Tag Archives: David Tlale

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 5 November

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  SA Tourism is representing our country on two platforms at World Travel Market in London this week: the 20th anniversary of the ‘new’ South Africa as well as Cape Town’s role as World Design Capital, both in 2014. Today Marthinus van Schalkwyk, the Minister of Tourism, will address visitors to the SA Tourism stand, and a fashion show will represent our country’s eight World Heritage sites, interpreted by top local designers  David Tlale, Marianne Fassler, Thula Sindi, and Nkhensani Nkosi.

*   2014 is also an important year in celebrating the 80th anniversary of the SA Rugby Union and the Springboks.  SAA will participate in the celebration in February, and commuters can expect to rub shoulders with members of the Springbok team at airport lounges.  In November next year the team members will be seen at OR Thambo and Heathrow airports, when the Springboks travel to Europe for the Castle Lager Outbound Tour Series. (received via SAA newsletter)

*   SAA is cutting its Buenos Aires route, being one of its loss-making destinations.  Its Beijing route is also making a loss, but will be retained currently as China and South Africa are both BRICS countries.

*   Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde is seeking an urgent meeting with SAA to discuss the cancellation of its Buenos Aires route, having seen good growth in the past few years, and benefitting the Western and Eastern Cape in particular. (received via media release frorm Minister Winde’s office)

*   The Hotel Le Vendome in Sea Point will be operated by Radisson

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Brand South Africa new slogan “Inspiring New Ways” meaningless for tourism!

After many years of marketing South Africa with the senseless slogan ‘Alive with Possibility’, followed by the short-lived More than you can imagine’, which had to be canned as it had been used by various other countries/cities/brands, our country has a new slogan: “South Africa: Inspiring New Ways”, which was approved by the Cabinet earlier this week.

Brand South Africa CEO Miller Matola said: “It’s a challenge to all South Africans, from business, government and civil society, to build on our reputation for inspiration and innovation”. The organisation conducted market research to test which one of five finalist slogans was most suitable, having consulted widely to create the slogan short list.

The organisation responsible for marketing South Africa, previously called the International Marketing Council, has itself been rebranded as Brand South Africa, and has a new CEO.  The company ‘lobbies and networks extensively among global opinion leaders to shift perceptions about the country and the continent’.   With TIME magazine Brand South Africa brought global business leaders to the World Economic Forum at Davos, to debate the role of Africa in global transformation.  Similarly, during the Mining Indaba held in Cape Town last month, Brand South Africa partnered with the Financial Times of London, to debate the future of mining in Africa.  International journalists are brought to South Africa, to connect with local government officials and business executives, to experience our local life and culture, and to learn about technological developments.

Although the new slogan has just been approved, Brand South Africa is patting itself on the back for its success already, in having moved up one place to 36th of 50 country names measured by Anholt-Gfk Roper Nielsen on tourism, culture, people, exports, governance, and investment/immigration, ‘confirming the steady improvement in the country’s reputation’!   Majola is quoted as saying that his organisation’s focus is ‘on positioning the country more as a business destination and an attractive emerging market on the African continent’.

One must seriously question the slogan and what impact, if any, it will have on the marketing of South Africa by SA Tourism. Our country appears to be developing a series of meaningless marketing slogans, no doubt developed by a branding agency at great cost to taxpayers!

POSTSCRIPT 9/7: Details of the new International Marketing Council TV commercial, flighted last week for the first time to launch the slogan ‘Inspiring New Ways’, have been made available by Bizcommunity.com. The TV commercial features better and lesser known South Africans that have ‘Inspired New Ways’:  Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Baby Jake Matlala, Natalie du Toit, Trevor Noah, Lucas Radebe, Brian Mitchell, Greg Minaar, Trevor Rabin, John van der Ruit, Shaun Thomson, David Tlale and Khotso Mokoena and lesser known ones who have also defied the odds to become top achievers in their fields – such as Toya Delazy, Colin Thornton, Oyama Matomela, Andile Dube, Andy Higgins, Tebogo Skwambane, Nhkensani Nkosi, Emile Engel, Simon Ratcliffe, Zibusizo Mkhwanazi and Fatima Vawda’.

