Entries tagged with “Thomas Maxwell Bistro”.


Amex Award tableLast night (7 September) the American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards 2016 were presented for Cape Town, the Winelands, and the Garden Route at The Watershed in the V&A Waterfront, a total of 31 awards presented. Last night (14 September) the Gauteng and KwaZulu-Natal awards were presented at Katy’s Palace Bar in imageJohannesburg.

Interesting announcements made during the evening in Cape Town appear to indicate that the Platinum Taste Awards (new name from next year) will take Eat Out head on next year! At the awards event, the name change for next year was announced, as was that the Platinum Taste Awards will introduce seven award categories. It is no longer a criterion for a restaurant to accept (more…)

imageTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SATSA CEO David Frost is concerned about the Department of Home Affairs misleading the tourism industry with incorrect arrival statistics from Statistics South Africa. The Department is using apple-and-pear data (2013 figures inclusive of transit passengers and 2014 figures excluding them), to try to prove that factors other than the new (more…)

JP Rossouw’s Restaurant 3-star list is usually published ahead of the Eat Out Restaurant Awards. and helped to serve as a predictor for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list.  This year it could not be used, as the Eat Out event is taking place a week earlier, and Rossouw Restaurants’ 2012 3-star list was only announced on Twitter for the first time yesterday, on the eve of the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards, taking place at the Rotunda at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay this evening.

Interesting firstly is that a Platinum Award for best 3-star restaurant has not been awarded by Rossouw, writing on Twitter that “Rossouw’s 2012 Platinum Award for standout 3 Star not awarded this ed. Changes & notable newcomers not yet achieved a track record” .  Yet stalwarts like The Tasting Room, Terroir, Overture have been consistent and around for some time.

Comparing Rossouw’s list of 24 3-star restaurants with the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant finalist shortlist of twenty, the following ten exclusions from Rossouw’s 3-star list are evident:  Tokara, Pierneef à La Motte, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Hartford House, Planet Restaurant, Bosman’s, Azure, Roots, Restaurant Maison, and Babel.  The ten restaurants that the lists have in common are Greenhouse, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, La Colombe, Nobu, Overture, The Roundhouse, The Tasting Room, Terroir, The Test Kitchen, and DW Eleven-13.  Bizarre is that Zachary’s at Pezula is included, in that it only operates two nights a week!

The 24 3-star 2012 Rossouw’s Restaurants are the following:

Western Cape:  95 Keerom Street, Aubergine, Bizerca Bistro, The Common Room, Greenhouse, Ile de Pain, Jordan Restaurant, La Colombe, Mariana’s, Nobu, Overture, Roundhouse, Rust en Vrede, The Tasting Room, Terroir, The Test Kitchen, and Zachary’s.

KwaZulu-Natal: 9th Avenue Bistro

Gauteng:  Butcher Shop & Grill, Cube, DW Eleven-13, Grillhouse, Ritrivo, and Thomas Maxwell Bistro.

Interesting is that two chefs have told me that recent reviews by Rossouw of their restaurants have appeared to settle old scores,  and that what Rossouw writes in his Business Day reviews often contradicts what he posts about the restaurants on his website or publishes in his book.  This is unprofessional behaviour from Rossouw, and may be a reason why his ratings and reviews have little significance.

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

On Sunday the long-awaited Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards will be presented at the Bay Hotel’s Rotunda in the presence of 360 chefs and restaurant lovers. This year sees a number of changes in the Awards, with the Top 10 name having fallen away as a generic title, due to the introduction of additional categories which have been judged, and the controversial sole judging of the winning restaurants in each category by Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly.

As we have done before, we predict the following restaurants to make the Top 10 Restaurant list, based on write-ups we have seen, our own experience, and patron talk.  No offence is intended to the chefs we have not included.  The list is not intended as a ranking.  Not knowing the Johannesburg, Pretoria and KwaZulu-Natal restaurants, we are guessing those:

*   We have previously predicted that Chef Richard Carstens at Tokara will be Top Chef/Best Restaurant, for his creativity in food preparation and presentation, for continuously re-inventing himself and his dishes, for his quest to learn new things, and for the amazing El Bulli tribute dinner he prepared on 30 July.  The restaurant has just been selected by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network as the best Winelands restaurant in the country.

