   Zorba’s, Lagoon Beach: Seafood and meat platter for two R220. 18 Prawns R99, Chicken kebabs R60, 600g ribs, 500 g rump steak R125, Beef espetada R110. Lunch and dinner daily (not valid Saturday lunch). Current. Tel (021) 528-2093

*   Den Anker, V&A Waterfront: Vol au vent  with Vedett white beer R 85.  Until October. Tel (021) 419-0249

*   F.east, Loop Street: chicken or vegetable curry lunch special R59. Current. Tel (021) 424-5903.

*   Sinatra’s at The Pepper Club Hotel has a business lunch special of R50 for a meal ordered, served and eaten in 50 minutes, or you get your money back. Includes free parking. Monday – Friday 12h00 – 15h00. Current. Tel (021) 812-8888.

*   Mugg & Bean, V&A Waterfront: Free cappuccino with slice of cake Mondays 3 – 6 pm; buy one BBQ Burger and get one free Wednesdays 5 – 10 pm;  three free toppings on BBQ Burger Fridays 5 – 10 pm; free extra 200 g ribs with 600g rib order Saturdays 5 – 10 pm.  Winter. Tel (021) 419-6451

* I my Laundry, Buitengracht Street: 8 pieces of Dim Sum and a cappuccino or glass of wine R40. Daily 7h00 – 19h00.  Current. Book at 084 6600 777.

*   Slug & Lettuce, Kloof Street: 300g rump steak, chips and pumpkin fritters R89. Current. Tel (021) 422-5325

*   Foodbarn, Noordhoek: 50 % of all lunch dishes Monday – Friday, until end April. Tel (021) 789-1390

*   Cru Café, Cape Quarter: 2 jumbo gourmet burgers R99, 12h00 – 14h00 daily. Buy one tapas and/or cocktail, get one free (except calamari tapas) 16h00 – 18h00; two 150 g T-bone steaks for price of one R150 Fridays and Saturdays from 6 pm; oxtail and mutton stew for two R 119 daily from 6 pm. Hake and chips, or chicken schnitzel and chips, R39, Sundays 12h00 – 15h00. Current. Tel (021) 418-6334

*   1800°, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: ‘Christmas in July’ 3 course meal R295, with Sally Williams and Equinox Spa gift pack. July. Tel (021) 430-0506

*   Tuscany Beach, Camps Bay: 50 % off partner’s main course. 25% off all sushi. Every evening, Monday – Friday lunch.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-1213

*   Pigalle, Green Point: 2-courses R140, 3-courses R170, 4-courses R 200 Monday – Thursday, until 1 September. Seafood Platter for two R275, Monday – Thursday dinner, and Tuesday – Friday lunch.  Current. Tel (021) 421-4848 (updated 28/7)

*   RBG Bar & Grill, Park Inn, Foreshore: Classic Burger R50, Grilled Chicken Caeser R50, Sirloin steak R85 Monday – Thursday 12h00 – 14h00. Current. Tel (021) 427-4800.

*   Hussar Grill, Green Point: 2 courses R99.  Winter. Tel (021) 433-2081.

*   Blues, Camps Bay: 2 courses R120, 3 courses R 150. Winter. (Closed in June) Tel (01) 438-2040.

*   5 Rooms, Alphen Boutique Hotel: Seafood platter R159, 1 kg Prawn platter R99, Osso Buco R89, Lamb shank R129, 400g Prime rib R119, Butter Chicken curry R79;  2 courses R140, 3 courses R190. Winter. Tel (021) 795-6313.

*   Liberty’s, Upper Eastside Hotel: 3-courses paired with three wines R185; choice of one of three pasta dishes R48 on Mondays; one bottle of Brickfield red or white wine for two main courses ordered on Wednesdays; 12 Mozambican prawns done three ways for R85 on Thursdays; 3 &Union beers plus a tasting prego roll R100 on Fridays; daily blue plate specials R45. Winter. Tel (021) 404-0570

*   Harbour House, Kalk Bay: 2 courses R 150, 3 courses R170. Winter. Tel (021) 788-4133.

*   Harbour House, V & A Waterfront: 2 courses R150, 3 courses R170, all meals except Sunday lunch. September. Tel (021) 418-4744 (updated 30/8)

*   Mezepoli, Camps Bay: Beef, chicken or vegetarian pita with chips, beer, or cold drink R70 on Mondays; half-price sushi on Wednesdays; Meze platter R120 Sundays. Winter. Tel (021) 438-1915.

