It was an e-mail from the Kove Collection I received about two weeks ago which attracted attention to the new High Tea at 5Rooms Restaurant at The Alphen Hotel in Constantia. On Thursday my friend Whitney and I went to try out the afternoon tea offering at the Stefan Antoni interior design hotel
Our interaction started off badly, when I first sought information about the High Tea, the Events Manager Nicola Howard not yet having details about what would be served, nor a photograph. With the intervention of Hotel GM Hannelie Wiese, I received a menu of items to be served, and a photograph, which we blogged about.
I made the booking a day ahead of our planned visit, and this was efficiently taken by the switchboard hostess. Irritating therefore was the call from Lydia McGrail, the 5Rooms Restaurant Manager, who called on the morning of our booking, to check our booking, less than 24 hours after it was made! She is clearly from the UK, and I struggled to understand her, due to her broad British dialect, and a bad line, which meant that she called twice. Then she made Hannelie call me, to sort out any problems ahead of our arrival, which was an irritation, as such confirmation calls are intended as ‘a courtesy‘, Hannelie explained, but I said that it makes one feel distrusted and that one does not have manners. I promised her that I would never not arrive for a booking! Hannelie ended off her call by saying that I would really be impressed with the service from Lydia, as all their guests feed back. When I heard this ‘hotelspeak’, I wanted to laugh, being sceptical already. Continue reading →
In a tough three day challenge, with seven top bar tenders from around the country vying for the title of Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS National Final, held at The Marly and its Umi restaurant in Camps Bay earlier this week, Brent Perremore of Orphanage Cocktail Emporium was named South Africa’s best Mixologist. He will represent our country against 49 other mixologists in the Diageo Reserve World Class Global Final in Scotland and in London later this month, with literary-themed cocktail challenges.
Brett said about winning the South African title: ‘Winning the opportunity to compete in the Global Final is a great honour. WORLD CLASS is about elevating the standard of mixology across the world, and I am very excited to represent South Africa in London and Scotland’. The two runners-up were Haroon Haffajee from Harry’s Cocktail Bar in Durban, and Marson Strydom from Buena Vista Social Café in Somerset West. Other finalists were Jeff Lopes of The Michelangelo Hotel, Johannesburg’s best barman; Simphiwe Ngcobo, also of The Michelangelo Hotel; Assaf Yechiel, also from Orphanage Cocktail Emporium; and Steven Saunders from The Oyster Box. The finalists were judged on the flavour balance and taste of their cocktails, aromatics, expression of the base spirit, overall presentation, brand and category knowledge, entertainment value, originality, and interaction with the judges.
The judges that evaluated the performance of the finalist bar tenders were Chef and MasterChef SA judge Pete Goffe-Wood, 2012 Global World Class Champion Tim Philip, 2013 South African World Class National winner Nick Koumbarakis (also from Orphanage Cocktail Emporium), Travis Kuhn from Pure Bar Studios, and Tim Etherington-Judge, Diageo Reserve Brand Ambassador for Africa and Global Ambassador for Bulleit Bourbon. Continue reading →
* More than 7000 film permits were issued in 2013, demonstrating Cape Town’s popularity as a film destination. New City of Cape Town Mayoral Committee member for Tourism, Events, and Marketing Garreth Bloor says that the film industry contributes R 5 billion to our economy, and created 35000 jobs in the past three years. The fourth season of the American TV series ‘Homeland‘ is being filmed in Cape Town at the moment, while Sean Penn’s ‘The Last Face’ will be filmed in the next few months, starring Charlize Theron and Javier Bardem. In the past year 11500 locations and 12000 shooting sites were booked. Some of the most popular locations for filming are the City’s Darling Street bank building, Artscape Theatre, and the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
* Brent Perremore from Orphanage Cocktail Emporium has won the Diageo Reserve 2014 World Class National Final as best mixologist in South Africa, held at The Marly in Camps Bay yesterday. He will represent South Africa in the International Championships in Scotland. Haroon Haffajee of Harry’s Bar in Durban came second and Marson Strydom of Buena Vista Social Café came third.
* Fleur du Cap achieved good scores in the Tim Atkin 2014 South African Wine Report, released on Continue reading →
* The latest quarterly survey by the Bureau of Economic Research shows a sharp drop in confidence in the Accommodation sector, with an index of 36 in the first Quarter of this year, to a projected index of 22 in this quarter, and down to zero in Quarter 3. Rates are seen to be reduced in Quarter 3, and Business Confidence has dropped from 76% in Quarter 1 to 56% in this quarter! (received via e-mail from the Bureau of Economic Research)
* Huffington Post praises Cape Town, and lists ‘Top 10 Things to do in Cape Town, South Africa‘, but in reality it lists far more than ten things: visiting Cape Point; the penguins at Boulders Beach; the Winelands, including Le Petite Ferme, Môreson, Haute Cabrière, Delaire Graff, La Residence, The Franschhoek Wine Tram, Tokara, Kanonkop, and Groot Constantia; Umi restaurant and the Marly hotel in Camps Bay; Robben Island; Table Mountain; a township tour; eat at The Test Kitchen, Pot Luck Club, ‘Bistro’ (sic) Bizerca ‘Signal‘ (sic), Charly’s Bakery, and The Tasting Room; the V&A Market on the Wharf; shopping at Merchants on Long and Chandler House; and High Tea at Belmond Mount Nelson.
* The Elite 100 fine-dining restaurants in the world have been announced for 2014, with three Cape restaurants on the list: The Test Kitchen at 45th place, The Tasting Room at 82nd, and Rust en Vrede (which the Cape Argus placed in Durbanville rather than in Stellenbosch!) at 85th place. The world’s top 10 restaurants, according to Elite, are Alinea in Chicago, Daniel Restaurant in New York, The Fat Duck in Bray in the UK, Eleven Madison Park in New York, Le Bernardin in New York, El Celler de Can Roca in Girona in Spain, Azurmendi in Vizcaya, La Pergola in Rome, The Ledbury in London, and Osteria Francescana in Modena in Italy. The Cape Argus incorrectly created one restaurant name out of the 7th and 8th ranked restaurants! A surprise is the omission of five hundred at The Saxon, which kitchen is headed by South Africa’s Top Chef David Higgs.
* After 45 years in the local and international hospitality industry, which includes the One&Only hotel group, Sol Kerzner is retiring, after selling a substantial stake of his Kerzner International Holdings to a Dubai-based company.
Despite one of the worst winters ever experienced by the Cape hospitality industry, most restaurants appear to have survived it. A surprise trend is the number of Mediterranean style restaurants opening, with true Spanish and Italian owners and/or staff. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:
* The Harbour House group has opened La Parada Spanish Tapas restaurant on Bree Street, with a subterranean bar/nightclub (above).
* Café Puerto Cabo has opened on Loop Street, a Spanish eatery and men’s clothing shop.
* The House of Machines has opened on Shortmarket Street, building motorcycles, offering good Evil Twin coffee, and serving very healthy food.
* Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.