Entries tagged with “Van Loveren”.


A record 111 South African wines received a coveted 2018 Platter’s Guide five-star rating at the Awards ceremony held at the Table Bay Hotel tonight. Raats Family Wines was named as the 2018 Winery of the Year. (more…)

Whilst I spent a week in McGregor earlier this month, I visited Robertson for part of a day, shopping with friends, but also enjoying lunch at the recently opened Four Cousins restaurant owned by Van Loveren, at the entrance to the town on the Worcester side. I was impressed with the quality of the food and vast selection of dishes offered on the menu. (more…)

imageLast week I was invited to try Little Saint restaurant on Upper Bree Street, in the semi-detached section of Cape Town’s top trendy restaurant street. I was pleasantly surprised to find the first working herb ‘garden’ inside a restaurant. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   German competition authorities have reacted strongly against Booking.com, which prohibits accommodation establishments from offering better rates to clients booking with them directly relative to the rate they charge via Booking.com.  Action is also being taken against a similar booking site Expedia.com

*   The contribution of Tourism to the economy nationally has remained at 2,9% in both 2012 and 2013, reaching a total of R104 billion.   Just more than half of the spend was (more…)

CTFM West Coast Fire Whale CottageWhat a fun birthday party Jenny Morris laid on at the new location of the V & A Waterfront branch of Cape Town Fish Market, on the business side of the Waterfront, where Paulaner and Moyo used to be.  The restaurant has created The West Coast Village, complete with sea sand,  replicating a Strandloper-type restaurant, but just done better!

The Cape Town Fish Market space is massive, and can seat up to 600 patrons inCTFM West Coast Jenny Morris Whale Cottage total, on a green artificial lawn outside, and inside too, a retractable roof allowing the restaurant patrons to sit under the stars if the weather allows it.   A minimum of 20 guests must book the West Coast Village, so that the food for this special menu can be prepped in advance.  We were seated at long tables, with Jenny’s friends, most sitting at tables set on the beach sand.  It is difficult to walk on it, and Jenny’s instruction to bring flat shoes was understandable in retrospect.   At the side of The West Coast Village area is a dedicated fireplace, at (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  SABMiller has announced that it is selling its 40% stake in Tsogo Sun Holdings, worth R11,7 billion, writes the New York Times.  The company is the second largest beer brewer in the world.  Tsogo Sun Holdings owns 90 hotels, 14 casinos and resorts, and a number of restaurants and cinemas.

*   The Cape Winemakers’ Guild members have done well in the recent Decanter Awards, winning a total of eight trophies, four international trophies and four regional ones:  Frans Smit of Spier Wines won an International Trophy for Best Rhone Varietal under £15 for the Creative Block 3, and regional trophies for Spier 21 Gables Chenin Blanc 2012 as best local Chenin Blanc, and for Spier 21 Gables Pinotage 2011, Best local Single Varietal Red over £15.   Carl Schultz of Hartenberg won the International Trophy for Best Bordeaux Varietal under £15 for his Hartenberg Cabernet Sauvignon 2010; Gary Jordan of Jordan Wines won the International Trophy for Best Chardonnay for his Chardonnay 2013; and Andries Burger of Paul Cluver Estate won best International Trophy for his Sauvignon Blanc 2013.   David Nieuwoudt of Cederberg won the regional trophy for Best local Red Rhône Varietal over £15 for his Shiraz 2011, and Miles Mossop won a regional trophy for Best local Sauvignon Blanc over £15 for his Tokara Reserve Collection Sauvignon Blanc 2013. (received via media release from GC Communications)

*   Muratie is hosting a Mini Port Festival in conjunction with Juvenal Corks on 27 July, the top 10 local port producers offering (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines 

*  Cape Town has a new feather in its cap, having been announced in Vancouver in Canada on Thursday as the WWF Global Earth Hour Capital 2014.  Won in competition against 163 cities, including Colorado, Chicago, Cleveland in the USA;  Seoul and Suwon in South Korea; Copenhagen; Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo;  Antwerp; and Edmonton and Surrey in Canada, the accolade recognises Cape Town’s actions on climate change and its focus on creating a sustainable environment in the city.  Cape Town’s reduction of its dependence on fossil fuels by retrofitting the City buildings, improving the energy efficiency of street and traffic lights, the introduction of its solar water heater program, the MyCiTi Bus network, the city centre cycle lanes, and the campaign to save electricity were recognised through the accolade.

