Entries tagged with “The Conservatory”.


At the end of February, for a period of two weeks, French one Michelin Star restaurant Likoké will make a pop-up appearance at The Conservatory in Franschhoek, with its owner and Chef Piet Huysentruyt. A number of writers was invited to taste bites of his creative cuisine last month.  (more…)

Winter Specials FireThe first restaurants are sending out their Winter Specials information, summarised below. The list is updated continuously. Please do not copy and paste our list. We welcome information about new specials:

Cape Town

*   Umi in Camps Bay: 2 course set menu R200, 3 courses R240.  Beef shortrib R120, fish & fries R80, Tataki Beef R75, sweet potato parcels R50, pork belly R130, and sticky chicken wings Tebaski R65. Half price sushi. Cocktails R40  Tel (021) 437-1802 (added 14/5/16) (more…)

Festive Season 12 ApostlesChristmas Eve

*   La Mouette, Cape Town: 6-course dinner R445.  Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Savour, African Pride 15 on Orange, Cape Town: 5-courses R450. Tel (021) 469-8000

*   The Conservatory at Cellars Hohenhort, Cape Town:  6-course dinner R 750 p.p.  Tel (021) 794-5535

*   Twelve Apostles Hotel & Spa, Cape Town:  4-course R955 plus eggnog. Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Makaron at Majeka House, Stellenbosch: 4-course dinner R 55o p.p.  Tel (021) 880-1550

*   Bosman’s at Grande Roche, Paarl:   5-course dinner with pianist R1395 p.p. Tel (021) 863-5100 (more…)

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…)

Camissa Interior Whale Cottage PortfolioWhen the Cape Town branch of the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs, an international association of gastronomy, organised its first function of the year at the Table Bay hotel, I booked, on the off-chance that it could be held at Camissa Brasserie, which opened two months ago. It was a convivial evening with good company, but disappointed on its promise of Cape heritage food.

The Chaîne members are serious food-lovers, and include restaurant owners, chefs, wine estate owners, and gourmands.  The Cape Town branch of the Chaîne has about 70 members, its Bailli of the Bailliage du Cap Samm Bain told me, and 35 members and guests attended the dinner, including Chaîne members from Saudi Arabia and Sweden.  On arrival we were served The Table Bay Captain Table Brut, which Gershwin told me is made for the hotel by Graham Beck.  Canapés Camissa Canapes Whale Cottage Portfolioserved were oysters, duck confit croquettes with an Asian style plum sauce, tempura crab claw, and asparagus wrapped in prosciutto with hollandaise sauce.

During the drinks I had a look at the 45-seater New York style Brasserie interior, which had been booked out for the Chaîne dinner, and Gershwin told me that the space previously was The Conservatory Restaurant and Terrace and Palm Court, which was an overflow venue for their breakfasts and when the Atlantic Grill restaurant was full, with a view onto the V & A Waterfront and Table Mountain.  It received a make-over by designer Carolyn Davies, with a new grey ceiling with a pressed steel effect, bookshelves along the walls, and an impressive chandelier made from crystal whisky decanters in the main and slightly separate Captain’s Room at the end of the rectangular restaurant space.  The length of the wall has black leather banquettes.  Above these are brass railings.  A wine room has been created too, for wine storage as well as tastings. A lounge area has been created outside (more…)

Classic Wine Whale Cottage PortfolioI am proud of my first professional writing assignment, being an article in the December/January issue of Classic Wine magazine. about how five top chefs ‘Celebrate Green Christmas this year, with some red and white’. Each chef is an ardent supporter of the green movement, focusing on sustainability and seasonality, which is reflected in their Christmas menus. The Christmas menus are paired with fine red and white wines.

