Tag Archives: Brett Murray

Alphen Hotel transforms 5Rooms into blanko contemporary gallery restaurant!

imageOn Thursday evening The Alphen hotel hosted hundreds of Constantia and Cape Town VIPs, to present its transformed blanko restaurant, previously 5Rooms, which was the name of the restaurant when the hotel was first taken over by the Kove Collection five years ago. Continue reading →

V&A Waterfront canvas for Cape Town Art & Design Week: Cape Town Art Fair, Guild International Design Fair!

Cape Town Art Fair Wayne Barker Whale CottageThe Cape Town Art & Design Week opened in the V&A Waterfront last night, consisting of two dominant events: Cape Town Art Fair 2015; and the Guild International Design Fair.

I was annoyed in not receiving any upfront media releases about the Cape Town Art Fair 2015, as I had received in the past two years when Lana was the Wired PR Account Director for Cape Town Art Fair.  Even worse was that the PR poppie who ticked my name off the list could not give me any information about what to expect and where to find it.  Some brochures about the Cape Town Art Fair were lying on the table, but she did not proactively give me anything.  Astrid Stark from Wired PR was found, and she walked me through the start of the exhibition on the upstairs floor.  The venue is not as perfect as the BMW Pavilion in which the Cape Town Art Fair was held last year, or The Lookout venue for 2013, each of them having had a beginning and an end, be it in circular walkways, or a maze.  In The Avenue one has to make one’s way back to where one started, creating blockages when the venue is full.  What was not explained was that more than half of the artworks are in The Marquee near Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 18 February

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   Taittinger has redesigned its bottle label and gift pack, to reflect its status as official champagne sponsor of the 2014 World Cup soccer in Brazil.   Holograms have been used, and the footballs on the label appear raised but are flat.  The brand has already been fined in France for advertising its link to the World Cup, but will communicate this in other countries, especially in South America, having the right to the title until the end of 2015.

*   The directive by the Minister of Finance that VAT be levied on international e-books levels the playing field says the Publishers’ Association of South Africa (PASA), despite VAT being charged on books not being encouraged by the PASA.  The new legislation is not a surprise as governments are working on collecting VAT/sales tax on sales in their regions. Foreign retailers selling into South Africa will now have to register as VAT vendors. A healthier retail book trade is expect to result. Internationally digital book sales are at about 50%, but in South Africa they are currently only at 20%.  Charging VAT could generate R 1 billion in revenue for the country. The Cape Town Book Fair, running from 13 – 15 June, will showcase the latest technological developments on e-reading. (received via media release from The Embassy)

*   Bushman’s Kloof Wilderness Reserve is hosting a  number of Food and Wine Weekend treats in winter, pairing with top wine estates, including Meerlust (30 May – 1 June), Bouchard Finlayson (27 – Continue reading →

Restaurant Review: Nothing skinny about Skinny Legs & All, except owners!

It was a surprise to discover Skinny Legs & All, a new restaurant on Loop Street, opposite Ebony Art Gallery and next door to L’Aperitivo, last week. It is owned by the delightful twins Jessie and Jamie Friedberg, both rather skinny, probably from working so hard in being hands-on in the restaurant.  Jessie handles the orders and Jamie the kitchen.

Jessie and Jamie are from Johannesburg and studied at UCT, and loved Cape Town so much that they decided to stay and open a restaurant together.  They say they have no experience in running a restaurant, but both enjoy food.   An associate is João Ferreira, and they have used his previous gallery space for the restaurant.  Interesting works of art from Ferreira’s private collection decorate the walls.  Artists include Brett Murray, Mark Hipper, Sanell Aggenbach and Bridget Baker.  Tables have white tops and wooden legs, and were made for them especially by Marko, the owner of Pure Solid and Oiishi delicious Caffe on Kloof Street, as they loved the look of the legs of his restaurant tables.  An interesting collection of white-painted A-frame chairs from their home, and wooden school chairs they found at antique shops, dominate the interior.   Outside stood the Vespa belonging to Jamie and the bicycle which Jessie uses to get to work.

The restaurant is a large open space, but with only about seven tables, and the ability for them to spill out onto the pavement.  The kitchen is open to the restaurant, and one can almost call across the Jessie and Jamie from one’s table to the counter.   They named their restaurant after the Tom Robbins book “Skinny Legs and All”, in which two characters own a Middle-Eastern restaurant in New York. The menu is typed on an A4 sheet, and lists all-day breakfast, lunch, sandwich, and main course options.   Jessie told me that they worked closely with Chef Brad Ball of Bistro 1682 in finding trustworthy suppliers of fresh produce.  The menu is introduced as follows: “Our produce is locally sourced, our eggs truly free-range and we’ve stocked our pantry as if it were home. Every condiment and spread is made by us from the herb mayo and basil pesto right down to the lemon cordial.  A formula based on simplicity – real food unadulterated and unadorned”.   Their eggs come from Mushrooms & Things, and the Country Sourdough and Cedarhouse Rye breads come from Jason’s, previously Jardine Bakery.  Everything else is made by Jamie.

Breakfast options include Raw Muesli with grated apple and sheep milk yoghurt (R35); Fruit salad (R65); Soft scrambled eggs, with tomato (R45), smoked salmon and avocado (R60), and with proscuitto (R55); Stacked French Toast, served with vanilla-infused fruit compote and a ‘dollop’ of crème fraiche (R45); Freshly baked scones, jam and anise crème fraiche (R25); and Toasted banana bread with fresh berries and bluegum honey (R45).    Lunch options include ‘Gruel of the day” (R40); Salad of Fior di Latte, served with proscuitto and almonds (R85); Panzella, a Tuscan salad served with country bread, goat’s milk feta, mint and basil (R65); and Warmed Goat’s cheese salad (R70).   Sandwiches with Cremalat Mozzarella, Franschhoek Trout, or Chicken and avocado cost around R65.  For lunch I enjoyed the scrambled egg with smoked salmon, a generous portion, to which was added slices of avocado, which was not mentioned on the menu, and was a nice surprise. I took home a main course of Wild Mushroom parcel served with wild rice (R68), for dinner.  It was interestingly served in a paper parcel!  Other main courses are Charred lemon and rosemary chicken (R70), and Moroccan-style meatballs (R85).

The cutlery was unbranded and served with a paper serviette.  There are no tablecloths.  The water jug was jam packed with slices of lemon.   The cappuccino was served with a sweet heart-shaped biscuit.  Everything was perfect in the restaurant, except the heat, despite it being a cold winter’s day.  I felt uncomfortably hot.  It was no surprise that Jessie was wearing a summer dress.  In summer it should be perfect, when the door to outside is open.  The restaurant name is very low key on its glass window, and it would be hard to find it if one did not know its location.  I felt very welcome at Skinny Leggs & All, and will be back. 

Skinny Legs & All, 70 Loop Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 423-5403.  www.skinnyleggsandall.co.za  Monday – Friday 7h00 – 16h00, Saturday 8h30 – 14h00.

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