Entries tagged with “Vaudeville”.


The V&A Waterfront is a magnificent location for the new Madame Zingara Theatre of Dreams ‘The Miracle Tour’ show, which kicked off in the Belgium-made Spiegel tent last week, and will remain in the Mother City for another four months or more.   It must be one of the slickest ‘restautainment’ operations, feeding about 400 patrons each night, with unbelievable service and amazing entertainment.  Owner Richard Griffin is the ultimate showmaster, and just gets better at it year after year.

Located across the Aston Martin showroom, in which building there is ample and reasonably priced parking, the Theatre of Dreams is in the small parking area alongside the cinema parking exit, making it easy to get to.  GM and Ringmaster Marvin Haddon told us that they had negotiated with the V&A Waterfront management for a long time to obtain a space, and that the retail management company is being very supportive in making their Cape Town run a success.  The marquee tent is better protected against the infamous south-easter than in most other locations in Cape Town, if one remembers where Griffin has had to pitch his tent in the past, including the bottom end of Adderley Street under the highway bridge, and in the bush at Century City!  The marquee is not very visible, as branding has been reduced to ‘MZ’ with pink hearts, at the front and back of the area, with faux swans, more hearts, warthogs, and more. One enters into a smallish reception area with a bar, and a number of the show characters stand outside for photo opportunities, some as ‘frozen statues’.  A choice of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks is offered, and even Richard was waiting outside, saying hello to his patrons.  The ‘check-in’ was painless, nothing as complicated as it was at now ex-Vaudeville, which was a Madame Zingara ‘substitute’ in Cape Town for a  while, having featured ex-Madame Zingara star Irit Noble.  Marvin made it an even more special evening, coming to check on us regularly, and made us feel like very special guests, an amazing ability the Madame Zingara staff has.  They really seem to love their jobs, are looked after well, seem to enjoy dressing up, and know where the boundary lies in dealing with customers. Griffin (right, with The Specifics) wrote in his invitation letter that he is proud of the employment his show can offer, with a ‘R2,2 million on group payroll’.  Once inside, one sees more frozen statues, the one in honour of Alexander McQueen attracting attention especially.  The Madame Zingara Photography Emporium has two seats, and allows one to take photographs within a beautiful frame of flowers.  One can have face-painting done and can buy hats and other party decorations.

‘Victoria’, with her stained glass windows, can seat 437 patrons, we were told, and one does not feel cramped.  The stage runs down the middle of the tent, half way, almost like a fashion ramp, the end part being raised up or down, and also revolving, used for amazing effects.  Depending on the size of one’s party, one is seated at tables on a raised section further back for larger groups.  Tables near the stage run the risk of being picked on, as one gentlemen came to regret wearing his striped ‘pyjama shirt’.   Our host and waiter Jason chose to play the little red devil, and he was charming, nothing being too much trouble.  He did struggle to get us to drink more than some wine and sparkling wine, and lots of water.  The marquee is very cool when one arrives, being airconditioned, but it got hotter and hotter inside, being sold out on Thursday evening.  The table has a display of red flowers with the table number, but is removed after one is seated to make more space.  A winelist offers wines and ‘bubbles’ at reasonable prices, but does not specify the vintages. Sparkling wines include Pierre Jourdan Brut (R50/R190), Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel (R195), and Moët & Chandon (R650); Madame’s house white wine (R35/R120), La Motte Sauvignon Blanc (R155), Warwick Professor Black Sauvignon Blanc (R185), Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc (R135) and more; Madame’s red wine costs R40/R135, Rupert & Rothschild Classique (R220), Beyerskloof Pinotage (R140), and more.

The action never stops once one sits down, and Cathy Specific (who had ‘her’ own show ‘Cathy Pacific’, and right in the main photograph) welcomes the audience, table by table, as long lost friends, in ‘her’ blue air hostess uniform.  Once we were taken through the four course menu, and dietary adjustments were requested, the starter portion of dipping sticks, cheeses, a cream of sweet potato soup, a peppadew dip, tsatziki, hummus, kalamata and green olives, and nuts was brought to the table.  A highlight of the evening was being taken to see the kitchen, in which Chef Lee Cox is in charge.  Every night he and his team prepare 430 portions of each course, and it is run as a military operation, timing being of the essence, songs being his cue as to when the food must come out of the kitchen. The waiting staff literary run from the kitchen into the marquee, ensuring that the food remains hot, and the dessert cold. Chef Lee worked at Five Flies previously, and said that he orders 1 ton of AAA grade Karan beef fillet (their signature main course) a month. Stock take is done weekly, and on Tuesdays he receives the food delivery to the value of about R110000 for the week ahead. They are recycling conscious, and have a good daily rubbish collection service in the V&A. He has a ‘culinary kitchen crew’ of 28, and ‘everyone knows what to do’, he said.  He is proud of his good storage facilities.  Impressive was that Chef Lee came to our table after the main course had been served, to personally receive our feedback.

The first act of the show is introduced by MC Mr C (left in main photograph), a local who has worked in similar shows in Germany, and he reminded one of the MC in ‘Cabaret‘, with a wicked sense of humour and a German accent.  Cathy Specific too is funny, and has an amazing figure, whatever the outfit.  Two acrobats (Sam and Justine call themselves Adage) inside a chandelier-shaped ring, were followed by a handsome Lisa and Daniel dancing to Tango-type music which picks up pace, as does that of the dancing, with elegance and grace. The Specifics have evolved from the Three Tons of Fun, and have grown to four members, singing popular hits.

The second course was a tasty butternut and potato ravioli served on a bed of wild mushrooms.  The second act started off with Mr C transforming himself into Marlene Dietrich, and singing a popular ‘Falling in love again‘.  Three Russians (The Strongmen Sergei, Sergei and Alexander) look like wrestlers, two being massive and the third small in comparison, perform amazing acrobatic feats, never putting a foot wrong.  Two further performers Miles and George, The Acurians, do somersault flips, one on the soles of the other, sometimes doing double, and even triple flips, not all successful.  The performers were so professional that when they lost their footing, they did the section again, and added an extra flip, as if it had been choreographed like that for the show!

My main course choice of Venison Wellington was a hefty portion of Kudu loin served with spinach and wrapped with mushrooms and pastry, and mash.  I was envious of Katie’s sesame seed encrusted Norwegian salmon, served with lemongrass and litchi, teriyaki sauce, and a fruit salsa, a work of art.  The third option is a vegetarian one, which includes marinated tofu.  The most popular main course is the beef fillet, served with a chocolate chili sauce.

The third act started with a splash, Sam showing a leg and then an arm in the bath, and got out of the bath, splashing her wet hair on the patrons seated around her and doing some acrobatic acts too.  While she and the bath disappeared into the stage, the bath reappeared almost instantly, this time with Mr C, also having fun in the bath!  Oompah type music inspired what must have been German patrons to get onto the stage, and enjoy themselves dancing whilst everyone else was eating.  They had to be asked to return to their seats.

The final course is the piece de resistance, being Death by Chocolate, a platter with a delicious Tiramisu, a chocolate brownie, a hot phyllo cigar, and a ball of Gorgonzola infused chocolate ice cream.  Just when one thinks that the show is over, the fourth act starts, with a Rocky Horror Show ‘Time Warp’ dance in which everyone participates, guided by Cathy Specific.  One of the most unbelievable acts is that of Mongolian contortionist Vicky, who bends her body into the most unusual shapes. Sam does some more smart acrobatic moves above the audience, and is followed by two drumming and rope whipping Argentinians.  A giant sized disco ball is erected, and the audience that doesn’t have to get up early the next morning is encouraged to dance.

Madame Zingara delivers on its promise, printed on the winelist: “It has always been our dream to build a space where our working family is inspired and empowered and our guests are welcome to be part of the Madame Zingara magic, even if just for one night. We invite you to step into our world where disbelief is suspended and all things are possible. The Miracle Tour is our tribute to the miracle of life and a celebration of this magical journey”. Whatever problems one may have experienced during the day, will have been forgotten by the time one leaves the world of Madame Zingara!

Note: One is not allowed to photograph the acts during the show, so we have used those from the Madame Zingara website and Facebook page.

Madame Zingara: The Miracle Tour, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.  Tel  0861 623263. www.madamezingara.com Twitter: @Madame_Zingara  Tuesday – Saturday, until mid-year.

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

Last night the new 13-series reality TV show ‘Clifton Shores‘ premiered on Vuzu to mixed reaction, locals slamming the production on Twitter, yet the beautiful shots of Clifton were praised from a tourism perspective.