*   The Test Kitchen‘s Luke Dale-Roberts is most foodies’ prediction for Top Chef, and he does feature often in TASTE, the magazine that Mrs Donnelly is Food Editor of.  She told me recently that Woolworths chose Luke for a Christmas range, and that is why he receives so much coverage.

*   The Greenhouse at Cellars Hohenhort Hotel, with Chef Peter Tempelhoff, who has just been honoured as Relais & Chateaux Grand Chef, the first in Cape Town, and only the third in South Africa.

*    Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine is a stalwart, and while its restaurant building is not the greatest and grandest, George gets on with what he is excellent at, without any PR hype

*   The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais with Chef Margot Janse cannot be excluded from the list, for its listing as the only South African restaurant on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

*   DW Eleven-13 with Chef Marthinus Ferreira in Johannesburg was a Top 10 restaurant last year. The only criticism I have seen about this restaurant is its location.

*  Hartford House in KwaZulu-Natal, with Chef Jackie Cameron, regularly on the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list, the best that this province has to offer.

*   Chef Bertus Basson of Overture is another chef who reinvents himself and his food, and gets on with what he does well.  No PR hype.

*   Pierneef à La Motte with Chef Chris Erasmus has all the elements to make Top 10, but recently the food and service quality has started to slip.  The estate has been selected as top South African wine estate in the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.  Excellence drives everything that this estate does.

*   Babel is extremely trendy right now, and I hear lots of ooo’s and aaa’s about it, and is heavily booked, but it has only been open for lunch in its first year of operation.  Chef Darren Roberts of Grande Provence is a chef who gets on with things, quietly and creatively, and would be a more deserved Top 10 restaurant, this restaurant making the Top 10 every second year to date.

Other Top 20 Restaurant Finalists are Planet Restaurant, La Colombe, Nobu, Babel, Bosman’s, The Round House, Azure, Terroir, Roots in Johannesburg, and Restaurant Maison in Pretoria.

For the first time, Eat Out has introduced new Restaurant Award categories.  The Best Steakhouse Award could go to one of 29 steakhouses listed by Eat Out, and this may be where Johannesburg could have a winner, known to have a selection of good steakhouses, and making up almost half the Eat Out Steakhouse list.  In the Cape, Carne, Belthazar, and HQ are some of the steakhouses which feature on the list.

There are 18 finalists for the Boschendal Style Award, and this may be a little bit of a consolation prize for not making Top 10, and also gives newer restaurants which have not been open for a full year a chance at winning something.  The nominees for this category include Hemelhuijs, The Saxon, The Test Kitchen (an odd choice), Planet Restaurant, Thomas Maxwell Bistro in Johannesburg, Woodlands Eatery, Pierneef à La Motte, Kream, Makaron (at Majeka House, a consultancy client of Mrs Donnelly), Babel, Overture, The Grand Café and Beach (very odd!!), Rust en Vrede, Central One Restaurant (in the hotel at which David Higgs is the chef now), Dear Me Foodworld, Craft Trattoria, Pure, and Indochine.  If Babel falls out of the Top 10, it may win this award.

The Best Bistro Award finalist list has 43 nominees, and feels a little like a listing of every other restaurant which did not make the Top 10 finalist list.  Odd is how broad the ‘Bistro’ name has been stretched to include some restaurant nominees!  Bistro Sixteen82 should win this award, but stiff competition could come from Bizerca Bistro, Ryan’s Kitchen, Cuvee@Simonsig, The Common Room at Le Quartier Français, The Foodbarn, Dear Me, Franschhoek Kitchen, and Bread & Wine. Odd is to see Reubens Franschhoek on the list, which has continuous negative feedback.

I have not seen the Best Italian Restaurant nominee list, but Giorgio Nava’s PR machine has announced that 95 Keerom Street is one of the nominees.  He is a likely winner, embodying ‘Italianess’, but without charm!  The Best Asian Restaurant and Best Country-Style Restaurant nominee lists have also not been seen, and Mrs Donnelly did not wish to release the nominee lists.

Interesting is how the Eat Out Awards dinner has grown to 360 attendees.  If one calculates that each of the Top 20 Restaurant finalists will take a table, that leaves another 160 seats, not all filled yet, judging by e-mail reminders about the event.  With so many finalists and nominees, there will be many disappointed empty-handed chefs and restaurant owners on Sunday evening!

POSTSCRIPT 17/11: This Eat Out article has an interesting analysis of past Top 10 Restaurant/Chef winners, and some demographic break-downs of chefs as well.