*  The potentially most crippling strike ever in Germany is the threatened 3 day Lufthansa pilot strike, from 2 – 4 April. which will ground all planes of the airline.

*   Europe and the UK turned back the clock to Summer time today, Europe being in the same time zone as South Africa, and the UK (more…)

According to Simon Halliday of Raisin Social, one of the largest importers, distributors and marketers of South African wines in the United Kingdom and in other European countries, South African wines represent 10% of UK sales, and he sees this increasing in 2013, given the very poor wine harvest this year in France.   About 80% of New World wines are being bulk imported into the UK, for re-packaging.

Simon started Raisin Social in 1986, and is based in London, but visits his clients and suppliers in the Winelands regularly.  Namaqua makes up about 60% of his company’s distribution in the UK and Europe. Recently they introduced a 750ml Tetra Pak for the brand in the UK, a world first, as well as for the Du Toitskloof Fairtrade brand.  The packaging has reduced the price of the brands by about 15 – 20 %, even though some of the decrease has been negated by increases in UK excise duty. The reduced carbon footprint is an important advantage of using this new packaging form.  Other brands which are distributed by Raisin Social include La Motte, Leopard’s Leap, Kanonkop, Van Loveren, Elgin Vintners, Ormonde, Landskroon, and Beyerskloof.  Hein Koegelenberg and Simon conceptualised the Leopard’s Leap brand, and only launched it in the UK after rigorous consumer market research in the form of focus groups had been conducted.

Having lunch at The Long Table at Haskell Vineyards, Simon shared that the UK economy is at a low point. He did not want to follow the bulk import route, but had no choice but to do so, to be able to continue trading. The economic downturn in the UK has meant that the model of distributing and marketing wine has had to change, due to the squeeze on producer and retailer margins, Simon said. He described the economy as ‘shocking’, with no growth at all, but did concede that the economic downturn is being better managed by the British government.  He said that unemployment is increasing, and that young persons who have finished studying are feeling this the most.  His company has had to adapt to the changed times, moving from being an agent to being a bulk importer of wine, which is packaged, in glass bottles, boxes, and the new longlife Tetra Pak packaging in the UK.  The better prices his company can offer with the UK-packaged products has enabled his company to obtain listings in smaller convenience and wine retailer stores, without having to pay for shelf space, as larger importers of South African wines are doing.  The economic situation has seen the closure of five to six of his competitors in the past few months, as they did not change their operating models.  One benefit of the economic downturn is that the poor quality wines will eventually be eliminated.

Simon said that South African wine producers need to become more competitive, to cope with the dire situation in the UK.  He was also critical of the lack of marketing in selling South African wines overseas, most wines having brand names that have never been heard of in our country, are poorly labelled, rarely marketed, do not identify the origin of the wines in South Africa, and contain very low quality wine at low price points.  All of this has a negative effect on South Africa’s wine image, he feels, especially as the quality/price ratio of these wines is not good.

Simon is seeing the low cost German retailers such as Aldi and Lidl entering the UK market, meaning that they are pressurising UK retailers to reduce their margins, and therefore prices, to remain competitive.   He warns that private label wines in retail outlets are overstocked, and yellow with age, 2011 stock still sitting on the supermarket shelves.   Simon does not believe in ‘bribery’ in paying for shelf space, or for restaurant listings.