Eat Out Top 10 Chef Jackie Cameron will serve a lunch of memories to her guests at Hartford House tomorrow, based on her own Christmas memories and those of her kitchen team.  Her bread board, for example, will reflect the diversity of her team, consisting of Amasi curd called ‘Amaqueque’, with a new age spinach spoom, Indian chilli bites, ‘patta’ (a spicy mixture wrapped in amadumbi leaves, a true rainbow nation combination), Afrikaans mielie bread, and English health bread.  Tel (033) 263-2713

Delaire Graff Chef Christiaan Campbell is serving a magical Christmas Eve dinner at his restaurant this evening, and diners will be assured that the meat is pasture-fed, the fish is SASSI green listed, and that the vegetables and herbs will largely come for  the wine estate’s own garden.  Guests will be serenaded by an accordionist while they enjoy drinks outside, and entertained by a magician whilst having their dinner. Tel (021) 885-8160

Chef Chantel Dartnall of Restaurant Mosaic at The Orient in Pretoria does the most beautiful plating, (more…)

Tony Jackman is a passionate cook, playwright, and a food and restaurant writer for publications and his Sliver blog. Yesterday he awarded the inaugural ten Sliver Silver Awards to the top chefs and restaurateurs in Cape Town and the Winelands at The Conservatory at the Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel.

Jackman writes in his media statement that there was no ranking in his top ten restaurant list, that the awards were not linked to a specific year, and that winning a Sliver Silver Award may be a once-off.  He writes: ‘They are not in competition with other restaurant awards.  Rather, they play a role of their own in bestowing a singular stamp on a restaurant. They are not given lightly, and they are not there to honour a flavour-of-the-month or a fly-by-night’. The Award is a Jackman one, not selected by a panel of judges.  ‘When you have a Sliver’s Silver, it’s a badge of honour and respect from me to them’. He evaluated the restaurants’ excellence over a number of years, and said that he was ‘consistently impressed with their ability to get it right, again and again’, describing his awards as a ‘mark of honour more than a conventional award’.

Jackman’s top ten Sliver’s Silver Awards list is as follows:

Cape Town:

*   Peter Tempelhoff (with Gerald van der Walt), The Greenhouse, for ‘his exquisite progressive South African cuisine’

*   Giorgio Nava, 95 Keerom, for ‘inspired Italian authenticity and Milanese charm’

*   Sabi Sabharwal, Haiku, for ‘striking Asian versatility and consistency’

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, The Test Kitchen, for ‘wizardry with flavour and texture

*   Henrico Grobbelaar, Azure at the Twelve Apostles, for ‘his finely engineered cuisine

*   Franck Dangereux, The Foodbarn, for ‘texture and nuance with Gallic charm’

*   Peter Weetman of Societi Bistro for ‘most beloved neighbourhood bistro‘.

Winelands:

*   Bertus Basson, Overture, for ‘seasonal expression and detail

*   Margot Janse, The Tasting Room, for ‘Avant-Garde African cuisine that always surprises

*   Michael Broughton, Terroir, for ‘being a saucier par excellence’.

The striking Sliver Silver Award bespoke ceramic plates with koi motif were made by Mervyn Gers Ceramics, each plate unique and different to the others.  Gers launched Kfm (previously called Kontrei FM) almost twenty years ago, and found his creative streak in ceramics, which he has already made for De Grendel, Babylonstoren, Moyo, and Jenny Morris.

Jackman announced at the Awards lunch, which I regrettably missed, that he will be launching Sliver’s Pop-Up Gourmet Dinners, at which food lovers will be served dinners prepared by three top chefs, with a food demo, a charity contribution, and ‘a mystery element inspired by Australian Masterchef‘.

Comparing Jackman’s Sliver Silver Awards with the latest Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards list it is clear that Jackman has only focused on Cape Town and Winelands restaurants.  Missing from the Sliver Silver list is Jordan Restaurant, Rust en Vrede, and La Colombe, which made the latest Eat Out Top Ten restaurant list. Surprise Sliver Silver Award inclusions are 95 Keerom, Haiku, Azure, The Foodbarn, and Societi Bistro, some restaurants not having appeared on the Eat Out Top 10 list ever, and others having done so many years ago. But then this was Jackman’s awards ceremony, as he said right upfront!

