Tag Archives: The French Laundry

New Exhibit A Fine-Dining restaurant of Chefs Rikku Ó’Donnchü and Warwick King opens on 1 November, Proudly South African focus with international twist!

Last week I enjoyed the special Heritage Day lunch at pop-up SŸN restaurant on Bree Street, and after the lunch I heard the first details of the permanent fine-dining restaurant opening on 1 November, to be called Exhibit A. The restaurant will be located on the 3rd floor of the Villa 47 building at 47 Bree Street. Yesterday I returned to the restaurant to hear more details from the chefs about their new 46-seater restaurant.  Continue reading →

SŸN Pop-Up Proudly South African in its Heritage Day Lunch Tasting Menu, presents a taste of what is to come when the new restaurant opens on 1 November!

Since my return from a three month trip to escape our winter, my number one newly-opened restaurant on my list to visit in the Cape was SŸN, the pop-up having opened whilst I was away, and headed by Chefs Rikku Ó’Donnchü and Warwick King, formerly of Gåte restaurant at Quoin Rock. The one-day special Heritage Day Menu (at R690) was the perfect opportunity to taste and see what these two creative chefs and their team have come up with since setting up on their own, initially as a Pop-up before they open their new restaurant on 1 November. Continue reading →

Fun fine dining SŸN at 47 popping up on top of 47 Bree Street from 16 July, a teaser before the main event!

The news is brief, and no doubt more will be revealed as 16 July gets closer. Dynamic Chefs Rikku O’Donnchü and Warwick King are opening a somewhat more permanent pop-up restaurant for a three month period before they are ready to open their exciting experimental fine dining restaurant, the location and name of which is still a big secret. Continue reading →

World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards 2015: The Test Kitchen ranked 28th, El Celler de Can Roca number 1 restaurant in the world again!

World's 50 Best Restaurants logoChef Luke Dale-Roberts’ The Test Kitchen was named the 28th best restaurant in the world and Best in Africa, at the 14th The World’s 50 Best Restaurants ceremony in London last night, a 20 place climb from his 48th position last year, and 61st position in 2013.  El Celler de Can Roca was World's 50 Best Test Kitchenranked as the Best Restaurant in the World, the second time it has received this honour.  Regular winner Noma dropped to third place. Spain received the most 50 Best Restaurant Awards (7), followed by the USA (6), and France (5).  Both The Test Kitchen and World’s 50 Best Restaurants trended on Twitter last night.

El Celler de Can Roca is based in Giron in Spain, and is run by the three Roca brothers Josep, Joan,and Jordi, who opened their restaurant in 1986. They pioneered sous-vide cooking, and are described as creating ‘magic without undue theatrics’. Brother Joan is the head chef, Jordi is the Pastry Chef, and Josep is the Sommelier and Front of House.   In 2013 they were also named the best restaurant in the world. Continue reading →

Noma back as top World’s 50 Best Restaurants! The Test Kitchen Best in Africa and ranked 48th!

World's 50 Best Restaurants logoThe eagerly awaited 12th The World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards was held last night at The Guildhall in London, and the Top 50 Restaurants were announced. Restaurants ranked 51st – 100th were listed on the Awards website, which crashed just after the Awards ceremony!

The initiative of Restaurant magazine in the UK, and using 900 judges from around the world, a total of 6552 votes were cast to vote for the world’s best restaurants.  The world was divided into 26 regions, chaired by an expert for that region.  Tamsin Snyman heads the Africa panel of 36 members, who had to eat at 4 local as well as at 3 international restaurants to cast their vote.  No score is required – the vote is purely for the best restaurants they ate at, and must be presented in ranked order.  Every year 10 panelists step down per region, to be replaced by new ones.   For the first time in seven years Snyman did not attend, for family reasons.

The biggest surprise was that Noma in Copenhagen went back to its number one Continue reading →

El Celler de Can Roca Top World’s 50 Best Restaurant! The Test Kitchen ‘One to Watch’ special honour!

