I had heard from restaurants that a new ‘Gourmet Guide‘ is to published, with a listing and evaluation of our country’s Top 100 restaurants. The evaluation of the restaurants is to be done on the basis of the Michelin-system, with unidentified ‘inspectors’ visiting restaurants Continue reading →
After a one year absence, the Rossouw’s Restaurant Guide is back, with a new name, new sponsor, new editor, and a new methodology of recognising top restaurants. Restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands still dominate the 5-star restaurant list by far, with 13 out of 20 restaurants in the Western Cape, out of 300 restaurants evaluated in total!
Yesterday ‘Rossouw’s by Diners Club International 2015 South African Restaurant Guide’ was launched in Johannesburg, now sponsored by Diners Club, the same company also sponsoring the Platter’s by Diners Club 2015 South African Wine Guide. Anna Trapido has been the editor for just more than half a year, writing individual reviews about restaurants on their website, and has compiled the new Guide, awarding twenty restaurants with 5 star ratings nationally, another change, as the Rossouw’s restaurants only achieved a maximum of 3 stars in the past, when it was run by previous owner JP Rossouw. The publication format now matches that of the Platter’s Guide. A 5-star rated restaurant is defined as a ‘consistently superlative restaurant in its category – with no/almost no issues’! To obtain a 5-star rating the restaurant had to achieve a score in excess of 90%, errors in food being unbalanced, or wines and foods not matching, counting against a restaurant, for example. Every element of the restaurant visit, from making the telephonic booking to the departure, was scored. All meals were paid for by Anna’s reviewers, all largely unknown Continue reading →
The 2015 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards have been announced, the Western Cape (39) having a small head start over Gauteng (33) in the number of restaurants on the list of 89 restaurants in total. Five new restaurants have been added to the list: 95 Keerom, Delaire Graff Restaurant, Kitima, and Makaron at Majeka House, all in the Western Cape, as well as The Leopard in Johannesburg.
Restaurants that were eligible to receive an American Express Platinum Fine Dining Award have to accept the credit card as payment, and have to accept a booking for four by a Platinum Card holder within four days of booking. Excellence, creativity, and offering guests an exquisite culinary experience are evaluated.
New head of the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards is Tamsin Snyman, who also is the Africa and Indian Ocean Islands chairman of the World’s 50 Best Restaurant Awards. She has taken over the Awards management from Victor Strugo, who had been involved for the past 16 years.
Nedbank Head of Corporate Card Services Pamela White said about the awards: ‘The awards continue to reflect the country’s rising culinary spirit and serve as a catalyst in championing the enhancement of the fine dining industry and experience in South Africa. As the exclusive issuer of American Express in South Africa, we are honoured to be associated with this initiative as it not only celebrates South African restaurateurs but also promotes fine dining’.
Last year the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards list had 95 restaurants, the Western Cape list having reduced by four restaurants on the list, despite having added four new restaurants, therefore a total loss of eight restaurants. Western Cape restaurants no longer on the list this year are La Colombe (probably due to the long period of closure and its new premises not yet operating), Zachary’s, Bukhara, Bombay Brasserie at The Taj, Savoy Cabbage, Kurland Hotel Restaurant, Constantia Uitsig (closed down), and Serendipity’s. The reason for the restaurants dropping off the list may be the tough economic climate, some of the restaurants purposely no longer accepting Amex credit cards due to their high merchant commission rate, or they have been judged to no longer meet the standards. Missing from the Western Cape list altogether but being in a Top 20 Restaurant league are The Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club, The Kitchen at Maison, Equus, Camphors at Vergelegen, Mondiall, Tokara, Burrata, Springfontein Eats, Indochine, The Restaurant at Newton Johnson, and Jardine at Jordan.
The 2015 Award winners are: Continue reading →
After two disastrous years, New Media Publishing was brave enough to take stock earlier this year, and asked the industry what it wanted in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards. Last night that hard work paid off, with a new venue for the event, a slick and short presentation, new Awards introduced, and three new restaurants making the Top 10 Restaurant list. The surprise was the emotion which the chefs expressed when receiving their plaques, challenging MasterChef SA Season 2 on tears!
We were one of the interviewees, meeting with Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly, its GM Aileen Lamb, MD Bridget McCarney, and Director Irna van Zyl. We were forthright in our feedback and suggestions, including that a team of judges would be needed again (we suggested Garth Stroebel, and have yet to meet him!). We fed back that the preferential relationship with Luke Dale-Roberts in TASTE magazine (also published by New Media Publishing, and of which Abigail is the Food Editor) was unfair towards all other chefs, by featuring him every month – we were told that Woolworths had a contract with him, and therefore he received the coverage in the magazine. This contract was terminated earlier this year, which is excellent news. Other recommendations can be read here. Flowing from the interviews and discussions with previous Top 20 chefs and restaurant managers, owners, and suppliers, as well as media representatives and bloggers, New Media Publishing allowed restaurants to apply to be included in the Eat Out Top 500 Restaurant List, which was selected by a Continue reading →
The Pressure Test that five Red Team MasterChef SA Finalists, who lost the cook out in the Company’s Gardens in Cape Town yesterday, had to go through seemed less stressful and more fun than some of the others the Finalists have been through, in that they could let their creativity shine through. The winning Blue Team loved their visit to Charly’s Bakery in Cape Town.
The visiting Chef and ‘Bread and Butter’ column food writer for The Times was Andrea Burgener of The Leopard (no website for her restaurant, it appears) in Melville in Johannesburg, Chef Pete Goffe-Wood calling her the ‘Queen of Creative Cuisine’, well known for her creative cooking, eclectic and playful dishes created by experimentation, and tasty food. She presented three of her dishes, to give the Finalists an idea of what her restaurant serves, each dish having a twist on something well known, being ‘far removed from their origins’, she said. So, for example the steak tartare was presented on a Moroccan theme, and there was a ‘Korean spagbol‘, and a Gazpacho made with raw ginger. Textures are important, it was said, and Chef Andrea’s flavours ‘jump out‘. Chef Andrew Atkinson provided the brief for the Pressure Test: the Finalists had to create a dish of their own creation within 60 minutes, thinking out of the box, to be good enough to feature on Chef Andrea’s menu at Continue reading →
What a beautiful setting the Company’s Garden and backdrop Table Mountain was to last night’s episode 15 of MasterChef SA, fantastic marketing of Cape Town to the rest of the country’s TV viewers! The Red and Blue Teams had to prepare a dish reflecting our country’s cultural food heritage, and the scoring was pretty close, or so the viewers thought!
Having won the Best Dairy Dish Challenge in episode 13, Kamini Pather was allowed to choose her team of five for the next challenge, as well as the apron colour, when the box of aprons was delivered to the Finalists’ house. She chose the colour blue, and the two van der Wat sisters Seline and Leandri, Ozzy Osmond and Jason Steel for her team. Amanda Beck and Karen Els appeared to be in charge of the Red Team, which consisted of Khumo Twala, Joani Mitchell, and Tiron Eloff too. The team challenge was to make a dish that would reflect the origin of our country’s culinary heritage dating back to 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck planted the Company’s Garden to serve as a halfway house trading station of fresh foods for ships of the Dutch East India Company travelling between Holland and the Far East. The South African Culinary Olympic Team, which participated in the Culinary Olympics 2012 in Germany, and returned with 12 medals for our country, was invited as judges. We recognised Chef Tanja Kruger Continue reading →