‘Clifton Shores’ documents the ability of a bevy of beautiful American lasses to adapt to ‘survive’ in Cape Town, said executive producer Quinton van der Burgh, reports the Cape Argus. He explained that they cast the girls in America, on the basis of not only their beauty but also their brains.  Katy, Kathy, Destiny, and Jamillette were selected and came to Cape Town last year for the filming, being joined by local lasses Raquel, Rikki, and Claire, as well as local lads Quinton, Brett, Toby, and Steven.  The unique idea for the series came when Van den Burgh, billed as a ‘coal mining magnate’,  was driving between Johannesburg and the coal mines, looking to get away from the ‘black’ in his life, he explained!

They were accommodated in a Clifton mansion, and had to work for Van den Burgh, playing the role of a billionaire businessman.  They had to use their social skills to raise funds for a charity, and to host parties. No script was used. ‘We just started rolling and the drama comes as we go along. It is as real as we get’.  For example, one of the girls is fired. He said about filming locally in Cape Town: “It is a brilliant idea because everything happens in Cape Town, one of the most beautiful destinations in the country. So we see them work and play in a city that allows both all year round” .

Van den Burgh explained that he has made the series to be successful amongst American viewers first and foremost, to make it financially viable, having had to make this choice early on in his production.  Two American networks have expressed interest in the show.  He proudly praised the marketing role of the series: “Also, there is a need to show Cape Town as a tourist destination and, judging by the way the ladies have fun, we are doing a good job in marketing the place” .  The stars of the series were filmed around Cape Town, at the beaches, and even attending the J&B Met earlier this year.  The video for the series shows some clips, including lots of footage of the Twelve Apostles and Camps Bay in the background to Clifton Beach, abseiling down Table Mountain, paragliding down Lion’s Head, flying over the Cape Town Stadium and V&A Waterfront, and also moves to the Palace of the Lost City, where they do game viewing, and ride elephants.

The Cape Town tourism industry should be grateful for Van den Burgh’s decision to shoot the series in Cape Town, and choosing Clifton (one of the top ten beaches in the world, he motivated).  One hopes that it will be sold to American networks with good audiences, to encourage them to visit Cape Town and its ‘Clifton Shores‘!  The reality TV series (see trailer) comes one month after the Bollywood movie ‘Cocktail’ was released internationally, having been predominantly shot in Cape Town too.

POSTSCRIPT 4/9: Last night we watched the series for the first time, being the third episode.  It showed the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, at which a meeting was held, paragliding down Lion’s Head, beautiful Table Mountain, a township, and a show at the now ex-Vaudeville. A surprise was that the episode was only 30 minutes long.

‘Clifton Shores’, Vuzu (DStv channel 123), Tuesdays at 21h00. www.cliftonshores.com

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

Capetonians are still reeling from the news that the country’s and our city’s largest restaurant, Paulaner Bräuhaus, closed down on Sunday evening, after ten years of operating in the V & A Waterfront.  Our blogpost about this closure has received more than 1000 unique views in the past 48 hours, an unheard of high readership demonstrating the interest in this story.  Kloof Street appears to be experiencing a particularly bad series of restaurant closures, the street having the most restaurants in Cape Town.  Our list of latest restaurant openings and closures will be updated continuously, as we receive information.

Cape Town

*   Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room has opened on Bree Street, as an American-style diner, owned by Lyndall Maunder, ex-Superette

*   Chez Chez Espresso and Cheesecake Bar has closed down off Kloof Street, Tamboerskloof.

*   The Black Pearl (ex-Seven Sins) on Kloof Street has closed down

*   Andy Fenner (JamieWho?) and friends have opened Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in Metal Lane, 8 Kloof Street, opposite McDonald’s.  They are stocking Farmer Angus McIntosh’s beef, Richard Bosman’s pork, and eggs and chicken from Simply Wholesome.  A barista will make coffee, and Jason will bake special chorizo muffins and bacon brioche for them.

*   Neil Grant, ex-sommelier of Rust en Vrede, has opened Burrata, a new restaurant in the Old Biscuit Mill

*   Societi Brasserie has opened in Constantia

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, Eat Out Top Chef, has opened the Pot Luck Club, a Tapas Bar next to The Test Kitchen (photograph above). He will also open a real Test Kitchen, a private experimental place to develop new recipes

*   The Bungalow has opened as a 400-seater restaurant where La Med used to be, part of the Kovensky Group, also owning Pepenero, Paranga, The Kove and Zenzero.

*   La Belle Café & Bakery has opened in the Alphen Boutique Hotel.

*   5 Rooms Restaurant has opened at the Alphen Boutique Hotel

*   Gypsy Café has opened in Observatory

*   Kuzina in the Cape Quarter has been sold, and is now called Rocca.

*   Sabrina’s, which opened about two months ago where Depasco was, at the corner of Kloof and Long Street, has closed down

*   Arts Café has opened at Artscape.

*   Chef Craig Paterson has started as Executive Chef at Dash (Queen Victoria Hotel), the V&A Hotel, and Dock House

*   Caveau at the Josephine Mill has closed down

*   Café Sofia in Green Point has become Slainte

*   Knead has opened a large outlet in Lifestyle on Kloof, Gardens

*   Mitico has opened a pizzeria and ’spaghetteria’ on Kloof Street, where St Elmo’s used to be

*   Mamma Mia in Steenberg has closed down

*   Don Pedro’s in Woodstock has re-opened, under Madame Zingara management

*   Madame Zingara is said to be re-opening in its original building on Loop Street

*   Tong Lok on Kloof Street has closed down.

*   Mason on Kloof Street has closed down (to become a Slug & Lettuce)

*   Buzz on Kloof Street has closed down

*   Myög has opened as a frozen yoghurt outlet, at 103 Kloof Street

*   Thai Café has opened in the old Cape Quarter

*   Paulaner Bräuhaus in the V&A Waterfront has closed down!

*   The Fez is closing down.

*   Giorgio Nava’s Down South Food Bar has closed down

*   Fat Back Soul has been renamed South China Dim Sum Bar

*   On a Roll has opened in Mowbray as a gourmet hot dog restaurant

*   The Dog’s Bollocks has opened as a burger pop-up restaurant

*   Saints Burger Joint has opened on Kloof Street

*   Cape Bubble Tea, which recently opened in Camps Bay, has closed down

*   Dear Me has opened its Pantry

*   Chef Jannie Melis has left French Toast

*   Jackal & Hide has opened on Kloof Street

*   Eat on Breda Street has closed down

*   Graham Beck’s Gorgeous bubbly bar has opened at Catharina’s at Steenberg, with Jenna Adams as the Manager.

*   Operator Pamela Trevelyan and Chef Lana Doyle have left Sunbird Bistro in Camps Bay.

*   Col’Cacchio is opening new outlets in Claremont and Westlake

*   Chef Daniel Botha, who started at Salt restaurant at the Ambassador Hotel in November, has left. Dale Thebus is the new head chef.

*   Vaudeville has closed down

*   Shin Tai Asian Kitchen is opening on Regent Road in Sea Point

*   Bistro 1682 Manager Juergen Welp has left, and has been replaced by Marc Cowen.  Assistant Manager Jenna Adams has moved over to Catharina’s to run Gorgeous by Graham Beck.  New assistant managers are Cable Ermstrom and Hilton Klassen.

*   A new Vida é Caffe is opening on Prestwich Street in April, and a cupcake shop is said to be opening around the corner, on Ebenezer Street, next to T & Co/Table 13, in Green Point

*   GM Nigel Pace has left the Cape Grace Hotel

*   Il Cappero will moving from Barrack Street to Fairway Street in Camps Bay, opening in May.

*   Saints on 84 Kloof has opened on Kloof Street

*   Sushibox has opened at Newlands Village

*   Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro has opened on Main/Glengariff Roads in Sea Point, as a dinner theatre (from May), and restaurant, owned by Richard Loring and Roland Seidel

*   ‘I my Laundry laundry restaurant has opened on Buitengracht Street

*   West Street Café has opened in the new Woodstock Foundry, owned by Chef Alan West

*   Orphanage has opened as a cocktail and tapas emporium on Bree Street

*   Valora on Loop Street has closed down

*   ACT Restaurant and Play Bar at the Baxter Theatre closed down overnight on the last March weekend, without paying its rent for the past three months.

*   Philip Arno Botes is the new Chef at Pure Restaurant at Hout Bay Manor.

*  Take & Bake German Bakery has closed down on Main Road Sea Point

*  Maz Sushi has closed down on Main Road Sea Point

*   Planet Green Salad Bar has opened on Kloof Street

*  Burrata will introduce a new 3-course food and wine pairing menu before the end of April.

*  Vanilla in the Cape Quarter has closed down.

*   Chef Bruce Robertson has opened Bruce’s Beach House for lunches, in Scarborough

*   Cake designer Martin Senekal has closed Cafeteria in De Waterkant, now only selling on order and at the Old Biscuit Mill market

*   Madame’s on Napier has opened in De Waterkant

*   Moyo is to open where the Paulaner Braühaus was in the V & A Waterfront.