The quality of the lunch at The Long Table had declined since a last visit two and a half years ago, a free range De Denne farm duck breast with a honey and nut crust, served with a sweet potato, pear and Gorgonzola bake, and a pickled pear and duck confit ‘samosa’, with a coffee bourbon infusion seemed overcomplicated and not attractively plated, compared to our last visit.   The dessert of Summer Berry Pavlova with berry sorbet and custard looked attractive, and Mari and I shared it.  The bread had a hair in it, and the service generally was slow, yet friendly.

Raisin Social, London.  Tel +44 01883731173. www.raisin-social.com

The Long Table Restaurant & Café, Haskell Vineyards, Stellenbosch.  Tel (021) 881-3746. www.longtable.co.za Tuesday – Sunday 8h00 – 17h00, Fridays until 21h00.

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

Our list of latest restaurant openings and closures lists more openings than closures, and a number of restaurant location changes. This list is updated continuously, as we receive information:

Restaurant Openings

*   Café Dijon has closed its restaurants on Plein Street and at Zorgvliet in Stellenbosch, and has opened in the Rockwell Centre in Green Point, Cape Town, on Napier Street opposite Anatoli’s.

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, Eat Out Top Chef at The Test Kitchen, is to open a real test kitchen, called The Kitchen of Dreams, a private experimental place to develop new recipes, at the Old Biscuit Mill

*  Chef Luke Dale-Roberts is opening a pop-up Pot Luck Club in Swiss ski resort Verbier, at the Hotel Farinet, from 8 December – April, to be run by him, his chef Nicolas Wilkinson, and front of house Selena Afnan-Holmes.

*   Col’Cacchio has opened a new outlets in Westlake, and a new one is coming in Claremont too.

*   A new Vida é Caffe new branches are to open on Maindean Place in Claremont, at the new Wembley Square 2 development, at The Paddocks, and Groote Schuur.  Two more branches are planned for Mauritius.

*    Honest Chocolate is opening a second outlet, a ‘production kitchen’ in the Woodstock Industrial Centre

*   Moyo is to open in November, where the Paulaner Braühaus was in the V & A Waterfront.  It has taken over the tearoom at Kirstenbosch already.

*   TRUTH Coffee has opened on Buitenkant Street

*   FEAST is to open where Franschhoek Food Emporium was, in Place Vendome

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks has opened where Reuben’s Deli used to be in Franschhoek.

*   Okamai Japanese Restaurant has opened at Glenwood wine estate in Franschhoek

*   Cavalli restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this year or next

*   The Slug & Lettuce has opened where Beads was on Church Street in Stellenbosch

*   Stables at Vergelegen Bistro has opened as a lunch restaurant in Somerset West.  Its Lady Phillips Restaurant is being given a make-over by Christo Barnard, and will open on 1 November with a new name called Camphors at Vergelegen. The new chef will be PJ Vadas, previously of The Roundhouse in Camps Bay.

*   Coopmanshuijs in Stellenbosch is opening a restaurant.

*   Chef Johan van Schalkwyk has left the Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery, and has opened his own restaurant Twist Some More in Wellington.

*    Chef Bjorn Dingemans has opened The Millhouse Kitchen restaurant on Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West.

*   Chef Shane Sauvage (ex-La Vierge) has opened La Pentola restaurant in Hermanus.

*   Ali Baba Kebab (renamed from Laila) has opened as a small beef and lamb kebab take-away and sit-down outlet, next door to Codfather in Camps Bay

*   Gibson’s Gourmet Burger and Smoked Ribs has opened as a 70-seater restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, taking part of Belthazar. Owned by the Belthazar/Balducci group.

*   Down South Food Bar, previously on Long Street, is said to re-open in the Riverside Centre in Rondebosch

*   Ou Meul Bakkery from Riviersonderend has opened a bakery and coffee shop in Long Street

*   Deluxe Coffeeworks has opened a roastery and coffee bar at 6 Roodehek Street

*    The Deli @ The Square has opened at Frater Square in Paarl.

*   David Higgs (ex Rust en Vrede) is opening a new 30 seater restaurant in The Saxon in Johannesburg.