Sliver Blog: www.sliver.co.za Twitter: @SliverMorsels

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

Christmas Eve

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 6-course dinner and glass of Prosecco R350. Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel : 5-course menu R910.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Oasis Bistro, Mount Nelson Hotel: Buffet R650.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Tobago’s, Raddison Blu:  3-course R450.  Tel (021) 441-3000

*   The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: 3 courses R375.  Tel (021) 876-2729

Christmas Day lunch

*   The Square Restaurant, Vineyard Hotel: 3-course lunch R 415. Tel (021) 657-4500

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel: Buffet lunch, party hats, gift, crackers R945.  Tel (021) 437-9052 (sold out)

*   The Pavilion at The Marine, Marine Hotel, Hermanus: welcome drink, canapés, Christmas lunch, petit fours R 595.  Tel (028) 313-1000

* Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 6-course lunch with glass of Prosecco R350  Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson hotel: 5-course lunch R 950. Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Ballroom, Mount Nelson hotel: Buffet R700.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   1800° Restaurant, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: Christmas Lunch Buffet R320. Tel (021) 430-0506.

*   Tobago’s, Radisson Blu: Buffet R595.  Tel (021) 441-3000

*   Le Franschhoek hotel, Franschhoek:  Buffet R 395.  Tel (021) 876-8900

*   Le Coq Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Franschhoek: 3 courses R240. Tel (021) 876-4404

*  The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek:   3 courses R375.  Tel ()21) 876-2729

New Year’s Eve

* Café Chic: 6-course dinner R485.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 8-course dinner and glass of Prosecco R 450.  Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Blues, Camps Bay: 4-course dinner, DJ, and unlimited bubbly R1700   Tel (021) 438-2040

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay:  3-course dinner and welcome drink R 1000.  Tel (021) 438-0007

*   Hussar Grill, Camps Bay: 4-courses R475.  Tel (021) 438-0151

*   Azure at Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: Buffet and live music R 1895.  Tel ()21) 437-9000

*   The Conservatory at The Cellars-Hohenhort, R750.  Tel (021) 794-2137

*   Constantia Uitsig: 5-course dinner R 850.  Tel (021) 794-4480

*   Five Flies: 4-course menu, masked ball, and sparkling wine R600.  Tel (021) 424-4442

*   The Greenhouse, Cellars-Hohenhort, Constantia: 9-course dinner R950, or R1250 with wine.  Tel (021) 794-2137

*   La Colombe, Constantia: 5-course dinner, DJ, sparkling wine at midnight R1600.  Tel (021) 794-2390

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 5-course meal and glass of sparkling wine R795. Tel (021) 433-0856

* 1800° Restaurant, Green Point: 6-course dinner, and entrance to the VIP Sky Bar R1200.  Tel (021) 430-0506

*   Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course meal at R850.  Tel (021) 657-4545

*   Nobu, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront: 8-course dinner and band R2250. Tel (021) 431-5222

*   Orinoco: 3-course dinner, ‘Sixties’ theme, DJ, welcome cocktail, canapés, glass of sparkling wine R600.  Tel (021) 418-4544

*   Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town: 5-course dinner and band R1750.  Tel (021) 431-5222

*   The Roundhouse, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner, live music and DJ, sparkling wine R1650.  Tel (021) 438-4347

*   Salt Restaurant, Ambassador Hotel: 8-course tasting menu, glass of sparkling wine, band R995.  Tel (021) 439-7258

*   Savoy Cabbage: Canapés, Christmas cocktail, gala dinner R995.  Tel (021) 424-2626

*   Signal, Cape Grace hotel, V&A Waterfront:  4-course dinnerR1950.  Tel (021) 410-7100

*   The Table Bay Hotel, V&A Waterfront: cocktail reception, Buffet dinner, sparkling wine R2100.  Tel (021) 406-5000

*   Tjing Tjing Bar, Dear Me: entrance fee, food, and party R300.  Tel (021) 422-4920

*   The Boat House, Scarborough: 5-course dinner and sparkling wine R980.  Transfer R500 pp.  Tel 083 305 8533

*   Massimo’s, Hout Bay: Welcome drink, 4 course dinner R425.  Tel (021) 790-5645

*   GOLD: Cocktail on arrival, drumming, live music, ‘African Feast’, bubbly R1100.  Tel (021) 421-4653

*   Makaron, Majeka House, Stellenbosch: 4-course dinner R625.  Tel (021) 880-1549

*   Moyo, Spier, Stellenbosch: Welcome drink, 3-course meal, R495.  Tel (021) 809-1133

*   Restaurant at Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch: 8-course food and wine pairing R468.  Tel (021) 865-2022

*   Tokara, Stellenbosch: 8-course dinner R950.  Tel (021) 885-2550

*   Eat @ Simonsig, Paarl:   Live band, 3-courses, bubbly at midnight R275.  Tel (021) 863-3845.

