Tag Archives: Warwick wine estate

Restaurant hell in Cape Town and Winelands over Festive Season!

imageClever Capetonians stay far away from restaurants over the Festive Season, given poor past experiences with service and food quality. It seems that many locals are brave enough or naive enough to go out during the Continue reading →

New Restaurant openings in Cape Town and Winelands continue!

Tiger's Milk Main Table and lights Whale CottageEven though we are halfway through the summer season,  new restaurants continue to open, and more are planned before summer ends.  This list of restaurant openings and closings and restaurant staff movements is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Michael Townsend (who owns the Harbour House emporium, with La Parada, Lucky Fish, and Harbour House restaurants) has opened Tiger’s Milk in Muizenberg (photograph).  The Lucky Fish on Long Street will be transformed into Tiger’s Milk.

*    Kokkedoor judge and Chef Nic van Wyk and Roxy Laker have opened bistro 13 at Stellenbosch Vineyards (Welmoed)

*   Idiom Wines is said to be opening a restaurant.

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

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 19 February

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Johannesburg teenager Filipa da Silva has won a competition launched by American Idols presenter Ryan Seacrest, for the best rendition of One Direction’s ‘Story of my Life’, beating former Eurovision Irish twin contestants Jedward.

*   The Tourism Indaba, held in May for the past 24 years, could be threatened by three trade and travel shows held in Cape Town under the Africa Travel Week umbrella the week prior to what is the country’s largest tourism and travel show, organised by SA Tourism and held in Durban.

*   Johannesburg was the most popular tourism destination in Africa in 2012, according to the MasterCard Third Annual Global Destination Cities Index, and should be the continent’s most visited city too, with an estimated 2,5 million visitors spending R35 billion.

*   The inaugural AfrAsia Bank Cape Wine Auction 2014 will be held over lunch at Delaire Graff on 15 March.  It will be preceded by a Barrel Tasting and Auction Preview at Waterford Estate the evening before, and the funds will go to funding education in the Winelands, benefitting Pebbles Project, the MAD Charity, and the Click Foundation.  The Cape Wine Auction Trust has been created, and its founding Trustees are Michael Jordaan, Ken Kinsey-Quick, Wendy Appelbaum, and Mike Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 6 December

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   1Time is likely to start operating again as a low cost airline, having been placed into liquidation last year.

*   The City of Cape Town approved The Control of Undertakings that Sell Liquor to the Public By-law, and should be promulgated in the Provincial Government Gazette next month, and enforcable by February.  The by-law is less strict than its draft, allowing retailers to apply to extended their trading hours and to trade on Sundays.

*   Camps Bay has been named by Yowzit as the Best Beach in South Africa, followed by Ramsgate and Llandudno.

*   The Last Word Franschhoek has closed its doors until April for renovations, after having been badly flooded during the severe downpour last month.

*   Cape Town has been praised by the Islington Review for Camps Bay Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 22 November

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Selling direct to wine lovers is the way to go delegates at a Wine Vision conference were told earlier this week by an international panel of speakers.  Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick Wine Estate in Stellenbosch shared that 22 % of their wine sales is to members of their Wine Club.

*   Prince Harry’s UK, the USA and the Commonwealth teams have flown to Antarctica, for their trek for charity to the South Pole, having been held up in Cape Town for the last four days due to bad weather.

*   Big Concerts has added a third Carlos Santana concert at the GrandArena at GrandWest on 27 February, in addition to 25 and 26 February in Cape Town, and 1 March in Johannesburg.

*   Bouchard Finlayson won the ‘Coup de Coeur‘ at the first Vinidivio show Continue reading →

SA wine industry moves from bulk to fine wine, receiving international recognition!

South Africa’s wine industry has made great strides in the past ten years, from being a bulk exporter of ‘cheap and cheerful’ wines to being on the ‘brink of breaking into the international fine wine spotlight’, wrote Mike Ratcliffe, owner of Warrick Wine Estate, in the Sunday Times recently.

Ratcliffe writes that the bulk export of low cost South African wines damaged our country’s image as a wine-producing country, but that this is being turned around, with excellent quality wines being exported.  He ascribes the success of the wine industry to the folloiwng:

*   tackling the reputation and improving the quality, for example, of a cultivar such as Pinotage, which was ‘mocked in global circles’. Ratcliffe praises the industry’s ability to accept criticism (however UK wine writer Rebecca Gibbs experienced the opposite in a Pinotage workshop at CapeWine 2012).

*   The young up and coming winemakers are innovating, and ‘breaking down barriers and pushing the envelope of experimentation’, and challenging region and variety.  The older guard and wine co-operatives are changing ‘their business models and driving quality innovations’.

*   South African wines are as good and some even better than their international counterparts, and are being recognised by international wine buyers and wine drinkers.  This was confirmed at CapeWine 2012, where heaps of praise was showered upon the South African wine industry.  This is making winemakers more confident about their wines.

*   The industry is producing more quality wines, and the prices of these wines are increasing, as more of them are exported.

*  More co-operative marketing is taking place, CapeWine 2012 having been the most excellent showcase of our country’s top wines. Despite their differences, ‘the wine industry is presenting a strong and united front’.

Alongside Ratcliffe’s article was one entitled ‘Wine farms look wobbly’, sad to see after the euphoria created for our wine industry at CapeWines 2012.  Quoting a report by VinPro and Winetech, it shared that high costs are slashing profits, the cost per hectare having increased by 61% to over R30000 in the past 7 years, mainly due to electricity, fuel and water cost increases.  Income has dropped from R1 per 750 ml bottle in 2004 to 38 cents now.  Some optimism about the forthcoming harvest has been expressed, a larger harvest leading to better profit. Wine production is expected to grow by 7% this year, to 1,1 billion gross litres.  Bulk wine exports grew by 26% and bottled wine exports dropped by 9%.  Exports increased by 7%, and domestic sales by 4% in the past year.  Wine farmers are surviving the downward profitability trend by diversifying into other forms of farming, and by adding wine tourism attractions to their farms.

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

Spring/Summer Restaurant Specials: Cape Town and Winelands

The Spring and Summer 2012/13 specials for Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and are updated continuously. We welcome information about new specials, and feedback about your meals at these restaurants:

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : Sirloin and chips R89, Seafood platter R 129, 1 kg prawn platter R99, Sushi platter R109, Mussels and chips R79, Pasta of the day R79, Chicken schnitzel R79, Lamb chops R109, Crayfish tails R149, Mussels and fries R79. Half price sushi all day. Daily. Spring/Summer. Tel (021) 439-9027 (checked 5/9)

*   Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square:  Lunch (6 options) at R55. Monday – Saturday, 11h00 – 17h00.  Current. Tel (021) 465-0967 (updated 5/9)

*   Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: Oysters R 6 each, 400g Rump Espetada R 125, Kingklip and 6 prawns R 110; kingklip and calamari R110;  250g Lobster and 6 prawns R179; Seafood platter R139. Current. Tel (021) 439-3494 (updated 5/9)

*   Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront: half price sushi Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 18h00; 25 % off sushi, Sunday 12 – 2pm, 50 % on Sunday 2 – 6 pm, 3-course R160, lunch and dinner; 2-course lunch R120. Until end September. Tel (021) 421-5134 (updated 5/9)

*   Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 50 % off sushi, dimsum and cocktails all day Sunday, and from 12h00 – 19h00 other weekdays. 2-course lunch R135; 3-course lunch and dinner R175.  Spring. Tel (021) 418-2948 (updated 5/9)

*   La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point : 6-course Tasting Menu R 295, with wines paired R 480. Monday – Sunday dinner, Sunday lunch. Summer. Tel (021) 433-0856 (updated 4/11).

