Tag Archives: Top of the Ritz

Few restaurant closures and openings in Cape Town and Winelands in Winter 2015!

imageWinter is almost over, and we are delighted to report that few restaurants have closed down in the past few cold months. By the same token, few new restaurants have opened. Heartbreaking was the fire which closed down The Stack one week after it opened last month in Leinster Hall in Gardens.  We update information about newly opened and closed restaurants continuously.

Restaurant Openings

*   De Warenmarkt has opened in Stellenbosch, a mix of market, deli, bar, and pop-up restaurant (photograph) Continue reading →

Few new Restaurant openings lying ahead in Cape Town and Winelands!!

Open Door Kitchen and Bar Whale CottageWinter has set in, and the rate of new restaurant openings has almost ground to a halt, as has the move of chefs between restaurants.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*   Open Door has opened at Constantia Uitsig, the third restaurant to be opened by Neil Grant and his business partner Barry Engelbrecht (of Burrata and Bocca), previously the River Café. (photograph)

*   Michael Townsend of the Harbour House Group is planning to open two new restaurants on the Muizenberg beachfront: a 160-seater Live Bait, and Howlin’ Wolf, a burger and beer quick service restaurant. Continue reading →

Rate of restaurant openings and chef changes slows down in Cape Town and Winelands, as winter approaches!

Bertus Basson at SR Interior doilies Whale CottageWinter is on the way, and the rate of new restaurant openings has slowed down dramatically, as has the move of chefs between restaurants, which was dramatic in 2014.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*   Bertus Basson at Spice Route has opened as a ‘modern South African restaurant‘ at Spice Route, the kitchen run by Chef Alistair Lawrence, previously from Roots and Overture (photograph).

*   Bacon on Bree has opened at 217 Bree Street, a bacon-inspired restaurant by charcuterier Richard Bosman and Continue reading →

Chefs still on the move between Cape Town and Winelands restaurants!

Palma Interior candles Whale CottageEven though we are almost at the end of the summer season, chefs are still moving between restaurants, a number of chef changes having taken place at the end of February.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*     Italian restaurant Palma has opened on Bree Street (photograph)

*   Bacon on Bree has opened at 217 Bree Street, a bacon-inspired restaurant by charcuterier Richard Bosman and his wife Justine Seymour.

*   Culture Club cheese and wine shop has opened at 215 Bree Street, its owner previously having been the GM of La Fromagerie on Marylebone High Street in London!

*   The Butcher Shop & Grill has opened next to Sotano in Mouille Point.

*   Baked in the Wood is to open on Bree Street, offering craft beer and tapas, owned by Zahir Mohamed of Baked Bistro.

*   Honest Chocolate Café has opened next door to its original shop on Wale Street.

*   Tasha’s has opened in Canal Walk

*   Localé Cocktail & Pincho Bar has opened in Mowbray, as a joint venture between Baked Bistro Continue reading →

Harbour House: July Winter Menu excellent quality and value!

Harbour House Interior Whale CottageHarbour House is one of a collection of restaurants owned by restaurateur Michael Townsend, about whom we wrote earlier this year.  Last week I was invited by Michael to try the new Winter Menu of Harbour House in the V&A Waterfront, and was impressed with the quality of the service and dishes, and the good value that the Winter Menu offers.

There are two Harbour House restaurants in the Harbour House Group, which also includes two La Parada restaurants, a new steak restaurant in Muizenberg, Live Bait, Polana, Sirocco, and a fast growing collection of Lucky Fish outlets. At lunch Michael received a call to say that his offer to lease the Top of the Ritz restaurant had been accepted. Michael plans to list the Harbour House Group on the JSE in future.

Lizaan Nell joined us for lunch, and is Michael’s right hand, in overseeing the running of the restaurants.  She has worked for Michael for 16 years, and is in the restaurant kitchens to check that all is running smoothly, and according to guidelines, being closely involved with this Harbour House branch.  Lizaan spent six months working with Chef Franck Dangereux, who was working at La Colombe at the time.  Her time with Chef Franck inspired her in the creation of new dishes for Harbour House.  She is extremely excited to become the right hand of Chef Andres Condé, who starts at the Harbour House Group today.  He previously worked for the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ number one restaurant elBulli, and moved across to owner and Chef Ferran Àdria’s Michelin star Tickets restaurant in Barcelona.  He has joined the Group with a first priority to improve La Parada, the tapas restaurants in the Group, and its food in particular, to make its tapas offering genuinely Spanish.  He will also work on the two Harbour House restaurants.  He has been promised his own restaurant, which will open in one section of the Continue reading →

Cape Restaurant Week: new restaurant specials, new reservation system!

An Amsterdam restaurant concept has been introduced to South Africa, kicking off in Cape Town and the Winelands, offering a real-time reservation system, and introducing the first Dining City Restaurant Week of specials from 22 – 29 September, whereby locals will be able to enjoy two and three course lunches and dinners at reasonable prices, and experience the real-time booking system of new restaurant website www.diningcity.com.  In the Netherlands the most recent Restaurant Week generated 200000 bookings from more than 1000 restaurants.