*   The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Franschhoek: Welcome drink and midnight glass of sparkling wine as well as dancing, 7-course dinner R790.  Tel (021) 876-8600

*   The Kitchen, Maison, Franschhoek: 8 courses, each paired with a Maison Estate wine, R950.  Tel (021) 876-2116.

*   Reuben’s, Franschhoek: 6-course dinner R1200. Tel (021) 876-3772

*   Le Coq Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Franschhoek: 3 courses and a glass of sparkling wine R280. Tel (021) 876-4404

*   The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Somerset West: 6-course meal R650, or R825 with wine.  Tel (021) 858-1292

*   The Pavilion at The Marine, Marine Hotel, Hermanus:  Canapés, welcome drink, 6-course menu, R1150.  Tel (028) 313-1000

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

I cannot remember when last I had been to the Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, it was so long ago, for a dinner at their Cape Malay restaurant, which was previously located in the manor house, where The Greenhouse is now.  I found The Greenhouse to be an oasis of freshness and modernity relative to the very dated and old-fashioned Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, a total contradiction.

The Greenhouse has been operating in the current building for a year or so, having previously been in the space now called The Conservatory restaurant. It appears that the venue change sparked the creativity of Executive Chef Peter Tempelhoff, having moved there two years ago.  It was seeing photographs of his work on Twitter earlier this year, Chef Peter being awarded Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef status (one of only two in South Africa), and the restaurant winning number one Eat Out Top 10 restaurant in November that led me to book a table for my birthday dinner last week, with very high expectations. Disappointing therefore was that booking a table was a problem, as the restaurant phone appeared to be ringing non-stop post 20 November, and so the hotel switchboard person asked me to wait longer or to call back, with arrogance.  When I asked for GM Tony Romer-Lee, to see if he could assist with the booking, my booking was quickly made.  I only gave my first name and cell number, yet Tony had worked out who the booking was for, and wrote an e-mail a few days ahead of the booking, apologising for his absence from the hotel on the evening of our booking.  Despite this confirmation e-mail by Tony, an assistant called on the day of our dinner, to confirm the booking.  I was surprised to receive the call, and was called by my surname, not pronounced correctly, and with the wrong title, so I invited her to call me Chris, which she clearly found difficult to do.  She spoke a very high-level formal English, saying ‘we shall see you tonight’, and once again I felt a degree of arrogance in her exchange with me.  I was therefore very nervous about the actual dinner, given these two annoying interactions.

It is difficult to find the hotel, and we came from the Hout Bay side, knowing we had to turn off somewhere on the road leading to Kirstenbosch. The hotel does not offer to send directions.  None of its literature contains an address.  It is hard to see the signage when it gets dark, and there are a number of turns to take to find it.  The boom was closed and the very old security guard took his time to come to the car, seeming surprised about our arrival, and asking what we wanted!  He let us in immediately when we said we had come for dinner, but had no name list to check, and we did not have to complete any form, so one wonders why there is security.  We were not told by him where The Greenhouse is located, and we had to check the signage on the building.  There was no staff in the parking area to guide one, surprisingly not alerted by the security guard. Inside the building a faux fire warmed up two staff who showed us the way to The Greenhouse.  It was going to the bathroom later that alerted me to the contrast in modernity of the restaurant relative to the very old-fashioned English-style drapes and furnishings of the Hohenhort Manor House, forming part of the 53-room five star Relais & Chateaux The Cellars-Hohenhort hotel. Previously part of Klaasenbosch Farm, awarded to Hendrik Ten Damme by Simon van der Stel in 1693, the farm house was transformed by its owner Arnold Spilhaus into a manor house after buying the farm in 1906.  Liz McGrath bought The Cellars in 1991, and turned the country guest house into the Relais & Chateaux hotel twenty years ago.  Two years later she bought The Hohenhort Hotel, and united the two properties.  Although one does not see it at night, the property is endowed with different gardens, the Herb Garden benefiting the kitchens. Four varieties of table grapes are also grown.