*   Cascades, Sea Point: 3-courses R150, from 10 May. Tel (021) 434-5209

*   Ocean Blue, Camps Bay: Seafood platter R99, Linefish R79, Calamari R79, Sirloin steak R79, Prawns and linefish R79, Calamari and linefish R79, calamari and prawns, R79, Steak and prawns/calamari R79, Lobster and prawns R129, Oysters R6. Breakfast R30. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-4204 (updated 23/7)

*   Sinatra’s, Pepper Club Hotel: 3 course meal with glass of house wine R200, from 10 May until end September. Tel (021) 812-8888

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay: 3-courses set menu R 149. Butternut and Feta cannelloni R79, Parmesan lamb chops R119, Osso Bucco R99, Lamb shank R109, Wild mushroom risotto (R89), chicken risotto (R89), pan fried tuna R119.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-0007 (updated 23/7)

* Bungalow, Clifton: ‘Speciality Winter Menu’, with six main courses ranging in price from R90 for Bouillabaisse to R155 for crayfish pasta, and one dessert, chocolate fondant, at R60. Winter. Tel (021) 438-2018.

*   Mariner’s Wharf, Hout Bay: Free filter coffee or tot of Allesverloren port for 2 courses ordered. Starters R25 – R39, Mains R60 – R99, Desserts R25. Until 15 September, excludes Sundays and public holidays.  Tel (021) 790-1100

*   Salt Café, Bantry Bay: Breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee or juice R65. Spring. Tel (021) 439-3354 (Updated 3/9)

*   Rocca, Cape Quarter: Crayfish R99 on Monday and Tuesday evenings. 3-course dinner R123 Monday – Saturday. Winter. Tel (021) 418-8000

*   Mezbaan Indian Restaurant, Hilton Cape Town: ‘Curry Cup’ Buffet with soup, salads, nine curries, sambals, naan bread, poppadoms, and a selection of desserts, and all soft drinks R151, Thursday evenings. All year.  Tel (021) 481-3700

*   Buitenverwachting Restaurant, Constantia: 2 courses R175, 3 courses R225.  Tapas menu 5 dishes R129 and 7 dishes R179. Winter. Tel (021) 794-3522

*   Haiku: Dim Sum, Robata and Sushi platters R119, Lunch Monday – Friday. 3 courses R179, 5 courses R249, Dinner Monday – Wednesday.  Winter. Tel (021) 424-7000

* Saints on 84 Kloof, Gardens: Order 2 flatbreads and pay for one Monday; order 2 Saints classic burgers and pay for one Thursday. Winter Tel (021) 424-0030

*   The Raj, Camps Bay : 3 courses and glass of house wine R134.80. Winter. Tel (021) 438-4555.

*   Alexander Bar and Café, Strand Street:  Home cooking dish of day R40, Mondays. Winter.  Tel (021) 300-1088

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 50 % off pasta and desserts on Monday lunch and dinner. Winter. Tel (021) 438-7074

*   The Grand on the Beach, The Grand Camps Bay: 2 courses R140, 3 courses R160, each with a glass of house wine.  Winter. Tel 072 586 2052/(021) 438-4253

* St Elmo’s: 4 Pizza pies R99; 2 large regular pizzas R109,90; 2 medium regular pizzas R74,90; 2 large pizzas R89,90 on Tuesdays only; Large regular pizza plus 400 gram rack of sticky ribs and chips R 129,90; Small regular pizza plus 330ml Coca Cola R29,90. Winter. All branches.

*   Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: Fusion Oxtail Thali R110. Winter. Tel (021) 418-9393

*   Andiamo, old Cape Quarter, De Waterkant: 2 pizzas or 2 pastas, or one of each, at R 109,95. Until October.  Tel (021) 421-3687.

*   Upstairs @ Quay Four: Malay Kreef Curry R90, 2 courses R120, 3 courses R130.  Until end August.  Tel (021) 419-2008

*   Debonairs Pizza: Pizza Tower (4 layers of large pizza) R109,90. Until 29 October. Tel (021) 439-7575

*   Maxi’s, Cape Gate, N1 City, Paarl, Zevenwacht:  350 gram T-Bone steak R59,90. From 15h00. T&Cs apply. Current.  Tel 0834562947

*   Café Chic, Gardens: 3-course dinner R150. Beef Bourguinon or oxtail R99. Winter.  Tel (021) 465-7218 (updated 2/8)

*   Pepper Club on the Beach, Camps Bay: Order two main courses, and get the lesser priced one for free. Lunch Friday – Sunday, Dinner Wednesday – Sunday. Winter.  Tel (021) 438-3174.