*   Bertha’s in Simonstown: 1 kg Queen prawns cost R99 each, 1kg mussels R99, 1 kg chicken wings R99,  Half rack of ribs R59. Bertha’s seafood platter R109. 2 courses R 120, 3 courses R150. Until end September. Tel (021) 786-2138 (updated 5/9)

*   Aubergine:  2-course lunch R198,  3-course lunch R254, Wednesdays – Fridays.  Monday – Saturdays except public holidays. Daily dinner specials. 3-course R365, 4-course R425, 5-course R 495 meat and seafood degustation menu. Winter Bistro 2 courses R200, 3 courses R 275, optional wine pairing. Until mid-September. Tel (021) 465-4909 (updated 5/9)

*   Ferryman’s Tavern, V&A Waterfront: Ostrich burger plus red wine R 75. T-bone steak plus a beer R95. Current. Tel (021) 419-7748 (updated 5/9)

*   Blowfish in Blouberg: half-price sushi Wednesday  and Sunday 5 – 8 pm; Prawns R5,90 each, 24 prawns R135, 10 prawns R59.  Current. Tel (021) 556-5464 (updated 5/9)

*   Knife restaurant, Century City:  Bagels R35, Chicken sandwich R45, Steak sandwich R55. Lunch special, 12h00 – 15h00, Mondays – Fridays. Summer. Tel (021) 551-5000 (updated 5/9)

*   Saul’s Sushi @ Vegas, Sea Point: Eat as much sushi as you like for R120 Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturday; Mongolian eat as much as you can R79; Sushi 30 % off on Wednesdays; Sundays 50 % off. Summer. Tel 087 151 4595 (updated 5/9)

*   Trees Restaurant, Townhouse Hotel, Cape Town:  Grill special plus glass of wine R125 daily, buffet R155 Sundays – Thursdays. Indefinite. Tel (021) 465-7050 (updated 9/8)

*   French Toast, Bree Street: Bruschetta tapas free with glass of wine Mondays – Saturdays, 5 – 7 pm.  All wines costing R 400 or less half price on Mondays.  Big Bottle Thursday wine sold by the glass. Daily lunch specials. Current. Tel (021) 422-3839 (updated 5/9)

* The Square, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 5 course menu R 195/R295 with wines, dinner only. Half price sushi 5 – 7 pm.  Monday – Sunday. Current. Tel ()21) 657-4500 (updated 5/9)

*   Dunes, Hout Bay : Sunday buffet with smoked salmon, oysters and cooked breakfast R120. Summer. Tel (021) 790-1876 (updated 5/9)

*   Arnold’s on Kloof, 60 Kloof Street, Gardens:  Early bird breakfast half-price special if order before 7h00 Monday – Friday.  Peppa Poppers R35, Biltong fillet steak mens/ladies R115/R 75, Stew for U2 R119, Chicken Kloof R 59, Chicken parmesan R69, Carpaccio kudu fillet biltong R49.  Summer Tel (021) 424-4344 (updated 5/9)

*   Five Flies, Half price for all main courses. Mondays – Sundays. August and September. Tel (021) 424-4442 (updated 2/8)

*   Codfather, Camps Bay:  half-price sushi 12h00 – 18h00, daily.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 438-0782

*   Black Marlin, Simonstown:  2-course meal R115, 3-course R140. Indefinite. Tel (021) 786-1621

*   Cape Town Fish Market, Big Bay, V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk, Tyger Valley, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Tokai, Grand West Casino: “All you can eat Breakfast Buffet” R60, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays; 4-course Seafood buffet lunch R125, Sundays and public holidays.  Buy one, get one free – hake on Mondays, sushi on Tuesdays, calamari on Wednesdays.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 554-5962.

*   La Bruixa, Sea Point: Seafood paella for two for R260, includes a salad. Meat paella R200. Current.Tel (021) 434-8797 (updated 5/9)

*   La Boheme, Sea Point: 2-courses R95, 3-courses R 120. Current. Tel (021) 434-8797 (updated 5/9)

*   The Round House, Camps Bay: 4-course a la carte menu R450, 6-course set tasting menu R595. 3 course lunch R220.  Current. Tel (021) 438-4347 (updated 5/9)

*   Planet Restaurant,  Mount Nelson Hotel:  5-course Vegan Journey menu (R300), 5-course The Journey menu R330. Until end October. Tel (021) 483-1000 (checked 5/9)

*   Savour Restaurant, 51 on Orange: 2-course R189, 3-courses R225, for lunch and dinner.  Current. Tel (021) 469-8037 (updated 5/9)

*   La Colombe, Constantia: 8-course Gourmand menu R 625, or with wine R850, Monday – Saturday, Current. 3 course lunch R240 from 16 June – 15 November, 5 course dinner R395 with wine, R310 without wine 16 June – 31 October.  Specials do not apply to Sundays. Tel (021) 794-2390

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel: 2-course lunch R185, 3-course lunch R215, 3-course dinner R250.  Current.  Tel (021) 713-2222 (updated 5/9)

*   Constantia Uitsig: 3-course lunch and dinner R390, Monday – Saturday. Current.3-course lunch R210 . 17 April – 15 November, 3-course dinner R250 from 17 April – 31 October. Specials do not apply to Sundays. Tel (021) 794-4480

*   River Café:  2 course lunch plus tea/coffee R99, 3 courses R 119;  tea/coffee plus muffin, scone, croissant or slice of cake of the day R35 15h00 – 16h30. Not available on Sundays. 1 May – 31 October. Tel (021) 794-3010

*   Rick’s Café Américain, Park Road: Lunch specials R45, change daily; and more specials on drinks. Indefinite.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   Barocca, Camps Bay Club: 2 for the price of one burgers Tuesday evenings; From 5 pm. Indefinite. Tel (021) 438-1992

*   Seaforth Restaurant, Simonstown: Buy one pizza get one free Mondays, Deep fried prawns R98 Tuesdays; hake and chips R38 Wednesdays; Eat as much calamari as you like R49 Thursdays; Steak and calamari R78 Fridays; Eat as much as you like pork spare ribs R88 Saturdays. From 6 pm. Current. Tel (021) 786-4810 (updated 5/9)

*   Pizzeria Villagio, Howard Centre, Pinelands: 20 % of bill for table of more than two, on Wednesdays.  Current. Tel (021) 531-4473 (updated 5/9)

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 5-courses R315 includes movie and popcorn, Current. Tel (021) 437-9000 (updated 5/9)

*   Diva Pizza, Buitenkant Street: 2 large margherita pizzas with choice of two toppings R89, Monday, Tuesday.  Current. Tel (021) 461-0013 (updated 5/9)