The restaurant space is relatively small, only seating about 45, and divided into two with mirrored pillars. As one enters the restaurant there is a lounge section, but we did not see anyone use it at all, feeling like a wasted space.  An interesting decor touch is many ceramic rabbits on the windowsills, with the odd watering can, and small trees in pot plants, no doubt to create the greenhouse look, but the rabbits do not quite fit the theme. Walls are painted in a light grey inside the restaurant, with green fern wallpaper in the lounge, which pattern is replicated on the back of the comfortable grey upholstered chairs. The table has no salt or pepper, but there was a vase with a beautiful orange rose and greenery.  The Greenhouse clearly is in part an addition to the manor house, with a glass roof, which does not add value for dining at night, and must be a nightmare to keep clean.  It also adds heat to the restaurant during the day, and I had to ask for a window to be opened. The design of the addition has become the logo for the restaurant.  A lamp stands at each table, a little American touch. A thick tablecloth is covered with a white one, and the table is laid with Eetrite cutlery. Tables are very close together, meaning that the restaurant has a cosy atmosphere, but one can overhear everyone else’s conversations in one’s section. The Relais & Chateaux affiliation dominates the restaurant, in that the staff name badges have the logo and they wear a pin too, the home-made butter has the logo, as do coasters and the menus.

Waiter Lwazi (who was quick to correct the spelling of his name which he saw in my notes!) brought us a complimentary glass of Constantia Brut 2009, a nice touch.  I found him difficult to understand, and he had to repeat what he said a number of times.  He tried to explain the three menus to us, contained in a cover with the Relais & Chateaux logo and the following introduction: “A beautiful plate of food is eaten with the eyes first”. I chose the 7-course Chef’s Tasting Menu at R575 (with R275 for ‘complimenting’ wines), and my son the 4-course Summer Menu at R450.  One can also order a 6-course Sustainable Seafood Tasting Menu at R495 (with an additional R230 for ‘complimenting’ wines).  I did not see the rule, but it must have been in the menu, that one may not order two different menus at one table, but the rule  was waived on the understanding that my son would have to wait for his courses.  The staff wear a tie with ducks, The Cellars-Hohenhort tie design, which they wear with black pants and a grey waistcoat, creating a smart impression. Lwazi was efficient in taking our order, but became relaxed during the evening, stretching in front of me to lay cutlery on two occasions towards the end of the meal, even though there was more than enough space to do so from the other side. I asked for a jug of water for the table, but this was removed after the first glassful was poured.  Empty glasses at other tables were not replenished or removed. A delight was the Maitre’d Joshua Crowe, who shared interesting information about working at Reuben’s Franschhoek and at Beluga with me.  He is a young gentleman with a bright future, exuding professionalism.  He came to check on our table regularly, and seemed very at home in the restaurant, having only worked there for two months.  Canapés were brought to the table, consisting of sesame seed crusted prawn toast served with goat’s cheese lollipops on a stick, presented in a glass dish with wheatgrass, the most colourful dish of the evening, as well as chicken and mushroom ballantine, pear chutney, truffle mayonnaise, and an Asian dipping sauce.  A selection of breads (cheese rolls, lavosh, baguette, wheat, rye, and crostini) was served in a wooden bowl, with a nasturtium dip and edible soil in a terracotta flower pot, with carrots, pea shoots and mange tout, a further reinforcement of the greenhouse theme, and there it ended.

The Chef’s Tasting Menu started with pan-fried duck foie gras, melt in the mouth deliciousness, and the stand-out course for me, served with raspberry gel, onion marmalade, crispy Asian mushrooms and puy lentils.  My son was spoilt with an amuse bouche of crayfish custard and warm celeriac mousse and chives, which was served in an egg shell, a creative presentation, while I had the first course. The second course was Madagascan prawn roulade, served on a beautiful glass plate with cling peach, fermented black bean dressing (too salty for my taste), rice paper tuile, and ponzu snow, a Chef Richard Carstens-like study in liquid nitrogen!  I was not keen on the fynbos smoked ostrich tartar for the third course, and was allowed to choose a dish from the other two menus. The oven-roasted rare duck breast, and duck cherry jelly canneloni, was served with cherries poached in Pinot Noir, mash, savoy cabbage, and bergamot-lime jus (salty too).   The fourth course was petit poussin served with langoustine, a bacon crisp, sautéed gem lettuce, Vin de Constance gel, enoki mushrooms, and mint pea pureé.  The free-range Karoo lamb dish had the Sweet Breads excluded for me, and was served with wild mushroom agnolottio, brown beech mushrooms, pea shoots, broad beans, parmesan velouté, and a (salty) lamb juice.

