Tag Archives: The Grand

New restaurant openings in Cape Town and Winelands continue in winter!

Tuk Tuk Beer vatsNew restaurant openings continue, especially in Cape Town, despite winter having arrived, and further restaurants have closed down.

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously.

Restaurant Openings

#   A Mexican-style tapas restaurant has opened inside Tuk Tuk craft beer microbrewery in Franschhoek (photograph)

#   Mulberry & Prince has opened on the corner of Bree and Pepper Street, with owners American Cynthia Rivera and local Cornel Mostert  Continue reading →

New Restaurants still opening in Cape Town and Winelands, despite start of winter!

imageNew restaurant openings continue, especially in Cape Town.  Cape Town ‘s most successful restaurant opening, Locanda Restaurant at Villa 47 on Bree Street, has been followed by the opening of its new Stuzzico bar and small plate restaurant! Interesting news is Chef Ivor Jones’ departure from The Test Kitchen and his future plans (see POSTSCRIPT below).  Mulberry & Prince is an exciting new New York-inspired restaurant.

We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously.

Restaurant Openings

#   Mulberry & Prince has opened on the corner of Bree and Pepper Street, with owners American Cynthia Rivera and local Cornel Mostert (photograph) Continue reading →

Harbour House Group grows to 24 Restaurants!

imageI am always amused when Harbour House Group founder Michael Townsend tells me that he does not know how many restaurants are in his Group, many operating, and others still in the process of being built orMichael-Townsend-Whale-Cottage-Portfolio finished off.  Meeting him for an update chat at Villa 47 last night I counted that he has 11  Continue reading →

The Grand Plett warm welcoming home from home!

imageCouldn’t all restaurants be like The Grand in Plettenberg Bay? I have stayed at The Grand since 2007, while we were renovating our former guest house in the town. Whilst the ownership changed from Gail Behr to Susie Main over this period, it felt as if I had stepped back into history when I arrived for dinner last night, everything looking the same in the restaurant, and Manager Sybil still working Continue reading →

Restaurant Revisit: Seelan Restaurant & Bar has a touch of St Tropez!

Seelan terrace Whale Cottage PortfolioI had been invited to try Seelan Restaurant & Bar a few days after it opened in March, and it was still in set-up phase at that time, a number of dishes on the menu not yet available, the menu and winelist not being perfect, and the service still needing to be streamlined. The restaurant’s new PR company Communication Services Africa invited me for a return evaluation, yesterday being a perfect day to do so, to enjoy the good weather at the outside seating, and the generous lunch.

Beverage Manager Dominic remembered me from the previous visit, and provided a media release which PR executive Kyle Krok had left for me, and copied the wine list for me.  He went through the ‘menu’ I would be served, but came back after the first course, to tell me that Chef and owner Seelan Sundoo was preparing a special ‘adventurous’ menu for me.  I was looked after with excellent service by Marilyn Baardman, whose late father had worked for Seelan.  She is the best water topper-upper I have ever experienced, and was excellent in ‘reading’ me and my requirements.  The multilingual front of house hostess Goshia, whom I met at the opening, has since left while Justin Paul Jansen is still there, but was not on duty yesterday.

Dominic told me that the Oakhurst olive oil they have on the table comes from an award-winning farm in Tulbagh, and judged as one of the Best Extra Virgin Olive Oils in the World recently.  The Aceto Balsamico di Modena balsamic vinegar is imported from Continue reading →

WOSA Sommelier World Cup clever way to market South African wines!

WOSA Sommelier Cup Will Predhomme Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday I spent a most entertaining afternoon at the Grande Roche hotel in Paarl, to observe the last phase of the Wines of South Africa (WOSA) Sommelier World Cup competition, the announcement and evaluation of the Top 3, and the awarding of the prize to the winning sommelier Will Predhomme.

The invited guests were the twelve finalists for the Sommelier World Cup, media representatives from the USA (I sat next to Rebecca Canan from the Terroirist Blog), Sweden, and Belgium, local writers, the local and international sommelier judges, and WOSA staff from its international offices as well as from its head office in Stellenbosch.   After a welcome glass of wine, we sat down for lunch at Bosman’s, and it was clear to see why this Continue reading →

Shimmy Beach Club: friendly and inexpensive, sushi superb!