*   Tokyo Restaurant & Sushi Bar: Buy two get one free daily until 5pm; Sushi Buffet Fridays and Saturday from 5 pm, 7 plates R99, unlimited number of plates R118.  Indefinite. Tel (021) 424-5108

*   BlueFin Seafood & Sushi, Plattekloof: 50 % off sushi 11h00 – 17h00; ‘Eat as much as you like’ Sushi R129; Platters ½ price from 11h00 – 19h00. Monday – Sunday. Current. Tel (021) 558-4281 (updated 5/9)

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 50 % off sushi daily from 10h00 – 19h00. Burger plus Castle Lite draught R50 on Fridays. Children under 16 eat free per adult. Current. Tel (021) 434-3004 (updated 5/9)

*   Reuben’s, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront: One&Only Seafood Platter for Two R995. Dish of the day and glass of wine R99 lunch Monday – Friday. Sunday lunch buffet R225. Current. Tel (021) 431-5888 (updated 5/9)

*   Bayside Café, Camps Bay:  Order two main courses, and second person gets lower priced dish free.  Sunday dinner – Friday lunch. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-2650 (updated 5/9)

*   Café Chameleon, Plattekloof: Monday – Friday lunch special of small pizza R 45.  Monday and Saturday dinner large pizza special R55.  Ongoing. Tel (021) 911-1025

*   Taiwan City Chinese Cuisine, Century City: 2 courses for 2 persons for R 128. Current. Tel (021) 555-3081 (updated 5/9)

*   Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course dinner R 225. Current. Tel (021) 657-4545 (updated 5/9)

*   Zorba’s, Lagoon Beach: Seafood and meat platter for two R220. 500g rump steak R135, Beef espetada R110. Lunch and dinner daily, Current. Tel (021) 528-2093 (updated 5/9)

*   Den Anker, V&A Waterfront: Vol au vent with Vedett white beer R 85.  Until October. Tel (021) 419-0249

*   F.east, Loop Street: chicken or vegetable curry lunch special R59. Current. Tel (021) 424-5903 (updated 5/9)

I ♥ my Laundry, Buitengracht Street: 8 pieces of Dim Sum and a cappuccino or glass of wine R40. Daily 7h00 – 19h00. Fondue Thursdays R125.  Current. Book at 084 6600 777 (updated 5/9).

*   Slug & Lettuce, Kloof Street: 300g rump steak, chips and onion rings R89. Until mid-September. Tel (021) 422-5325

*   Foodbarn, Noordhoek: 50 % of all lunch dishes Monday – Friday; 3-courses R175, 4-courses R195, 5-courses R225, all with Ntida wines, until end September. Tel (021) 789-1390 (updated 5/9)

*   Cru Café, Cape Quarter: 2 jumbo gourmet burgers R99, 12h00 – 14h00 daily. Hake and chips, or chicken schnitzel and chips, R39, Sundays 12h00 – 15h00. Bucks Fizz free with breakfast on Sunday. Current. Tel (021) 418-6334 (updated 5/9)

*   1800°, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: Get Rubbed 200g rump/sirloin plus glass wine/beer R99. Current. Tel (021) 430-0506 (updated 5/9)

*   Tuscany Beach, Camps Bay: 50 % off partner’s main course. 25% off all sushi. Every evening, Monday – Friday lunch.  Until mid-September. Tel (021) 438-1213 (updated 5/9)

*   Pigalle, Green Point: 2-courses R140, 3-courses R170, 4-courses R 200 Monday – Thursday, Seafood Platter for two R275, Monday – Thursday dinner, and Tuesday – Friday lunch.  Until end September. Tel (021) 421-4848 (updated 5/9)

*   RBG Bar & Grill, Park Inn, Foreshore: Classic Burger R50, Grilled Chicken Caeser R50, Sirloin steak R85 Monday – Thursday 12h00 – 14h00. Until end September. Tel (021) 427-4800 (updated 6/9).

*   Hussar Grill, Green Point: 2 courses R99.  Until end October. Tel (021) 433-2081 (updated 7/10)

*   Blues, Camps Bay: 2 courses R120, 3 courses R 150. End September. Tel (01) 438-2040 (updated 5/9)

*   5 Rooms, Alphen Boutique Hotel: ‘Chalmer’ sirloin R95, Hanger steak R109, Tempura lobster R129,  3 courses R199. Summer. Tel (021) 795-6313 (updated 26/11)

*   Liberty’s, Upper Eastside Hotel: choice of one of three pasta dishes R48 on Mondays; one bottle of house red or white wine for two main courses ordered on Wednesdays; 12 Mozambican prawns done three ways for R85 on Thursdays; 3 &Union beers plus a tasting prego roll R100 on Fridays; Current. Tel (021) 404-0570 (updated 5/9)

*   Harbour House, Kalk Bay: 2 courses R 150, 3 courses R170. September. Tel (021) 788-4133 (updated 5/9)

*   Harbour House, V & A Waterfront: 2 courses R150, 3 courses R170, all meals except Sunday lunch. September. Tel (021) 418-4744 (updated 30/8)

*   Mezepoli, Camps Bay: Beef, chicken or vegetarian pita with chips, beer, or cold drink R70 on Mondays; half-price sushi; Meze platter R120 Sundays. September. Tel (021) 438-1915 (updated 5/9)

*   Ocean Blue, Camps Bay: Seafood platter R99, Linefish R79, Calamari R79, Sirloin steak R79, Prawns and linefish R79, Calamari and linefish R79, calamari and prawns, R79, Steak and prawns/calamari R79, Lobster and prawns R129, Oysters R6. Breakfast R30. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-4204 (updated 23/7)

*   Sinatra’s, Pepper Club Hotel: 3 course meal with glass of house wine R200, until end September. Tel (021) 812-8888

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay: 3-courses set menu R 149. Butternut and Feta cannelloni R79, Parmesan lamb chops R119, Osso Bucco R99, Lamb shank R109, Wild mushroom risotto (R89), chicken risotto (R89), pan fried tuna R119.  Until end September. Tel (021) 438-0007 (updated 5/9)

Bungalow, Clifton: ‘Speciality Winter Menu’, with six main courses ranging in price from R90 for Bouillabaisse to R155 for crayfish pasta, and one dessert, chocolate fondant, at R60. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-2018.

