Tag Archives: banned

SA Chef: Chris von Ulmenstein: ‘The Food Critic Chefs love to hate’


I met Riana Andrews, Editor of SA Chef, at a recent function hosted by the Finnish Embassy in Pretoria, in Constantia. She expressed interest in writing a profile about me, and contracted Rebecca Bourhill, chef, blogger, and food writer, to do so for SA Chef magazine.

SA Chef is the official voice of the South African Chefs Association, which has close to 10000 chefs, restaurateurs, educators, learners and culinarians  as members. Its focus is on skills development of the industry. Continue reading →

Chef Peter Tempelhoff ban from new FYN Restaurant implies it not being being fine enough for me!

Late last night I received an email from Chef Peter Tempelhoff, announcing that he is banning me from eating at his new FYN Restaurant. This is a reversal to what Tempelhoff told me at the Eat Out Awards ten days ago, in that I was welcome to eat at FYN, and that he does not discriminate against anyone, when I asked him directly! It can only signal that Tempelhoff is petrified that I might judge his new fine-dining restaurant, opening on Friday, to not be good enough! Continue reading →

Banning bloggers not a response to Social Media criticism: an open letter to Michael Pownall, GM of Taj Cape Town!

Taj logoDear Michael

I laughed when I received your letter of 28 February in the post this weekend, to advise that I have been banned from your five star establishment, a member of Leading Hotels of the World!

You wrote: ‘This letter serves to inform you of our shock and disappointment at the manner in which you have dealt with our establishment in the social media.  As a fellow colleague in the hospitality industry I have been (sic) amazed that you have failed to address our perceived shortcomings and your concerns, (sic) directly with me, the general manager. We are fully supportive of social media, however, one should have details 100% correct before publicly. (sic) Slandering (sic) one of my team and our establishment, it is so unnecessary and unprofessional.  To this end, we wish to advise you that you are no longer welcome nor permitted to enter or be in the Taj Cape Town hotel without my personal permission. Should you enter the premises, you will be apprehended by our Security Department and asked to leave’.

You do not state which 0f the references by us to the Taj in ‘Social Media‘ you refer to:

*   was it the Tweet about the rude service from your barman during the interval of a concert at the St George’s Cathedral a few weeks ago, which I reported to your Duty Manager?

*   was it the poor accommodation at your hotel after the poor Gastronauts gourmet dinner at Mint more than 3 years ago, so bad that I chose to go home in the middle of the night?

*   was it the Tweet four months ago about the poor non-caring attitude of your Banqueting Manager Eugene Myburgh, when he showed no regard for my complaint about slipping on your dangerous highly polished wooden floor in your Banqueting section, once again reported to your Duty Manager, with no response?

*   was it the mention a month ago about your new Conference facility you are opening in The Reserve this month, mentioning my doubt that your Manager Myburgh will be capable in running it if he cannot even run the tiny Banqueting section in your hotel? Continue reading →

Restaurant News: Le Quartier Français closes iCi, opens The Common Room

Le Quartier Français has closed its Bistro iCi, which it opened six years ago, and has turned the informal dining room into a new one, called The Common Room, opening four days ago.  The new no-reservations restaurant is a relaxed and informal one, and will serve tapas-style food, described as “food to share”.

“The Common Room, the latest addition to the exceptional Le Quartier Français culinary experience, offers diners a menu packed full of lip smacking delights designed by Margot Janse to serve as snacks or the building blocks of a more substantial meal. Margot, in creating this new experience says “Food is constantly evolving and changing and people enjoy food at different times.  We have created a menu that will encourage people to chill out, taste, share and enjoy good times in great company. Being aware that not every meal has to be a “huge spend” we have kept the prices small and the idea is to share with friends” Fish pops with chakalaka ketchup, bone marrow with salsa verde crust, chocolate and milk ice cream sandwich, are just a few of the WOW-bites on offer”, says the announcement on the Franschhoek Wine Valley and Tourism Association website.

The menu follows below:

cup a  soup          20

avocado / grapefruit / salted macadamia salad         30

little caesar  25

risotto / wild mushrooms / buffalo labne          45

grilled vegetables / aioli           25

chickpeas / chorizo / mint                           20

fried parmesan gnocchi / spiced brinjal / swiss chard  30

chilli mieliemeal & chevre puffs            20


free range beef tartar        35

flat koek / lamb frikadelletjies / raita         40

springbok bitterballen / apple mustard           20

neil’s saucisson sec / pickles                           35

duck rillette / crostini / butternut marmalade     35

chicken liver parfait / salted plum / corn bread         30

artichoke flan / broad beans / bacon / broccoli /

pine nut crumble     35


big bay oysters / each       15

prawn toast  20

grilled squid / preserved lime / smoked paprika / coriander               30

fish pops / chakalaka ketchup         40

mini salmon cakes / rough tartar sauce                     40

saldanha bay mussels / mcc / five herbs          40


from the wood oven

warm roasted olives           25

roasted sweetcorn  / smoked butter                  20

little pan pizza / home made cheese / smoked tomato /

basil    30

dalewood camembert / soldiers       30

butter roasted mozambican prawns / common sprinkle   55

crispy smoked pork riblets  / garlic       55


chicken or beef?

whole wood roasted free range chicken / gravy  135

four hundred grams  free range botswana beef fillet / buchu béarnaise                      155 



dauphinoise      25

hand cut chips         20

roast potatoes   20  

smoked mash           25 



chocolate and milk ice cream sandwich            35

fried custard / vanilla ice cream / salted caramel     30

self saucing white chocolate and granadilla pudding  35

[20 minutes]

sticky bun ice cream / sugared almonds          20

trifle               30 


sweety jars

marshmallow           20

nougat           30

brownies       30         


“Occupying the space previously used by iCi, Le Quartier Français’s, bistro-style restaurant, The Common Room is poised to become Franschhoek’s favourite foodie hangout; the perfect place to relax and linger with friends over a tasty dish or two, the local grazing ground.   Here guests can meet up for drinks and snacks or pop in, sans reservation, for a scrumptious breakfast, lunch or dinner.  In a truly delightful twist The Common Room has a strict no-reservations policy. This ensures that it is refreshingly first-come first-serve in its attitude towards guests and great cocktails can be enjoyed while waiting for a table”.   A stated rule on the menu is “No reservations, no whining, no swearing”, and the pay-off line for the restaurant is “Local grazing ground”.

“The decor is plush without being overwhelming, and in true Le Quartier Français style it is supremely comfortable.  The Common Room themed elements add depth and humour to the experience.  The Common Room combines the best ingredients, in both its menu and décor, to create another mouthwatering dining experience at Le Quartier Français.”  The decor has been changed, and consists of owner Susan Huxter’s favourite colours, being turquoise, orange and pink.

NOTE: I will not be able to write a review about The Common Room myself, as I have been barred by the owner of Le Quartier Français, Susan Huxter, from all her and related businesses, on the grounds of a harmless remark of feedback made about the declining value for money of the iCi Bistro to one of her staff three years ago.  She admitted in her letter that she was unable to meet my high service standards, and therefore thought it better to ban me from eating and shopping, and from seeing movies, there!  She has employed a bouncer to make sure that I and others on her banned list do not enter her establishment.

The Common Room, Le Quartier Français. Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  tel (021) 876-2151.  www.lqf.co.za (The Le Quartier Français website surprisingly does not contain any details of The Common Room).   Mondays – Sundays, 7h30 to 22h00. 

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