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

Restaurant Review: BREAD delightful designer Deli, Boulangerie and Café!

I have driven past BREAD in The Bromwell Boutique Mall on my way to the Old Biscuit Mill on numerous occasions.  It was a welcome escape from my visit to the Neighbourgoods Market on Saturday.  It has been open for 22 months, and I was impressed with the quality and design focus in this beautiful building, housing the BREAD Deli, Boulangerie and Café downstairs, and a fashion, furniture and art boutique upstairs.

The Bromwell is a beautifully restored 1927 erstwhile hotel building, once an ‘infamous house of red doors’, the website says. It belongs to Adelaide Potgieter, the founder of the nearby The mad (Marketing, Advertising, Design) Agency, which handles the advertising and promotions for Shoprite and Checkers exclusively, and her brother Solomon, who is now the CEO of the agency.  The building, with its lovely parquet flooring, has been restored, with Heritage Society approval, to its former glory, and works of art are displayed throughout, with prices indicated.   In the restaurant, for example, a large painting by Mark Matthysen of the Dalai Lama is for sale at R10000.  The entrance is manned by a very smart doorman, almost out of place on a Woodstock street dominated by poverty.   At the reception counter a Swiss German lady directed me to the Deli/Boulangerie section, and I followed the path to the right.  She was very cagey about providing information about the owners.  One steps into the Deli section, with a range of imported and local products, including NoMU rubs, Jenny Morris spice grinders (I had not seen these before), Vanilla Man grinders, Hillcrest Berry jams, pickled walnuts, bottled gherkins, Apfelmuss, olive chutney, different brands of balsamic vinegar, stone ground wheat, Honest Chocolate organic spread, Italian pasta products, and much more.  The advertising side of the owners came to the fore in the striking black branded bag that the lady from the Boulangerie offered me to put my purchases into, and the bags form part of the neat Deli display.  Opposite it is the Boulangerie (and patisserie!), in which well-lit baskets with wholewheat and white baguettes, country loaves, rye bread, Portuguese rolls, sesame seed rolls, croissants, pain au chocolat, and brioche, are displayed.  Glass cabinets display the most beautiful selection of pastries, including velvet cupcakes, triple chocolate tarts, fruit tarts, lemon meringue, milk tarts, tiramisu, Babel chocolate tower, Apfelstrudel, lemon pound cake, marble cake, blackberry tarts, frangipani tarts, and Turkish delight. On the dessert page of the BREAD menu it states: “We produce the best quality cakes, cookies and pastries using only real chocolate, real cream, real butter and the freshest fruits and other ingredients.  We simply do not compromise on quality“.  The Pastry Chef is Shana Faes and the Baker is Eugene Knight.

Beyond the Deli/Boulangerie is a seating area for the Café, but it had hardly anyone sitting there, so I followed the sound of a guitar to a much nicer second room of the restaurant, with a window to the street, furnished with attractive genuine chandeliers, and the most comfortable restaurant chairs that I have ever sat on, some in red and some in green fabric.  Tables have Singer sewing machine-style legs and concrete tops.  Red upholstered benches run along two walls.  There are no table cloths, but each table has a BREAD-branded material serviette, beautiful Italian Pinti cutlery with the most unusually long handles, yin yang salt and pepper pots, BREAD-branded sugar sticks, and surprisingly, a terribly old-fashioned non-designer wooden pepper grinder.  I suggested to Manager Daniel Justus that the Jenny Morris pepper grinders in their Deli would match the designer feel of the restaurant far better.  The guitarist walking around the restaurant was an odd touch.  One can sit outside too, which some guests did, despite it being a chilly Saturday.  A most elegant gentleman, wearing a long pin-striped jacket on a Saturday morning, making him look like the father of a bride, attracted attention.  I was told that he is the father of the owner, and is at the restaurant regularly, called the ‘Godfather’ by the staff!