*   Balducci’s, V&A Waterfront: Sushi plate R109, all pizza and pasta R49. Free bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or House Red for two main meals ordered, at R90 minimum spend per main meal. Current. Tel (021) 421-6002 (checked 22/8)

*   Willoughby’s, V&A Waterfront:  ‘Clicquot Fridays’: 3 sashimi dishes with tuna and salmon, and glass of Veuve Clicquot R149. Fridays. Winter. Tel (021) 418-6115 (added 5/8)

*   Sotano by Caveau, La Splendida Hotel, Mouille Point: Beef burger, lamb pita, club sandwich, and haloumi/tomato/caper flatbread R65, 2 lamb burgers for the price of one on Wednesdays from 17h00, Spring. Tel (021) 433-1757 (updated 3/9)

*   Kushi Indian Restaurant, 315 Main Road, Sea Point, and Red Sails, Main Road, Hout Bay: Butter Chicken, mixed vegetable curry, Naan, Basmati rice, and glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon R149. Winter. Tel (021) 433-2069/791-4805 (added 11/8)

*   The Slug & Lettuce, Kloof Street: Gourmet Burger R49 Sunday from 17h00. Current. Tel (021) 422-5325. (added 19/8)

WINELANDS

Franschhoek

*   Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250g steaks at R115, including a glass of estate wine, current. Lunch, Wednesday – Sunday.  ‘Jazzed Up Sundays’ Buffet R145 per person.  ‘Winter Hotties Menu’ : Braised oxtail, prawn curry, springbok shank, and lentil stew with Frankfurters, all R75. Winter. Chicnics (standard and vegetarian picnics) from 1 September, cost R155 per person, winetasting offered. Tel (021) 874-1021

*   Allora in Franschhoek: 3-course Sunday lunch R99 all year. Lunch and dinner: 2 courses R89,  3 courses R110. Winter. Tel (021) 876-4375.

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 3-courses R185 and a glass of wine. Lunch. Current. Tel (021) 876-9200

*   Grande Provence Jonkershuis, Franschhoek: 3-course meal for a minimum of eight guests, R 250 per person. 1 May – 30 September. Closed Sunday evenings until September. Tel (021) 876-8600.

*   La Residence, Franschhoek: 2 courses R 380, 3 courses R 490, 4 courses R 600 per person, all inclusive of ‘house wines’ and local beverages. Dinner. Daily.  Current.  Tel (021) 876-4100

*   Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek: 4-course Table d’Haut lunch R150, Tuesday – Friday;  Pierre Jourdan Breakfast, cellar tour, and tasting R150, from 10h00 Saturdays;  Pinot Noir Tasting Menu – 5 courses and wine R495, Friday and Saturday dinner, Saturday and Sunday lunch. From 1 May. Tel (021) 876-3688

*   Freedom Hill Restaurant, outside Franschhoek: 3-course meal R135. Selection of tapas R10 – R30. Wednesday – Mondays. Winter. Tel (021) 867-0963.

*   Reuben’s: Burger and chips R 85.  Current. Tel (021) 876-3772 (updated 4/9)

*   Dish at Le Franschhoek:  3 courses R 195. Winter. Tel (021) 876-8900

*   Monneaux: 2 course Fireplace soup and curry R120 Wednesday and Friday. 2 course lunch R120, 3 courses R150. Winter. Tel (021) 876-3386

*   Cosecha, Noble Hill: Slow cooked vegetarian chilli R40. Weekdays. Winter. Tel (021) 874-3844

*   Fyndraai, Solms-Delta: Cape Family Buffet R185, Sundays.  Winter. Tel (021) 874-3937

*   The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Français: Get one dinner free for two ordered, Wednesday evenings, until end August. Tel (021) 876-2151 (updated 23/7)

* Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte: 6-course dinner with ‘surprises in-between’ R350, or R495 with wine pairing. Summer.  Tel (021) 876-8800 (updated 31/8)

Paarl

*   Bosman’s, Grande Roche, Paarl: 2-courses R135, 3-courses R170.  Monday – Sunday lunch  (Bosman’s and at Bistro) and dinner (Bistro only).  Winter. Tel (021) 863-5100.

* eat @ Simonsvlei, Simonsvlei Winery, Old Paarl Road: Steak and baked potato R95. Friday evenings. Winter.  Tel (021) 863-3040

Stellenbosch

*   Towerbosch Restaurant, Knorhoek Wine Estate, Stellenbosch:  Asado Argentian-style braai on Sundays R165. Indefinite. Tel (021) 865-2958*

*   Tokara Restaurant, Stellenbosch: Chef’s Menu – 4 courses, inclusive of glass of wine R 250.  Winter, from 8 May. Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner. Tel (021) 885-2550

*   Wild Peacock Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Str, Stellenbosch: Specials as per menu, dinner   Wednesday and Friday evenings. Early bird mini breakfast plus tea/coffee R25 Monday – Friday 7h30 – 9h00. Terrific Tuesday lunch R59 Tuesdays 12h00 – 14h00. Indefinite. Tel (021) 887-7585