*   Mariner’s Wharf, Hout Bay: Free filter coffee or tot of Allesverloren port for 2 courses ordered. Starters R25 – R39, Mains R60 – R99, Desserts R25. Until 15 September, excludes Sundays and public holidays.  Tel (021) 790-1100

*   Salt Café, Bantry Bay: Breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee or juice R65. Spring. Tel (021) 439-3354 (Updated 3/9)

*   Rocca, Cape Quarter: 3-course dinner R123 Monday – Saturday. Current. Tel (021) 418-8000 (updated 5/9)

*   Mezbaan Indian Restaurant, Hilton Cape Town: ‘Curry Cup’ Buffet with soup, salads, nine curries, sambals, naan bread, poppadoms, and a selection of desserts, and all soft drinks R151, Thursday evenings. All year.  Tel (021) 481-3700

*   Buitenverwachting Restaurant, Constantia: 2 courses R175, 3 courses R225.  Tapas menu 5 dishes R129 and 7 dishes R179. Until end September. Tel (021) 794-3522 (updated 5/9)

*   Haiku: Dim Sum, Robata and Sushi platters R119, Lunch Monday – Friday. 3 courses R179, 5 courses R249, Dinner Monday – Wednesday.  Current. Tel (021) 424-7000 (updated 5/9)

Saints on 84 Kloof, Gardens: Order 2 flatbreads and pay for one Monday; order 2 Saints classic burgers and pay for one Thursday. Winter Tel (021) 424-0030

*   Alexander Bar and Café, Strand Street:  Home cooking dish of day R40, Mondays.  Current. Tel (021) 300-1088 (updated 5/9)

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 50 % off pasta and desserts on Monday lunch and dinner. September. Tel (021) 438-7074 (updated 5/9)

St Elmo’s: 4 Pizza pies R99; 2 large regular pizzas R109,90; 2 medium regular pizzas R74,90; 2 large pizzas R89,90 on Tuesdays only; Large regular pizza plus 400 gram rack of sticky ribs and chips R 129,90; Small regular pizza plus 330ml Coca Cola R29,90. All branches.

*   Andiamo, old Cape Quarter, De Waterkant: 2 pizzas or 2 pastas, or one of each, at R 109,95. Until October.  Tel (021) 421-3687.

*   Upstairs @ Quay Four: Malay Kreef Curry R90. Until end September.  Tel (021) 419-2008 (updated 5/9)

*   Debonairs Pizza: Pizza Tower (4 layers of large pizza) R109,90. Until 29 October. Tel (021) 439-7575

*   Maxi’s, Cape Gate, N1 City, Paarl, Zevenwacht:  350 gram T-Bone steak R59,90. From 15h00. T&Cs apply. Current.  Tel 0834562947

*   Café Chic, Gardens: 3-course dinner R150. Summer. Tel (021) 465-7218 (updated 11/10)

*   Balducci’s, V&A Waterfront: Sushi plate R109, all pizza and pasta R49. Free bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or House Red for two main meals ordered, at R90 minimum spend per main meal. Until 18h00 daily. Current. Tel (021) 421-6002 (checked 5/9)

*   Willoughby’s, V&A Waterfront:  ’Clicquot Fridays’: 3 sashimi dishes with tuna and salmon, and glass of Veuve Clicquot R149. Fridays. Current. Tel (021) 418-6115 (updated 5/9)

*   Sotano by Caveau, La Splendida Hotel, Mouille Point: Beef burger, lamb pita, club sandwich, and haloumi/tomato/caper flatbread R65, 2 lamb burgers for the price of one on Wednesdays from 17h00, Spring. Tel (021) 433-1757 (updated 3/9)

*   Kushi Indian Restaurant, 315 Main Road, Sea Point, and Red Sails, Main Road, Hout Bay: Butter Chicken, mixed vegetable curry, Naan, Basmati rice, and glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon R99. End September. Tel (021) 433-2069/791-4805 (updated 5/9)

*   OYO at V&A Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 500g crayfish R199. From 1 October.  Summer.  Tel (021) 419-6677. (added 20/9)

*   Andiamo, old Cape Quarter: 2 pastas or 2 pizzas, or one of each R109,95. Until end October. Tel (021) 421-3687 (added 23/9)

*   Reserve Brasserie, Adderley Street: 3-course Business Lunch  and local beer or mineral water R140, Wednesday – Friday. Tel (021) 422-0654. Current (added 23/9)

*   Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: 250 gram Rump steak R49, 8 – 14 October.  Tel (021) 418-9393 (added 8/10)

*   San Marco, V&A Waterfront:  2 for the price of one main meals; Pastas R69, Gourmet Burgers R69, Breakfast from R29. Current. Tel (021) 418-5434 (added 10/10)

*   Blues, Camps Bay: glass of bubbly and 3 oysters; Fritto Misto; West Coast mussels, all cost R69, between 3 – 6 pm

*   Leaf Restaurant: Combos R99. Sushi Buffet eat as much as you like R119, 50% off sushi before 18h00, free sushi platter up to R80 value on guest’s birthday. Summer. Tel (021) 418-4500. (added 27/11)

WINELANDS

Franschhoek

*   Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250g steaks at R115 – 145, including a glass of estate wine, current. Lunch, Wednesday – Sunday.  Chicnics (standard and vegetarian picnics) from 1 September, cost R145 per person, winetasting offered. Tel (021) 874-1021 (updated 5/9)

*   Allora in Franschhoek: 3-course Sunday lunch R99 all year. Lunch and dinner: 2 courses R89,  3 courses R110. Current. Tel (021) 876-4375 (updated 5/9)

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 3-courses R 200 and a glass of wine. Lunch. End September. Tel (021) 876-9200 (updated 5/9)

*   Grande Provence Jonkershuis, Franschhoek: 3-course meal for a minimum of eight guests, R 250 per person. 1 May – 30 September. Closed Sunday evenings until September. Tel (021) 876-8600.

*   La Residence, Franschhoek: 4 courses R 600 per person, all inclusive of ‘house wines’ and local beverages. Dinner. Daily.  Current.  Tel (021) 876-4100 (updated 5/9)

*   Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek: 4-course Table d’Haut lunch R150, Tuesday – Friday;  Pierre Jourdan Breakfast, cellar tour, and tasting R150, from 10h00 Saturdays;  Pinot Noir Tasting Menu – 5 courses and wine R495, Friday and Saturday dinner, Saturday and Sunday lunch. Current. Tel (021) 876-3688 (updated 5/9)

*   Freedom Hill Restaurant, outside Franschhoek: 2-courses R105, 3-course R135. Selection of tapas R10 – R30 each. Wednesday – Mondays. Summer. Tel (021) 867-0963 (updated 5/9)

*   Reuben’s: Burger and chips R 85.  Current. Tel (021) 876-3772 (updated 4/9)

*   Dish at Le Franschhoek:  3 course lunch R 195. Sundays. Bookings essential. September. Tel (021) 876-8900 (updated 5/9)

*   Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte (photograph): 6-course dinner with ‘surprises in-between’ R350, or R495 with wine pairing. Summer.  Tel (021) 876-8800 (updated 31/8)

*   The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Français: two for the price of one on Wednesdays, FIRST TEN ONLY, until end September.  Tel (021) 876-2151.