While South Africa did not make the The Restaurant S.Pellegrino & Aqua Panna The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 list, Cape Town’s The Test Kitchen was singled out in a newly introduced award ‘One to Watch’, proudly received by Owner/Chef Luke Dale-Roberts, which also made 61st position.  Noma’s hold of the number one position on the world restaurant list in the past three years has been broken, with the three Roca brothers at El Celler de Can Roca taking over the coveted top world restaurant accolade.

A Lifetime Achievement Award, sponsored by Diners Club, went to Chef Alain Ducasse, while the World’s Best Female Chef Award went to Nadia Santini of Dal Pescatore in Italy, which has had 3 Michelin stars since 1996!  The Chef’s Choice Award went to Grant Achatz, of Alinea in Chicago.  The Highest Climber Award went to Astrid y Gastón in Lima, Peru, climbing 21 places to number 14.  The Sustainable Restaurant Award went to Narisawa in Tokyo, also winning the accolade of best Asian restaurant.

El Celler de Can Roca is based in Giron in Spain, and is run by the three Roca brothers Josep, Joan,and Jordi, who opened their restaurant in 1986. They were in second place for the past two years. They pioneered sous-vide cooking, and are described as creating ‘magic without undue theatrics’. Brother Joan is the head chef, Jordi is the Pastry Chef, and Josep is the Sommelier and Front of House.  Noma slipped to second place, having set a new benchmark for Nordic cuisine, but was dealt a bad blow when numerous customers suffered a very bad virus after eating at the restaurant earlier this year. South African chefs Eric Bulpitt (now of The Roundhouse), Chris Erasmus at Pierneef à La Motte, and Shaun Schoeman at Fyndraai all have done a stage at this world-renowned restaurant.

The Test Kitchen (left) improved its ranking from last year’s 74th position by 13 places this year, while The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français improved by four positions to number 53.  Until two years ago the latter restaurant featured in the top 50 list.

The 900 international judges each submit their top seven ranked restaurants, of which three must be from outside their country, based on eating experiences in the past eighteen months.

The World’s 50 Best Restaurants 2013 list is the following, allegedly leaked by a Spanish journalist earlier yesterday, with six French and six American restaurants in the 50 Best Restaurant list, five from Spain, and four from Italy:

1. El Celler de Can Roca, Girona, Spain
2. Noma Copenhagen, Denmark
3. Osteria Francescana Modena, Italy
4. Mugaritz San Sebastián, Spain
5. Eleven Madison Park New York, USA
6. D.O.M. São Paulo, Brazil
7. Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, London, UK
8. Arzak San Sebastián, Spain
9. Steirereck Vienna, Austria
10. Vendôme Bergisch Gladbach, Germany
11. Per Se New York, USA
12. Frantzén/Lindeberg Estocolomo, Sweden
13. The Ledbury London
14. Astrid y Gastón Lima, Perú
15. Alinea Chicago,
16. L’Arpège París, France
17. Pujol México DF, México
18. Le Chateaubriand París, France
19. Le Bernardin New York
20. Narisawa Tokio, Japan
21. Attica Melbourne, Australia
22. Nihonryori RyuGin Tokyo, Japan
23. L’Astrance París, France
24. L’Atelier Saint-Germain de Joël Robuchon París, France
25. Hof Van Cleve Kruishoutem, Belgium
26. Quique Dacosta Dénia, Spain
27. Le Calandre Rubano, Italy
28. Mirazur Menton, France
29. Daniel New York, UK
30. Aqua Wolfsburg, Germany
31. Biko México DF, México
32. Nahm Bangkok, Thailand
33. The Fat Duck Bray, UK
34. Fäviken Järpen, Sweden
35. Oud Sluis Sluis, The Netherlands
36. Amber Hong Kong, China
37. Vila Joya Albufeira, Portugal
38. Restaurant Andre Singapore
39. 8 1/2 Otto E Mezzo Bombana Hong Kong, China
40. Combal.Zero Rivoli, Italy
41. Piazza Duomo Alba, Italy
42. Schloss Schauenstein Fürstenau, Switzerland
43. Mr & Mrs Bund Shanghai, China
44. Asador Etxebarri Atxondo, Spain
45. Geranium Copenhagen, Denmark
46. Mani São Paulo, Brazil
47. The French Laundry Yountville, USA
48. Quay Sydney, Australia
49. Septime París, France
50. Central Lima, Perú