*   Sinn has closed down its Deli at Wembley Square

*   Table Thirteen is closing down in Green Point and moving to Paarden Eiland at the end of May

Franschhoek

* Leopard’s Leap has opened its Tasting room and Liam Tomlin Food Studio and Store outside Franschhoek

*    Reuben’s is opening a Franschhoek branch in his self-owned building off the main road, when his Huguenot Road branch lease expires this year

*   Dieu Donné in Franschhoek has leased its restaurant to Martin and Marco from Durban, and they have renamed it Roca.

*   The sushi restaurant has closed down

*   MCC Franschhoek has opened in the Village Square, opposite the church, stocking 34 MCC’s from Franschhoek and serving food as well

*  Babel Tea House has opened at Babylonstoren, serving sandwiches, cake and teas.

*  Donovan Dreyer from Grande Provence has resigned, and started as Restaurant Manager of Indochine at Delaire Graff.  Aldo du Plessis has taken over as Restaurant Manager at Grande Provence.

*  The Franschhoek Food Emporium has closed down.

*   Bijoux Chocolates has closed down its chocolate manufacture, will continue selling chocolates.

*   Chef Bjorn Dingemans has left The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz, to open up a new restaurant on Lourensford wine estate in spring. Cheyne Morrisby is the new chef at the Franschhoek Kitchen.

*   Chef Vanie Padayachee has joined Le Quartier Français

*   Chef Darren Roberts is leaving Grande Provence for a new appointment in the Seychelles at the end of April.

*   Alton van Biljon has been appointed as Restaurant Manager at Haute Cabriere.

Stellenbosch

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

*   Cupcake on Dorp Street has closed down, and Dorpstraat Deli will open

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened a bar, serving Bartinney wines, and craft beers.

*   Bruce von Pressentin has been appointed as Executive Chef at The Restaurant @ Longridge

*   David Higgs has resigned as Executive Chef from Radisson Blu Gautrain in Johannesburg (previously with Rust en Vrede), and was said to be headed for his home country Namibia.  He starts at The Saxon in Johannesburg in May.

*   Slug & Lettuce will open where Beads is on Church Street

*   De Huguenot, with its Harry Q Bar and wedding reception facilities, will be auctioned on 14 March.

*   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 in June, with a new name called The Vergelegen Restaurant.

*   Warwick wine estate’s new chef is Dane Newton (ex-Chamonix, Cascade Manor).

* Tokara closes for a winter break from 22 April, re-opens on 4 May

Paarl

* Chef Matthew Gordon has opened Harvest, a new restaurant at Laborie

*  The Spice Route Restaurant has opened on the ex-Seidelberg, now belonging to Fairview.

Hermanus/Overberg

*    Simone’s Restaurant has opened in Napier

*   Tipples Bar and Grill has opened in Hermanus

*   Rivendell Estate and Bistro has opened as a restaurant and winetasting venue on the road between Hermanus and the N2, near the Kleinmond turn-off.

*  Grilleri has closed down

Garden Route

*   Katarina’s has opened at the Kurland Hotel.

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

After writing about the disastrous error-filled and outdated Conde Nast Traveller  Guide to Cape Town earlier this week, it was refreshing to see a link on Twitter about the Telegraph Travel’s  ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’, written by local travel writer and ‘destination expert’ Pippa de Bruyn (author of a ‘Frommer’s Guide’ to South Africa and to India, and of  ‘A Hedonist’s Guide to Cape Town’), resulting in a far more accurate guide for the tourist visiting Cape Town.

The Guide kicks off with the Beauty positioning for Cape Town (the one that Cape Town Tourism has just thrown away by using Inspirational’, as the new positioning for Cape Town, even though it is not unique for Cape Town and has been used by others, including Pick ‘n Pay!), in stating that “Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world”.  It is accompanied by a beautiful shot of Clifton, with the Twelve Apostles as backdrop.  The reasons for travelling to Cape Town are motivated as its ‘in-your-face beauty’; the pristine white beaches; the proximity of nature; spotting zebra and wildebeest on the slopes of Table Mountain; watching whales breaching in False Bay; being ‘halted by cavorting baboons near Cape Point’; being a contender for World Design Capital 2014 with its art galleries, ‘hip bars’, opera, and design-savvy shops; the unique marriage of Dutch-origin vegetable gardening, winemaking introduced by the French (this fact must be challenged, as it was the Dutch who established the first wine farms), Malay slaves’ spices, and English ‘Georgian mansions and Victorian terraced homes’;  its contrasts of pleasure and poverty, of ‘pounding seas and vine-carpeted valleys’, and its award-winning wines and produce offer ‘some of the best (and most affordable) fine dining in the world’.

The ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’ includes the following recommendations:

*   travel time is suggested as ‘pretty much any time of the year’, and a warning of wet Julys and Augusts now is inaccurate, given the wonderful non-winter weather experienced in Cape Town during both these months this year!

*   misleading is the claim that Cape Town offers the best land-based whale watching in the world – this positioning belongs to Hermanus, and is corrected a few pages further into the guide.   Also misleading is the claim that the best ‘summer deals’ are available in October and November – most accommodation establishments have the same rate for the whole summer, and do not drop rates at the start of summer.

*   it is up-to-date in that use of the MyCiti Bus is recommended to travel between the airport and the Civic Centre, as well as to the Waterfront.  Train travel between Cape Town and Simonstown is not recommended, due to dirty windows and lack of safety, one of the few negatives contained in the Guide.  The red City Sightseeing bus is recommended, as are bus tours, taxis, Rikkis, and car hire.

*  The ‘Local laws and etiquette’ section does not address either of these two points.  Instead, it warns against crime when walking or driving, and recommends that tourists should not ‘flash their wealth’.  Potential card-skimming in the Waterfront and at the airport is also a potential danger, travellers to Cape Town are told, not accurate, and unfair to these two Cape Town locations.

*   Tourist attractions recommended are Cape Point, driving via the Atlantic Seaboard and Chapman’s Peak; wine-tasting in Constantia; the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens; exploring the city centre on foot, walking from the city centre to Green Point; taking a water taxi from the Convention Centre to the Waterfront; the Footsteps to Freedom Tour; the Company Gardens; the National Gallery; summer concerts at Kirstenbosch; tanning at Clifton beaches; shopping for wines or going on a wine tour; High Tea at the Mount Nelson hotel; going on tours which allow one to meet the ‘other half’  locals;  walking through the Waterfront or taking a sunset cruise; the Two Oceans Aquarium; eating fish and chips in Kalk Bay; going up Table Mountain by foot or cable car; day trips to Cape Point, the West Coast National Park to see the spring flowers, and the Winelands (referring to Franschhoek as the now out-of-date ‘Gourmet Capital of the Cape’, by stating that ‘it is the only place where you have award-winning restaurants within walking distance of each other’, not correct either).

*   in the ‘Cape Town Hotels’ section, it states disturbingly (and information out of date) that ‘Cape Town isn’t cheap’, and therefore suggests that clients stay in Oranjezicht, Tamboerskloof, Higgovale, and Bo-Kaap  (but none of these suburbs have restaurants, something guests would like to walk to by foot from their accommodation), as well as De Waterkant, the V&A Waterfront (probably one of the most expensive accommodation areas!), and ‘Greenpoint’ (sic).  Self-catering and ‘B&b’ (sic) accommodation is recommended.  Hotels previously reviewed by The Telegraph are listed: the Mount Nelson, Ellerman House, the Cape Grace, Cascades on the Promenade, Four Rosmead, An African Villa, Rouge on Rose, Fritz Hotel, and The Backpack hostel, an interesting mix of hotels, and not all highly-rated in its reviews. No newer ‘World Cup hotels’ are recommended. 

*   For nightlife, Camps Bay’s Victoria Road, Long Street and Cape Quarter are recommended.  Vaudeville is strongly recommended, but has lost a lot of its appeal.  Other specific recommendations are Asoka on Kloof Street, Fiction DJ Bar & Lounge, Crew Bar in De Waterkant, Julep off Long Street, and the Bascule bar at the Cape Grace.  The list seems out of date, with more trendy night-time spots being popular amongst locals.

*   The Restaurant section is most disappointing, given the great accolade given to the Cape Town fine-dining scene early in the guide. Four restaurants only are recommended, and many would disagree that these are Cape Town’s best, or those that tourists should visit: The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, Willoughby & Co in the Waterfront, 95 Keerom Street, and ‘Colcaccio (sic) Camps Bay’!  A special note advises ‘gourmet diners’ to check Eat Out and Rossouw’s Restaurants  for restaurants close to one’s accommodation.  Stellenbosch restaurants Overture, Rust en Vrede and Terroir are recommended, as are Le Quartier and Ryan’s Kitchen in Franschhoek, and La Colombe in Constantia.