*   Big Route Top Gourmet Pizzeria has opened on Main Road, Green Point, next door to Woolworths, serving 52 different pizzas, salads and crêpes.

*   Cousins has opened in the Parliament Hotel, where Il Cappero used to be.

* Aces ‘n’ Spades Bar has opened in ex-Boo Radley on Hout Street

*   No. 6 Restaurant at Welbedacht has opened at Welbedacht/Schalk Burger & Sons wine estate in Wellington, run by the ex-owners of Oude Wellington

*   Café Dulce is to open a new branch in Tygervalley Centre

*   Gourmetboerie is to open at the bottom end of Kloof Street, where Depasco used to be, in October.

*   Kushi Indian Restaurant has opened a branch on Main Road in Sea Point

*   Time & Place Restaurant and Bar has opened on the corner of Wale and Buitengracht Street

*   Make Sushi Bar has opened in Sea Point

*   Thai Café is opening on Plein Street, Stellenbosch

*   Simply Asia has opened in Paarl

*   Restaurant @ Zomerlust has opened in Paarl

*    Christina’s has opened at Van Loveren in Robertson

*   Bellini’s is said to be opening on Greenmarket Square in October

*   Moksh Authentic Indian Cuisine restaurant has opened in Paarl

*   Vino’s has opened in Wellington

*   Alfama’s has opened on Waterkant Street

*   Taj Mahal has opened in Sea Point

*   It’s a House is to open on Jarvis Street in October, as a bar, coffee shop, and design art space.

*   Lion’s Head Bar is to open on Bree Street in October, selling craft beer and food

*   An Indian restaurant is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street, by the Madame Zingara Group

*   The Caviar Group is opening three new restaurants in the Gateway Centre in Umhlanga by the end of this year: Beluga, Sevruga, and Osetra

*   A new bar and Café is to open underneath the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, where Bamboo used to be

*   Cattle Baron has opened in Hermanus.

*   Café Blanc de Noir has opened on Brenaissance wine estate in Stellenbosch

* The Reserve is said to be opening a beach restaurant in the V&A Waterfront.

*   Chef Nic van Wyk, previously with Terroir, is opening a restaurant at Diemersdal in Durbanville during the course of this month.

*   Lizette’s Kitchen has opened in Vöelklip, Hermanus.

*   Cattle Baron is to open at Pontac Manor in Paarl

*   Col’Cacchio is opening in Hermanus at the end of November

*   Merchant Café is opening on Long Street, opposite Merchants on Long, later this month.

* Paulina’s Restaurant is opening at Rickety Bridge in Franschhoek

*   Ocean Jewel Deli opens at Woodstock Junction on 22 October.

*   Buitenverwachting has opened a Coffee Shop and Roastery

* Wakaberry is opening on Kloof Street at the end of October

*   Rock Sushi Thai has opened in Meadowridge

*   Jimmy Jimanos sports bar is opening on Long Street

*   Dolcé Bakery is opening in St John’s Arcade in Sea Point

*   The Coffee Bloc has opened at Buitenverwachting

*   The Salzburger Grill has opened in Sea Point

Restaurant Closures

*   Sabarosa in Bakoven has closed down.

* Sunbird Bistro in Camps Bay has closed down

*   Limoncello in Gardens has closed down, but is continuing with its pop-up restaurant truck

*   Paparazzi has closed down on St George’s Mall

*   Wicked Treats in Franschhoek has closed down.

*   Casa Nostra has closed down in Sea Point, until it finds a new venue.

*   Bistro on Rose in Bo-Kaap has closed down as a restaurant

*   The Kove in Camps Bay has closed down, its space has become part of sister restaurant Zenzero

*   Sinnfull has closed down in Sea Point and Camps Bay

*   Liam Tomlin Food is closing down in Franschhoek at the end of October

Restaurant staff/venue changes

*    Il Cappero has moved from Barrack Street, to Fairway Street in Camps Bay.