By far the cleverest dish, and perhaps too clever for some, was the inverted Brûlée, served in the base of a glass filled with strawberry granité, Earl Grey espuma, with salt and green tea on the rim of the glass. One was not told to turn the glass around for the vanilla brûlée.  As if this was not enough to chew on already, the seventh course was a ‘camembert’ shaped cheese cake, served on a wooden board with roast pineapple ice cream, pine nut biscotti melba, parmesan, maple crumble, lemon marmalade, and extra virgin olive oil.  A final end to the evening was a cutely presented collection of friandise, including truffles, macaroons, and home-made nougat.

Chef Peter came to the table, a nice touch, and told us that he has a Canadian mother and an Afrikaans father, and he speaks with a Canadian accent. He is a gentle and more reserved person. He studied at the Institute of Culinary Arts in Cape Town, and started his career at the Grande Roche Hotel. He has also worked at Quo Vadis and Automat in London, and at Michelin-starred Hambleton Hall and Zafferano. It was at Grande Provence that he earned his first Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Award, leaving for the McGrath Collection a month after winning the accolade.  Chef Peter is proud of the garden on the property from which he can source his seasonal requirements, mainly being rhubarb and herbs.  He sources his duck and Karoo lamb from Wild Peacock.  He only has a staff of six, with trainees being a welcome addition, he said. He told us that he likes to travel overseas, to find food inspiration there.  He also is responsible for Sand at The Plettenberg, and for the two restaurants at The Marine Hotel, and admitted that he has not paid as much attention to them as they deserve, focusing on getting The Greenhouse into the top league, work which clearly has paid off. Chef Peter is justifiably proud of his two achievements, both career highlights for him.  One cannot help but feel that Chef Peter and The Greenhouse was short-changed by Eat Out, in winning Top Restaurant, but not Top Chef (the honour went to Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen) and not Top Service (the honour went to The Roundhouse).  More coverage of the Eat Out awards, in TASTE magazine as a start, also a New Media Publishing magazine, has gone to Chef Luke than to The Greenhouse.  The Eat Out awards signal that The Greenhouse may be the best restaurant in the country, but does not have the best chef nor the best service, a contradiction, and the first time that the Top Restaurant has not also received recognition for Service and its Chef.  Interesting is that Chef Luke came to dine at the restaurant a week after the Eat Out Awards, probably highlighting the competition between the two chefs.

I had ordered a glass of Groot Constantia Shiraz 2009 (R75), and it appeared fine on tasting it, but I had to return it when I tasted it after it had been poured. I chose The Yardstick instead, the only other red wine by the glass, a limited choice I felt.  The Pinot Noir is a joint venture between Chef Peter and ex-Klein Constantia winemaker Adam Mason, we were told, and is a four-star Platter 2010 vintage, at R55 per glass.

I left with a feeling of contradiction about The Greenhouse, a relatively modern space within a terribly old and old-fashioned hotel, that does nothing for the restaurant, that has arrogant hotel staff taking calls and the bookings (this is due to change, Joshua told me, in that he and another restaurant staff member will be the only one staff taking The Greenhouse bookings), that has a waiter who is near-arrogant too and not well-trained, that has typing errors in its menu, that has a terribly old-fashioned bathroom, that does not have an exceptional interior design, and that is only open five nights a week.  The food was excellent, except for the over-salted sauces, and the playfulness of the canapé and bread collection dishes lived up to the theme of The Greenhouse, but all other dishes could have been served at any other fine-dining restaurant.

The Greenhouse, The Cellars-Hohenhort, Constantia.  Tel (021) 794-2137.  www.collectionmcgrath.com www.petertempelhoff.com Twitter: @GreenhouseCT   @PeterTempelhoff  Tuesday – Saturday dinner.