Shimmy Beach Club exterior Whale Cottage PortfolioWe were invited to try Shimmy Beach Club recently, not having had a chance to have a meal there since it opened six months ago, the restaurant, bar, and beach not being visible to visitors to the V&A Waterfront as it is hidden away in the port.  Given the client profile, and the R40 million expenditure invested in the new building, we were surprised about the good value and friendly dining we experienced.

One drives to the harbour entrance near the Caltex garage, and initially signage leads the way.  However, almost as one reaches a dead end, there is no further signage, until one sees a faded sign on top of a building with a guarded gate.  We were told that there had been an issue with the Transnet National Port Authority about the signage, and it had to be removed.  The building is adjacent to the Cape Town port authority, which regulates the shipping traffic entrance to and exit out of the port.  There was enough parking, but it could be limited Continue reading →

Reserve Brasserie: more than a restaurant, fiery and spirited entertainment too!

Earlier this month the Reserve Brasserie opened in the space which has housed Brio, Riboville, and a Standard Bank, in a building going back to the  1830’s. It is now part of the larger Reserve, spanning Adderley Street to St George’s Mall, in a beautifully renovated building.  A visit a week later was a most enjoyable evening, with great service, comedy entertainment, and generous food servings.

I was invited to the opening party, at which canapés were served, but they did not really do justice to the type of food served.  I could only stay for a short time, having to also attend the opening night of ‘Queen at the Ballet’ at the Baxter Theatre.  The PR consultancy CSA invited me to return a week later, to try the menu, and to see the Reserve facilities.  I invited Bettie Coetzee-Lambrecht to join me, and we were treated royally from the minute we set foot into the Reserve Brasserie, which has its opening on Adderley Street.

I was a regular visitor to Brio, having loved what the previous owners Skippy and Lauren had done to restore the interior.  Louise van Niekerk did the interior of the Brasserie, we were told. The band stand and dance floor have been removed, and the space has been filled with more tables and chairs.  The lounge area near the bar has different furniture, and is more Indian-styled.  This is where we had a sherry to start with, and we were entertained and informed by the very knowledgeable waiter Francois Marais, who has worked for Riboville, Brio and now the Reserve Brasserie.  We were told that the Stander gang conducted their only unsuccessful bank heist in the building, not managing to steal any money.  The name for the Riboville restaurant came from the name of a horse on which owner George Sinovich had bet his last R10000, which was an outsider and paid out 100:1, allowing him to invest in the creation of the restaurant! Riboville once was Cape Town’s largest seller of caviar and of champagne, and also was known for having the largest restaurant wine collection of about 15000 bottles.

I was fascinated by the story of the ghost in the building, which Francois has experienced first hand, when he lived in the building’s 3rd floor for a while, and saw a shadow walking past the stained glass door on numerous occasions, but could never find any sign of a human being, knowing that he was the only person in the building after lock-up time.  He showed us the granite block, which looks like a tombstone, engraved with the name of Alfred Tattersall, born in 1910, and who was such a dedicated bookkeeper on the 3rd floor that he died in the office in 1953.  The spirit has made itself felt by the lift going up to the 3rd floor, even though it is locked to not proceed beyond the first floor, the lights swaying, and bottles of wine stored in the old bank vaults in the basement having been found open and drunk!  It reminded me of the spirit at Kitima, which we wrote about earlier this month.

Other changes to the Reserve Brasserie are the blue lighting around the bar, and a ceiling grid with mock ivy and flowers, the ‘hanging gardens’ bringing a more ‘outdoor’ and Italian feel to the inside of the restaurant, not having any windows to outside. Red lighting attracts attention to the ceiling, but its colour can change.  A large wall canvas of a beautiful lady facing the restaurant is striking, and is backlit by the candelabra. Francois told us that it is the late wife Anja of the owner of the building, her German husband Harald Sieck having put it up in the Reserve Brasserie in her honour.

