Tag Archives: Caviar

Tough winter for Cape restaurants, many restaurant and staff changes!

Four & 20 Cafe via The Pretty BlogNo significant events have been planned to attract visitors to Cape Town and the Winelands this winter, and it appears to be the worst winter ever experienced by the hospitality industry in the Cape.  A surprise is the number of restaurant changes, as well as the the movement of staff  between restaurants.   Given the poor winter business, many restaurants have taken/are taking generous winter breaks. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Four & Twenty Café and Pantry has opened in Wynberg

*   The Crypt Jazz Restaurant has opened below St George’s Cathedral.

*   Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.

*   Cavalli restaurant on the stud farm on the R44 must be opening shortly, as Carl Habel has left the Mount Nelson Hotel as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier to join the restaurant.

*   Shake your Honey is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street next year, after renovations commence later this year, according to an iolTravel report.  The ‘vibrant spirit of India’ is to be reflected in the 5-storey building, with a theatre, markets, restaurants, and shops.

*   Burger King has opened its (second) Tygervalley branch. Branches at Cavendish and at Grandwest are to open soon. Continue reading →

Arrival of winter likely to freeze Cape Town and Winelands restaurant income!

The first taste of the Cape winter this weekend is likely to be felt by the restaurant industry, which will see hard times in the next two months, if close to zero accommodation bookings in the Cape are anything to go by.  Other than Hermanus FynArts and the Wacky Wine Weekend kicking off next week, ‘Cook Franschhoek‘ running over the Youth Day long weekend, and the Bastille Festival weekend on 13 – 14 July, no significant events are planned to attract visitors to Cape Town and the Winelands.  A number of restaurants are closing for an annual break in the next two months.

This list of restaurant openings and closings isupdated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*   The Crypt Jazz Restaurant has opened below St George’s Cathedral.

*   Frères Bistro has opened next door to Col’Cacchio on Hans Strydom Continue reading →

Value Car Hire Sweet and Beluga Sour Service Awards

The Sweet Service Award goes to Murnier and his team at Value Car Hire.  Earlier this week a Whale Cottage Camps Bay guest inadvertently took the room keys with him when he checked out, and called the guest house from the airport.   He tried to find a way to get them back to Camps Bay.   Value Car Hire, with whom Whale Cottage has a long-standing relationship, had staff at the airport, and they kindly met the Whale Cottage guest at the check-in counter, and then delivered the keys back to the guest house.  A whale of a thanks to Value Car Hire!

The Sour Service Award goes to ‘Blonde’ Oscar Kotze of Beluga restaurant, for asking this writer to leave the restaurant when invited for lunch as a member and Chairman of the Camps Bay Accommodation association.    Kotze is a director of the Caviar Group of restaurants, which also owns Sevruga and the Caviar deli, as well as Blonde restaurant, which is to open in February.    The reason for the eviction appears to be that Beluga sister restaurant Sevruga received a Sour Service Award from the WhaleTales blog more than 2 months ago in regard to the poor handling of the Penny Vincenzi launch lunch (see here).      The Marketing Manager Sam Obery was in a state, repeatedly being instructed by Kotze by phone to ask the writer to leave.  The staff ignored the writer, even though she sat at the table with her guest house colleagues, not taking her food order, and not serving her drinks other than water.   Kotze was asked to call the writer, but he refused, and also refused to take the call from the writer.  He instructed his staff to call the police, so that the writer could be evicted by them!   Kotze is short-sighted, as he had a fantastic opportunity to make good the writer’s perception of the Caviar Group of restaurants, which unfortunately has worsened as a result of this incident.   Ms Obery was severely embarrassed, understanding that in marketing one tries to turn things around to the positive, and that her marketing effort to attract business from guest houses in Camps Bay had become a PR flop. A smart restaurant owner would have called the writer, and thanked her for the Sevruga feedback, and asked her to retry the food and service that she had critiqued.   The marketing documentation presented to the guest house owners at the lunch was not adapted to be relevant to the guest house group, it thanking the guest houses for “coming to our fabulous cocktail party… this evening”, when it was a lunch they attended!

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

POSTSCRIPT 25/1/12: Blogger Shaun Oakes caused a huge furore today, when he blogged that he has been banned from Beluga, due to feedback his girlfriend passed on to Beluga owner Oskar Kotze.  They have been banned from the restaurant as a result, and Kotze has threatened to lay criminal charges against the couple for allegedly swearing at the staff.  Kotze’s reaction reflects the treatment we received from him, and for which we awarded a Sour Service Award.  A link provided to this Sour Service Award, in the Comments section on Oakes’ blog, has led to over 1000 unique views today.

Where is the caviar at Caviar?

Caviar is the third outlet to be opened by the industrious team owning Beluga and Sevruga restaurants, in De Waterkant and the V & A Waterfront respectively.

Having just opened as a retail outlet in the V & A Waterfront, next to Vida e’ Caffe and in the place of a chocolate shop, Caviar does not live up to its name in terms of the image its brand name represents, nor in terms of its stock sold.   The unimaginatively designed mini-deli has a number of fridges with a higgeldy-piggeldy selection of vacuum-packed steak and other meat cuts; of delicious pates; cheeses; flavoured butters, a selection of desserts; a selection of salads, all with the base ingredient of pasta and a few bits of duck or chicken; colddrinks; oh, and of course, a few containers of caviar! The prices appear reasonable, at around R 20 a dessert portion, and R 30 for the salads.

It is hard to see a focus in the outlet.  Two staff members seem uncertain about how to deal with customers.   There is so little space, that two staff seem one too many.  As a customer one is not sure if one may look at and open the fridges oneself.   No pricelist is available – the staff say it may be finalised in mid-August.

It will be interesting to see how Caviar and Melissa’s, diagonally opposite each other, compete against each other, in that some products they sell are similar.

The packaging for Caviar has its website printed as www.caviar.co.za, but the website is still under construction.   It would appear that the ‘Caviar Group of restaurants’ will be the company’s collective name, a branding problem when one of the outlets carries the same name, and is not a restaurant at all, even though a few tables and chairs allow one to eat the products there and then, probably out of the plastic containers.   Nothing encourages one to sit down.

Whale Cottage Portfolio www.whalecottage.com