*   Johan’s at Longridge, Stellenbosch: 6-course lunch and dinner plus 6 glasses of wine R 400. Friday – Tuesday (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays). Current. Tel (021) 855-2004.*

*   Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch: 4-course wine and food pairing lunch R198, Tuesday – Friday, Summer. Tel (021) 865-2022 (updated 21/8)

*   Lord Neethling Restaurant, Neethlingshof, Stellenbosch:  choice of 6 main courses with 250 ml wine R115, Sunday buffet lunch R150.   2 Impala schnitzel, 2 beef medallions or 2 lamb shanks, with 2 paired glasses of Neethlingshof wines R160, Wednesday and Friday dinner, and Monday – Saturday lunch. Winter. Tel (021) 883-8966.

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3 course meal R185. Monday – Saturday, 3 – 30 September. Tel (021) 842-2020 (update 29/8)

*   Wild Peacock Food Emporium: Early Bird Breakie (cooked breakfast) R25 Monday – Friday 7h30 – 9h00; cake of the day and tea/coffee R25 Monday – Friday 15h00 – 17h00; 2-course set lunch R59 Tuesdays 12h00 – 14h00. Current.  Tel (021) 887-7585.

*   Warwick wine estate: Tapas range from R25 – R60. Winter. Tel (021) 884-4410.

*   Terroir, Kleine Zalze: 2 courses R 175, 3 courses R198, both with a glass of Kleine Zalze wine. Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Until 30 September. (closed 25 June – 9 July) Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Dornier Bodega Restaurant, Dornier wine estate: Swiss Chocolate Affair: 2 courses R190, 3 courses R 250. Lunch daily, but closed Tuesdays. Until 2 September. Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, Jordan wine estate:  4 courses and 2 glasses of Jordan wines R225 Tuesday – Saturdays.  Bread-baking course R650 Saturday mornings. Until 1 September. Tel (021) 881-3612

*   Overture: 4-courses R 250, and R350 if paired with wines. Tuesday – Friday lunch, Dinner Thursday and Friday. Winter. Tel (021) 880-2721

*   Hartenberg: Steak and Shiraz, R95, Fridays. Winter.

*   Taste, mid-way between Stellenbosch and Somerset West: 3 course meal R175, Lunch and Dinner, Thursdays – Mondays. Winter. Tel (021) 855-3686

Hermanus

*   Season in Hermanus: 50 % off selected lunch menu items Tuesday – Saturday.  Afval R45 Tuesdays. 50% dinner discount for pensioners on Wednesday. Hake and calamari combo R55 Thursday. Free 200g rump steak free for a 300 g rump steak ordered for R110, on Friday.  Sunday lunch: 1 course R70, 2 courses R92. June. Tel (028) 316-2854

*   The Class Room, Hermanus: Choice of Venison dishes R70, Wednesdays and Fridays. Tel (028) 316-3582 (update 15/8)

*   Rossi’s Italian Restaurant, Hermanus: Small Pizza R38 Lunch Mondays – Fridays. Current. Tel (028) 312-2848

*   Amigos Cantina Restaurant: Free bottle of house wine for table of 4.2 bottles for table of 8 Tuesdays; buy one get one free on chicken liver starter or Chicken/Beef/Vegetarian Tortilla Wednesdays; free coffee and a port/sherry Thursdays. Current. Tel (028) 313-0384

*   Oskars, Harbour Road and Eastcliff Village Centre: Free glass of wine with any lunch ordered.  Winter. Tel (028) 313-0629

Plettenberg Bay

*   Nguni: Friday night special R50. Tel (044) 533-6710 (updated 31/8)

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

Copyright: Whale Cottage Portfolio

Having written about the opening of Gorgeous by Graham Beck, I was invited to visit Steenberg Hotel (also a Graham Beck Wines property) and try out the first brand-specific bubbly bar in Cape Town, a chic transformed space alongside Catharina’s restaurant.  Its staff are bubbly, the canapés well-paired with the Graham Beck MCCs tasted, and the interior is trendy.  The bubbly bar has been named after the late Graham Beck’s favourite descriptive word.

A nice surprise was to discover that Jenna Adams is the manager of Gorgeous by Graham Beck, having impressed with her friendliness at Bistro 1682, also on the Steenberg estate. She bubbles with charm and information about the Graham Beck bubblies, and was willing to search for answers to all my questions.

