Despite having been open on Main Street in Plettenberg Bay for the past four years, I only noticed Clare’s Cakes (& Deli) on my visit to Plett last week. It offers very reasonably priced cakes, cupcakes, breads, as well as Deli items, in what is a pristine clean outlet. Service is Continue reading →
The participation by restaurants in the Western Cape in the Diners Club Winelist Awards 2015 is a shock, declining from 80 restaurants in 2014 (already a decrease from 96 in 2013) to 65 restaurants this year! Diners Club will have to find a solution to the declining interest in its Winelist Awards.
The Diners Club Winelist Awards acknowledge restaurants which take pride and interest in their winelists, and how the wines match the food Continue reading →
The Diners Club Winelist Awards for the Western Cape were held at Shimmy Beach Club yesterday, saluting the restaurants in the province, and the standard of their winelist content and presentation. Bushman’s Kloof won best Winelist in the Western Cape. During the course of this week the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards will also be presented.
A judging panel, led by wine judge Dave Hughes, and consisting of Winnie Bowman, Nikki Dumas, Fiona McDonald, and Christine Rudman, evaluated 208 winelists nationally, and 100 from the ‘Cape‘, a province which has not existed for years! Diners Club threw the Western Cape and Eastern Cape into one ‘Cape’ pot in reporting on the results and in handing out the awards yesterday! A substantial number of Western Cape restaurants did not enter the competition this year, down from 96 entries last year to 80 this year.
Odd was the choice of venue, being the Bar section of Shimmy Beach Club, which did not have enough parking for the attendees, some walking for more than 1 km to get to the venue. We were welcomed with a glass of Pongracz, and the food was very meagre, being macaroni cheese croquettes and sushi! There was not enough seating for everyone, in a room which had some round tables, a few chairs and couches, but had no presence in making this function special for the award winners, compared to the venue used at the Vineyard Hotel last year. It also was not a finalist for the Winelist Awards! Very odd was using Anna Trapido as the MC, not generally known to the local restaurant wine stewards and sommeliers, in being the editor of the 2015 ‘Diners Club Rossouws Continue reading →
More Western Cape restaurants were recognised for their winelist quality than those in other provinces, it was announced at the Diner’s Club Winelist Awards 2012 yesterday. A total of 30 Western Cape restaurants won a Diamond Award, 36 received a Platinum Award, 25 received Gold Awards, and two received Silver Awards. La Colombe was recognised as having the best winelist in the province, and its Ewan Mackenzie was acknowledged as the Best Wine Steward.
Judged by MasterChef SA judge Pete Goffe-Wood, Cape Wine Academy head Marilyn Cooper, Winestyle owner Nikki Dumas, restaurant reviewer JP Rossouw, Fiona McDonald, Christine Rudman, last year’s Diner’s Club Young Winemaker of the Year winner Matthew van Heerden, a panel which was chaired by David Hughes. The Diner’s Club Winelist Awards has been run for more than twenty years. The judges evaluated the winelists on the basis of creativity; choice offered in respect of ‘price, producer and area’; the range of wines-by-the-glass offered; the range of price points offered; the listing of boutique winery brands; the description of the wines; guidelines for food and wine pairing; vintage information; and the overall impression, layout and legibility.
Diamond Award winners, scoring 91% or more for their winelists, are: 96 Winery Road, Abalone House in Paternoster, Aubergine Restaurant, Azure at the Twelve Apostles Hotel, Bientang’s Cave in Hermanus, Bombay Brasserie, Bosman’s at Grande Roche, B’s Steak House in Hermanus, Bushman’s Kloof, Catharina’s at Steenberg hotel, Dash at the Queen Victoria hotel, Durbanville Golf Club, Ellerman House, Flavours at the Devon Valley hotel, Harvey’s at the Winchester Mansions, Karibu in the V&A Waterfront, La Colombe, Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House, Monneaux Restaurant at the Franschhoek Country House, Mint at The Taj, Pure at the Hout Bay Manor, Rust en Vrede, Signal at the Cape Grace hotel, The Atlantic Grill at the Table Bay hotel, The Bayside Café, The Mount Nelson hotel, The Plettenberg hotel, The Square at The Vineyard hotel, Tokara, and Zachary’s at Pezula.
The Platinum Award category (81 – 90%) was won by the winelist of Pierneef à La Motte, and other winners were 95 Keerom, Belthazar, Blakes, Blowfish, Buitenverwachting, Balducci’s, Carne, Chatters Bistro, City Grill, Cru Cafè, Den Anker, Greek Fisherman, La Capannina, Meloncino, Milkwood in Hermanus, Panama Jacks, Peddlars on the Bend, Pembreys Bistro, Pistachio, Simola Hotel, Surval Boutique Olive Estate, The Garden Lounge, The George, Hussar Grill branches in Green Point, Camps Bay, Steenberg, Stellenbosch, Willowbridge, and Rondebosch, The Slug and Lettuce in Newlands, The Wild Fig, Turbine Boutique Hotel, Wild Peacock Food Emporium, and La Pentola in Hermanus.
Surprising was the low score of the winelist of The Roundhouse, its Gold Award (71 – 80%) putting it into a category dominated by Col’Cacchio Pizzeria branches. Notable exclusions from the Awards list (signalling that they did not enter, or predominantly offer their own wines if the restaurant is located on a wine estate) are Grande Provence, The Tasting Room, Le Franschhoek, Delaire Graff, Overture, Terroir, Waterkloof, Burrata, The Test Kitchen, The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenhort, Nobu, and Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine.
