Entries tagged with “World Cup”.


Le EntranceToday is a day of announcements of property sales in Franschhoek, it would appear.  This morning we announced that we have sold our Whale Cottage Franschhoek. Now it has been announced that Mr Aniljit Singh of The Leeu Collection has added Le Quartier Français to his property portfolio in Franschhoek, taking over from 1 September. It is a surprise for many that the hotel and restaurant property has been sold, if not a relief for many Franschhoekers!

Mr Singh fell in love with Franschhoek in 2010, when he visited Cape Town to attend the World Cup soccer. Last year he bought the Dieu Donné, Von Ortloff, and Dassenberg properties, creating a 21-bedroom 5-star luxury Boutique (more…)

Hayden Quinn Title page sunflowersIt is ironic that Australian 2011 MasterChef Finalist (and not even a winner) has become a celebrity, to such an extent that he has become the host of a 13 series SABC3 programme about sustainable eating in our country, also combining the travel highlights of the regions Hayden will visit. Beautifully filmed, with some product placement overkill, the first episode last night made one proud to be a Capetonian, and to see our beautiful city through the eyes of the guest chef! Hayden described Cape Town as the ‘tip of the iceberg‘, whilst raving about loving South Africa.

The episode begins with Hayden doing some surfing, sharing his passion for the ocean, saying it is the place at which he feels most at home.  The link to the ocean  is made, to share that he is a WWF SASSI ambassador, our local organisation that educates consumers about only ordering and buying orange-listed fish.  It explains Woolworth’s dominance in the programme, with a number of TV commercials, although none match the beautiful ads which it created for MasterChef SA in Seasons 1 and 2.  Hayden is ‘crazy about adventure’ and good food, he shared.

The start to Hayden’s food adventure was the Neighbourgoods Market at the Old Biscuit Mill, where he sampled sandwiches from The Kitchen, and samoosas from Cumin Catering.  He described it as a ‘buzzing inner-city market‘, reflecting the flavours and fresh foods of Cape Town. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Sales of alcoholic beverages in the UK have decreased by 6% in the last week of the five-week World Cup period compared to the same period a year ago, as interest in the soccer event has decreased in the last week of the tournament, despite reaching close to £ 1 billion in sales.  Sales in the first three weeks of the tournament showed an increase, however.  Champagne and sparkling wine showed the strongest growth in the past month.  Cider sales decreased by 11% compared to a year ago. England’s early World Cup exit and better weather in July 2013 have been the cause of the beverage sales decrease.

*   A Wine Intelligence study finds that UK wine drinkers almost equally accept cork and screw cap closures, at 40% each;  Australians prefer screw cap wines (55%) to cork (38%); and in the USA cork is strongly preferred (64%) compared to screw caps (21%).  The choice of closure is dictated by image and practicality, more than ‘scientific’ reasons of helping the wine to breathe, stifling ageing, or preventing spoilage.

*   A new MasterCard Multi-currency Cash Passport has been launched, and is available at ABSA and American Express (more…)

World Cup 2014We are on the eve of the closure of what many describe as the greatest World Cup, and tonight the world will see Germany and Argentina fight for the title of World Cup Champion.

An interesting survey was conducted, to establish which were the best advertisements made for the 2014 World Cup, by interviewing top advertising industry executives in the USA.   These were the brands that were rated as having the best TV commercials, most of them closely linked to the world’s best soccer stars:

1.   Brazil: as a host country it was described as a ‘proud country being the perfect host’, in its welcoming nature to the soccer fans, and its team losing with such good spirit in the semi-final against Germany earlier this week

2.   Adidas trainers:  Using the pay-off line ‘all in or nothing’, the latest commercial is called The Final‘, and it predominantly focuses on the Final tonight, with Lionel Messi and Thomas Müller.  It asks who wants the World Cup more, with ‘two teams, one trophy’.  TheWake Up Call’ commercial was posted on YouTube on 12 June, at the start of the World Cup, and already has in excess of 7 million views!  It focuses on Argentinian Lionel Messi preparing on his own, with less airtime give to Bastian Schweinsteiger, representing the German team.  The commercial shows excerpts of a number of the earlier matches, and some of the soccer greats in action, including Mesut Özil scoring for Germany, Manuel Neuer defending so boldly for Germany, as well as Luis Suárez of Argentina, and Dani Alves of Brazil. (more…)

Tourism 2014 trendsAmerican tourism consultant and speaker Dr Peter Tarlow has made some predictions for the tourism industry in 2014.   He believes that not much will change relative to 2013, but has identified some trends that could impact on the tourism industry globally, as reported by eTurboNews:

1.  The economic status of the world in the past few years has placed greater emphasis on the ‘middle class‘, representing the largest number of travellers.