Guests are encouraged to sit at the counter, with a Carrara marble top, on comfortable leather bar chairs, facing the Gorgeous by Graham Beck branded glass doors.  Against one side of the wall is a constantly changing projection of gorgeous ladies across a broad spectrum, designed by Daniel du Plessis.  The walls have a glitter effect, and the ‘Paper Jewellery’ wallpaper was designed by Vivienne Westwood. The copper pendant lamps are by Tom Dixon. The design of the bubbly bar was by architect Johan Wessels and his wife Erna, who have been involved in the design of most Graham Beck property projects. Couch corners are also available as seating.

Jenna explained the seven Graham Beck MCCs as she poured them into Graham Beck branded frosted glasses, grouped as follows:

*   Non-vintage Collection (R40 per glass, R200 per bottle)

.  Brut, with light and yeasty aromas, and lime on the nose, with 15 – 18 months on the lees. Bubbly used to celebrate Nelson Mandela’s inauguration and President Barack Obama’s presidential nomination.

.  Rosé, with 50 % Chardonnay and 50 % Pinot Noir, 15 months on the lees, with cherry and berry notes

.  Bliss Demi Sec, a bubbly I had not heard of before, with 49 % Chardonnay and 51 % Pinot Noir, 15 months on the lees, butterscotch, praline, and honeycomb notes, and has more residual sugar

This group was described by Jenna as a ‘palate cleanser’, to the more serious Vintage MCCs.

*   Vintage Collection (R65 per glass, R 325 per bottle)

.  Brut Blanc de Blanc 2008, with 100% Chardonnay, and 36 months on the lees, with crisp and citrus notes.

.  Brut Zero 2005, with 87% Chardonnay and 13% Pinot Noir, spent six years on the lees, with fresh green apple, baked brioche, and crispy notes, with only 2,4 gram residual sugar, with no dosage added in its making.  It was my favourite by far, and the driest of the MCCs tasted

.  Rosé 2008, with 80% Pinot Noir and 20 % Chardonnay, spending 36 months on the lees, with strawberry, mousse, and sherbet.

*   Icon (R100 per glass, R500 per bottle)

.  The Cuvée Clive 2005 is the Graham Beck MCC flagship, and is not available for tasting but can be bought by the glass and bottle, made up of 87% Chardonnay and 13 % Pinot Noir, and having spent five years on the lees.  It is only produced in excellent vintages.

One can taste flights of the Graham Beck MCCs, at R60 for a flight of the three Non-Vintage MCCs, R85 for a flight of the three Vintage MCCs, and R60 for a Rosé MCC flight.  Gorgeous to Go allows one to buy the Graham Beck MCCs to take home, at (reduced) prices: Non-Vintage Collection MCCs cost R105, also available in 375 ml and 1,5 litre bottles; Vintage Collection MCCs cost R205; and Cuvée Clive costs R450.

Catharina’s Executive Chef Garth Almazan created a gorgeous tasting platter of four savoury canapés (R95); and of four canapés and a sweet treat berry terrine, served on a modern glass plate (R110).  Each canapé can also be ordered individually: fresh Saldanha Bay oysters cost R18, and are served with lime wedges, Tabasco and crushed black pepper; a tian of cured Franschhoek salmon trout is served with poached quail egg and salmon caviar (R30); a poached tiger prawn is served with an avocado salsa, Japanese mayonnaise, pickled ginger and sesame seed salad (R30); and an asparagus and goats cheese risotto croquette is served with pickled shemeji mushrooms and  white truffle oil (R25).  The Graham Beck Brut berry terrine rests on a Valrhona chocolate foundation (R22).

The opening of Gorgeous by Graham Beck stems from the closure of the Franschhoek Graham Beck farm and tasting room in winter, due to the sale of the farm to Johan Rupert.   It is planned to transform a meeting room on Steenberg into a tasting room for the other Graham Beck wines.  Graham Beck Wines Cellarmaster Erica Obermeyer is completing her 2012 white wine harvest at Graham Beck Franschhoek and her red wine harvest at a cellar in Stellenbosch.

Gorgeous by Graham Beck, Steenberg Estate, Tokai. Tel (021) 713-7177 www.gorgeousbygrahambeck.com Twitter: @GorgeousbyGB  Monday – Sunday 12h00 – 22h00

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

Cape Town

*   Roberto’s Signature Restaurant, Long Street: 7-course dinner at R539 per couple (R269,50 per person), or R699 per couple (R349,50 per person) with a bottle of Pongracz Rosé.  Tel (021) 424-1195

*   Five Flies, Keerom Street:  3-course dinner and glass of sparkling wine R295.  Tel (021) 424-4442.