*  Table Thirteen has reduced in size in Green Point and will open in Paarden Eiland later this year.

*   The V&A Waterfront Food Court is closed for renovations until November.  A sign outside the construction area lists the following businesses moving into or returning to the area: Primi Express, Anat, Carnival, Nür Halaal, Royal Bavarian Bakery, KFC, Boost Juice, Simply Asia, Steers, Debonairs, Subway, Marcel’s, and Haagan Dazs.  Nando’s is also opening.

*   Fyndraai Restaurant will move to another building on the wine estate in November, and will offer fine dining.  The current restaurant will serve light lunches and picnics.

*   Josephine Gutentoft has moved to Makaron at Majeka House as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier.

*   The Reserve has changed its name to Reserve Brasserie. Seelan Sundoo, ex Grand Café Camps Bay and ex La Perla, is the new consultant chef and GM (Seelan Sundoo has since left, now running the Shimmy Beach Club).

*   Chef Andrew Mendes from ex-Valora is now at Nelson’s Eye restaurant, where they are setting up a lunch section and cocktail bar upstairs.

*   Giulia’s Food Café Restaurant has opened where Miss K was on Main Road, Green Point. Now serve Italian-style lunch and dinner, but have retained some Miss K breakfast and pastry items.

*   Having bought the farm about 18 months ago, Antonij Rupert Wines has taken over the Graham Beck Franschhoek property. They will re-open the tasting room in October, initially offering all its Antonij Rupert, Cape of Good Hope, Terra del Capo, and Protea wines to taste.  They are renovating the manor house, to which the Antonij Rupert and Cape of Good Hope wines will be moved for tasting at a later stage.

*   Orphanage is expanding into a property at its back, opening on Orphan Street, in December, creating a similar second bar downstairs, and opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers

*   GOLD Restaurant has moved into the Trinity building

*   Opal Lounge has closed down on Kloof Street, and has moved into Blake’s Bar building, renaming it Dinner at Blake’s. A wine and tapas bar has also been opened, called Bar Rouge.

*   Mano A Mano has opened on Park Street, where Green’s used to be.

*   MondeVino Restaurant at Montecasino in Johannesburg, the MasterChef SA prize for the next two years, is to be renamed Aarya, and is to be run by Chef Deena Naidoo from November onwards.

*   Bizerca has moved into the ex-Gourmet Burger space in Heritage Square on Shortmarket Street.

*    Co-owner Abbi Wallis has taken over the running of The Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery in Wellington.

*   Marcelino has left Marcelino’s Bakery, leaving the control with Mr Zerban.  A Zerban’s style restaurant is being added onto the bakery and will open mid-October.  It will change its name to EuroHaus.

*   Chef Chris Erasmus from Pierneef à La Motte is doing a stage with Chef Rene Redzepi at Noma, the number one World’s 50 Best Restaurants, in Copenhagen this month

*   MasterChef SA runner-up Sue-Ann Allen is joining South Africa’s number one Eat Out Top 10 restaurant The Greenhouse as an intern for a month, from 21 August.

*   Vintage India has moved out of the Garden’s Centre to the corner of Hiddingh and Mill Street, around the corner.

*   Nook Eatery in Stellenbosch has been sold, with new owners.

*   Crêpe et Cidre has closed down in Franschhoek.  Gideon’s The Famous Pancake House has opened in its space.

*   Brampton winetasting bar on Church Street, Stellenbosch, is undergoing renovations to treble its current size, planning to reopen in the first week of September.

*   Noop restaurant in Paarl has new owners

*   Buena Vista Social Club has changed its name to Barbosa Social Club

*   Chris Marais is the new chef at Blaauwklippen, previously with The Oyster Box

*   Daniel de Villiers is the new chef at Grand Dedale in Wellington, previously with Delaire Graff

*   Phil Alcock is the new chef at Two Oceans Restaurant at Cape Point, having previously worked at The Cape Grace, The Showroom, maze, and more

*   Albert van der Loo, previously with Le Coq and Dieu Donne restaurants in Franschhoek, is the new Head Chef at Oude Werf Hotel in Stellenbosch.