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

Predicting the Top 20 shortlist for the 2010 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards was relatively easy.  Predicting the Top 10 winners out of this list, which Eat Out will announce at its gala dinner tomorrow evening, is much harder.  Here is our predicted list of Top 10, in no particular order, and admittedly uncertain about the non-Cape Town restaurants.  We have analysed JP Rossouw’s list of 23 three-star Rossouw’s Restaurants (the highest rating he awards), to help us make the prediction.  See more about Rossouw’s list below. 

*   Rust en Vrede – as written before, I boldly predict this will be the number one restaurant on the Top 10 list.  David Higgs is doing excellent work, without any fanfare, and he made top 100 of S. Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World list earlier this year.  He was also recognised as joint winner as the best vineyard restaurant by the Great Wine Capitals of the World.  An absolute professional. (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list, and Rossouw has awarded the restaurant his one and only Platinum Award, motivated as follows: “consistently deliver an exceptional dining experience in all respects”).

*   Jardine – cooking at the gala dinner, and this is a sure predictor.  Chef Eric Bulpitt has returned from 6 weeks of working in the Noma kitchen, the number 1 of the Top 50 Restaurants in the World, at no compensation, demonstrating Eric’s dedication to and passion for his craft.  (Surprisingly, not on Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list!).

*   Jordan’s Restaurant with George Jardine – the interior decor (or lack of) may leave a lot to be desired, but George Jardine is a dedicated chef, and has won many a Top 10 Eat Out award whilst at Jardine (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list).

*   Overture – Chef Bertus Basson has been on the Top 10 list for two years running, and re-invents his restaurant continuously.  Stunning location on Hidden Valley estate. (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list).

*   The Green House – Chef Peter Tempelhoff has been a past winner, both for this Cellars Hohenhort hotel restaurant as well as for Grande Provence in Franschhoek. (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list).

*   The Tasting Room – Chef Margot Janse.  Not liked by all, and very expensive, but probably the most-crowned restaurant in the history of the Top 10 Restaurant Awards (Back on Rossouws’ Restaurants’ 3-star list, after falling off it in the 2010 edition).

*   Restaurant Christophe – Chef Christophe Dehosse is the most charming French restaurateur, serving excellent foie gras and other French-style food.  (Not on Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list, despite Rossouw first highlighting Dehosse’s talents whilst he was at Joostenberg). 

*   Mosaic– chef Chantel Dartnall from Pretoria is cooking at the Awards dinner, and made the number 2 slot last year.  (Not on Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list)

*   The Roundhouse – on the Top 10 list last year, and chef PJ Vadas cooking for the Awards Gala dinner (On Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list).

*   La Colombe – this is a difficult one.  Luke Dale-Roberts has led this restaurant to the top of the Eat Out list two years running, and was recognised internationally in reaching 12th position on the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list.   Dale-Roberts is a consultant chef to La Colombe now, and has opened his own new restaurant The Test Kitchen.  I predict that he will be acknowledged for his excellent performance this year, but will not be awarded the number one position due to his reduced La Colombe involvement.  His recent whirlwind visit to The Fat Duck and El Bulli, both on the S. Pellegrino Top 50 Restaurants in the World list, just after he opened The Test Kitchen, is a reflection of his dedication to improving himself even further.

The other restaurants on the Eat Out Top 10 shortlist are:  Reuben’s Franschhoek, Aubergine, Terroir, and Zachary’s, all of which have also made Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list.    Bosman’s, DW Eleven-13, Linger Longer, Roots, Waterkloof Restaurant and Hartford House are also top 20 finalists, but do not appear on Rossouw’s Restaurants’ 3-star list. 

Rossouws’ Restaurants 2011 3-star restaurant list is as follows: Assaggi, Butcher Shop and Grill, Mastrantonio, The Grillhouse, Thomas Maxwell Bistro, all in Johannesburg; Ritrovo in Pretoria; 95 Keerom, Aubergine, Bizerca Bistro, La Colombe, Magica Roma, The Greenhouse, The Roundhouse, and Nobu in Cape Town; Jordan with George Jardine, Rust en Vrede, Overture, Terroir, Reuben’s Franschhoek, Tasting Room in Stellenbosch/Franschhoek; Zachary’s and Ile de Pain in Knysna; and Marianna’s in Stanford.  Rossouw defines a 3-star restaurant as one that “shines in its price point and offers a truly special food experience…. it’s the all-round feeling of pleasure that’s created by a lovely space, warm hospitality, good service, and crackerjack food.  Track record is also important : three star restaurants should consistently deliver on their promise”.  No doubt his inclusion of Magica Roma will have critics sniggering again, the response to the same inclusion in 2008.