Paarl

*   Bosman’s, Grande Roche, Paarl: 2-courses R135, 3-courses R170.  Monday – Sunday lunch  (Bosman’s and at Bistro) and dinner (Bistro only).  End September. Tel (021) 863-5100 (updated 5/9)

eat @ Simonsvlei, Simonsvlei Winery, Old Paarl Road: Steak and baked potato R95 Friday evenings.  3 course carvery R135 Sundays. Free milkshake and kiddie’s pizza with adults eating Tuesday – Saturday.   Summer. Tel (021) 863-3040   (updated 5/9)

*   Harvest at Laborie: 2 courses R110, 3 courses R 135, Monday – Friday lunch. Until end October. Tel (021) 807-3095 (added 11/9)

Stellenbosch

*   Towerbosch Restaurant, Knorhoek Wine Estate, Stellenbosch:  Asado Argentian-style braai on Sundays R165, R175 from 1 October. Indefinite. Tel (021) 865-2958 (updated 6/9)

*   Tokara Restaurant, Stellenbosch: Chef’s Menu – 4 courses, inclusive of glass of wine R 250.  End September. Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner (closed 24/9 – 4/10). Tel (021) 885-2550 (updated 5/9)

*   Wild Peacock Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Str, Stellenbosch: Specials as per menu, dinner Friday evenings. Early bird mini breakfast plus tea/coffee R25 Monday – Friday 7h30 – 9h00. Terrific Tuesday lunch R59 Tuesdays 12h00 – 14h00. Indefinite. Tel (021) 887-7585 (updated 5/9)

*   Johan’s at Longridge, Stellenbosch: 6-course lunch and dinner plus 6 glasses of wine R 400. Friday – Tuesday (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays). Current. Tel (021) 855-2004.*

*   Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch: 4-course wine and food pairing lunch R198, Tuesday – Friday, Summer. Tel (021) 865-2022 (updated 21/8)

*   Lord Neethling Restaurant, Neethlingshof, Stellenbosch:  choice of 4 hot dishes with 250 ml wine R80 mid-September, Sunday buffet lunch R150 Summer. Wednesday and Friday dinner, and Monday – Saturday lunch. Tel (021) 883-8966 (updated 5/9)

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3 course meal R185. Monday – Saturday, 3 – 30 September. Tel (021) 842-2020 (update 29/8)

*   Warwick wine estate: Picnics for two R299. Monday – Sunday.  Summer. Tel (021) 884-4410 (updated 5/9)

*   Terroir, Kleine Zalze: 2 courses R 175, 3 courses R198, both with a glass of Kleine Zalze wine. Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Until 30 September. Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Dornier Bodega Restaurant, Dornier wine estate: 2 courses R150, 3 courses R 175. Lunch daily, but closed Mondays.  Asparagus menu from 28 September.  Tel (021) 880-0557 (updated 11/9)

*   Overture: 4-courses R 250, and R350 if paired with wines. Tuesday – Friday lunch, Dinner Thursday and Friday, until 14 September, thereafter R350/R490. Tel (021) 880-2721 (updated 6/9)

*   Hartenberg: Steak and Shiraz, R95, Fridays.

*   Taste, mid-way between Stellenbosch and Somerset West: 3 course meal R175, Lunch and Dinner, Thursdays – Mondays. Tel (021) 855-3686

* Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House: 3 courses R195, or R255 if paired with wines. Until end October.  Tel (021) 880-1549 (added 11/9)

Hermanus

*   Season in Hermanus: Afval R45 Tuesdays. Two for the price of one main course Wednesdays. Hake and calamari combo R55 Thursdays. Free 200g rump steak for a 300 g rump steak ordered for R110, on Fridays.  Sunday lunch: 1 course R70 upwards, 2 courses R 92 upwards. Curry Festival R110 Saturdays. Tel (028) 316-2854.  Spring. (updated 5/9)

*   The Class Room, Hermanus: 2 courses R120, 3 courses R150. Wednesdays – Fridays. 10 October – 3 November. Tel (028) 316-3582 (update 27/9)

*   Amigos Cantina Restaurant: Free bottle of house wine for table of 4.2 bottles for table of 8 Tuesdays; buy one get one free on chicken liver starter or Chicken/Beef/Vegetarian Tortilla Wednesdays; free coffee and a port/sherry Thursdays.  Current. Tel (028) 313-0384

*   Cattle Baron: 300g Chateaubriand R125; Lunch Buffet R59, pensioners R45,90, Wednesday – Friday 12h00 – 15h00. Current. Tel (028) 313-0384 (added 21/9)

*   Annie se Kombuis: 2 courses R75, 3 courses R90. Current. Tel (028) 313-1350 (added 21/9)

*   Monneaux, Franschhoek Country House:  Spring salad with complimentary glass of Rosé R65, Gourmet Ostrich Burger with complimentary lager R65.  Until 30 November. tel (0210 876-3386.

Plettenberg Bay

*   Nguni: Friday night special R50. Tel (044) 533-6710 (updated 31/8)

Gourmet Food and Wine evenings will warm up winter!

One of the exciting things about winter is that a number of restaurants are offering excellent value Gourmet evenings, with top wine makers presenting their wines, paired with special dishes prepared by the chefs of the restaurants.  It is a shame that some of the dates clash.

The Pavilion at The Marine Hotel, Hermanus

6 May:   Bouchard Finlayson Winery

3 June:   Paul Cluver Wines

1 July:   Klein Constantia Wine Estate

5 August:   Creation Wines

2 September:   Hamilton Russell Vineyards & Southern Right

The 5-course dinners, paired with wines, cost R 320 per person.  Tel (028) 313-1000

The Grand Café Camps Bay

11 May:   Peter Falke Wines

15 June:   Stellekaya

13 July:   Haute Cabriere

The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300.  Tel (021) 438-4253 NOTE THAT THE RESTAURANT IS CLOSED UNTIL END JULY, CONTRADICTING THE NOTICE ABOUT THE PAIRINGS THEY SENT

The Grand on the Beach

18 May:   Antonij Rupert Wines

22 June:   Ernst Gouws & Co

20 July:   Peter Falke

The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300.  Tel (021) 425-0551

Bosman’s, Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl

27 May:   AA Badenhorst Family Wines with winemaker Adi Badenhorst

10 June:   The House of Krone with winemaker Matthew Krone

22 July:   Glen Carlou with winemaker Arco Laarman

26 August:   Backsberg with winemaker Guillaume Nell

3 September:   Nederburg Auction Pre-dinner with cellarmaster Razvan Macici

28 October:   Raats Family Wines with winemaker Bruwer Raats

The 5-course meal with wine, coffee, canapés and petit fours costs R690.  Tel (021) 863-5100

The Garden Room, Mount Nelson Hotel

29 April:   Vergelegen with winemaker Andre van Rensburg

27 May:   Bouchard Finlayson with winemaker and owner Peter Finlayson

24 June:   Neil Ellis Wines with owner Neil Ellis

29 July:   Groote Post with winemaker Lukas Wentzel

26 August:   Rust en Vrede with winemaker Coenie Snyman

30 September:   Deetlefs with winemaker Willie Stofberg

28 October:   Boschendal with winemaker Lizelle Gerber

15 November:   Moreson with winemaker Clayton Reabow

9 December:   Boekenhoutskloof with winemaker Marc Kent.

The 7-course dinner costs R 395 per person with matching wines.  Tel (021) 483-1000

Chenin Wine Bar and Restaurant

26 May:   Ernie Els Wines

Cost is R 100. Tel (021) 425-2200

Buitenverwachting

28 April: Buitenverwachting winemaker Brad Paton

Cost of the 5-course meal is R460.  Tel (021) 794-3522

Nobu at One&Only Cape Town

29 April:   Stark-Condé Wines

Cost of the 7-course meal is R R480.   Tel (021) 431-5111

What’s On, Watson Street

7 May:   Fleur du Cap winemaker Christoff de Wet

Cost of the 6-course dinner and wines is R300 per person or R500 per couple.  Tel (021) 422-5652