*   French Toast: 3-courses and 750ml carafe of strawberry sangria R400.  Tel (021)

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 4-course dinner R350.  Tel (021)433-0856

*   ACT Restaurant, Baxter Theatre: 2-courses and glass of sparkling wine R180.  Tel (021) 685-3888

*   Casa Labia Café, Muizenberg: 3-course meal R250. Tel (021) 788-6062

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel: Seafood platter R1700 for two; Gourmet Menu R850 without wine pairing/R1150 with wine pairing. Tel (021) 713-2222

*   Grand Daddy, Long Street: two picnic options with a movie – R250 or R375 (with bottle of Van Loveren). Tel (021) 424-7247

*   Nobu, One&Only Cape Town: cocktail and two 6-course meal options R665/R765.  Tel (021) 431-4511

*   Signal, Cape Grace Hotel: 3-course meal R 375. Tel (021) 410-7080

*   Tobago’s, Radisson Blu: welcome drink, flower, live music, and 5-course dinner R375.  Tel (021) 441-3414

*   Il Cappero, Barrack Street: ‘Vacanze Ronane’ with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck screened during meal with a la carte menu, 11 – 19 February. Tel (021) 461- 3168

*   Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 5-course dinner R 495. Tel (021) 418-1466

*   Salt, Ambassador Hotel, Bantry Bay: 4-course dinner R450. Tel (021) 439-6170

*   1800 Degrees Grill, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: 5-course dinner paired with wines R495, monies raised go to Newborn Groote Schuur Trust. MC is radio and TV personality Liezel van der Westhuizen. Tel (021) 430-0500.

*   Trees, Townhouse Hotel: 3-course dinner R250, 4-courses R295.  tel (021) 465-7050

*   Cape Point Vineyards: Crayfish picnic and glass of 2007 Cape Point Vineyards Blanc de Blanc MCC R500 for 2 persons (R250 per person), from 18h30. Tel (021) 789-0900

*   Addis in Cape Ethiopia: Valentine’s Day Buffet R190.  Tel (021) 424-5722

*   Five Rooms, Alphen Hotel: 5-course dinner R295; 6 oysters and a glass of bubbly R100.  Tel (021) 795-6300

*   Café Chic, Gardens:  3-course dinner R235.  Tel (021) 465-7218.

*   Buitenverwachting Restaurant: 3-course dinner R325 (with R125 extra for wine pairing), and 5-course dinner R495 (with R195 extra for wine pairing), includes glass of bubbly, rose and a slice of Sacher Schnitte to take home.  Also St Luke’s Hospice Valentine’s day picnic with band Spectrum and a bottle of Buitenverwachting, R475 per couple (R237,50 per person.  Tel (021) 794-3522.

*   Altydgedacht wine estate: 4-course Italian dinner R300. Tel (021) 975-7815

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: A la carte menu with complimentary glass of wine.  Tel (021) 434-3004

Stellenbosch

*   Jordan Winery: 2 glasses, ice bag, bottle of wine, red rose, and 2 chocolate mousses R200; 2 glasses, ice bag, bottle of wine, red rose, picnic basket with cold meats, cheese and bread, 2 chocolate mousses R300.  Tel (021) 881-3441

*   Waterkloof, Somerset West:  ‘Valentines with a View’: 6-course dinner R450 per person, and paired with wines R 550 per person.  Tel (021) 858-1292

*   Warwick Winery: Moonlit picnic from 17h00, with jazz, picnic basket, personalised red velvet cupcakes, glass of sparkling wine with rose-petal syrup, R399 per couple (R199,50 per person).  Tel (021) 884-4410

*   Sofia’s, Morgenster, Somerset West: 3-course dinner plus canapés and glass of sparkling wine R260. Tel (021) 847-1993

*   Slaley’s: Dinner Dance, 3-course dinner and bottle of Rosé R550 per couple (R275 per person). Tel (021) 865-2123

*   Cuvée, Simonsig wine estate: 5-course Aphrodisiac Valentine’s dinner with glass of Simonsig Brut Rosé Cap Classique R350.  Tel (021 888-4932

*   Morgenhof: 3-courses plus glass of Morgenhof MCC R295.  Tel (021) 889-2032

*   Clos Malverne: 5-course dinner, each course paired with wine R295.  Tel (021) 802-2022

*  Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House: glass of bubbly and 3-course dinner R 325.  Tel (021) 880-1549

Franschhoek

*   Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz wine estate: 3-course dinner plus glass of sparkling wine R550 per couple (R275 per person).  Tel (021) 876-2729.