2.   Middle class travellers tend to be more forgiving of tourism mistakes and less perfect service.  They are however sensitive to economic changes, and the cost of credit in particular.  Interest rate increases makes the use of credit more expensive, and can affect travel. As they live on a budget, middle class travellers will be affected by their expectation of taxes and other major cost increases.  Stock market trends influence confidence, even if the middle class does not own shares.

3.   The upper class is more demanding of service when travelling, and less reliant on and believing in marketing.

4.  Security remains an important issue, and global events, such as the Winter Olympics, the Summer Olympics, and the 2014 World Cup will create security challenges, including terrorism, for Brazil in particular.

5.   Airlines will increasingly be disliked, as their service diminishes, as their rates increase, as they merge to save costs, as they (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   South African born Heston Blumenthal has been named ‘Chef of the Decade‘ by the Observer Food Month.

*   SA Tourism CEO Thulani Nzima has promised the tourism industry an Indaba 2014 that will be ‘an intensely business-focused’ one.  He has promised a revamp, which will be ‘relevant and future proof‘!

*   Beerhouse is organising an Oktobeer Fest on 31 October, from 17h00, at its Long Street premises.  (received via Facebook)

*   SA Tourism and Emirates have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (more…)

65 on Main Interior 2 Whale Cottage PortfolioThe restaurant at 65 Main Road used to be one of Green Point’s most popular when it was called Miss K, but nose-dived when it was taken over by an Italian owner and he renamed it after his daughter Giulia a year ago.  He lasted a few months before returning to his homeland, as his wife did not like Cape Town. This left the space for Whitney Wentzel to take it over and to open 65 on Main within two weeks, at the beginning of August.  It was a surprise discovery, following a most mediocre Camps Bay experience earlier that day!

I underestimated Whitney on first appearance, and thought her to be the manager, as a waiter came out to greet me even though she was outside as well.  I was left in the care of a second waiter Sheldon, who informed me that Whitney is in fact the owner.  Whitney studied at the Hotel School in Granger Bay, having graduated just before the World Cup, and worked as F&B Manager at The Taj, The Cullinan, Zimbali, and the Arabella Kleinmond hotels since then.  She had a dream to run her own restaurant, 65 on Main Whitney Wentzel Whale Cottage Portfolioand told me that she dutifully saved as much as she could, having been taught by her portfolio asset manager mother.  Although only 25 years old, I sensed that Whitney pays attention to detail, and knows exactly what she is doing, and that her establishment (more…)

Mandela birthdayThe Sweet Service Award goes to all the South Africans who honoured former President Nelson Mandela on his 95th birthday yesterday, by giving 67 minutes of their time to help others, including operating soup kitchens, giving talks at schools, making sandwiches for learners at disadvantaged schools, collecting clothing and blankets, volunteering at the Oranjezicht City Farm, reading at a retirement home or hospice, donating blood, volunteering at an animal shelter, serving tea and cake at old age homes, painted school exteriors, offered TB and HIV screening,  provided free horseriding lessons for disabled children, brought joy to sick children at the Red Cross Children’s Hospital, and did many more good deeds in honour of the father of the nation. (more…)

Gorry Bowes-Taylor has built up a loyal following of book lovers as well as book launch lunch lovers on behalf of Wordsworth.  The launch of Tony Leon’s latest book, ‘The Accidental Ambassador: from Parliament to Patagonia‘, which was released two weeks ago, was sold out at Myoga on Saturday, not only due to the witty smart speaker but also the excellent menu offered by Chef Mike Bassett for the event.

