Entries tagged with “The Taj”.


imageYesterday afternoon Opulent Living hosted a function at The Reserve at Taj Cape Town, to introduce food writers to the seven Finalist Young Chef of the Year candidates, and to allow their creative canapés to be tasted.

The canapés form one part of the evaluation of who wins the Chefs who Share Young Chef of the Year 2015, the other part of the evaluation being the handling of the chefs of themselves in the next 48 hours, including during the Chefs who Share Gala Dinner taking place in the City Hall on Thursday evening. (more…)

Tiger's Milk Main Table and lights Whale CottageEven though we are halfway through the summer season,  new restaurants continue to open, and more are planned before summer ends.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Michael Townsend (who owns the Harbour House emporium, with La Parada, Lucky Fish, and Harbour House restaurants) has opened Tiger’s Milk in Muizenberg (photograph).  The Lucky Fish on Long Street will be transformed into Tiger’s Milk.

*    Kokkedoor judge and Chef Nic van Wyk and Roxy Laker have opened bistro 13 at Stellenbosch Vineyards (Welmoed)

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill has opened next to Sotano in Mouille Point. (more…)

Chefs-Warehouse-Chef-Liam-and-chefs-Whale-Cottage-Portfolio-300x225Slowly but surely Bree Street in the Cape Town city centre has become the most talked about restaurant street, with ten new restaurants having opened in the past twelve months, and more are to come.

We have compiled a list of the 26 restaurants on Bree Street below.  While Kloof Street has about ten restaurants more, the Bree Street restaurants generally are of a higher standard, with only one franchised restaurant outlet on Bree Street, unlike Kloof Street.  We have started our Bree Street restaurant list from the Table Mountain side, moving down towards the harbour, the FNB building being the bottom boundary: (more…)

Chenin Blanc Top 10 Huguenot Cheese Brulee Whale CottageThe 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: (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   It is unbelievable that, after almost three months of pressure on Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba, he has relented today, and agreed to delay the implementation of the unabridged birth certificate until 1 June 2015, just two weeks before the new Immigration Regulations were meant to apply from 1 October.  The requirement of the permission of the other parent for the child to travel with one parent has also been delayed to June. On Friday the Minister announced at a media conference that the Regulations would be retained, and that a task team would evaluate the most effective implementation of them! One wonders what swayed the Minister to change his mind, after having been so stubborn for the past ten weeks!  The personal application of biometric visas remains in place from 1 October.

*   Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde has been quick to welcome Minister Gigaba’s announcement, but demands more:  ‘It is my intention to ensure that a full impact study is conducted on them and handed to Minister Gigaba prior to them being reintroduced.  The regulations that have already been implemented are threatening livelihoods in the sector. I will continue to push for their postponement too, until such time as a regulatory impact assessment has been conducted.  Gigaba has now shown a willingness to work with other government departments and industry to mitigate the effects of his legislation on our economy and jobs, and I hope he will continue to take positive steps in this regard. The decision to place these two regulations on hold opens the door for South Africa to explore ways of becoming cutting edge. Through the use of smart technology, such as electronic visas, we can solve the problem of illegals while at the same time making our region more attractive to business and leisure tourists’. (received via media release from Minister Winde’s office)

*   The 2014 Unilever Food Solutions Senior Chef of the Year is Germaine Esau from Delaire Graff, while the Junior Chef title went (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to The New Age, which generously delivers a pack of its newspapers every day on weekdays, to the benefit of our Whale Cottage Camps Bay guests, at no charge.

World of First growth wine list Unknown-5-150x150The Sour Service Award goes to the Taj Cape Town, for associating itself with The White Club owner Rene Dehn, in preparing seven months ago what appeared initially to be its exclusive Taj First Growths Wine List Exceptionelle.  Dehn has just been outed as having been fraudulent in his The White Club tastings held around the world, in London, Hong Kong, and in Switzerland, as well as locally, in having served what he said were very rare wines with old vintages, but may have been younger wines thought to have been decanted into the older bottles. The exclusive Taj wine list was described as being the most sought-after in the world, many of the 36 wines having been sourced from Dehn (at high prices no doubt). It is hand-written with detailed tasting notes, and is bound in white leather.  At the time Dehn was quoted (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Malaysian journalist David Bowden visited Cape Town late last year, when our mountains were snow capped, and he enthused about the city, documenting his journey as ‘Cape capers’.  He was accommodated at the Twelve Apostles hotel, and was shown Hout Bay, Chapman’s Peak, Klein Constantia, Steenberg, Boulders’ Beach, and Bo-Kaap.