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

MasterChef SA episode 15: Who will be booted out? Win with I ♥ my Laundry!

MasterChef SA is the talk of the country, and we only have 4 more gripping episodes to look forward to in the next month.  To spice things up a little, we have launched two competitions, the first being a prediction of who will win MasterChef SA in episode 18.

We are also running a weekly lucky draw for the correct prediction of who our readers think will be booted out of the MasterChef SA every week. For the correct prediction of who will leave MasterChef SA in episode 15 (on 26 June), I my Laundry has generously offered a food and wine pairing voucher to the winner.

I my Laundry opened three months ago. The back section is on two floors, and contains the laundry, with washing, dry cleaning, ironing, and collection/delivery (within the City Bowl initially) services offered, not visible from the coffee shop/restaurant on the ground floor. It has been beautifully transformed, with a 14-seater silver grey concrete table top resting on steel legs, comfortable white and black high-back chairs, a wooden counter, and wooden shelving.  On the mainly brickwork walls are artworks, which will be rotated over time. The inspiration for the name and concept for I my Laundry, which is co-owned by Clayton Howard and Mico Botha, comes from The French Laundry in New York, which was first started by a husband and wife team, running a restaurant and a laundry first as two outlets next door to each other, and then opened up to become one entity.  The Buitengracht branch is the third to open in the past four months, with branches in Durbanville and Kenridge too.

Free wifi is offered, and a coffee machine makes perfect cappucinos from Brazilian-imported beans by Joga Joga Café, exclusively stocked in South Africa by I my Laundry. Cupcakes, fudge, and chocolate pops are for sale, as is delicious Dim Sum all day long, at the most unbelievable value of R40 for eight pieces and a cup of coffee or a glass of wine.  An exciting subsidiary business is I my Wine, for which Clayton and Mico host interesting events, in which they bring together an alcoholic beverage supplier and a chef or restaurant to create magical food and wine pairing evenings.

Tweet your prediction of which of the 6 remaining finalists will be booted out of MasterChef SA to @WhaleCottage, or e-mail it to whalecot@iafrica.com. Closing time for entries is Tuesday 26 June at 19h30, at the start of episode 15.  The winner will be contacted immediately after the show ends. There will be a weekly Restaurant Voucher prize draw per episode for the correct prediction of who will be booted out of MasterChef SA, and voting for the following episode can start as soon as that day’s episode has been aired. Should there be no correct entry received, the prize is rolled over to another week.

POSTCRIPT 26/6: Joanne Clegg has won the I  my Laundry food and wine pairing voucher, for correctly predicting that Khaya Silingile would be eliminated from MasterChef SA tonight.

I my Laundry, 59 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.  Tel 084 660 0777 (Clayton)/083 6020291 (Mico) www.Ilovemylaundry.co.za Twitter:@ILovemyLaundry,  Monday – Sunday, 7h00 – 19h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.comTwitter:@WhaleCottage whalecot@iafrica.com

MasterChef SA episode 10: Who of the Top 10 will be booted out? Win with I ♥ my Laundry!

MasterChef SA is the talk of the country, and we have 9 more gripping episodes to look forward to in the next two months.  To spice things up a little, we have launched two competitions, the first being a prediction of who will win MasterChef SA in episode 18.