Marika’s, Gardens

9 May:   Mischa and Eventide

6 June:   Barton Wines winemaker JP Geyer

4 July:   Nabygelegen with winemaker James McKenzie

Cost of 5-course dinner and wines is R 200.  Tel (021) 465-2727

1800°C Grill Room, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel

7 May:   Hartenberg Estate

2 June:  Morgenhof

7 July:   Warwick wine estate

4 August: La Motte Wine Estate

Cost of 4-course dinner with welcome drink and wines R335.  Tel (021) 430-0506

Casa Nostra, Sea Point

28 May:   Fairview

2 July:   Klein Constantia

Cost of 4-course meal R230.  Tel (021) 433-0187

Bergkelder, Stellenbosch

30 June:   Fleur du Cap Unfiltered

Cost of 5-course meal, Wine and Flavoured Salt tasting by Craig Cormack of Sofia’s is R400.  Tel (021) 809-8025

French Toast

22 June: L’Avenir Vineyards

6 July:   Constantia Glen

3 August :  Diemersdal

7 September:   Creation Wines

5 October:   Rustenberg Wines

Cost of 3-course Tapas and wine pairing R 220 per person.  Tel (021) 422-3839.

24 August: Overgaauw vintage port pairing (with David van Velden) with food, R80.  Tel (021) 422-3839

Café BonBon, Franschhoek

8 June:  Jacoline Haasbroek from My Wyn

22 June:   Haut Espoir

4-course dinner and wine pairing R195 per person.  Tel (021) 876-3936

La Mouette, Sea Point

8 June:  Arco Laarman from Glen Carlou

4-course French theme dinner R240 per person. Tel (021) 433-0856

Swiss & Austrian Social Club, Sea Point

11 June:   Waverley Hills Organic Wines

5-course dinner paired with five wines R250.  Tel (021) 434-8405

Fork

19 July:   Joubert-Tradauw

9-course emal paired with wines R225.  Tel (021) 424-6334

15 on Orange

21 July:  Warwick wines

6-course meal paired with wines R295.  Tel (021) 469-8000

Knife Restaurant

27 July: Glenwood Wines

4-course meal paired with wines R220.  Tel (021) 551-5000

Warwick Wine Estate

22 and 29 July: 4-course dinner paired with Warwick wines, celebrating Stellenbosch Wine Festival.  R390. Tel (021) 884-4410

The Class Room, Hermanus

12 August: Rust en Vrede

3-course dinner paired with wines R195.  Tel (028) 316-3582

Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions

3 August: Avontuur Wine Estate

5-course dinner paired with 7 Avontuur wines R345. Tel (021) 434-2351

5 October: Luddite

5-course dinner paired with 6 Luddite wines at R345 per person Tel (021) 434-2351

Sinn’s, Wembley Square

25 August: Durbanville Hills with winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee

4-course dinner paired with 4 wines R225.  Tel (021) 465-0967

Pure Restaurant, Hout Bay Manor

24 September:   Groote Post wine estate

5-course dinner paired with wines R 260.  Tel (021) 791-9393

96 Winery Road

28 September:   Van Ryn’s

4-course dinner paired with Van Ryn’s brandy R320.  Tel (021) 842-2020

Cassia Restaurant, Nitida wine estate, Durbanville

30 September:  Nitida wines

4-course dinner paired with Nitida wines R 300.  Tel (021) 976-0640

Bayside Café, Camps Bay

30 September: Beyerskloof Wines

5-course dinner paired with Beyerskloof Wines R 175 per person.  Tel (021) 438-2650

Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch

28 October: Clos Malverne wines

5-course dinner paired with Clos Malverne wines R 445.  Tel (021) 865-2022

La Residence, Franschhoek

18 November: Waterford Wines with winemaker Francois Haasbroek

6-course Dinner paired with Waterford wines R 800.  Tel (021) 876-4100

The Vineyard Hotel

Friday 13 May

Schalk Burger & Sons

Friday 27 May

Warwick & Vilafonté

Friday 10 June

West Coast Wines with Tierhoek

Friday 24 June

Stellakaya with Ntsiki Biyela

Friday 1 July

La Motte

Friday 15 July

Solms Delta Wine Estate

Friday 5 August

Dombeya Wines with Rianie Strydom

Friday 19 August

Catherine Marshall Wines

Friday 2 September

Meerlust Wine Estate

Friday 16 September

Favourites from Wine Concepts

Friday 7 October

Hermanuspietersfontein

Friday 21 October

Wines from the Swartland (Kloovenburg, Babylon’s Peak)

Friday 28 October

Constantia Valley Wines

The dinner costs R 250 per person.  Tel (021) 657-4500.

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

Winestyle and TASTE crush Crush! digital food and wine magazine!

We have written about Crush!1, Crush!2 and Crush!3, Michael Olivier’s digital food and wine magazine, which he launched last year.   As other publications are being launched which embrace food and wine, both digitally and in print, I chose to evaluate Crush!4 against its competitors, putting myself in the shoes of a food and/or wine marketer, deciding where to spend a marketing budget, and as a food and wine lover, deciding where to spend my time reading.   I evaluated Winestyle, TASTE, and Crush!4, all three magazines focusing on food and wine, with a Postscript on Crush!5.

Winestyle

The first (Summer) issue of Winestyle was sent to subscribers (note one does not pay to receive the magazine) in December, and its concept is a most creative and environmentally-friendly “print on demand” one.  This saves the publishers from over-printing, saving paper and costs, and ultimately the environment.  It is published quarterly.  What makes it unique is that a weekly newsletter is sent by e-mail to each subscriber, updating them on food and wine news.  While the brand carry-over is not strong in terms of the banner design of the newsletter (initially I thought the newsletters were from wine consultant Nikki Dumas, who has a similar company name).   This builds brand awareness weekly, and bridges the quarterly print publishing period.

The 88-page magazine is larger than the standard A4 size, and has an attractive cover, although it is not photographed in a vineyard.  The paper quality is outstanding, as is the photography.  Editor Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright is from Warwick wine estate originally, where her mother Norma and brother Mike make excellent wines, and this makes Jenny well-connected to the wine industry.  In her editorial Jenny writes: “It is our intention to help everyone make full use of every wine-drinking day …. it’s your passport to all things enjoyable, to in-the-know wines, delicious and simple-to-prepare food and accessible travel – all in a large, sexy, glossy, collectible magazine”.   The theme of the Summer edition is celebration, and therefore champagnes and sparkling wines are predominantly featured.

Advertising support is impressive for a first edition, and reflects the confidence of the advertisers in the publication, and wine estates Graham Beck,  Glen Carlou, Clos Malverne, Kleine Zalze,  Nederburg, Highlands Road Estate, OBiKWA, Creation, Eikendal, Adoro Wines, Muratie, and Morgenhof have taken full-page ads.  Jenny anticipates having 2500 subscribers by the time the next issue is launched in March.