*   Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte: 3-course dinner R295, and with wine R395.  Tel (021) 876-8000

*   Allée Bleue: 3-courses plus glass of MCC Brut Rosé R295.  Tel (021) 874-1021

*   Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel: 3-courses R280, 14 – 19 February.  Tel (021) 876-2770

*   Country Kitchen, Mont Rochelle Hotel: 3-courses R180.  Tel (021) 876-2770

*   Grande Provence: 3-course dinner R320.  Tel (021) 876-8600

*   Salmon Bar: 2-courses R220, 3-courses R270, paired with Haute Cabriere wines and a welcome glass of bubbly or a cocktail.  Tel (021) 876-4591

*   Cosecha Restaurant, Noble Hill:  Picnic for two plus welcome drink R 295 (R147,50 per person) or a la carte menu.  Tel (021) 874-3844

*   Boschendal: Valentine’s Day picnic with glass of Boschendal Brut Rosé R190.  Tel (021) 870-4275

*   Fyndraai, Solms-Delta: 3-course lunch R210 Tel (021) 874-3937

*   Café BonBon, La Petite Dauphine: welcome drink, live entertainment and 3-course dinner R 375.  Tel (021) 876-3936

*   Leopard’s Leap and Liam Tomlin Food:  4-course dinner cooked ‘live’ by Liam Tomlin, with bubbly and wines R 650.  Tel (021) 876-8822

*   Haute Cabriere: 7-course dinner, each course paired with wine R 650.  Tel (021) 876-3688

Paarl

*   Harvest, Laborie: 3-course dinner R245.  Tel (021) 807-3095

*   Backsberg: Breakfast R250; picnic lunch R 250 per couple (R125 per person); dinner platter and Danièlle Pascal show R250.  Tel (021) 875-5952

Hermanus

*   Annie se Kombuis:  Platter for 2 plus dessert, live music, bottle of sparkling wine R290 (R145 per person). 10 – 14 February. Tel (021) 028 313 1350

*   La Vierge: 4-course dinner paired with wines R220.  Tel (028) 313-2007.

*   Season:  4-course meal R170.  Tel (028) 316-2854

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

2011: what a year it’s been for the world, South Africa, and Whale Cottage – unpredictable, up and down, and a year in which one had to rethink every way in which one has run one’s business and life.  Most would say that it’s been one of the worst years ever!  But despite the tough times, there has been a lot to be grateful for as well.  I have summarised some of the high and low lights of the year:

1.  The knock which tourism took, especially from May – August, in being one of the worst winters ever experienced, had an effect on all sectors of the economy.  Restaurants frantically offered specials to gain cashflow, guest houses went back to dropping rates as they do in winter, and few took rate increases in summer, unlike their hotel colleagues, who suffered poor occupancy too.  More hotels and restaurants closed down than ever seen before. The recession in the UK hit South African tourism and wine sales badly, previously our major source market. From 50 % of our business in the summer months in Camps Bay, the UK business will be no more than 5 % this summer.  High airfares and the crippling UK airport taxes have not helped. The tourism situation was so bad that we wrote an Open Letter to national Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, as Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited were not aware of how bad things were in the Cape, and therefore did nothing to market the region and to help the tourism industry. Cape Town Tourism spent all its energy on Twitter, not yet the medium of communication of our average tourist, and on wasteful promotions, and therefore we did not renew our 20 year membership. The welcome increase in German tourists has not made up this shortfall, but we have been delighted to welcome many more South African guests.   The World Cup has become a swearword, the reality of its lack of a tourism benefit becoming clear. A blessing from Santa has been a much improved festive season, with no snow-bound tourists or strong south-easter wind, as happened last year.

2.  Events are hugely beneficial for business, and the Argus Cycle Tour, J&B Met, and Cape Town International Jazz Festival attracted out of town guests. The U2 and Coldplay concerts helped fill beds and delighted Cape Town audiences.  A fantastic outcome of Coldplay’s performance is that the music video for ‘Paradise’ was filmed in our city, the Boland and the Karoo – no better part of the world could have been chosen for this song!

3.  Cape Town has had an exceptional year, the darling of the world, winning the World Design Capital 2014 bid, Table Mountain being named one of New7Wonders of Nature (amid some controversy and as yet subject to verification), named top destination in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Destination (for what it was worth!), and featuring strongly in the new James Bond book ‘Carte Blanche’.  Our city hotels, especially the Cape Grace and Steenberg Hotel, featured on international top hotel lists. Good news was the sale of the V&A Waterfront to a local company, which is investing in the upgrade of and addition to the country’s most popular tourist destination.