We are also running a weekly lucky draw for the correct prediction of who our readers think will be booted out of the MasterChef SA every week. For the correct prediction of who will leave MasterChef SA in episode 10 (on 22 May),  my Laundry has generously offered a food and wine pairing voucher to the winner.

my Laundry opened two months ago. The back section is on two floors, and contains the laundry, with washing, dry cleaning, ironing, and collection/delivery (within the City Bowl initially) services offered, not visible from the coffee shop/restaurant on the ground floor. It has been beautifully transformed, with a 14-seater silver grey concrete table top resting on steel legs, comfortable white and black high-back chairs, a wooden counter, and wooden shelving.  On the mainly brickwork walls are artworks, which will be rotated over time. The inspiration for the name and concept for I  my Laundry, which is co-owned by Clayton Howard and Mico Botha, comes from The French Laundry in New York, which was first started by a husband and wife team, running a restaurant and a laundry first as two outlets next door to each other, and then opened up to become one entity.  The Buitengracht branch is the third to open in the past four months, with branches in Durbanville and Kenridge too.

Free wifi is offered, and a coffee machine makes perfect cappucinos from Brazilian-imported beans by Joga Joga Café, exclusively stocked in South Africa by I my Laundry. Cupcakes, fudge, and chocolate pops are for sale, as is delicious Dim Sum all day long, at the most unbelievable value of R40 for eight pieces and a cup of coffee or a glass of Chenin Blanc.  An exciting subsidiary business is I  my Wine, for which Clayton and Mico host interesting events, in which they bring together an alcoholic beverage supplier and a chef or restaurant to create magical food and wine pairing evenings.

Tweet your prediction of which of the 10 remaining finalists will be booted out of MasterChef SA to @WhaleCottage, or e-mail it to whalecot@iafrica.com. Closing time for entries is Tuesday 22 May at 19h30, at the start of episode 10.  The winner will be contacted immediately after the show ends. There will be a weekly Restaurant Voucher prize draw per episode for the correct prediction of who will be booted out of MasterChef SA, and voting for the following episode can start as soon as that day’s episode has been aired. Should there be no correct entry received, the prize is rolled over to go to another week.

POSTSCRIPT 22/5:  Samantha Nolan was sent home in episode 10 today.  There was no correct vote for her elimination.

my Laundry, 59 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.  Tel 084 660 0777 (Clayton)/083 6020291 (Mico) www.Ilovemylaundry.co.za Twitter:@ILovemyLaundry,  Monday – Sunday, 7h00 – 19h00.

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

MasterChef SA episode 5: who is next to be booted out? Win with I ♥ my Laundry!

MasterChef SA is the talk of the country, and we have 14 more gripping episodes to look forward to in the next four months.  To spice things up a little, we have launched two competitions, the first being a prediction of who will win MasterChef SA in episode 18.

We are also running a weekly lucky draw for the correct prediction of who our readers think will be booted out of the MasterChef SA every week.  For the correct prediction of who will leave MasterChef SA in episode 5 (17 April), I my Laundry has generously offered a food and wine pairing voucher to the winner.  Last week the trailer for episode 5 hinted that the sixteen finalists were divided into two teams, and each team had to choose which member they were eliminating, meaning that two finalists may be booted out.

my Laundry opened a month ago. The back section is on two floors, and contains the laundry, with washing, dry cleaning, ironing, and collection/delivery (within the City Bowl initially) services offered, not visible from the coffee shop/restaurant on the ground floor. It has been beautifully transformed, with a 14-seater silver grey concrete table top resting on steel legs, comfortable white and black high-back chairs, a wooden counter, and wooden shelving.  On the mainly brickwork walls are artworks, which will be rotated over time. The inspiration for the name and concept for I  my Laundry, which is co-owned by Clayton Howard and Mico Botha, comes from The French Laundry in New York, which was first started by a husband and wife team, running a restaurant and a laundry first as two outlets next door to each other, and then opened up to become one entity.  The Buitengracht branch is the third to open in the past four months, with branches in Durbanville and Kenridge too.