*   Shopping suggestions include the city centre, Green Point, Woodstock, De Waterkant, and Kloof Street, the latter street not having any particularly special shops.  The Neighbourgoods Market in the Old Biscuit Mill is recommended as the ‘best food market in the country’ (locals may disagree, with the squash of undecided shoppers, and increasingly more expensive), and may recommend the City Bowl Market instead).  Art galleries are also recommended.

While the Telegraph Travel  ‘Cape Town City Break Guide’ is a massive improvement on the Condé Nast Traveller  Cape Town guide, even this guide contains unforgivable errors, which a local writer should not be making.  One would hope that Cape Town Tourism will get the errors fixed.  We also suggest that they recommend the addition of Cape Town’s many special city centre eateries, and that the accommodation list be updated.  The exclusion of Robben Island on the attraction list is a deficiency.   The delineation between recommendations for things to do in Cape Town is blurred in some instances with recommendations in towns and villages outside Cape Town, which may confuse tourists to the Mother City.  Overall, the Guide appears superficial and touristy, and does not reveal all the special gems that Cape Town has to offer.

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

For the past five years, with one exception, I have attended the Grande Provence charity lunch in aid of the Multiple Sclerosis Society, the proceeds of which go to the Society.  The theme of the lunch is Big 5, and everything is done in multiples of five: five courses, prepared by five top chefs, paired with five Grande Provence wines, and five entertainers, creating a most enjoyable afternoon, and generating much needed funding for the Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Not cheap at R1100 a ticket, the Grande Provence charity lunch was attended by about a hundred supporters, and raised about R200 000, almost double the amount raised last year.  All services are donated, and the full amount raised is donated to the Society.  In addition to the ticket sales, a raffle raised funds, as did a charity auction, of accommodation, a helicopter flip, a dinner for ten cooked by Grande Provence chef Darren Roberts, and works of art, which raised half the monies, thanks to the amazing auctioneering charm of Ariella Kuper of Auction Alliance. 

Multiple Sclerosis is a disease of the central nervous system which destroys the myelin, a ‘rubber coating around the nerves in one’s brain’.  This leaves the nerves exposed, and blocks messages from the brain to parts of the body, creating physical problems, such as an inability to speak properly, to walk, to see, or to remember things.   The Society uses the monies it raises to pay for a part-time social worker, to offer support at the homes of sufferers of this disease, to offer transport services, to train sufferers in coping with their disease, and to offer equipment for rental.

On arrival guests were offered Angels Tears Rosé, and canapés of salmon cones and oysters, prepared by Michel Louws, the chef at Huka Lodge in New Zealand, the sister property of Grande Provence.  Chef Michel arrived in Franschhoek last week, and we attended a dinner on Friday evening as well, prepared by him in its entirety, with a focus on New Zealand cuisine, but more about that below.  The programme was spread out over close to six hours, and a good time was had by all, Master of Ceremonies Ryan O’Connor from Kfm being a charming and funny host, and has donated his services for free for a number of years, and vowed to do so for the rest of his life.  The programme interspersed food courses with the entertainment by five musicians (Darryl Walters, Kari, ex-Madame Zingara and Vaudeville performer Irit Noble, Tony Nelson, and Emil Struwig), and a few speeches.  Non Smit, who runs the Multiple Sclerosis Society, described the disease as invisible, and expressed her gratitude for the support received, and explained how the monies are used.  Shani Marais, wife of Grande Provence winemaker Jaco Marais, whose brainchild the lunch is, is a Multiple Sclerosis sufferer, and works tirelessly to organise the annual charity luncheons.  Motivational speaker Sean Willard spoke on the subject of his book to be published in July, entitled “Have a Life Attack”, and advised all to have “a love attack, a laugh attack and a life attack” regularly!  He said that Shani was a wonderful example of getting up, and not giving up. 

The first course was prepared by Grande Roche Eat Out Top 10 chef Roland Gorgosilich, being a Trio of Ostrich (left), including carpaccio and a mince ball, served with Tandoori, paprika vinaigrette and coriander mayonnaise, and was paired with the Grande Provence Pinot Noir 2009, which I enjoyed so much that I stuck with it for the rest of the lunch.   This was followed by Rainbow Trout gravadlax, presented with watercress, anchovy and smoked beetroot mayonnaise, Buffalo mozzarella, and a dill and lime gel, beautifully presented by Chef Gregory Czarnecki of Waterkloof Estate in Somerset West (right).   This course was paired with Grande Provence Sauvignon Blanc 2010. 

The main course was lamb neck, which had been cured and cooked for 36 hours.  It was prepared by Chef Michel Louws from award-winning Huka Lodge in New Zealand, and he felt that lamb would represent his new home country, using Karoo lamb for the dish.  It was topped with the tiniest croutons and lime peel, which gave the softest lamb a wonderful taste.  The aroma of the lamb could be smelt throughout the room, and was enjoyed to ooos and aaas.  Chef Michel has an interesting Dutch/New Zealand accent, and a most interesting hairstyle – he is bald-headed, but has a cute strand of hair which stands upright with the help of a special wax, he explained to us, saying that when he was at school they didn’t want his hair to be long, while his mother did not want him to shave everything off, so he chose the combination compromise.  Chef Michel trained at Michelin-starred Dutch restaurants Le Cirque, de Librije, Inter Scaldis and Zusje, and then the restaurant at which he was the head chef, ‘t-Veerhuis, was awarded a Michelin star. He joined Huka Lodge two years ago.  His restaurant will not feature on the New Zealand top 10 restaurant list, he said, as the restaurant is mainly for the guests of the Lodge, and a maximum of six outside guests can be considered per meal.  

The 4-course New Zealand dinner prepared by Michel Louws on Friday evening, costing R495 per head, was preceded by canapes, including salmon cones.  Chef Michel served scallops as a starter, one hot and one cold, with lemon, which was paired with Grande Provence Sauvignon Blanc 2010, and an excellent New Zealand Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2005.  Then followed barbecued lobster served with a delicious liquid garlic sauce, paired with Grande Provence Chardonnay 2009 and New Zealand Clearview Reserve Chardonnay 2009.  The main course was the lamb neck as well, served with Grande Provence Shiraz 2007 and New Zealand Craggy Range Block 14 Syrah 2005, and Chef Michel described the Karoo lamb he used for it as ‘bloody awesome’.   Dessert was a ‘deconstructed Snickers’, consisting of malt, caramel, chocolate and peanuts, which was paired with Frangelico.   Chef Michel wants to try the local restaurant highlights, and went to The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, saying it was ‘worldly’ and he liked that they served local wines. He also went to Pierneef à La Motte, where he had Bokkoms.  In Holland they have a similar dish, made from air-dried herrings.  He wants to get to The Test Kitchen, and we suggested Tokara, given his admiration for Ferran Adria of El Bulli.

The charity lunch dessert was prepared by Rudi Liebenberg and his pastry chef from the Mount Nelson Hotel and their Planet restaurant.  It was a collection of ‘chocolate stuff’, including peanut and chocolate sable, chocolate créme, dark chocolate sorbet, and a thin slab of Valrhona chocolate.  This was paired with Grande Provence Shiraz 2007.   The final course was a cheese plate served on a slate plate, beautifully presented by Chef Darren Roberts of Grande Provence.   It contained a stilton, roasted cashew nuts, preserved fig, olive biscuits, compressed melon goats’ cheese sorbet, balsamic foam, Welsh Rarebit, and a refreshing raspberry aniseed puree, and was paired with Grande Provence Chardonnay 2010.

Grande Provence has re-positioned itself as one of the top restaurants in Franschhoek, with the two excellent top food events it organised over the past weekend.  It was announced by Grande Provence GM Amanda Roberts that they plan to bring out more guest chefs from Australia and Asia.  The collaboration with top local chefs in preparing food for the Multiple Sclerosis Society charity lunch is a great opportunity to see the creativity of the chefs under one roof, so to speak, whilst supporting a worthwhile cause.

Grande Provence, Main Road, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-8600.  www.grandeprovence.co.za

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

We have been tracking recent restaurant opening, closure, and restaurant and chef change information in Cape Town and in the Winelands on our Winter Restaurant Specials blog post, but have decided to do an update for those not looking for specials necessarily.  

Restaurant openings

*   La Mouette has opened at 78 Regent Road in Sea Point.  

*    Brio is a new jazz restaurant, in half of the ex-Riboville in town (on the Adderley Street side)

*    Van Hunks has opened at 1 Union Street, off Kloof Street in Gardens

*   Cafe Nood has opened in Wilderness Road, Claremont

*    Ryan’s Kitchen has opened at Rusthof guest house in Franschhoek – the chef Ryan Smith is ex-Mont Rochelle. 

*   The House of Meat has opened in the Pepper Club Hotel, corner Long and Bloem Streets, offering a full braai for R 295  

*   Spiros has opened in Hout Bay

*   La Cantina has opened in the Alliance Francaise.