DiningCity Restaurant Week is the concept of ​​the world’s leading online restaurant guide www.DiningCity.com. The company was founded in 1998 in Amsterdam, and is currently active in Belgium, Austria, Hungary, Italy and Spain, and outside Europe in cities like New York, Singapore, Dubai, Shanghai, and Beijing. On the South African website one can select restaurants on price, cuisine, location and atmosphere. Information about the restaurants is presented by means of photos, menus and videos.

The principle of the system is that for Restaurant Week restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands offer a certain number of their seats to Restaurant Week, with a 3 course lunch costing R125 and a 3-course dinner costing R200.  Some restaurants will charge a supplement of R50, indicated with a star on the Dining City website (and in the list below). The condition is that all restaurant reservations must be made via the website, which automated system will confirm the booking, send reminders on the date of the booking, and will request feedback about the meal experience the following day. This will eliminate the taking of bookings telephonically or by e-mail, and should reduce no-shows, a problem which Cape Town restaurants experience regularly.  Initially the restaurants will not be charged to join Restaurant Week (in Amsterdam restaurants pay € 200 per year to be part of the system, said Dining City CEO Tertius van Oosthuyzen), but they will pay R10 per seat booked.  I caught Tertius just before his flight back to Amsterdam, and he was delighted that he had managed to get 20000 seats on board in the first few days of launching Restaurant Week almost a month ago. He is hoping to get 40 restaurants on board by the time that Restaurant Week starts.

The 38 restaurants which have signed up for Restaurant Week already are: Planet Restaurant*, The Roundhouse*, The Duchess of Wisbeach*, Pigalle*, 5 Rooms*, Ashton’s at Greenways, Baia, Balducci’s, Belthazar, Blakes*, Blues Beach House, Buitenverwachting*, Bukhara*, Café Chic, Café Dijon, Catharina’s*, Chandani, Five Flies*, Gold Restaurant*, Haiku*, Il Cappero, Jackal & Hide, L’Apero*, La Mouette*, Marimba, Myoga*, Paranga*, Pepenero*, Pure, Reserve, Roberto’s, Savoy Cabbage, Signal Restaurant, The Bungalow,* The George @ Romney Park Hotel, The Grand Café and Beach, Top of the Ritz, and Westin Executive Club*.

Few Winelands restaurants have been signed up to date:  Roca* at Dieu Donné, Haute Cabriere*, Dish at Le Franschhoek (photograph), Mange Tout*, Monneaux*, and Waterkloof*.

Tertius was at pains to explain that they are not taking on beleaguered Eat Out, the largest restaurant database in South Africa, and he was happy to see that they have posted a write-up about Restaurant Week on their site.

Restaurant Week will form part of Cape Town’s promotion of tourism in September. “We are keen to encourage locals to come out of hibernation, with an offer that will not be equalled in terms of quality and value, until the next DiningCity Restaurant Week,” said Tertius.  Next year Dining City SA will focus on Johannesburg, for the second Restaurant Week they will organise, in April.  It is planned to host two such restaurant special promotions every year.

POSTSCRIPT 22/9: The Restaurant Week started today, and I tried to make a booking at Dish Restaurant at Le Franschhoek via the Dining City website, but it has no link to the Restaurant Week website, on which one has to make the restaurant bookings for the Restaurant Week.  When I got to the right website, I could not make the booking, as it had already eliminated today’s date, and only offered dates from tomorrow onwards. Earlier in the day I was asked to provide feedback about the booking process by Dining City via Twitter, which I did, and I received a number of defensive and aggressive Tweets as well as DM’s (Direct Messages), basically questioning my intelligence about not understanding their websites and booking system.  The Tweeter was Tertius van Oosthuyzen, the Dining City CEO! Not a good introduction of this Dutch businessman to our local restaurant industry!

Despite the bad Tweet start with Dining City, I had a lovely evening at Dish Restaurant, and Chef Oliver Cattermole and his team were firing on all cylinders. Three courses at R200 is exceptional value. His amuse bouche was the highlight this evening, a cranberry-coated chicken liver ‘popsicle’.  The starter was a mushroom soup which I have tasted previously.  The main course was beef fillet with Chef Oliver’s famous ‘vegetable garden’ plating, using vegetables grown for him especially at La Motte by Daniel Kruger.  The dessert was a chocolate fondant made from 100% smoked chocolate, served with a cognac ice cream, and a hazelnut chocolate paste smear.  Chef Oliver sent a taste of Le Franschhoek’s new Lemoncello, which he made from the hotel’s own produce, to the table.

Dining City Restaurant Week, 22 – 29 September. www.DiningCity.co.za Twitter: @DiningCitySA

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