The book, Leon’s second (the first was ‘On the Contrary‘), tells the story of Leon’s retirement from DA (Democratic Alliance) opposition politics after twenty years, and taking up an appointment as ambassador to Argentina, Uruguay, and Paraguay, ‘jumping before I was pushed’ from his party, as good politicians should do, he said.  The book launch made it clear that politicians have the gift of the gab, and Leon is no exception.  He is an excellent salesman for his book, attracting one’s attention with a provocative question – e.g. how does the previous Leader of the DA promote an ANC government in South America – and then encourages one to buy the book without answering his question, so as to not do Wordsworth (and himself of course) out of revenue!

Leon names-drops a lot – he is a close friend of Joost van der Westhuizen, and Pieter-Dirk Uys’ Evita Bezuidenhout is quoted too: ‘As a fellow accidental ambassador, reading Tony Leon’s adventures in the land of the original Evita and the gauchos, reminded me there are reasons to be grateful we live in South Africa after all‘.  Even ex-President Nelson Mandela is quoted as saying about Tony Leon: ‘Your contribution to democracy is enormous. You have far more support for all you have done than you might ever read about‘, high praise indeed!

Myoga is located in the Vineyard Hotel grounds, and there was a severe traffic jam in getting to park on the property, given a huge exodus of a church group with had used the conference hall, made worse by a hotel security person who could not cope with this nor speed things up.   All 100 guest had pre-booked, and were seated according to a plan.  The seat at the table that I was allocated to had two adjoining table legs where one’s own legs were meant to be, making it impossible to sit there.  The manager Shameemah was most unhelpful, saying that she could do nothing at all, and that is how it is!  Eventually she made a plan by offering a seat at a table with the most friendly ‘Wordsworthians’, who were delighted I had taken the last seat at the table, as it prevented someone else whom they had experienced at the previous lunch from sharing the table with them.  One of the table companions is a regular blog reader, and she quoted reviews she had read on our blog.  Ingrid Crowther and her mother were lovely guests too, and we shared notes about restaurant experiences.

Most of the guests at this table attend each of Bowes-Taylor’s Wordsworth book launch lunches, not necessarily because they like the author, will buy the book, or are avid readers, but because they get to experience new restaurants, meet nice people, eat good food, taste unknown wines, and are entertained by the authors talking about their new books, all at the cost of R250.  The ‘Wordsworthians’ were more than delighted with the Tony Leon book launch lunch, as it ticked all the right boxes, despite some problems experienced in making the bookings! The disasterous Penny Vincenzi book launch lunch at Sevruga three years ago got the restaurant removed from the Bowes-Taylor list, while De Grendel restaurant appears to be one of the popular venues.

Chef Mike and his team put on a lunch of note, which was paired with the wines of the Hemel en Aarde Valley’s Domaine des Dieux. Shane Mullis introduced the wine estate, each guest having received a glass of Rose of Sharon MCC 2008 as a welcome drink, made of 75% Pinot Noir and 25 % Chardonnay, and which spent 42 months on the lees. The boutique wine estate name means ‘place of the gods‘, and is owned by Sharon Parnell. At 320 meters above sea level, the wine estate is one of the highest in the country. It is particularly known for its sparkling wines, the Claudia MCC 2007 being made from 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir.  Other wines in the range are the Chardonnay 2010, and Josephine Pinot Noir 2010.

The ‘Tantalizer’ was a superb starter of pan fried prawns with the Myoga signature sweet chili, crowned with coriander infused cream, which was paired with the Domaine des Dieux Sauvignon Blanc 2009, with asparagus notes and ripe fruit aromas.  The sauce was so delicious, that everyone at our table requested a spoon, to finish every last drop!  ‘The Main Event‘ was a sous-vide beef fillet, which was served with crispy potatoes, pan fried mushrooms, smoked bordelaise jus, and finished off with a sun-dried tomato mousse. The main course was paired with an excellent Domaine des Dieux Syrah/Mourvédre 2010.   A perfectly made dry cappuccino accompanied ‘The Crowning Glory’, a refreshing dessert of golden tart, which was filled with lemon custard on peach jus, complemented with a most unusual goat’s cheese ice cream.