*   The De Leuwen Jagt restaurant on the Seidelberg wine estate outside Paarl has opened The Fabulous Bakery.  

*   Gesellig has opened on the corner of Church and Regent Roads in Sea Point, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

*   Indochine has opened at the Delaire Graff wine estate in Stellenbosch. 

*   The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe has opened at Haskell Vineyards in Stellenbosch. 

*   The Wild Peacock Food Emporium has opened in Stellenbosch.  

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened in Stellenbosch.  

*   Knife Restaurant has opened in the Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, a sister restaurant to Fork.

*   Sommelier Restaurant has re-opened, after a two-year closure, at Sante Hotel & Wellness Centre

*   Illyria coffee shop has opened in the Eikestad Mall in Stellenbosch

*   Pierneef à  la Motte has opened at La Motte in Franschhoek.

*   The Artisan Cafe has opened inside Table Thirteen in Green Point, with a barista

*   The Fish Shack has opened in The Paddocks, Milnerton

*   Maison in Franschhoek is to open a restaurant

*   Etienne Bonthuys (ex-Tokara) has opened his long-awaited restaurant on Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, called Casparus, in partnership with artist Strijdom van der Merwe.

*   Luke Dale Roberts, award-winning chef whilst at La Colombe (reaching 12th place on Top 50 Restaurants in the World list), has opened The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.

*   Sofia’s at Morgenster has opened.

*   Down South has opened on Long Street 

*   Victoria Eatery has opened in Hermanus.

*   French Toast has opened at 199 Bree Street, a wine and tapas bar

*   DISH has opened at Inn on the Square, Greenmarket Square

*   Babel has opened at Babylonstoren near Klapmuts/Simondium (next to Backsberg)

*   Hemelhuijs has opened at 71 Waterkant Street, for breakfast and lunch

*   Barracudas has opened  with ‘simply sumptious seafood’ served, in Fish Hoek.

*   The Olive Shack at Allora in Franschhoek has opened as a deli, doing olive oil tastings, and serving Breakfast, Greek lunches and picnics

*   Sotano by Caveau has opened in the La Splendida Hotel in Mouille Point

*   Tables restaurant has opened at Nitida wine estate in Durbanville

*   Mozarella Bar has opened on Kloof Street, Gardens

*   Café Benedict has opened on the main road in Franschhoek.

*   Trinity has opened as a ‘super club’ in Bennett Street in Green Point

*   Il Cappero Italian Restaurant has opened in Barrack Street

*   Sugar Hut Club has opened in the old Castle Hotel building on Canterbury Street, next door to Charly’s Bakery

*   Caffé Milano has opened on Kloof Street, Gardens

*   The Stone Kitchen has opened at Dunstone Winery in Wellington

*  The Franschhoek Food Emporium has open in Place Vendome, and is owned by legendary Topsi’s daughter Danielle

*   What’s On Eatery  has opened in Watson Street, between Loop and Bree Street

*   Haas Coffee Collective  has opened on Rose Street in Bo-Kaap

*   Crush coffee shop and bakery has opened in Paarl, owned by Gerard van Staden, previously chef at le Franschhoek Hotel, and later overseer of all restaurants owned by Robert Maingard in Franschhoek.

*   Dear Me Brasserie and Tjing Tjing Bar has opened on Longmarket Street.

*   Quilter & The Workmen is to open in Bree Street in May

*   Act Restaurant and Play Bar  have opened at the Baxter Theatre

*   Le Coq has opened in Franschhoek

*   Dash  has opened in the Queen Victoria Hotel in the Waterfront

*   Café Dijon has opened another branch at Zorgvliet wine estate

*   Harbour House is to open a branch in the V & A Waterfront in September, in the Fisherman’s Choice site, near Sevruga

*   KOS Coffee & Cuisine has opened in The Regency on Regent Road in Sea Point

*   Café Extrablatt opens where shu used to be, next door to Doppio Zero in Green Point, in August

*   Skinny Legs & All That has opened on Loop Street

*   Leopard’s Leap opens its new picnic facility, tasting room and cookery school in October

Restaurant closures

*  Josephine’s Patisserie on Loop Street

*   Ginja on New Church Street

 maze at the One&Only Cape Town 

*   Panarotti’s and Shimmi’s Bar in Hermanus

*   Bouillabaisse in Franschhoek.     

*   Yum in Vredehoek. 

*   Cape Town Fish Market in Camps Bay

*   Vista Mare in Camps Bay

*   La Table de France in Sea Point

*   La Brasserie in Franschhoek

*   shu on Main Road in Green Point

*   Camil’s on Main Road in Green Point

*   Madame Zingara has left Cape Town

*   Fiesta in the Old Cape Quarter

*   Jardine’s Restaurant has closed on Bree Str

*   Liquorice and Lime has closed down on St George’s Mall

*   Cheyne has closed on Bree Street

*   The Kitchen Bar in the Quarters’ Hotel in Hermanus has closed

*   The Bistro in Franschhoek has closed down

*   The Sandbar in Camps Bay has closed down

*   The Blonde building is up for sale, and does not appear to be re-opening in August, as was announced by The Caviar Group, owners of Blonde, two months ago.

*   The Green Dolphin Jazz Club in the V & A Waterfront has closed down

*   Mezzaluna in Loop Street has closed down

*   Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge Pete Goffe-Wood’s Wild Woods Restaurant has closed down.

*   Restaurant Christophe closes down in Stellenbosch on 25 June. Chef Christophe Dehosse will be back at Joostenberg from August.

*   Nando’s in Camps Bay has closed down

*   Haute Cabriere under the chef-manship of Matthew Gordon closes on 7 June at the wine tasting venue with the same name in Franschhoek.

Restaurant name-changes/take-overs/chef changes/address changes

*   Leaf Restaurant and Bar has opened where The Showroom/Portofino used to be.  

*   Mason’s Cafe and Grill has opened where Cafe Gainsbourg used to be

*   On Broadway has moved to the New Space Theatre building, and is using the ex-Anytime restaurant space as one of the restaurants its patrons can eat at before the show.

*   Camil Haas, the co-owner of Camil’s in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, has left the restaurant (which has since closed down).  He is working for Reuben Riffel at Reuben’s in Franschhoek and at the One&Only Cape Town.  

*   Tank in the old Cape Quarter has changed its name to Aqua.

*   Luke Dale-Roberts is no longer the Executive Chef at La Colombe, but will consult to the restaurant.  

*   Cafe Rouge in Franschhoek has been renamed Chez d’Or.

  Richard Carstens has left Chez d’Or in Franschhoek, and is the Executive Chef and Wilhelm Kuehn the owner of Tokara Restaurant in Stellenbosch

*   Buena Vista Social Club has moved to the top end of Portswood Road in the Waterfront. 

*  Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town has opened, where maze used to be.

*   Cafe Le Chocolatier has taken over from Cafe Vendome in Place Vendome in Franschhoek.

*   Dutch East has taken over from Burgundy in Franschhoek

*   Cafe des Arts has taken over Topsi’s in Franschhoek.

*    Amazink, ex-Roots, in Khayamandi in Stellenbosch, has opened, with Bertus Basson from Overture an advisor.

*   Chef School owner Kevin Warwick has taken over Kate’s Village in Hermanus, now called The Class Room

*   Da Luigi has opened where Vista Mare was in The Promenade in Camps Bay

*   Satay Bar has opened where Zucca was in Kloof Street

*   Le Quartier Francais has closed its bistro iCi, and opened The Common Room

*   Franko’s Kitchen in Plettenberg Bay has reopened as a sushi restaurant called Kitchen Café

*  Fu.shi in Plettenberg Bay has closed down, and has a new owner and a new name The Terrace

*  The Old Post House in Plettenberg Bay has closed down, but is set to re-open for three months with a new owner

*   Blakes has opened on Buitengracht/New Church Street, where Relish/Ninja used to be, belonging to Rochelle Bushelle, owner of the Opal Lounge, and offering a lounge, bar and dining services

*   Franschhoek Kitchen is the new name of Genot restaurant on the renamed Holden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek (previously Klein Genot)

*   Chef Eric Bulpitt has moved to The Roundhouse, due to the closure of Jardine’s

*   Woodlands Eatery is the new name of ex-Yum in Vredehoek, with chef Larry, previously with Emily Moon in Plettenberg Bay

*   ZAR nightclub has opened in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, where Camil’s used to be 

*   Marika’s Greek Restaurant from Bakoven has moved to a new venue, at 176 Buitenkant Street, above 7Eleven.

*   The Rhubarb Room moves to 227 Bree Street

*   David Higgs is leaving Rust en Vrede  on 18 June and is moving to Johannesburg.  John Shuttleworth will step into his chef’s shoes.