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

The Festive Season offers for Christmas and New Year follow below, and will be updated continuously as we receive new information:

Christmas Eve

*   Five Flies, Cape Town: 4-course dinner with ‘champagne and crackers’ R395. Tel (021) 424-4442

*   Rick’s Café, Cape Town: 3-course dinner R195.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 4-course dinner R720. Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: Dinner R300. Tel (021) 876-2738

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg: 4-course dinner R695.  Tel (021) 713-2222

*   The Kitchen, Woodstock: 3-courses R300, main course plus dessert R245, starter plus main course R268. Tel (021) 462-2201

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel: 5-course dinner R890. Tel (021) 483-1000

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course dinner R420.  Tel (021) 842-2020

*   Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House: 4-course dinner plus drink R 495 . Tel (021) 880-1549

Christmas Day

*   Haiku:  Set menu from R195.  Tel (021) 424-7000

*   Bukhara: Set menu from R195 per person.  Tel (021/ 4240000/(021) 882-9133/(021) 535-4444

*   1800, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel:  Lunch Buffet with welcome drink, R280 per adult and R120 for children under 12 years.  Tel (021) 430-0506

*   Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch:  4-course lunch R755.  Tel (021) 885-8160

*  Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant, Franschhoek: 3-course lunch  R400.  Tel (021) 876-3961

*   Monneaux, Franschhoek: 5-course lunch R 395.  Tel (021) 876-3380

*   Backsberg, Klapmuts: Buffet lunch and glass of John Martin Sauvignon Blanc R415. Tel (021) 875-5141

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 5-course lunch R350. Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Allée Bleue, Franschhoek:  3-course lunch in Bistro and Wine Tasting Courtyard R250. Christmas Lunch Buffet in Main House Courtyard R250.  Tel (021) 874-1021. FULLY BOOKED

*   Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay:  3-course lunch R395 + 10 % service charge.  Tel (021) 790-1036

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: Lunch buffet, eggnog, a gift, party hats, and crackers. R945.  Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Asara, Stellenbosch: Buffet Lunch R275; Christmas Lunch R450.  Tel (021) 888-8000

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: Lunch R350.  Tel (021) 876-9200

*   Rivendell Estate & Bistro, near Kleinmond: Sangria welcome drink plus Buffet, R300. Tel (028) 284-9185

*   Rickety Bridge, Franschhoek: 4-course dinner R325. Tel (021) 876-2120.

*   Charl’s, Blue Gum Country Estate, Stanford: 5-course lunch R395.  Tel (028) 341 0107

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 4-course lunch R 245.  Tel (021) 434-3004

*   Bistro Sixteen82, Steenberg: 4-course lunch, R 425.  Tel (021) 713-2222

*   The Kitchen, Maison, Franschhoek: 6-course lunch R 650.  Tel (021) 876-2116

*   La Belle Café & Bakery, The Alphen Hotel, Constantia: 4-course lunch R 350.  Tel (021) 795-6300

*   Ben’s on the Beach, Strand: 3-course lunch R 195,  11h00 and 13h30 sittings. Tel (021) 855-7977

*   La Colombe, Constantia: 4-course lunch R1100 + 12% tip.  Tel (021) 794-2390

*   Sofia’s @ Morgenster, Somerset West:  3-course lunch R400.  Tel (021) 847-1993

*   Two Oceans Restaurant, Cape Point: 3-courses R185.  Tel (021) 780-9200

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course lunch R420.  Tel (021) 842-2020

*   The Country Kitchen, Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek: 3-course lunch R320.  Tel (021) 876-2770

*   Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel, Franschhoek: 5-course lunch R 470. Tel (021) 876-876-2770

*   Cape Town Fish Market, V&A Waterfront, Tokai, GrandWest, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Tyger Valley, Canal Walk:  4-course Christmas lunch R125. Tel (21) 418-5977

*   Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 5-course Christmas lunch R495. Tel (021) 418-1466

*   Ryan’s Kitchen in Franschhoek will be closed on 25 and 26 December.