Leon concluded that if one was not interested in reading his book for the South African or Argentinian politics, one could buy it for the handy tips of where to shop and what to see in Buenos Airies, which his wife Michal had written for the book. His time in South America showed him that Argentina is even more corrupt than South Africa.  He said it was sad to see how Argentina, once the seventh largest economy, now has a smaller economy than that of South Africa. He says the country is very focused on its past rather than on its future, and mocked it for representing a ‘vote for a better yesterday‘! The decline of the country appears to have been triggered off by the death of ex-First Lady Eva Duarte Perron in 1952. Leon also told the story of Argentina’s President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, who would not set foot in the cathedral of Buenos Aires, as its Cardinal Jorge Bergoglio had criticised her government.  Yet she traveled to Rome to attend his investure as the new Pope Francis earlier this year! He referred to other famous Argentinians: soccer star Lionel Messi and new Queen Maxima of the Netherlands. Leon took his post in 2009, and the forthcoming soccer World Cup in South Africa helped him to leverage off big events, including rugby.  The book details what happens in an embassy, his budget of about R20 million employing 27 staff per year. Leon told a funny story about his lunch with ex-South African Nobel prize winner JM Coetzee, who had been painted as being a recluse. Coetzee was participating in a Literary Festival in Buenos Aires, and Leon mistakenly invited him to the city’s best steak restaurant, the writer being a strict vegetarian! Leon found him to be anything but reclusive. Leon said that one should live in another country to appreciate one’s own country!

As an ambassador, Leon spent a lot of time in restaurants, and at dinners and cocktail parties at other embassies, and at the homes of Argentian contacts he got to know in his three years.  He raves about the typical Asado barbeque, and the steaks served in the ‘parillas’, their meat cuts differing to ours. His guests will have been served samoosas, bobotie, and malva pudding, he shares. Funny is his chapter in not being able to find any Big Macs in Buenos Aires, the world famous burger being the benchmark for the real value of country’s currencies as measured by The Economist, as it would have shown up Argentina’s high inflation rate (of about 25%).  No mention is made by him of any South African wines or the role they may have played in enhancing trade and cultural relations between South Africa and Argentina!  He did visit Mendoza, the Argentinian wine region, on a number of occasions, but does not reveal which Malbec wines appealed to him.

Leon is articulate as a speaker and as a writer too, and the book is easy to read and hard to put down.  One senses that he must have bitten his tongue on numerous occasions about his host country and his home country in the three years of his ambassadorship, having ended his latest career a year early, not explaining clearly why he did not end the term of his post.  He now is a consultant, writer, and speaker.

Tony Leon: The Accidental Ambassador: from Parliament to Patagonia‘, Picador Africa, 2013. www.tonyleon.com Twitter: @TonyLeonSA

Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, 60 Collinton Road, Newlands, Cape Town. Tel (021) 657-4543. www.myoga.co.za Twitter: @MyogaRestaurant

Domaine des Dieux, Hemel en Aarde valley, Hermanus. Tel (028) 313-2126. www.domainedesdieux.co.za

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

I never experienced Cheyne’s when it operated from a small space on Bree Street after the World Cup, but was very impressed when I sampled Chef Cheyne Morrisby’s cooking at the Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz. Now Capetonians can enjoy Chef Cheyne’s Australasian-infused South African cuisine in Hout Bay.

Having only opened five days ago, Cheyne’s was already fully booked for lunch yesterday, all customers choosing to sit outside on a lovely sunny autumn day.  All the inside furniture was taken outside, so it is difficult to judge what the restaurant will look like when it is set up inside.  Comfortable cream chairs are set at white topped tables, without tablecloths, but with material serviettes, salt and pepper grinders, Fortis Hotelware cutlery, and good glassware.  A smallish sign on the Pam Arlene Place building is the only indication of where the new restaurant is, but the tables filled with happy diners attract attention of the traffic passing by.  About thirty diners can be accommodated at this stage, Chef Cheyne only launching the restaurant officially later this month.