*   Vanessa Quellec is to leave Caffe Milano  in July

*   Restaurant winter break closures

*   The Mount Nelson’s Cape Colony has re-opened, with a new name, Planet Restaurant, and menu. 

*   Vaudeville has reopened. 

*   Massimo’s Pizza Club in Hout Bay will re-open on 20 April, in their original venue in Hout Bay. 

*   The Salmon Bar in Franschhoek has moved into a new main road outlet in The Yard (part ex-Bouillabaisse and Pam Golding) and has re-opened.

*   Miguel’s in Plettenberg Bay has re-opened in the same location.

*   Rust en Vrede will close from 18 June – 18 July

*   Tokara will clsoe between 2 – 9 May

*   The Test Kitchen will clsoe between 7 – 23 May

NOTE: This information will be updated regularly, as we receive new information.

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

Yesterday Cape Town scored 100 % in being the Host City in which the Quarter Final between Germany and Argentina was played, and will be remembered by fans from around the world, both in Cape Town and those watching in their homes, pubs or Fan Parks, for excellent soccer between two giants in this sport.  But Cape Town had its best marketing ever, with more-than-perfect winter weather at 22 C, and the world’s VIP’s present and sharing their love for Cape Town and South Africa.

What was a magnificent start to the soccer Saturday was the Fan Walk from the city center to the Stadium.  So many Capetonians I spoke to told me that they were so disappointed to not have bought tickets for the matches, but that they wanted to walk the Fan Walk to get the feeling of its fantastic spirit, which they had heard about from others and seen reported in newspapers.    Thus they made their way along the Fan Walk with their families, in the afternoon, enjoying the happiness and goodwill amongst walkers from around the world.  EyewitnessNews reported that 200 000 persons walked the Fan Walk yesterday, a record number.  It was an incredible sight – Argentinian fans wore blue, or blue and white wigs, and proudly had their flag around them as a cape.  The German fans were a little more conservative, but wore their team’s Adidas T-shirt, some had German flag colours painted on their cheeks, and some had even adopted the hardhats with Deutschland on them.    The pavement outside shu and Doppio Zero in Green Point was completely jam-packed about two hours before kick-off.  A massive German flag had been put up on Signal Hill.

The atmosphere inside Cape Town Stadium was electric, from the time the ticket holders arrived.  The early arrivals had the comedy of seeing South African President Jacob Zuma get into his soccer togs and play in a Special Olympics Unity Cup, in aid of the diasbled, game at 14h00, a funny sight to behold.   I did duty as a volunteer behind a German block of about 200, and they had the most unbelievable “gees”, all dressed the same, all being led in singing throughout the match, all receiving a Deutschland scarf which they held up at the start of the match and which caught the TV cameras and was filmed.   They were so visible, standing for a large part of the match (but not blocking the view of anyone behind them) that the German undercover police filmed them (from behind) to have their behaviour on record as evidence of potential hooliganism just 10 minutes before the game ended! 

The 4-0 result was testimony to an amazing match played by the German team, and Argentina just could not crack a goal, disappointing their many fans, who had by far the most flags hanging over the sides of the stadium.   The first goal was scored in a record of 8 minutes after the start, and three goals were scored in the second half, the last coming just before the end of the match.   It was a fantastic match, and well worth any money that soccer fans had paid to be there.

But it was the VIP presence at the match, outclassing that of the England – Algeria game in terms of VIP attendance, that was the highlight for Cape Town yesterday.   FIFA President Sepp Blatter was present at the stadium for the first time, attending this seventh Cape Town match, as was President Zuma attending his first Cape Town match.  Leonardo DiCaprio was there (he had been seen eating at Nobu at the One&Only the night before), as were what was reported to be Orlando Bloom but in fact was Prince Carl Philip of Sweden, sitting next to an unglamorous-looking Charlize Theron (who stayed at the Table Bay Hotel).   Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel came to support her team, and could not stop beaming.  Her boys gave her a “Luftkuss” to thank her for coming to support them when they did their victors’ walk around the stadium.   Western Cape Premier Helen Zille was there, having fetched Merkel from the airport, taken her to see Khayelitsha (the Violence Prevention through Urban Upgrading Centre, and visited children from the Youth Development through Football programme ‘Soccer 4 Hope’) prior to the match,  and hosting her for dinner after the match.  

Previous German team captain Michael Ballack was there, the first match he has been seen to attend, having been on holiday while he recovers from his injury, which led him to not be selected for this World Cup.   He almost seemed unhappy that his team was doing so well without him, but he did have a huge smile when the fourth goal was scored.   Soccer star Lothar Matthaus sat with Ballack – he has been tipped as the new German coach if Joachim Loew’s contract is not renewed after the World Cup, but his team’s performance to date make it unlikely that it will not be renewed.   Mick Jagger was there, and he, Leonardo DiCaprio and socialite Paris Hilton were seen to be partying at The Fez (above Vaudeville) last night.   Homegrown billionaire and second space tourist Mark Shuttleworth was there, having attended the previous Cape Town match as well, very low key and not appearing to have VIP status as far as seating went – he was with his dad at the previous match, dressed as a soccer fan in South African colours.  

Twitter crashed a number of times during the match, not being able to handle the volume of Tweets everytime Germany scored.  Paris Hilton is an avid Twitterer with more than 2 million followers, and despite her Port Elizabeth publicity, she raved about the city (“Cape Town Rocks!”, “Went to Cape of Good Hope. So beautiful. Saw the cutest penguins and ostriches.  Having an amazing dinner in Cape Town now.  Love the food here”).   These are priceless endorsements. 

Last night Cape Town erupted, and restaurants were experiencing trade like they had hoped for throughout the World Cup.   Accommodation in Camps Bay was sold out – this date had been booked out for months ahead, sadly the only one for the World Cup period, but Tuesday will also be sold out for the Semi-Final between Netherlands and Uruguay.

Yesterday will be the day long remembered by soccer fans for a good game, but also for the fantastic comments made about Cape Town and its beauty by TV commentators.  The endorsement of the city by them reaches millions of viewers, and is extremely powerful in the marketing of the city.   Yesterday Cape Town won the Quarter Final for soccer fans in the city, the country and around the world!  She was the most perfect of a Mother City!

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

Well-known Madame Zingara, a theatre restaurant which captured the imagination of Capetonians over the past 10 years, before it closed due to the recession early last year, is set to re-open next month, reports the Weekend Argus.

Owner Richard Griffin is a star showmaster and was a highly successful restaurateur, until his original restaurant on Loop Street burnt down.  He set up his Theatre of Dreams vaudeville supper club underneath the highway near the Cape Town harbour, and moved the show to London due to its success.  Here a backer dropped him, and Griffin’s company was liquidated.   He has been back in operation “undercover” as the operator of the Bombay Bicycle Club at the top of Kloof Street.

According to the report, Griffin said: “We have taken our time in hiatus to develop some truly breathtaking new acts. Everything will be bigger, better, more dramatic.   We’ve let our imagination run wild and come up with some acts that I haven’t seen or heard of anywhere else in the wrold”.

Madame Zingara’s Theatre of Dreams is set to be located at Century City, according to the report, and her ‘2010 Love Magic Tour’ will commence in Cape Town, and thereafter will tour to Durban and Johannesburg.

It will be interesting to see how the re-opening of Madame Zingara will affect Vaudeville, if at all, as most of Madame Zingara’s waitering staff as well as performing stars went to Vaudeville when  it opened in Cape Town late last year.

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

Cape Town’s restaurants are feeling the hospitality winter blues, with a large number of restaurants announcing their restaurant specials.  The winter has claimed its casualties too, and there could be more in what has been a poor winter for many businesses.