*   Chef Emile Fortuin, who was at Reuben’s Robertson for a very short time, has left and moved to Tokara

*   Camil and Ingrid Haas (ex Bouillabaisse and Camil’s) have returned to Franschhoek, with the view to get involved in a restaurant

*   Chef Cheyne Morrisby has left The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz, and has joined the Mantella Group (owners of Blake’s and ex-Opal Lounge). Update: Chef Cheyne has left the Mantella Group, after a very short time.

*   Tiaan van Greunen is the new Executive Chef at Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel, after the departure of Emile Fortuin

*   Alex von Ulmenstein is the new Restaurant Manager at Indochine, at Delaire Graff Estate

*   Manager Raymond Brown has left Reuben’s Franschhoek, and has been replaced by Martell Smith.

*   Zelda Oelofse is the new Manager of Harvest Restaurant at Laborie, having taken over from Yolanda Prinsloo.

*   Maryna Frederiksen is the new Executive Chef at The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz.

*   The ex-Caveau owners are said to be taking over the running of the Twankey Bar of the Taj hotel.

*   Sand at The Plettenberg hotel has changed its name to Seafood at The Plettenberg.

Restaurant breaks

*   Grande Provence is closing on Sunday evenings until the end of September.

*   Tokara is closing for a Spring break from 24 September – 4 October

*   Planet Restaurant is closed on Sunday evenings until the end of September

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

A Hermanus restaurant space with one of the most beautiful views must be the new La Pentola (The Saucepan), previously the home of Mediterrea and Grilleria, on Marine Drive close to the Marine Hotel. Lunch yesterday, to celebrate the 16th anniversary of Whale Cottage Hermanus with our Manager Carole, was made all the more special with a school of dolphins escorting whales across the majestic Walker Bay, which La Pentola looks on to.

Carole had been to the restaurant before, having met Chef Shane Sauvage when he was at La Vierge restaurant on the Hermanus Wine Route. La Pentola opened a few months ago when Grilleria vacated the premises. Chef Shane also owns a restaurant with the same name in Pretoria, which he opened in 1995 and is now run by his sister.  Chef Shane told us that his father is of French origin and his mother came from Seychelles, yet he does not speak French.  He worked at Italian restaurants before opening his own restaurant, and this inspired the love for Italian cooking, and hence the Italian name of his restaurant.  Chef Shane impressed by being on the floor regularly, chatting to his clients, and hugging those he knows. He is proud that he started as a ‘bus boy’, fetching plates, to being the owner of two restaurants today.  He talks about the ‘fusion cuisine’ which his restaurants prepare, being French, Italian and Mediterranean dishes made with South African produce.  The website emphasises that Chef Shane uses real butter, cream and fresh herbs, as well as olive oil, and that no MSG and artificial flavourings are used in their cooking!  Only grain-fed beef, duck, and chicken is sourced.  The dietary requirements of lactose intolerant and diabetic clients are catered for.

Chef Shane has already published two cookbooks: ‘The Edge of Fusion’, and ‘InFusion’, the latter book winning him a Gourmand World Cook Book Award in 2009. He proudly brought his books to the table to show us, and they are are available for sale in the restaurant.   ‘InFusion’ focused on the ‘infusion of South African produce, liquor and lifestyle’, says its introduction, and contains Forewords written by Good Food & Wine Show owner Christine Cashmore and restaurant reviewer Victor Strugo, with beautiful food photography by Sarie Pretorius.  Chef Shane is described by Strugo to stand for FRESH: Fruit, Real, Emotions, Seasons, Herbs.  Alcohol is used in the preparation of most dishes.