Free wifi is offered, and a coffee machine makes perfect cappucinos from Brazilian-imported beans by Joga Joga Café, exclusively stocked in South Africa by I my Laundry. Cupcakes and chocolate pops are for sale, as is delicious Dim Sum all day long, at the most unbelievable value of R40 for eight pieces and a cup of coffee or a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.  An exciting subsidiary business is I  my Wine, for which Clayton and Mico host interesting corporate events in which they bring together an alcoholic beverage supplier and a chef or restaurant to create magical food and wine pairing evenings.

Tweet your prediction of which of the 16 remaining finalists will be booted out of MasterChef SA to @WhaleCottage, or e-mail it to whalecot@iafrica.com. Closing time for entries is Tuesday 17 April at 19h30, at the start of episode 5.  The winner will be contacted immediately after the show ends. There will be a weekly Restaurant Voucher prize draw per episode for the correct prediction of who will be booted out of MasterChef SA, and voting for the following episode can start as soon as that day’s episode has been aired. Should there be no correct entry received, the prize is rolled over to go to another week.

POSTSCRIPT 17/4: Berdina Schurink was voted out in episode 5 this evening.  No correct prediction was received.  The prize from I my Laundry will be rolled over to another week.

my Laundry, 59 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.  Tel 084 660 0777 (Clayton)/083 6020291 (Mico) www.Ilovemylaundry.co.za Twitter:@ILovemyLaundry,  Monday – Sunday, 7h00 – 19h00.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.comTwitter:@WhaleCottage whalecot@iafrica.com

‘I ♥ my Laundry’ exciting new Cape Town laundry restaurant!

Twice in one day I chatted to bubbly Betsie van der Merwe, new owner of Manna Epicure, meeting her for the first time on Thursday, and I loved her energy, homeliness, and friendliness.  We had connected via Twitter previously, but it was the first time we met at her restaurant on Kloof Street. She highly recommended I  my Laundry, and told me that she would be doing a function with them that evening, where I saw her again, after receiving an invitation via Twitter to attend.  The function at I my Laundry was a wine tasting by Arnold Vorster of Graham Beck Wines, and a tasting of Manna Epicure breads.

I my Laundry opened a week ago, after a month-long transformation from what was previously the Sundance coffee shop, which had belonged to notorious Conrad Gallagher. The back section of the space is on two floors, and contains the laundry, with washing, dry cleaning with a four-hour turnaround time, ironing, and collection/delivery (within the City Bowl initially) services offered, not visible from the coffee shop/restaurant on the ground floor.  It has been beautifully transformed, with a 14-seater silver grey concrete table top resting on steel legs, most comfortable white and black high-back chairs, a wooden counter on which Betsie had displayed her breads, and some wooden shelving.  On the mainly rough brickwork walls are displayed artworks, which will be rotated over time. There were orange serviettes, and beautiful brand new cutlery.  I loved the stylish Maxwell Williams water jug.

The inspiration for the name and concept for I my Laundry, which is co-owned by Clayton Howard and Mico Botha, comes from The French Laundry in New York, which was first started by a husband and wife team, running a restaurant and a laundry first as two outlets next door to each other, and then opened up to become one entity.  The Buitengracht branch is the third to open in the past four months, with branches in Durbanville and Kenridge too.  Clayton has extensive experience in the hospitality industry, having worked at Ellerman House, the Twelve Apostles Hotel, The Table Bay Hotel, The Pepper Club Hotel & Spa, Arabella Sheraton, The Mount Grace Hotel, and The Cellars Hohenhort Hotel.  Mico also has a hospitality background, having last worked for Bidvest’s Cleaning Division, but also worked for Outsourced Labour, and is developing the Visual Training TV company.