New Year’s Eve

*   The Restaurant @ Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch:  Food & Wine Experience – eight latest vintages, each paired with a course.  R395.  Tel (021) 865-2022

*   Chic Café, Gardens: 5 course dinner R450.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch: 6-course dinner. R1200. Tel (021) 885-8160

*   Pepper Club on the Beach: 3-course dinner R850. Tel (021) 438-3174

*   Cocos, Hermanus: 3-course dinner R500.  Tel (028) 313-1178

*   Five Flies, Cape Town: 4-course dinner plus glass of Pierre Jourdan and music R795.  Tel (021) 424-4442

*   Rick’s Café, Cape Town:  Jazz, appetizer plate and glass of Pongracz R125.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 4-course dinner with welcome drink and L’Avenir Brut Rosé 2009.  Tel (021) 433-0856.

*   Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay: 3-course dinner R395 + 10 % service charge.  Tel (021) 790-1036

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 5-course dinner plus glass of champagne R1650.  Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Asara, Stellenbosch:   Dinner Buffet R345; Dinner at Raphael’s R950.  Tel (021) 888-8000

*   Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: Dinner R300.  Tel (021) 876-2738

*   Bertha’s, Simonstown: 3-course dinner, welcome glass of bubbly and jazz band R 350.  Tel (021) 786-2138

*   Black Marlin, Simonstown: 4-course crayfish platter, dinner and dance R 500.  Tel (021) 786-1621

*   Café Chic, Gardens, 5-course dinner R450.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   The Conservatory, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, Constantia: 3-course dinner R1200.  Tel (021) 794-2137

*   Hildebrand, V&A Waterfront: 5-course meal, champagne on arrival, band R 1300.  Tel (021) 425-3385

*   Moyo, Bloubergstrand: African feats and music by CODA R595.  Tel (021) 554-9671

*   Oasis Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel: Buffet R650.  Tel (021) 483-1948

*   The Pepper Club on the Beach, Camps Bay:  3-course dinner and music R850.  Tel (021) 438-9551

*   Taste Restaurant, Somerset West: Dinner R385.  Tel (021) 855-3686

*   Ben’s on the Beach, Strand: 3-course dinner R245.  Tel (021) 853-7977

*   Bodega Restaurant, Dornier, Stellenbosch: 3-course meal, glass of Sterhuis Blanc de Blanc 2008 R380. Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House, Stellenbosch: 4-course dinner, pre-dinner drink, live music, glass of champagne R625.  Tel (021) 880-1549

*   Moyo, Spier, Stellenbosch: cocktail, snack, face paint, African feast, entertainment R495. Tel (021) 809-1138

*   Restaurant Mangiare, Capelands, Somerset West: 2-courses R190, 3-courses R240, 4-courses R 290.  Tel (021) 858-1477

*   Proviant Kaapse Tafel, Paarl: Spit braai, live music and bubbly R 195.  Tel (021) 863-0949

*   Pure, Hout Bay Manor: 6-course dinner R850. Tel (021) 791-9393

*   Lookout Deck, Hout Bay:  4-course dinner and live band R300.  Tel (021) 790-0900

*   Freedom Hill Restaurant, R301, Franschhoek:  Spit braai and music R 350. Tel (021) 867-0963

*   Rocca, Cape Quarter: 3-course dinner R 400.  Tel (021) 418-8000

*   Pepenero, Mouille Point: 3-course dinner, glass of ‘champagne’ on arrival R 700.  Tel 082 800 8542

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner R 950.  Tel 082 800 8542

*   The Kove, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner R 950 with glass of ‘champagne’ on arrival.  Tel 082 800 8542

*   Paranga, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner with glass of ‘champagne’ R 1200. Tel 082 800 8542

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 4-course dinner with complimentary glass of MCC R 435.  Tel (021) 434-3004

*   French Toast, Bree Street: 3-course tapas dinner R 250.  Tel (021) 422-3839

*   5 Rooms, Alphen Hotel: 4-courses R850.  Tel (021) 795-6300

*    Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 5-course dinner R750. Tel (021) 418-1466

*    Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course dinner R750.  Tel (021) 657-4545.

*   Le Franschhoek Hotel: 7-course dinner R1150.  Tel (021) 876-8900

*   6 Spin Street, Spin Street, Cape Town: 5-course dinner buffet and dance with welcome drink R450;  cheese and dessert buffet R250.  Tel (021) 461-0666

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