It is heartening to see Chef Cheyne with his trademark cap in the kitchen, being absolutely hands-on, at the cost of regular customer contact, but it was impressive that Chef Cheyne did come to greet each table.  I overheard a table debating Cheyne’s name and how to pronounce it.  Chef Cheyne is Cape Town born, worked at Blues for two years, and a planned one year job in London became an eleven year one, working at the Conran Group restaurants. In this time he cooked for Kate Moss, Kylie Mynogue, and Robbie Williams.  He traveled to the East, including Thailand and Indonesia, and he said that his cooking style is that of the Pacific Rim.  He loves their cooking methods, their simple approach to ingredients, and keeping food simple, fresh, clean; and uncomplicated. They use base flavours to give food a good foundation.  He decided to return to Cape Town with his family, wanting them to ‘feel’ Africa, and also wanting to give back to his home country. He has two waiters, Simon being an ex-advertising industry executive, having worked at a post-production company. He wanted to switch career direction to work in a more social environment. Confident Clayton worked with Cheyne’s at his restaurant on Bree Street, whereafter he went to The Roundhouse, and then followed Chef PJ Vadas to Camphors at Vergelegen.  The traveling to Somerset West became too much for him, and when he received Chef Cheyne’s call, he decided to return to work with his old boss again.

The menu is printed on brown board and will be changed monthly. It is attached to a clipboard with a small winelist.  It carries an introduction by Chef Cheyne, describing his approach to cuisine: ‘I am passionate about influences and unique flavours from the Pan Asian/Pacific Rim region that stretches across South East Asia, Japan, Singapore, to Australia and New Zealand. I hope that you enjoy the food journey‘. There are about six starter and main course options, and three dessert choices.  Everything sounds special yet unusual, one not finding the combination of ingredients offered by Cheyne’s elsewhere on a local menu.  From the starter list there was no hesitation in ordering the crispy Crayfish tempura, miso, garlic chive wonton, and sauce shumai (R55), the added chive flower making it a most attractive starter.  Other starters (ranging from R40 – R55) are Roasted rice cakes, Red Dragon sauce, toasted sesame, and coconut flakes; Beef Tataki, miso, mirin and English mustard, and Tempura onion crown; Pork belly ssam, crisp baby gem leaves, Chinese mustard and XO sauce; Keralan spiced squid, green chilli puree, red kimchi and coconut jelly; and sticky duck, pear noodles, star anise and ginger glaze.

The main course choice was an easy one too, Chef Cheyne’s speciality being pork belly, and it was tender and filling, topped with the most delicious crackling, served with an unusual corn and cumin purée, Fuji apple tempura, coconut dumplings, and soy and maple sauce (R90).  Other main courses, none costing more than R95, are 48 hour Beef Short Rib, confit fingerling potatoes, braised daikon with a dashi reduction; Malaysian Laksa, grilled linefish and tiger prawns, warm cucumber noodles, and nori dust; Ramen noodles with Korean BBQ pork, bamboo shoots, spring onion, and poached egg; and Ramen noodles with white sesame and ginger chicken, prawn dumpling, and poached egg.  The dessert list is short and sweet, each item costing R45: Fried apple pie, kaya paste, sticky miso, sour cream ice cream; white chocolate and toasted sesame semi freddo, with banana tempura; and a delectable pear cinnamon and ginger tarte tatin with tamarind ice cream.

The winelist contains two brands per major wine varietals, and almost all are available per bottle and by the glass. Corkage is charged at R30 per bottle.  Pongracz costs R195 and Graham Beck Brut Rosé R215. Brampton Shiraz costs R35/R130, Madonna Shiraz R40/R185, La Motte Sauvignon Blanc costs R35/R140, and Durbanville Hills R30/R130.

Cheyne’s exterior and modest interior decor is unpretentious, and does not reflect the excellent creative cuisine prepared by Chef Cheyne.  Service could be a little smarter, especially from Clayton, given his background.  Prices are extremely reasonable, for the quality of food served.  Cheyne’s will become a challenge to Hout Bay restaurants, especially Kitima.  A nice touch was bringing two coconut ice bonbons with the bill.

Cheyne’s, 1 Pam Arlene Place, Main Road, Hout Bay (near Caltex garage).  Cell 079 067 4919. Website under construction. Twitter: @Cheyne_Reaction. Open Tuesday – Sunday Lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner.

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