A lunch at Coco Safar, followed by a dinner three days later, were two chalk and cheese experiences, the former excellent and the latter hugely disappointing, especially as it was a birthday dinner treat for a special friend! I had last been to Coco Safar for breakfast early this year, after it opened in Sea Point, having moved from Cavendish Square. Continue reading →
On 5 April Chef Heston Blumenthal will receive the Diners Club Lifetime Achievement Award at the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards in Melbourne, it was announced last week. Chef Heston owns The Fat Duck in Bray, which was at the top of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant list in 2005, and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in London, the 45th World’s Best Restaurant, which I visited for lunch last July. Continue reading →
A new book by Nick Lander, husband of highly regarded wine judge and writer Jancis Robinson, has written a new book entitled ‘On the Menu‘. Lander has been a restaurateur at L’Escargot in London in the ‘Eighties, and has written ‘The Art of the Restaurateur’ previously. He is now a restaurant reviewer. Continue reading →
On Friday evening I had the pleasure of eating my first meal prepared by a Michelin star restaurant chef. Chef Roger Jones of The Harrow at Little Bedwyn, with a Michelin star earned every year in the past ten years, prepared a six-course meal at Continue reading →
Bray first attracted attention when the Roux brothers Michel and Albert opened The Waterside Inn in the village in 1972, and have held a three star Michelin rating for the past 25 years. Chef Heston, whose father grew up in South Africa, was attracted to the village too, Continue reading →
The topic of whether restaurants should prevent their diners from photographing food arises regularly. Now Michelin star restaurant chef Heston Blumenthal has attracted attention with the new photograph policy in his restaurants.
While most diners would think that any and all photographs taken of a restaurant’s dishes would be to the benefit of the establishment, a wonderful form of free marketing, it appears that restaurant chefs are nervous about the photographs, and whether they present their dishes in the correct light! Other diners are irritated when a flash is used for the photographs.
The downside of course is the dreadful quality of photographs one sees on Social Media platforms, in a yukky Continue reading →
Last night’s MasterChef consisted of two parts – a happy team of eight Finalists driven to the home in the Karoo of cookbook writer Syddah Essop, and a nervous looking team of three Finalists who had to cook in the Pressure Test without electricity, which saw Ndumiso Mncwabe leaving the MasterChef SA kitchen.
The team met Syddah Essop, writer of ‘Karoo Kitchen‘, and she shared her knowledge about Karoo Cuisine with the Finalists. Syddah grew up in Beaufort West, in the heart of the Karoo. She traveled from farm to farm in the area with her father, who sought to protect the rights of farmers. In this way she learnt a lot about the Karoo locals and their food. It took her three years to compile ‘Karoo Kitchen’, as a salute to the culture and heritage of the Karoo. The cookbook contains a diversity of local dishes, including standards such as melktert, rusks, Karoo lamb, and even sheep’s head! The cookbook has received acclaim for documenting the Karoo cooking culture and heritage. Syddah prepared a table full of Karoo delights for the Finalists. Continue reading →
Episode 5 of MasterChef SA was long and drawn-out, featuring nine desserts made from a surprise ingredient – a Pantry overflowing with carrots, carrot juice, and carrot powder. Three new contestants will go into the Pressure Test in episode 6 next week, Ndumiso Mncwabe clearly heading for an early exit as he is facing his second Pressure Test.
The episode commenced with a recap of episode 4, Roxi Wardman sharing her euphoria about having visited and eaten at Chef Kevin Thornton’s 2 star Michelin Thornton’s restaurant in Dublin, for having won the best dish in episode 3. She described it as a ‘mind blowing, life changing’ experience. Philippa Robinson shared that Roxi’s success and her new confidence from her trip makes her feel intimidated, as she is one of the strongest contestants.
Reuben Robertsons Riffel led the contestants to the Pantry, and they were surprised to see the mountain of carrots, in red, orange, and purple, from which they had to make a dessert, with the carrot the focus, said Chef Benny Masekwameng. Riffel said that a carrot dessert is not as crazy as it seems, and challenged the contestants to apply their mind. A time limit of 90 minutes was set, but the Pantry was closed 15 minutes after the start. Once again the contestants were told that the three weakest dishes will place their creators into the Pressure Test, one of them going home in episode 6. While there are eleven contestants left, only nine of them were interviewed and the evaluation of their dishes shown, Francois Zietsman and Mel Sutherland receiving no airtime last night. Continue reading →
An unusually high number of new restaurants has opened or will do so in the next month or two. There have never been so many chefs leaving their employers to start their own restaurants, or to join other employers! This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* Borage Bistro has opened in Portside, with Chef Frank Marks, previously of The Fat Duck, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, La Colombe, The Test Kitchen, and The Pot Luck Club
* Chef Chris Erasmus has opened his own restaurant Foliage in Franschhoek, having previously been at Pierneef à La Motte.
* Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.
* The Butcher Shop & Grill has opened next to Sotano in Mouille Point.
* Michael Townsend (La Parada, Lucky Fish, Harbour House emporium) is opening a steak restaurant in Muizenberg in November.
* Neil Grant and his business partner Barry Engelbrecht (of Burrata) are opening a new restaurant Bocca on the corner of Bree Continue reading →
I was bombarded with a barrage of Tweets when the new owners of Mozzarella Bar on Kloof Street first opened in July, having bought the business from ‘Mr Charm’ Giorgio Nava. Nava must have sold the owners Amy and Marc Botes a good dose of rudeness and cheek too, which is what I experienced when I popped in at the now renamed Chalk & Cork, waiting for my car to be washed at the Engen garage nearby, earlier this week. I enjoyed going to the Mozzarella Bar, with its charming Italian manager Simone, previoulsy.
I photographed the counter as one enters (there is no signage at the entrance, but only on the low wall of the outside seating, visible to all passing on Kloof Street (the patrons that is, and not the branding)! The waitress could not tell me why the restaurant is named Chalk & Cork, other than to say that they have a lot of wine on the winelist! She could not explain the ‘Chalk‘ part. There is a cork collection building up on both sides of the front door. The downstairs entrance doesn’t appear to have changed much, although there is more equipment against the back wall behind the counter compared to the Mozzarella Bar. The Pizza oven is still there, as is the drinks fridge. They are no longer selling Mozzarella, which will be available at Piazza Italia, up the road on Park Road. Upstairs they can seat 30 patrons. On a rainy day they have next to no business, the upstairs seating not being visible nor known. Continue reading →