The editorial content includes a focus on sparkling wine producers in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, including JC le Roux, Simonsig, Villiera, Morgenhof, Cabrière, Graham Beck, Anura, and Sterhuis, and recommends accommodation and restaurants in the area.  A profile on a very casual looking Jean-Philippe Colmant, making excellent bubbly in Franschhoek and importing champagnes, is written by Cape Talk’s John Maytham.  A travel feature focuses on the Champagne region, which is informative and has beautiful photographs.  A food feature focuses on Tapas, with short recipes, and amazing photography by Christoph Heierli.  A Restaurant feature recommends places offering ‘alfresco dining’ in Johannesburg, Durban, the Winelands and Cape Town.   A feature on cocktails has some that call for sparkling wine. The results of a wine-tasting, a panel comparing South African sparkling wines Silverthorn, Colmant Brut, Villiera, Jacques Bruére, and Simonsig, with champagnes Moët & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, Piper-Heidsieck, Pol Roger and Tribaut Brut Tradition, are featured.  Joint first winners were Silverthorn the Green Man Brut and Tribaut Brut Tradition.  A tasting panel evaluation of the 2010 vintage Sauvignon Blanc of Groote Post, David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner, Neil Joubert, Arabella, Sophie Terblance, Delaire, Diemersdal, Klein Constantia, De Grendel and Du Toitskloof ranks them in this order.  An article on cigars concludes what must be the most excellent food and wine publication available locally now.

I cannot wait for the Autumn edition.  I do recommend that there be more synergy between the magazine and the newsletter as well as its website in terms of branding and design.  Of the three magazines reviewed in this blogpost, Winestyle is the best by far, and we congratulate editor Jenny on this achievement for her maiden issue.

TASTE

Woolworths’ in-house magazine is written and published by New Media Publishing, and they have regularly won ADMag and Pica Awards for Customer Magazine of the Year for it, most recently in 2009.   It costs R20,95, is published monthly, and is sold in outlets other than Woolworths too.   It is A4 in size, with 134 pages, and does not have a statement to describe what it stands for, but its cover photograph represents food.  Wines appear to be a secondary focus.  The editor is highly regarded Sumien Brink, with Abigail Donnelly ably at her side.

Advertisers are a mixed bunch, including car retailers, liquor brands (Darling Cellars, Krone, Bombay Sapphire, Veuve Cliquot, Brand House), watch brands, kitchen suppliers, decor brands, food brands (Lancewood, Lindt), investment companies, a restaurant (Cape Town Fish Market), and accommodation, most of the brands not sold by Woolworths at all.

The editorial content of the December issue includes a Trends feature, and food related trends are featured with beautiful large photographs by Lee Malan and Jan Ras.  Where recipes are featured, they are short and sweet, and do not dominate the look of any page (something competitors House and Leisure Food can learn from).  A Foodstuff feature focuses on products that are sold at Woolworths, but most are non-branded items, and the Woolworths link is very low key. It even has an interview with and one done by Andy Fenner, who writes the JamieWho? blog, a contributor to Crush! issues 2, 3 and 4, but he has withdrawn his support, probably due to his new (not yet clearly defined) involvement with Woolworths, and not wanting to be associated with his friend David Cope’s disparaging Twitter campaign against ourselves, in retaliation to our review of Crush!3.   A chicken feature by man-of-the-moment Justin Bonello, a fish focus by Sam Woulidge, a canapé feature by Mariana Esterhuizen of Mariana’s, a feature on Dewetshof by Woolworths wine consultant Allan Mullins, and a feature on Oded Schwartz of Oded’s Kitchen and his relishes, chutneys and preserves, follow.  Christmas recipes are featured, but are few in number.  Restaurants featured are the fabulous Babel on Babylonstoren (next door to Backsberg), and the heavenly Hemelhuijs.  Blueberries are featured, with recipes, as are Summer lunch recipes.  An exclusive extract from Australian Bill Granger’s receipe book “Bill’s Basics” is featured.  A travel feature by Judy van der Walt focuses on the Dordogne region, and the magazine ends off with a month’s worth of recipes for snacks, lunches, tea time, and suppers.

I hadn’t bought a TASTE magazine for a while, and remembered it to be more attractive and impactful.  The focus may be too much on recipes, and too little on wines.   The features are written by good quality journalists, and could possibly be expanded.   I liked the way Woolworths as a brand is not ‘in your face’ when reading the magazine – in fact I wouldn’t have minded more direct brand-linkage, to know what to look for when next I shop.  There are so many organic and other quality suppliers to Woolworths of fruit and vegetables and other foods, as well as of wines, which could all be the subject of features, not necessarily linked to recipes only.  A “new Woolworths products” feature would be welcome.  For a marketer, TASTE would be an important advertising medium to consider, given its association with Woolworths, and the profile of the Woolworths shopper, with a reasonable disposable income.    There is little carry-over between the magazine and its website.

Crush!4

The digital food and wine magazine Crush! has no print partner, and is haphazard in its publishing frequency. On Twitter the editorial team hint at how busy they are in doing work for the publication, but on average it appears to take them two months or longer to publish a new issue.  The arrival of the new magazine is announced on Twitter and by e-mail, as one has to subscribe to receive a link to it, and is free of charge.

Crush!4  has 44 pages and was published early in December.  It appears to have lost its restaurant reviewer JP Rossouw, and Olivier has taken over writing the restaurant reviews, something we suggested in one of our earlier Crush! reviews.   We are delighted with another of our recommendations that Olivier adopted, which was to let (lady) bloggers participate in his magazine, and he has done so by giving highly regarded blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs from Scrumptious blog a recipe feature, and he has introduced a recipe competition, in which the recipes of bloggers Colleen Grove, Jeanne Horak-Druiff, Meeta Khurana-Wolff and Nina Timm can be evaluated by readers.

The navigation of the pages, and more particularly the content on each page, remains tedious. The front cover looks better, the copy on top of the photograph being easier to read, but it is not yet perfect, especially when one compares the ‘less is more’ covers of the two other magazines above.  Most flashing gimmicks have been removed from the front cover, and have largely been discontinued.   Advertising support is poor, and appears reduced relative to previous issues, and compared to the two other publications above, with only Hidden Valley, Pongracz, Laborie, Old Mutual and Ultra Liquors advertising.

The content consists of a wine page written by Olivier, and features premium brandy cocktails, a vineyard dog, wine finds, a wine myth and an overview of Sauvignon Blanc.  The Essentials page, as before, has products with poor brand recognition, but the names are typed alongside each product.  A Plaisir de Merle feature is a good promotion for the wine estate.  The recipe pages by Jane-Anne Hobbs have fantastic photography done by herself (perhaps she should become the Crush!photographer!), but I could only get to see three recipes (soup, dessert, gammon) – I am sure there were more, judging by the six bottles alongside the opening recipe, and Olivier recommends a wine per recipe.   The names of the wines are not typed alongside the bottles.   The JamieWho? page by Andy Fenner is blocked by a Laborie promotion box, still has silly moving balloon captions, and focuses on Absinthe, Champagne, Hangover Cures, Jardine’s Christmas cake,  and Christmas cocktails.  In two of his mini-stories the copy ends mid-sentence.  The review of Babel Restaurant at Babylonstoren is blocked by a competition box, and one does not know how to close it.  Restaurant names at the bottom of the Babel article are harder to read on the right hand side, especially ‘Cafeen’.