La Mouette has opened at 78 Regent Road in Sea Point.   Brio is a new jazz restaurant, in half of the ex-Riboville in town (on the Adderley Street side), while Liquorice and Lime has taken over the other half of Riboville (on the St George’s Mall side).  Van Hunks has opened at 1 Union Street, off Kloof Street in Gardens.  Cafe Nood has opened in Wilderness Road, Claremont. Ryan’s Kitchen has opened at Rusthof guest house in Franschhoek – the chef Ryan Smith is ex-Mont Rochelle.  On Broadway has moved to the New Space Theatre building at 44 Long Street, with a new restaurant where Anytime was.  Buena Vista Social Club has moved to the top end of Portswood Road in the Waterfront.    The House of Meat has opened in the Pepper Club Hotel, corner Long and Bloem Streets, offering a full braai for R 295, from 3 pm every day.   Amazink, ex-Roots, in Khayamandi in Stellenbosch, has opened, with Bertus Basson from Overture an advisor. Spiros has opened in Hout Bay.  Mason’s Cafe & Grill has opened in the ex-Cafe Gainsbourg.  La Cantina has opened in the Alliance Francaise. The De Leuwen Jagt restaurant on the Seidelberg wine estate outside Paarl has opened The Fabulous Bakery.   Gesellig has opened on the corner of Church and Regent Roads in Sea Point, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Chez d’Or has opened in Franschhoek, with Richard Carstens as consultant Chef, scheduled to stay until September, but he left on 28/7.  It has been confirmed that Carstens will take over the running of Tokara in October, given that Etienne Bonthuys is set to open a new restaurant on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch.  Gesellig is a cosy and friendly new eatery in Sea Point.   Indochine  has opened at the Delaire Graff wine estate in Stellenbosch.  The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe has opened at Haskell Vineyards in Stellenbosch.  The Wild Peacock Food Emporium has opened in Stellenbosch.  Knife Restaurant has opened in the Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, a sister restaurant to Fork.  De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened in Stellenbosch.  Cafe Le Chocolatier has taken over from Cafe Vendome in Place Vendome in Franschhoek. Leaf Restaurant and Bar has opened where Portofino/The Showroom were located.  Epicerie Fine is the new name of the L’Ermitage Deli in Franschhoek, and has a new owner.   Sommelier Restaurant at the Sante Hotel and Wellness Centre has re-opened.  Illyria coffee shop has opened in the Eikestad Mall in Stellenbosch. Babylonstoren is to open a restaurant in October, next door to Backsberg.  The Fish Shack has opened at The Paddocks in Milnerton.  Reubens at One&Only Cape Town has opened.   Luigi’s from Hout Bay is said to be opening where Vista Mare was in The Promenade in Camps Bay.   Satay Bar has taken over from Zucca in Kloof StreetPierneef à La Motte has opened at La Motte. Luke Dale-Roberts, ex-chef at La Colombe and making 12th place on the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list earlier this year, will be opening The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock in November.  Sofia’s at Morgenster will open in Somerset West in November.  Down South will open on Long Street in October.  French Toast has opened at 199 Bree Street, a tapas and wine bar.  Babel opens at Babylonstoren next to Backsberg on 14 November.   Hemelshuijs has opened at 71 Waterkant Str, serving breakfast and lunch, and dinner on request.

Portofino, which opened where The Showroom was, has closed its doors. The first review of Portofino appeared on this blog.   Cafe Gainsbourg on Kloof Street, Anytime on Long Street, Josephine’s Patisserie, Ginja, maze at the One&Only Cape Town, La Table de France in Sea Point, Panarotti’s and Shimmi’s Bar in Hermanus, Miguel’s in Plettenberg Bay, and Bouillabaisse and La Brasserie in Franschhoek have also closed down.   Camil Haas, the co-owner of Camil’s in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, has left the restaurant, but is doing food and wine pairing evenings in Franschhoek, and has joined Reuben’s, substituting for Reuben Riffel in Franschhoek and at the One&Only.  Yum in Vredehoek has closed down.   In Camps Bay the Cape Town Fish Market and Terra Mare have closed down.  Luke Dale-Roberts is no longer the Executive Chef at La Colombe, but will consult to the restaurant.   Tank in the old Cape Quarter is to get a new name.   Cafe des Arts has taken over from Topsi’s in Franschhoek.  Satay Bar has taken over from Zucca in Kloof Street.  shu has closed down on Main Road, Green Point, and it appears that Camil’s has too.   Madame Zingara has left Cape Town, to pitch her tent in Johannesburg.  Le Quartier Français has clsoed iCi, and has opened The Common Room.

Some restaurants are closing to have a winter break. The Mount Nelson’s Cape Colony re-opens with a new interior and new menu on 1 November.  Vaudeville has closed between August and October.  Marianna’s in Stanford is re-opening on 14 October. The Salmon Bar in Franschhoek re-opens on 1 November, undergoing renovations in a new location (parts of ex-Bouillabaisse and Pam Golding venue). Massimo’s Pizza Club in Hout Bay has gone into winter hibernation, and is likely to reopen in November, in a new venue across the road from its previous venue in Hout Bay, with the new name Massimo’sMario’s, which had to close during the World Cup due to a fire in the kitchen, has re-opened. 

The following restaurant specials have been announced (NOTE: This Specials list is updated continuously).  WE HAVE STARTED A NEW SPRING/SUMMER SPECIALS LIST

We have seen our list used without acknowledgement on other bloggers’ blogs – please acknowledge Whale Cottage Portfolio Blog as your source:

CAPE TOWN

*   The Cru Cafe in the Cape Quarter:  buy 1 wine flight, get 1 free, served with snacks, all days of week, lunch and dinner

*   Wang Thai: 2 courses including rice R 69, at V&A Waterfront, Constantia, Somerset West, and Lagoon Beach branches, until 30 November 

*   Andiamo in the old Cape Quarter: R 49 breakfast special (juice, cooked breakfast, cappuccino), until 11h30 daily; 2 pizzas or 2 pastas with 2 glasses of wine R 125; Basil, chilli chicken/salmon salad with bottle of water or colddrink R 59, until 31 October. Tel (021) 421-3687

*   Pure at Hout Bay Manor: 3 course dinner for R 200, and R 280 with a glass of wine added

*   Vanilla in the Cape Quarter:  1/2 price sushi 12 – 6 pm, 25 % off cocktails

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : sirloin and chips R 79, seafood platter R 129, prawn platter R 99, oysters R 9 each, half-price sushi, spaghetti bolognaise R59

*  Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square:  lunch (6 options) at R 50.  3-course dinner at R 135.

*   Hussar Grill, in Camps Bay and Green Point: 400g beef ribs, 200g rump/sirloin steak, 200g boerewors R99, until stocks last

*   Pepper Club on the Beach in Camps Bay: “Nip and Tuck promotion” – Prawn platter R98; Potjies R79,95; Sirloin and Prawn combo R89,50; Seafood platter R139,95; half-price sushi – until end October

*   Kuzina in the new Cape Quarter:  Meze platter for two plus bottle of wine R 189, Mondays – Fridays 12h00 – 18h00 and Sunday evenings from 18h00. Continuous. Tel (021) 418-8000

*   Saul’s Sushi@Vegas, 118 Main Road, Sea Point: “Eat as much as you like” sushi R 120 Mondays and Tuesdays, “two for the price of one” sushi Fridays and Saturdays

*   Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: oysters R 6 each, 1 kg prawns R 99, line fish R79, for lunch and dinner.  300 gram sirloin steak, spatchcock chicken peri peri and 500 gram spare ribs all R 79 for lunch only.  Full sushi platter R99, half platter R50. Tel (021) 439-3494.

*   1800 in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Main Road, Green Point: 300g sirloin steak R99. Until end October.

*   Myoga at Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 6 course dinner, with 5 choices per course, for R 150, Mondays – Saturdays, continues throughout summer 

*   Tank in old Cape Quarter: 2 courses R R140, 3 courses for R 165, both with a glass of wine, until end October.  Tel (021) 419-0007  

*   Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 1 kg prawns R99; 50 % off sushi Sundays – Mondays from 12h00 – 19h00.  Tel (021) 418-2948.

*   The Kove, Victoria Road, Camps Bay: 2-course meal with glass of wine R120; Fish and chips R 79, 400g ribs R75, Oysters R 9,  Seafood Platter R129, Rump 250gm R 79, Rump 500gm R 109, 1kg of prawns R 99, Lamb chops R99.  Tel (021) 438-0004

*  Cafe Sofia in Camps Bay, Green Point, etc:  Breakfats specials, Burger R59, Chicken skewers R59. 

*   221 Waterfront: two drinks for price of one, Mondays – Fridays, 16h30 – 18h30, two dishes on “Lite” and Sushi sections of menu for the price of one, 3-course dinner for R 135

*   Jakes in the Village/on Summerley, in Steenberg and Kenilworth, respectively:   25 % off all dishes, 5 – 7 pm only, Mondays – Saturdays, until end September

*   Buitenverwachting in Constantia:  2 courses R 149, 3 courses R 169, 4 courses R 199

*   Duchess of Wisbeach, corner Main and Wisbeach Roads, Sea Point – free bottle of wine for a table of four

Le Restau Paradiso, Kloof Street: Marie’s Menu 3 courses R 110; Capetonian Menu 3 courses R 130; French Classics Menu 3 courses R 150, until December.

*   A Tavola in Claremont: 50 % off all pasta dishes on Mondays. 