The restaurant has wooden tables without tablecloths, and the chairs are covered in tan mock leather, the walls are painted in yellow/gold and tan, covered with an odd collection of paintings. The windows can open and are stack-able, allowing one to enjoy a superb unobstructed sea view over the bay, an ideal location for photography of the visiting whales.  A new lounge-style seating area has been added in one corner of the restaurant. The tables have material serviettes, but an ordinary salt cellar and a cheap black pepper grinder.  The menu and winelist are covered in black plastic, and both disappointed in their presentation, the menu just being a typed list of items with a hand-correction, and the winelist containing diagrams of the wine districts and regions, and of the Aroma Wheel, which probably were copied from coloured sources, but lose their impact in black and white.

The menu has ten starters, and Carole enjoyed her Mussels Provencal (R48), a hearty portion served with muffin-shaped rolls containing mushrooms, capers and oregano.  Every menu item is described in detail in terms of all of its ingredients, and how the dish is prepared, rarely seen on menus.  Outback Crocodile and Springbok Carpaccio are the two most expensive starters, at R60.  Other interesting sounding starters are Angel snails (‘Spanish snails wrapped in bacon, pan fried with red onion, black pepper, butter, steamed in chardonnay, bound with cream and flavoured with origanum‘, the menu describes), Basil and port livers, and Afro Parisian pastry (smoked salmon, apple, served with phyllo pastry parcel filled with brie and mango pickle). Chardonnay fig and honey and African mampoer sorbets cost R10 each, and can be ordered as palate cleansers.  The main courses range in price from R85 for Santorini Chicken to R 165 for seafood fillet (fillet steak with seafood, tawny port and basil and cream sauce) and Mozambican Prawns (served with a beer cream sauce).  I enjoyed the kingklip prepared with red onion and tomato, basted in butter, served with ‘cream rice’ dusted with parmesan cheese, carrots and beans (R120), less complex than many of the other dishes in its ingredient combination.  I was impressed that it came with a fish knife, seldom offered.  Other main courses include a fillet flamed with 10 year old KWV brandy and served with Dijon mustard and green Madagascan cream sauce (R145), and Crocodile pastry (crocodile tail in curry cream sauce wrapped in phyllo pastry, R125).  Pasta dishes are made from Overberg flour and Locke Stone farm organic eggs.  Impressive is that the children’s dishes are healthy steak, fish and chicken, served with potato croquettes and vegetables (R45 – R50).

Desserts are affordable, none exceeding R50 (Strawberry Flambé with Belgium chocolate ice cream).  Carole loved the Crème Brûlee, a deep rich yellow colour, served with a strawberry sorbet, while I had the chocolate terrine served with cream, with an excellent cappuccino. Chef Shane sent two glasses of coffee liqueur to the table, but I declined, having to drive back to Cape Town.

The winelist states that BYO costs R30, explains the Aroma Wheel, and identifies the wine districts and regions in South Africa. Most wines offered are from Hermanus.  Bollinger is offered at R1200, Van Loveren Christina NV costs R220, Goedverwacht Crane Rosé Brut R130, and Bonnievale NV R120. Few wines by the glass are offered, costing about R45.  Vintages span more than one year, to save on reprinting the winelist, one would suspect.  Three Shiraz wines are available: Reyneke Organic ‘2009/10’ (R140), Val de Vie ‘2008/9‘ (R360), and Porcupine Ridge ‘2011/2012‘ costs R135.

Chef Shane’s menu is interesting, most dishes unusual.  His willingness to connect with his clients on the floor is a strength few chefs bother with.  The presentation of the menu and winelist could be improved, to match the food, and the fantastic view offered in the restaurant.  Service was not perfect, but our waiter was friendly.  The website seems overwritten in its accolades.  The most impressive part of our visit was the understanding by Chef Shane when we had to rush back to the guest house to check in guests just after we had ordered our food.  Our order was placed on hold and our table was kept for us until we returned.

La Pentola, first floor, 87 Marine Drive, Hermanus.  Tel (028) 313-1685. www.lapentola.co.za. Tuesday – Sunday lunch and dinner.

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