A seven-day recipe card feature by Carey Boucher-Erasmus (a food consultant to the Pick ‘n Pay Cookery School, according to Google) is easy to follow and read, but no information is supplied about who Carey is.  There is no consistency in the colours used for the names of white and red wines alongside the bottles, the white wine names typed in blue (High Five) or in green (Quaff Now).   Sophia Lindop does great food features, but has used herbs in the last two issues (rocket in the current issue and rosemary last time), making it hard to see dishes prepared with these, and thus to have attractive photographs, even if they are photographed by star photographer Russel Wasserfall.   David Cope outs himself as a guest house reviewer, of South Hills, presented on a messy red and white check background which is similar to that which he uses on his ‘The Foodie’ blog.  A summer picnic spead looks good enough to eat off the screen, and is prepared by Luisa Farelo, but there is no indication as to who she is (I could not find any information about her on Google).  The focus on Parlotones wines, named after the group, is fun in having their music videos, but I did struggle to get one to play properly.  I also struggled to find the way to open the Prince Albert feature by Russel Wasserfall, eventually finding it at the bottom right, in the smallest possible type size.  A feature on trendy Artisan Breads tells the Knead story, with colour photographs, and mentions the names of only five other artisanal bakeries around the country – there are that many others in Cape Town alone!  Helen Untiedt’s organic vegetable garden, and a Book Review page conclude Crush!4.

My overwhelming frustration with Crush! is the difficulty of reading it, and the struggle to move forward or to close what one has opened.  The promotional boxes blocking copy remains a problem, which cheapens the magazine and is irritating to have to close.  Perhaps Olivier and the design team can look at Opulent Living’s e-magazine, only 8 pages long but published regularly – it is easy to read, has no promotions, with beautiful photographs – a top class digital magazine!   I was interested to see the Crush! blogger recipe rating, and the low participation is a surprise (the highest vote is by only 100 readers after two months), given Olivier’s claim that the magazine would go to more than 1 million readers!     If I were a marketer, I would not advertise in Crush!, as a digital magazine cannot present a food or wine brand with the appetite appeal that a print magazine can, especially given the poor pack presentation.  I would therefore love to see a print version of Crush!, as it contains lots of good information, and could make for beautiful pages of copy and photography, something one would want to keep.

POSTSCRIPT 8/2

Crush!5 was launched today.  JamieWho? (Andy Fenner) has been replaced by Neil Stemmet, a talented interior designer, and he adds an Afrikaans dimension to Crush!, with all five his recipes in Afrikaans on his “Soutenpeper” page (this is causing a problem for English readers!).  David Cope has lost his name, and is only referred to as “The Foodie”, with no red and white check background to his contributions anymore, and both his article on Paternoster, and on FoodWineDesign in Johannesburg (held in November!!), are long-winded and boring, with few attractive photographs.   Jane-Anne Hobbs (unfortunately) has been replaced by Clare Bock (owner of Appetite catering company, I learnt from Google) in a food/wine matching feature – by chance I worked out how this feature works – if you click on a wine bottle, an appropriate recipe pops up, rather than finding an appropriate wine to match the recipe!   The five food bloggers in the recipe rating section are complete unknowns.  Luisa Farelo (with an introduction in this issue – she is a chef and food stylist) does another feature, this time on Sunday lunches, and the styling is good enough to eat again.  A food and wine events calendar is a good new addition, while a classifieds section probably is not, the ads being so small that one cannot read them.  A feature on The Test Kitchen, and owner and chef Luke Dale-Roberts, is good with great food photographs, as is the one on Jordan Winery, but the labels underneath the bottles are so tiny that one may not see them.  The interview with Bertus Basson of Overture (Michael is a stickler for spelling, but misspells the restaurant name in his introduction) is weird, and probably does not do him a favour.  Advertisers are Fairview, Pongracz, Old Mutual, and Avocado magazine.

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

Warwick/Vilafonte wine and Scrumptious food bloggers paired

The third Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting takes place next Wednesday 28 July, from 18h00 – 20h00, and will pair Jane-Anne Hobbs Rayner of Scrumptious food blog, and Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick and Vilafonte wine blog.

Mike Ratcliffe is the Managing Director of Warwick wine estate and Managing Partner of Vilafonte.  He has a B.Comm (Economics) from the University of Stellenbosch and a Graduate Diploma in Wine Marketing from the University of Adelaide. He is a Board member of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), has been involved on the marketing committee of the Stellenbosch Wine Route, is the Deputy Chairman of the South African Wine Industry Trust (encouraging black economic empowerment and land redistribution), and is President of the United States/South Africa Foundation, a fundraising charity based in the USA.  He is an international wine judge, industry commentator and marketing co-ordinator, and is an industry leader in embracing social media marketing in the marketing of his wines.

Jane-Anne Hobbs Rayner of Scrumptious blog is a freelance journalist, editor, author of three books (on local touring routes, and on raising toddlers), cook, food writer and recipe developer.  She writes as Juno, and her blog is independent, in that she does not accept any advertising or sponsorship, nor does she accept freebies.  She does use Google Adsense.  She is passionate about “food, fresh local ingredients and punchy flavours”. She loves writing recipes.  Jane-Anne was a speaker at the Food Bloggers’ Conference earlier this year. 

The Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club was formed to reflect the tremendous growth in and power of food and wine blogs in forming opinion about food, restaurants and wines.  Most bloggers do not have any formal training in blogging, and learnt from others.   Each of the two bloggers will talk for about half an hour about their blog, and what they have learnt about blogging.  The Club will give fledgling as well as experienced bloggers the opportunity to learn from each other and to share their knowledge with others.  Attendees can ask questions, and get to know fellow bloggers.  The Club meetings are informal and fun.

Other writers that will be talking at future Bloggers Club meetings are the following:

Wednesday 18 August:       Sam Wilson of Food24 Blogs, and Rob Armstrong of Haut Espoir 

Wednesday 22 September: Dax Villanueva of Relax-with-Dax Blog, and Hein Koegelenberg of La Motte and Hein Koegelenberg Blog

Wednesday 20 October:     Clare Mack of Spill Blog, and Simon Back of Backsberg Blog

Wednesday 24 November:  Marisa Hendricks of The Creative Pot Blog, and Emile Joubert of Wine Goggle Blog

Wines are brought along by the wine blogging speaker, and Mike will introduce the Warwick wines served.  Snacks will be served to match the Warwick wines.  The cost of attendance is R 150.  Bookings can be made by e-mailing info@whalecottage.com.

The meeting of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club will be held at Cafe Max, 126 Waterkant Street, in De Waterkant, Cape Town.   From Somerset Road turn up Highfield Street (opposite Green Point Traffic Department), alongside the Tafelberg Furnishers/Kfm building, and turn left into Waterkant Street.  Cafe Max is about 200 meters further down the road, on the left.

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