POSTSCRIPT 18/9: La Colombe has informed us that they have also won the Best Winelist in South Africa, in addition to being the best in the Western Cape! We have been promised the national results on Friday.
POSTCRIPT 19/9: La Colombe Chef and Manager Scot Kirton has corrected its Diner’s Club Winelist Award achievement, as follows: “May we please offer a correction and our humble apologies. La Colombe was awarded best winelist in the Western Cape and not the entire South Africa. Perhaps in his excitement our Scottish Wine Steward got a little over excited and forgot that the Western Cape is not the entire South Africa We apologise for the misinformation and we abide by the National results out on Friday”.
POSTSCRIPT 21/9: The national Diner’s Club Restaurant Winelist Award winners were announced today, and La Colombe did indeed take the honours of having the best winelist in the country! Ewan Mackenzie also took the national honours as best Wine Steward in South Africa.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Bosman’s at the Grande Roche Hotel and Zachary’s at Pezula Hotel & Spa were the two restaurants whose winelists were chosen as the best in the country in the Diner’s Club Winelist Awards, announced on Monday.
A record number of restaurant winelists was entered for the prestigious Diner’s Club Winelist of the Year 2010, an increase of 10 % on last year, reports Hotel and Restaurant. Under the chairmanship of Dave Hughes, the Diner’s Club Winelist Awards recognises the wine range offered, as well as the matching of a restaurant’s wines to its menu. To be able to enter, the restaurants have to accept Diner’s Club credit cards.
The judges gave each winelist a rating, depicting their winelist performance. The results for the Western Cape follow:
* The top accolade a restaurant winelist can achieve is Diamond, with a score of 91 % or more. The superior winelists are those of the following restaurants: 96 Winery Road, Asara Wine Estate and Hotel, Aubergine, Azure at Twelve Apostles, Balducci’s, Balthazar, Bientang’s Cave, Bistro Allegro, Blowfish, Bosman’s, Bushman’s Kloof, Carne, Catharina’s, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, City Grill, Ellerman House, Flavours, Greek Fisherman, Harbour Rock, Hunter’s Country House, Jardine, Karibu, La Colombe, Le Quartier FranÃ§ais, Marc’s, Meloncino, Nobu, Pembrey’s, Pure, Restaurant at The One&Only, Rioja, Rodwell House, Sand, Signal at Cape Grace, The Atlantic Grill at the Table Bay Hotel, The Square at the Vineyard Hotel, The Wild Fig and Zachary’s.
* Winners in the Platinum category (81 – 90%) were the following: 95 Keerom, Abalone House in Paternoster, Cru Cafe, Den Anker, Durbanville Golf Club, Harveys, Kitima at the Kronendal, Kurland Hotel, Milkwood, Panama Jacks, Pistachio, Salt, Simola Country Club & Spa, Bayside Cafe, The George, The Grill Room, Hussar Grill (all branches), The Marine Hotel, The Raj, The Red Herring, The Roundhouse, The Turbine Hotel & Spa (winner in this category) and Umngazi River Bungalows & Spa.
* Winners in the Gold Category, with a score of 71 – 80 %, are the following restaurants: 3106 Restaurant @ The Cullinan, Blue Water Cafe, B’s steakhouse in Hermanus, Col’Cacchio (Camps Bay, Blouberg, Canal Walk, Cavendish, Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Foreshore and Willowbridge branches), De Viswijf, Hermanos, Jenna Viva, Southern Sun, The Garden Lounge, The Quarterdeck and Yizani.
* Silver award recipients, with a score of 61 – 70 %, are Bourbon Street, Harbourview, Jemima’s, and Newlands Cafe.
The scores for the above categories seem very high, given some of the restaurants that have been included in them, and one wonders how a top winelist of ex-maze at the One&Only can compete with that of restaurants such as Bientang’s Cave and Harbour Rock in Hermanus, with scores over 90%.
The judges noted a better presence of more affordable wines on the winelists, reflecting the current economic climate. An increasing number of restaurants offer wine-by-the-glass, the judges noted. The judges also praised the greater synergy between the winelist and the menu: “Now more and more restaurateurs take a lot of care in assembling a range of wines they believe complement their food and then guide the patron by means of the wine list in making an appropriate choice”, said judging Chairman Dave Hughes.
It is interesting to note that many Eat Out Top 10 restaurants are not on the winning winelist list, and include Rust en Vrede, Overture, Bizerca Bistro, Reubens, Grande Provence, Terroir, and the Mount Nelson. Other top restaurants whose names are missing are Myoga, Bombay Brasserie at the Taj Hotel, Restaurant at Majeka House, Jordan’s Restaurant with George Jardine, Restaurant Christophe, Waterkloof, the Blonde …collection of restaurants (Beluga, Sevruga, Blonde), The Kovensky Quartet (The Kove, Paranga, Zenzero and Pepenero), and Delaire Graff, indicating that they do not accept Diner’s Club credit cards due to the higher commission this company takes on payments relative to Mastercard and VISA, and/or that these restaurants snub the Awards, in not seeing the value of participation.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com