4.   Despite the doom and gloom, there were more restaurant openings, and chef and restaurant staff changes this year than in many years: The Pot Luck Club, Hemelhuijs, Dash, Casparus, Dear Me Foodworld, The Franschhoek Kitchen, Il Cappero, Café Benedict, The Kitchen at Maison, Sotano by Caveau, Knife, De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Ryan’s Kitchen, Caffe Milano, Mozzarella Bar, Cassis Salon de Thé, Power & the Glory, Haas Coffee, Johan’s @ Longridge, Skinny Legs & All, KOS Coffee & Cuisine, Café Dijon @ Zorgvliet, Le Coq, Act and Play Bar at the Baxter, Sunbird Bistro, Societi Brasserie, Jason’s, Bird Café with new owners, Maria’s after a long renovation closure, Toro Wine & Aperitif Bar, Valora, Café Le Chocolatier, Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant after a renovation and chef change, Art’s Café, Spice Route, Mitico, Knead on Kloof, Chez Chez, La Bella, 5 Rooms, Terbodore Coffee Bar, Wale Rose Lifestyle, The Black Pearl, Bistro on Rose, Slainte, Babel Tea House, Rhapsody’s, Café Extrablatt, Harvest, McDonalds in the V&A,  The Mussel Bar, The Franschhoek Food Emporium, Makaron, F.east, Bean There Fair Trade, Sabrina’s, Harbour House in the V&A, MCC Franschhoek, Clarke Bar & Dining Room, Roberto’s, French Toast, Saboroso, Mezepoli, Rocca in the Cape Quarter, and Roca in Franschhoek opening their doors, and new suppliers Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and The Creamery opening too.

5.  Sadly, the recession was noticeable as it hit restaurants, and it was some of the newer restaurants that were badly hit, including What’s On Eatery, The Olive Shack, Bella Lucia, Blonde, Jardine, Caveau at the Mill, Nando’s in Camps Bay, The Sandbar, The Bistro, Restaurant Christophe, Doppio Zero in Green Point and Clarement, shu, Oiishi Delicious Caffe, Hermanos, The Kitchen Bar, Wildwoods, The Green Dolphin, De Huguenot restaurant, Wildflour, Depasco, Kuzina, and 221 Waterfront.

6.  The eating highlight of the year was the tribute dinner to the closing of El Bulli, one of the world’s best restaurants, by Tokara, Chef Richard Carstens excelling in serving a 13-course meal to a packed restaurant on 30 July, earning him and his team a standing ovation.  This meal alone should have made Chef Richard South Africa’s top chef in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, but sole judge Abigail Donnelly proved that she was incapable of handling this new role and responsibility, not only in excluding Chef Richard from her Top 10 list, but also in awarding the new Boschendal Style Award to her client Makaron.

7.   Franschhoek evolved as THE wine region, Boekenhoutskloof being recognised as South Africa’s top winery by the Platter Guide, and La Motte the top wine estate in South Africa by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.  In the latter competition, Tokara was selected as top wine estate restaurant in the country. The sale of the Franschhoek Graham Beck farm was announced, and the operation closes mid-year in 2012. The winemaking will take place at Steenberg and at Graham Beck in Robertson, while a Graham Beck tasting bar Gorgeous will open at Steenberg in February.

8.   Hermanus was in the tourism marketing spotlight, when miraculously both the committee of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau resigned, and the Cape Whale Coast Destination Marketing Organisation was disbanded by the Overstrand Mayor.  We had written about the self-interest which had been served by the previous leaders of these two bodies in ‘Lermanus’!  A welcome product for Hermanus is the recently created Hermanus Wine Route, marketing of which will be in the capable hands of Carolyn Martin of Creation.

9.   The Consumer Protection Act was introduced in April, and has shown benefits in product deficiencies and returns.  Little effect has been seen for the tourism industry.  The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa tried to change its accommodation assessment standards, which caused a huge outcry.  Despite changing back to what they had before, many accommodation establishments lost faith in the organisation, and have not renewed their accreditation.

10.  The wedding of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlène in July put South Africa in the world spotlight, not only due to the televised broadcast of the wedding, but also as they celebrated their wedding with a second reception, at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, now the country’s best known hotel.

11.  This year proved that the ‘social’ in Social Media is a misnomer in many respects, but it is the marketing platform which cannot be excluded.  We celebrated the 10th anniversary of our WhaleTales newsletter, the 3rd year of blogging, and our 1000 th blogpost this year.  We are grateful to our Facebook friends and likers, Twitter followers, and blog and newsletter readers for their support.

It is hard to predict 2012, and we will go with the flow.  2011 has made us tougher and even more thick-skinned, we have learnt to change with changed tourism times.  We look forward to a stable world economy, politics, as well as weather in 2012!

POSTSCRIPT 2/1: The most read posts on our blog in 2011 were the restaurant winter specials, the Festive Season packages, the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Charléne, the review of Casparus, the restaurant summer specials, the review of Gaaitjie in Paternoster, the death in Cape Town of the President of Ferrero Rocher,  the listing of restaurant openings and closures, the Consumer Protection Act, and Table Mountain making the New7Wonders of Nature.

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