Free wifi is offered, and a coffee machine makes perfect cappucinos from Brazilian-imported beans by Joga Joga Café, exclusively stocked in South Africa by I my Laundry.  Cupcakes from Manna Epicure will be for sale.  An exciting subsidiary business is I my Wine, for which Clayton and Mico will host interesting corporate events in which they bring together an alcoholic beverage supplier and a chef or restaurant to create a magical evening, as we experienced on Thursday evening. Last night a corporate client held a Dim Sum evening, with Chef Steven from Beluga doing the food for the group.  At the Thursday evening function not everyone knew everyone attending, and so the introductions around the table were a taste of the personalities of the guests.  The I corporate name has many legs, and exciting new projects are certain to develop.  One of these is I my Linen, which is the sale of an organic bleach. Another brand is I my Art,  and currently Irish photographer Niall Molloy is displaying his work, while Von Deen’s wooden hearts can also be bought.

Betsie and her baker Josh introduced their wonderful breads to us – Country rye bread, Rosemary and date sourdough, Ciabatta, and Cranberry and hazelnut rye.  The breads are available from Manna Epicure, and freshly baked by Josh from 5h00 onwards. Manna Epicure opened in 2005, driven by Maranda Engelbrecht (now driving Babel at Babylonstoren) and Jacques Erasmus of Hemelhuijs.  The restaurant is homely, flavourful, aromatic, natural, and no-fuss, Betsie said of her eatery. The breads can be bought in half sizes too, for ‘bachelors and bachelorettes’.  Betsie had brought along a lovely selection of Fairview cheeses, including Chevin goat’s cheese, blue cheese, cranberry and white rock, and apricot and white rock.  Parma ham from the Wild Peacock Emporium; chorizo, fig and rosemary mixed in a sauce; cashew nuts; apricot chips; and dried cranberries, eaten with the Manna Epicure bread without butter, was a feast.

I have previously attended a tasting of Graham Beck Wines conducted by Arnold Vorster, and he has a relaxed way of introducing the excellent wines in the company’s portfolio.  We were spoilt by tasting a  Graham Beck Brut Non Vintage on arrival, a classic 50%/50% Pinot Noir/Chardonnay blend.  The Game Reserve is an unwooded Chenin Blanc.  This was followed by a 2009 Chardonnay, with grapes coming from Robertson, giving lemon and lime notes.  The Graham Beck Shiraz 2008 is made in older barrels, from grapes which come from the Stellenbosch Graham Beck Wines farm.  The William 2007 is a Cape blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Franc, and a little drop of Shiraz, the wine being named after the grandson of the late Graham Beck.  Our special tasting was concluded with the Bliss Demi-Sec sparkling wine.  Graham Beck MCCs can now be tasted at its dedicated Gorgeous bubbly bar at the Steenberg Hotel, next door to its Catharina’s restaurant.

We were sent home with a gift bag of a 375 ml bottle of Graham Beck MCC and a packet of Manna Epicure’s melba toast, beautifully gift-wrapped, having enjoyed a wonderful evening.  I was lucky to sit opposite Cliff Jacobs, owner of Villa Belmonte in Oranjezicht, who himself has been the host of magnificent gourmet evenings, and we were able to share common experiences about the highs and lows of the hospitality industry of the past few years.  We both enjoyed the cappuccino.  Most guests present knew Clayton, the hospitality industry featuring strongly in the guest list, and all enjoyed a wonderful evening, meeting ‘colleagues’ from the industry.

I went back for another great cappuccino yesterday afternoon, and while the city centre was extremely busy, parking was available outside the shop.  Clayton and Mico were both there, and felt like old friends already, 24 hours later!

POSTSCRIPT 7/4: I attended a Wildekrans grappa and GaBoLi grappa chocolate tasting at I my Laundry today.  I am super impressed with all the ideas bubbling out of co-owners Clayton and Mico, for example, they are thinking of starting Fondues.  On Fridays, from 5 – 7 pm, they will host free Laundry Parties, at which one can taste wines.

I my Laundry, 59 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town.  Tel 084 660 0777 (Clayton)/083 6020291 (Mico) www.Ilovemylaundry.co.za Twitter:@ILovemyLaundry, Monday – Sunday, 7h00 – 19h00.

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