*   The Lookout Deck, Hout Bay:  6 prawns free with specific main courses; 6 oysters R 36 (5 – 7 pm only), until end September

*   La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point: 6 courses for R 175.  Express Lunch – 2 courses (with 2 choices each) at R 99.   Monday – Saturday dinner, Tuesday – Sunday lunch,  until launch of Summer menu at Garden Party on 10 October. Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Blonde restaurant, Hatfield Street: “two …blondes are better than one” promotion of 25 % off the bill, until September

*   Lagoon Beach, Milnerton – 2 course meal from R 75, “all-you-can-eat” Sunday buffet R 99

*   Jardine, Bree Street: 3-course dinner at R 180, Tuesdays – Saturdays

*   Berthas in Simonstown: 1 kg mussels, 1 kg Queen prawns or 1 kg mini seafood platter cost R 99 each

*   Ricks Cafe Americain, lunch special for R 39, Mondays – Saturdays, until 31 October

*   The Square Restaurant, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 5-course dinner costs R 165.  Tel (021) 657-4500

*   Pepperclub Luxury Hotel & Spa: 6 oysters and a glass of bubbly R60, Fridays from 16h00, with jazz

*   Aubergine:  2-course lunch R184,  3-course lunch R235, Wednesdays – Fridays

*   Balducci’s: All pizzas (except Flaming Prawns) R49, 26-piece Platinum Sushi Plate for R99, Burgers from R55.  Monday – Sunday, 12h00 – 18h00.

*   Ferrymans, V&A Waterfront: 3-course pairing meal, with wines matching starter and main course, at R200, until September.

*   Saul’s Taverna: for every meal ordered from main menu, the second person get’s a free main course from chef’s special menu

*   Societi Bistro: “Tour of France” – 3-course French menu R 150, until October

*   Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay: Moelas Estufadas R35, Escargots R35, Oxtail R99, Hake and squid, chorico R29, Hake Fillet R69, Butternut and feta lasagne R69.  Tel (021) 790-1036

*   Quay 4: Snoek and chips R59, until October

*   Black Marlin: Snoek on braai R55, half crayfish on braai  R75, Saturdays and Sundays;  3 course meal plus glass of sherry R125, until October

*   Hildebrand: 2 courses R 89, 3 courses R 120, until September

*   Chenin Restaurant and Bar: Sirloin steak R60. Tel 021 425-2200

*   Leaf Restaurant and Bar : 51 % off sushi from 11h00 – 16h00 and all day Sunday, 18 prawns for R69, 50 % off dimsum. Current

*   Gesellig, Regent Road, Sea Point: 2 courses plus soup or dessert = R 90 for dinner; lunch costs R40 for dishes usually costing R65 – R77 12h00 – 14h00

*  The Fish Shack Restaurant and Wine Bar, Paddocks, Milnerton: Shack Platter and glass of wine R 90

*   Blowfish in Blouberg: Seafood platter R 89, 20-piece sushi platter + glass of wine R99, 500g rump steak R 95, Chicken schnitzel R75, Prawn platter R69, Thai seafood curry R79, Mixed Grill Espetada R95, until October. Tel 021 556-5464

*   Ocean Basket: Starter, seafood platter, and bottle of Two Oceans wine for 2 for R 235 (only at Hout Bay, Plumstead, Tygervalley and V&A branches), until 31 October.

*   Live Bait, Kalk Bay Harbour: pan-fried paprika calamari R50, until end October, Monday – Thrursday lunch, Sunday – Thursday dinner, tel 021 788-4133

*   Bamboo, below Cape Royale Hotel: unlimited prawns at R 95 on Sunday evenings, 10 oysters for price of 8

*   Cape Town Fish Market: 2 courses R 59, 3 courses R 69, (snoek paté, 200 g hake and chips, koeksisters) until 17 October

*   Cafe Chic:  3 courses R130, half price cocktails Wednesdays, until October. Tel (021) 465-7218 

*   OYO at V&A Hotel : 500g crayfish special R185. Current

*   Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: 200g sirloin steak and 4 prawns R 65; chicken or beef burger with chips for lunch only 12h00 – 17h00 R29, both offers until end October

*   Spur: rump and sirloin, and beef or chicken schnitzel all R 59,95, until end October

*   Dale’s Black Angus Grill, Tableview: Beef Burger, Minute Fillet Steak and Egg, Mussel and Lobster Pot, Zuricher Geschnetzeltes, all R40; Liver R35; Fish & Chips R30; Castle Draft R12, until end October Tel (021) 551-7776 

THE WINELANDS

*   Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250 gram steaks at R 99, including a glass of estate wine, May – September. Tel (021) 874-1021

*   Olivello, Klapmuts, outside Stellenbosch: 2-course meal R 99, 3-course meal R 119.

*   Le Bon Vivant in Franschhoek: 2-course meal for R 150, 3 courses for R 175, until end October. Tel (021) 876-2717

*   Cuvee, Simonsig wine estate, outside Stellenbosch:   2 course lunch or dinner + glass of wine R 170, 3 courses R 200, August – October

*   Bosman’s, Grand Roche Hotel, Paarl: 3-course lunch and 2 glassses of wine for R 260, Sundays

*   Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch : 3 course lunch R 235

*   Le Petite Ferme, Franschhoek: 2 courses R 100, 3 courses R 150, plus carafe of wine, live music, every Friday evening, until end October

*   Ryan’s Kitchen at Rusthof, Franschhoek : 5 course meal Taste of Africa R395, with wine added R595.  Summer Tel (021) 876-4598.  

*   Noble Hill, Klapmuts: Farmer’s Lunch costs R 62, Mondays – Fridays

*   Restaurant Christophe, Stellenbosch: business lunch – 2 courses R130, 3 courses R 150, Tuesday – Friday, served within one hour, all year

*   Allora in Franschhoek: 3 course menu at R89, until end November. Tel (021) 876-4375.

*   Café Nadine, L’Ermitage, Franschhoek – pasta, sald and glass of wine  R69.  Tel (021) 876-9200

*   Waterkloof Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West: Summer special – 2 courses R140, 3 courses R170, and includes a tasting of 5 Waterkloof wines. Tel (021) 858-1491

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 2 course meal and glass of wine R85. Until end October. Tel (021) 876-9200

OTHER AREAS

*   Season in Hermanus: 2 course meal R 75, bredie of the day R 48, Sunday roast R 65, 3-course Sunday lunch R 110. Tel (028) 316-2854

*   Mediterrea in Hermanus: 3 course meal R 195, Monday – Thursday dinners and Sunday lunches

*   The Class Room, Hermanus: 5 course gourmet dinner, R 165, Wednesdays – Saturdays, until end October.  Tel (028) 316-3582

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

Copyright: Whale Cottage Portfolio

The Whale Cottage Portfolio has increased the traffic to its website six-fold in one year, since embodying social media marketing, and has exceeded the 30 000 visitorship for the first time this month.  In 2009 a total of just fewer than 200000 unique visitors was recorded.

In January 2009 4850 unique visitors (i.e. unduplicated visitorship) had accessed the website, four months after Whale Cottage had started this blog www.whalecottage.com/blog.   At the end of December this had grown to 27 928 unique visitors.

The major impact on the growth in web traffic has been persistent blogging, with the target of one blog post published per day having been met with one or two exceptions.   Performance improved once the blog posts were posted during mid-morning, instead of just after midnight, when they had just been written.   This post is the 500th written on this WhaleTales blog.

Twitter has made a significant contribution too, with it serving as an “announcement” of what one has blogged about, providing a link to the website which can be accessed for more information, given its 140 character space restriction.   Whale Cottage has close to 700 followers, and has written more than 2 000 tweets to date.   Facebook has played only a small role in contributing to web traffic.

Cross-referencing has also assisted in the growth in Whale Cottage’s visibility, in that the social media links are part of the Whale Cottage e-mail signature; in that the WhaleTales newsletter invites its readers to follow Whale Cottage on Twitter and Facebook; and the blog has an RSS feed link, to enable regular readers to receive the latest WhaleTales blog post, and it has links to the Whale Cottage Twitter and Facebook pages.

New traffic to the website has come from restaurant reviews in particular, especially for new restaurants.  Few restaurants have websites, and do not understand about search engine optimisation.  Some Whale Cottage restaurant reviews have outperformed the restaurant websites in terms of the Google ranking on page one of a search on a specific restaurant.   Where other websites provided a link to the Whale Cottage blog in cases of restaurant controversy (e.g. Portofino, Carne), traffic to the website has been enhanced.

In 2009 the top 10 blog posts that were read most often were the following:

1.   Spar Sweet and Limelight Sour Service Awards (8 838)

2.   Petrol price drop best Christmas present for tourists (5119)

3.   Franschhoek goes Italian (Allora review) (4394)

4.   Rebel restaurateur a hit at Portofino (3 360)

5.   SA presence on top 50 restaurant list grows (2 468)

6.   Prince Albert celebrates in Fresnaye (2 276)

7.   Whales beach on Kommetjie beach (1 984)

8.   Minstrels do it for Cape Town (1 698)

9.   Table Mountain only SA New7wonders nominee (1 570)

10.  Sun Princess to visit Cape Town (1 510)

The most popular restaurants in Cape Town at the moment, based on restaurant reviews accessed on the Whale Cottage Portfolio website via Google this month, are Duchess of Wisbeach, Vaudeville and Kuzina.   

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