The staff are passionate about the special space in which they work, and Creative Director Justin Paul Jansen and Francois took us to see The Reserve Club, separated from the Brasserie by a full length curtain.  The decorator who did the Club is Andy Graff, and she used beautiful paintings from Occulus for the alcoves, created seating corners, as well as a smoking and a non-smoking bar. The Club is pure ‘theatre’. Using lighter fluid, we were shown how they use pyrotechnics to add extra fun and fire to the experience at The Club. Nellie, the mobile elephant, is ready to do service, being wheeled in, with a pretty girl on it, to serve a bottle of ordered champagne. Justin demonstrated, by jumping onto the smoking bar, how he uses midget Papi to pour drinks from the top of the counter, direct into the mouths of his clients.  Events are held for upmarket beverage brands, and the couches allow clients to dance on top of them.  Strobe lighting is incorporated in a beautiful chandelier, and various colours light up the floor.  VIP clients have included Denzel Washington, Ryan Gosling, various sheiks, and more.

As it is not very light in the building, Francois organised a table lamp, to allow for better quality photographs. Seating for the 94 guests is a mix of red and gilded chairs, as well as black mock-snake wall couches.  A serviette with ‘R’ embroidered on it looked smart. Empty champagne bottles serve as candleholders on the tables, a little Italian old-world.  The GM and Chef of The Reserve is Seelun Sundoo, who was in charge of La Perla for fifteen years, followed by The Grand in Camps Bay. As an amuse bouche we were served a chicken, lentil, pea, and Indian spice soup in a small bowl, with home-baked honey bread, described as a ‘winter warmer’. The large classy menu offers a large range of items divided into sections Italian style, e.g. Anti-Pasti, Zuppa, Primo, Secondi.

As a starter I ordered the Vitello Tonnato Tartare, which was a deconstructed interpretation of the dish, being raw minced veal prepared with olive oil, capers, herbs, tuna, cherry tomatoes, red onion, and gherkins, to which some Indian spices had been added for an ‘exotic feel’. One can also order mussels, scampi, baby calamari, mini lobster buns, salmon cakes, beef carpaccio, and crostini, in a price range of R50 – R95.  Pizza is available at the prices of R40 and R65. Soup options are a bisque (R80), or the lentil one we started off with, at R50.  Salads cost between R50 (rocket, fennel and parmesan) and R80 (The Reserve Club salad). Pasta Primos are reasonably priced between R65 – R85, and include ravioli and linguini options, as well as lasagne.

The Secondi list offers 14 options, and I chose the pan fried baby salmon trout, with almond, lemon, and capers (R135). Francois was sweet enough to fillet it at the table, and to organise Basmati rice. The ‘Reserve’ steak of the day, Cape lobster, and Mozambique Queen Prawns are SQ.  Linefish (kingklip on that evening) costs R98, baby kob R110, salmon with curry sauce R130, baby chicken R96, Fillet R115, and veal is available in two options, at R125 and R140. One can order vegetables and fries as extras for R30/R40.

The dessert list offers a fruit plate, a chocolate torte, tiramisu, chocolate eclairs and cake of the day, in two sizes, at R35 and R50. The Torched marshallow meringue sounded unusual and interesting, which one dips into the chocolate sauce.

Francois’ witty banter throughout the evening coupled with his excellent service will be remembered for a long time to come, and he wins our vote for ‘Waiter of the Year’, if there were to be such a recognition. It is a pity that he will be leaving for the Marriot in Dubai at the end of September.  A night out at The Reserve is highly entertaining, and affordable, with a large food choice. Some of the items and some ingredients specified on the menu were not available on the evening.

POSTSCRIPT 23/9: Reserve Brasserie now offers a Business Lunch from Wednesday – Fridays, 3 courses plus beer or mineral water costing R140.

Reserve Brasserie, The Reserve, 130 Adderley Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 422-0654, www.the-reserve.co.za (not updated with details of the new chef and menu). Twitter: @ReserveCapeTown.  Tuesday – Saturday dinner.  Reserve Club Friday and Saturday evenings from 23h30. 25+ year olds, R100 cover charge, but waived if guests have had dinner at the Brasserie.  Special midnight menu for the Club on weekends.

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