The Eat Out 2010 Awards Gala evening at the Westin Grand hotel will be a wonderfully festive one, no matter what the outcome of the Top 10 list will be.  No doubt it will be controversial, but not anything as controversial as the results were in 2009!

POSTSCRIPT 28/12: I was surprised to see an Erratum slip fall out of Rossouw’s Restaurants when I paged through it at Exclusive Books yesterday.   It concerns the 3-star Restaurant list, Rossouw’s highest accolade.  In the book Glen Carlou was incorrectly added to the 3-star list, and Magica Roma was left out, the note states.   This is a very poor reflection on Rossouw’s editing and production skills.

POSTSCRIPT 15/4:  It has been announced that David Higgs has resigned, and will leave Rust en Vrede mid-June.

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

The 2010 edition of Rossouw’s Restaurants, an independent restaurant guide that judges restaurants informally from 1 – 3 stars, has just been launched.   It includes a few surprises in its inclusions, and more importantly exclusions, in its 3-star top restaurant list, coming just 13 days before the announcement of the 2010 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards.

The biggest shock is the exclusion of Le Quartier Francais’ Tasting Room in the 3-star restaurant category, but is designated as “bubbling under” by the author JP Rossouw.   Other “bubbling under” restaurants include Terroir, a long-standing Eat Out Top 10 restaurant, new restaurant The Roundhouse (on the Eat Out Top 10 shortlist), Belthazar in the V&A Waterfront, The Greenhouse at the Cellars Hohenhort (on the top 20 shortlist for the Eat Out Top 10), and Mosaic (on the Eat Out Top 10 shortlist).

In total 14 restaurants have been awarded 3-stars by Rossouw, of which 8 are in the Cape Town and Winelands areas:   Aubergine, Bizerca, Jardine, Joostenberg Bistro (a surprise!), La Colombe, Overture, Reuben’s, and Rust en Vrede.   (All of these restaurants, with the exception of the Joostenberg Bistro, are on the Eat Out Top 10 shortlist).   The remaining 3-star winners are Ile de Pain and Zachary’s in Knysna (the latter is Eat Out Top 10 shortlisted), Mariana’s in Stanford, Ritrovo in Pretoria and The Butcher Shop & Grill and Thomas Maxwell Bistro in Johannesburg.

Rossouw defines a 3-star restaurant as one that “shines in its price point and offers a truly special food experience…. it’s the all-round feeling of pleasure that’s created by a lovely space, warm hospitality, good service, and crackerjack food.  Track record is also important : three star restaurants should consistently deliver on their promise”.

Rossouw has dropped the controversial 2009 3-star Magica Roma from the 3-star list in his latest guide, for which he received much criticism.   Comments left on Rossouw’s website are critical of his treatment of Le Quartier Francais, given that it is a Top 50 restaurant in the world, but Rossouw was prepared for the question: “The Tasting Room’s move from three stars in 2009 to two stars in 2010 was not a decision easily made, but it was certainly not influenced by what other reviews/guides/Top 50’s say”.  Rossouw adds that he is guided by customer reviews he receives, but the final score is his.   See full details here.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portoflio http://www.whalecottage.com

Jean-Pierre Rossouw, compiler of  ‘Rossouw’s Restaurants’ guide, has just published his 2009 edition, and awarded 3-stars, his top rating, to 13 restaurants in the country.

The Cape-based 3-star restaurants, according to the Weekend Argus, are Aubergine, Bosman’s, Ile de Pain, Jardine, La Colombe, Magica Roma, Mariana’s, The Tasting Room , Rust & Vrede and Zachary’s.   Other 3-star restaurants are Butcher Shop & Grill and Thomas Maxwell Bistro in Sandton, and Ritrovo in Pretoria.

Interesting omissions are Overture, the scenic restaurant of Bertus Basson on the Hidden Valley Estate and close to Rust & Vrede, and Terroir, outside Stellenbosch, both restaurants being on the Top Ten Eat Out list.   In his previous edition, Rossouw was demeaning to Overture about its driveway being very steep, which is absolute nonsense, and should not have clouded his judgement of the restaurant!