The red leather menu and beverage list cover contains well-presented information printed in white on black laminated paper.   The first page contains a piece written about bread by Nataniël (the Checkers cheese spokesperson and avant garde singer), starting with “She was old, but she was wise and powerful. Give us food, we told her. Make us strong. Teach us magic and endurance. She gave us bread. We ate and came alive.”   The lyrics are framed and hung in the restaurant too.   The breakfast options are unusual, a twist on familiar items. I had a BREAD Benedict, and the requested removal of the prosciutto or salmon trout accompaniment probably made the dish look less attractive, with only one free-range egg served on a delicious slice of wholewheat bread with hollandaise sauce, for which I was charged R35 instead of the usual R65.  The menu proudly emphasises for each dish which items are free-range and organic, probably adding a premium to the prices charged, but a commendable touch. Most egg dishes cost R45. Fried egg is served with ‘free-range mozzarella’ (an odd concept), slow-roasted tomato, and home-made mayonnaise.  Bacon and mascarpone scrambled eggs served on a baguette sounded interesting, and would be a choice for a next visit.  ‘BREAD Frenchie’ is a home-made brioche served with bacon and maple syrup.  The Breakfast Cocktail contains organic muesli, ‘free-range yoghurt’, and ‘organic mountain honey’.  The ‘Morning Yorkie’ is a take on Yorkshire Pudding, served with banana, bacon, tomato pesto, and maple syrup.  A croissant with ‘free-range cheese’ and preserves costs R35.  

Starters are soup of the day (R30), a platter of breads, dips and patés (R35), and tapas from R25 each.  Salads cost R55 – R60, and some are unusual: Chicken and Chorizo, Kudu Loin carpaccio, Butternut and Danish Feta, Camembert and Fig, and a warm Bocconcini Bowl.  Sandwiches range from R45 – R65, and include Wild Turkey, Spicy Prego, Smoked Salmon bagel, Club sandwich, roast beef, Green curry wrap, and garlic chicken.  Main courses include ‘Lucky Fish’ of the day, lamb burger, chicken burger, melanzane, and prawn tagliatelle, all under R100, and ‘Sir Lowry’s Medallions’ 25-day aged sirloin (R120), and ‘Beef on the Bone’, being oven-grilled short rib (R110).  The dessert offering is the pastries from the Boulangerie, costing R10 for croissants, and R15 – R25 for the tarts.  I took home a most delicious, rich, creamy chocolate mousse topped with strawberries in a BREAD-branded container. 

The winelist has an unspecified red and white wine by the glass at R25. Rosés are by Boschendal (R70), Delheim (R80), and ‘Solms’ (R100).  Twelve white wines are separated by variety, being Chardonnays (R100 – R170), and Sauvignon Blancs (R85 – R160) in the main.   Twenty red wines, not all identified by vintage or variety, range from R95 (Beyerskloof Pinotage) – R1000 (Kanonkop Paul Sauer 2005). The cappuccino costs R19, and was served with a mini-meringue on the side.

Upstairs is a collection of rooms with beautifully displayed furniture, decor items, hand-made leather ballet shoes by Coastal & Koi (on my wishlist despite the R1100 price tag!), clothing items, jewellery, handbags, paintings, and sculptures.  No-photography signs are visible upstairs, and I was given permission to photograph when I told the manager that I wanted to write a story about this amazing design centre. About a week ago, Top Billing featured the launch of a new clothing range by designer David Tlale, which was held at The Bromwell during Cape Town Fashion Week, I was told by Daniel.

I’ll be back to try more of the BREAD menu, to eye the shoes again, and to buy some of the wonderful bread.  Waiter service was disappointingly slow, even though the restaurant was not full, and there appearing to be enough staff on duty.  The lady in the Boulangerie was very service-driven, being proactive.  Daniel was helpful in copying the menu for me, offering this service. He told me that they are working on an integrated POS system, which allows the restaurant to add Deli and Boulangerie items to the bill, which caused a hiccup in my case, and had to be added by hand.  I liked the health focus of BREAD, many products supplied by Mushrooms & Things, Eureka Milling, Espresso Lab, and Imhoff.

BREAD Café, Boulangerie, Deli.  The Bromwell Boutique Mall, 250 Albert Road, Woodstock, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 447-4730.  www.breadcafe.co.za. (The website has the menu, but no Image Gallery, nor a link to The Bromwell Boutique Mall website). www.thebromwell.co.za (The website is a collection of photographs, and contains a link to the BREAD website).  Monday – Friday 8h00 – 17h00, Saturday 9h00 – 17h00. 

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