*   Meryl Streep has waxed lyrical about her time in South Africa, both in Cape Town whilst shooting ‘The Giver‘ and on holiday with her family in an unnamed game reserve, in an interview on the Ellen Degeneres Show, which has 3 – 4 million viewers.   A ‘highlight’ for her was being in South Africa when Nelson Mandela passed away, and experiencing the happiness and grief all in one.

*   The MyCiTi Bus route expands to include Hout Bay (with Hangberg and Imizamo (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The 15th Cape Town International Jazz Festival will be held at the Cape Town International Convention Centre on 28 and 29 March.  The top artists performing in the past fifteen years  can be expected on the stage next year.  Last year 60000 jazz lovers attended the jazz performances.   Early bird specials are available for the first 1000 tickets booked at Computicket.

Rashid Lombard, CEO of espAfrika, organisers of the Jazz Festival, said: ‘Fifteen years ago, we couldn’t have imagined that the festival would have such a massive impact. It’s got its own beat now – and we just love the fact that we are able to keep giving people what they want and to promote jazz and jazz related as a music genre in this country’. (received via media release from networx public relations)

*  Taipei has been announced as World Design Capital 2016, it was announced today by Cape Town Design NPC, the company managing World Design Capital 2014 for Cape Town. (received via newsletter)

*   Ellerman House has opened a Wine Gallery, to the irritation of Neil Pendock, whose petite (2 x 4 m space, and 6 bottles only per month) Wine (more…)

Cape Town Art Fair Ebony Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Thursday evening 800 art lovers descended onto The Lookout in the V&A Waterfront for the opening of the first ever Cape Town Art Fair, the largest mega art exhibition ever held in Cape Town under one roof, with 40 galleries exhibiting 800 works of arts of 130 top artists.  It was an excellent platform to enjoy the art of food, of visual art, and of wine art!

In a clever display design, the art galleries were given one, two, or three panels to display their artists’ work.  While most pieces were described, I did not see prices, giving the exhibition a classy feel.  It was more about meeting the gallery owners and representatives and connecting with them, based on the style of art they were exhibiting.  Some of the galleriesCape Town Art Fair Strijdom van der Merwe Whale Cotatge Portfolio, auctioneers, and artists at the Cape Town Art Fair include Strijdom van der Merwe, with an exhibit at the entrance to The Lookout and having recently created an impressive exhibit in honour of Nelson Mandela outside the Stellenbosch Town Hall; Strauss & Co; The AVA Gallery; holden manz collection; Whatiftheworld Gallery; Frank Joubert Art Centre; Stephan Welz & Co; Erdmann (more…)

Pendock Times Live Whale Cottage PortfolioSouth Africa’s leading independent drinks commentator‘ is no more, the ‘Pendock Uncorked’ blog on the Times Live (owned by the Sunday Times) platform having been blanked out, after a week long wine web war about the lowest-of- low loathed Pendock has reached in lashing out at all and sundry in the wine industry.

A week ago Pieter de Waal, (former?) Secretary of the Sauvignon Blanc Interest Group, wrote a widely-distributed e-mail to explain his side of the story to counter persistent Pendock’s attacks on him re the recent FNB Top 10 Sauvignon Blanc 2013 judging.  De Waal provided the e-mail addresses of Reuben Goldberg and Derek Abdinor at the Sunday Times, and encouraged others to write to them and to share what they think of Pendock’s wine business bashing. We must have been one of many sending them e-mails of complaint, and requesting that Pendock’s posts be removed.  Not responding to any complainants at all, the powers that be at the Sunday Times took action silently, having disallowed any new blogposts by Pendock to be added to his Times Live blog from 10 October onwards, and from yesterday onwards removing all past content of these blogposts, only retaining the first paragraph of his last ‘Pendock Uncorked’ blogpost ‘Beaverbrook of Botrivier‘, (more…)