Tag Archives: La Colombe

South African Restaurants make the World Culinary Awards shortlist, including Utopia Cape Town!

 

For the second year running the World Culinary Awards are being held, celebrating and rewarding excellence. It is a sister event of World Travel Awards.

The 2021 finalists of the World’s Culinary Awards for the African and all other Continents have been announced, an award program which has stretched over the year, culminating in the announcement of the winners on 7 November.

Some of South Africa’s Best restaurants have been nominated, competing against the top Restaurants in Africa. These include Utopia Cape Town,  Wolfgat in Paternoster, Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic, Himitsu at Camps Bay Retreat, and Life Grand Café, all from the Western Cape. Continue reading →

Meet Chef Jess van Dyk of Protégé Restaurant: 2021 Top 10 Woman Chef!

 

Chef Jess van Dyk heads up the kitchen at Protégé Restaurant at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek. She was previously the Head Chef at La Colombe in Constantia, a huge honour, in it being South Africa’s number one restaurant. She is one of our 2021 Top 10 Women Chefs, and has won a bottle of Adhara Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

Jess describes herself as follows:  ‘Small town girl, from the Northern Cape, came to study at Silwood in 2010. I finished all three years, my third year being spent at La Colombe in 2012 (Constantia Uitsig). I stayed on at La Colombe, moving from Chef de partie to Sous Chef by the end of 2014. I left to pursue my dream of working on the yachts, but also spent a few months working with a catering and events company before heading to the Mediterranean. After 11 months on the yachts, I came back as Head Chef of La Colombe in 2018, and moved to Franschhoek to head up Protégé at the end of 2019’.

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Meet Chef Charné Sampson of Epice: 2021 Top 10 Woman Chef!

 

Chef Charné Sampson is one of the youngest 2021 Top 10 Women Chefs, and heads up the kitchen at Epice at Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek. She wins a bottle of Adhara Premium Extra Virgin Olive Oil. I was unable to meet her as she was ill on Sunday, when I delivered her prize.

Chef Charné graduated from Silwood in 2016. She did her internship at Myoga, Woolworths, Waterkloof, The Test Kitchen, and at La Colombe. She stayed on at La Colombe, until 2019, when she was given the opportunity to head up Epice. 

Epice is one of a number of restaurants in the La Colombo restaurant group. Chef Charné took the restaurant to Best New Restaurant in Africa in the inaugural World Culinary Awards.  Epice is a fine dining restaurant, its dishes flavour-filled with spices.

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Restaurants offering Food Delivery/Collection during 2021 Level 4 Lockdown: Cape Town and Winelands.

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Cape Town and Winelands Restaurants have been quick to set up a Delivery and/or Collection Service, since President Ramaphosa announced the Level 4 Lockdown on Sunday,  closing down all restaurants for Sit-Down Service in the country.

Whilst surviving two restaurant closures in Lockdown last year, this restaurant Level 4 closure appears to have caught many by surprise. Many restaurateurs have become wiser through last year’s experience, and have calculated the break even point in terms of minimum income to be made. Combined with the rain all week to date and freezing cold, and the fear of the fast-spreading Delta Covid variant, many restaurants are making losses by being open for Take-Aways. Continue reading →

Restaurant Winter Specials: Cape Town and Winelands (10 June 2021)

 

The Winter months are always tough on restaurants, as diners are not keen to leave their homes when it is cold and wet. With the reduced trade, added to Loadshedding,  and the earlier Curfew start time, restaurants are keen to attract business by offering Winter specials.

I will compile an ongoing Restaurant Winter Specials list for Cape Town and Winelands Restaurants, updated regularly. I welcome all information about Winter Specials. Continue reading →

Only 16 of the 2019 Top 20 Restaurants in SA are still operating! How has our Gourmet scene changed in the past year?

In preparing for an interview conducted by Süd-Africa Magazin newsletter writer Werner Klein about how the restaurant scene has changed in Cape Town and the Winelands since Lockdown started over a year ago, I looked specifically at the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant List of November 2019. Eat Out did not Award any restaurant awards in 2020, and appears unlikely to do so in 2021.

Of the latest Eat Out Top 20 Restaurants shortlisted, only 16 of our country’s Top 20 are still operating, I was shocked to discover.  Three of the four the top restaurants closed down in 2021. Two of the restaurants were on the Top 10 list, and two on the List of 11 – 20 ranked local restaurants in 2019.

The four restaurants which have closed down permanently are the following:

#   Restaurant at Waterkloof: The Chef Gregory Czarnecki owned restaurant operating at Waterkloof Winery in Somerset West closed on 22 November 2020. There has been no sight or sound of Chef Gregory, last posting on Instagram on 22 February. The restaurant held the number one slot of the Eat Out Top 10 list in 2018, and was ranked third in 2019.

SA Top 10 Restaurant List loses one of its stars as Restaurant at Waterkloof closes down in two weeks!

#   The Shortmarket Club was the first Fine-Dining restaurant to close down in Lockdown, almost immediately after it began last year.  In December 2020 it reopened with most of its chef team, who left Tintswalo to reopen the restaurant.  It has since ‘closed indefinitely’ but is still on the website of the LDR Group of Restaurants owned by Chef Luke Dale Roberts.  The site currently operates as The Test Kitchen Fledgelings, a Burger joint only operating on Fridays, and a training ground for new chef talent. In 2019 The Shortmarket Club was ranked at number 18 in 2019.

Is Chef Luke Dale Roberts scaling down his Restaurant Group? Salsify at the Roundhouse no longer part of the Group!

#   Mosaic at The Orient is the saddest closing, very unlikely to be due to the Lockdown. An Eat Out Top 10 restaurant for most of its existence, yet never given the number one slot, Chef Chantel Dartnall and her restaurant received better international recognition than local!  She appears to be investing in herself, taking time off at a local coastal retreat, and to spend time in Paris, to learn French and to work at a restaurant there. At the Eat Out Awards in 2019 Chef Chantel announced that she would no longer participate in the Eat Out Awards, wishing to make space on the Awards list for younger chefs and their restaurants. Many saw a different message in this announcement, given that she was not receiving the recognition she deserved locally. She was followed by Chef Luke Dale Roberts a few weeks later, in making the same announcement. Restaurant Mosaic closed down outside Pretoria at the end of March. It was ranked 9th in 2019, an insult to the restaurant  and its chef.

Top 16 women Chefs recognised by Michelin for International Women’s Day, Farewell to only Top SA Woman Chef! !

#.  La Tête also closed down, on Bree Street, on 6 February. It was ranked 17th in 2019.

 

The remaining Top 20 restaurants, in order of their 2019 ranking from number 1, are:  La Colombe, The Test Kitchen, Wolfgat, FYN, La Petite Colombe, Eike, Salsify at The Roundhouse, Chefs Warehouse at Beau Constantia, Camphors at Vergelegen, Overture, LivingRoom at Summerhill Estate, Chefs Warehouse at Maison, Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenhort, Le Coin Français, Tjing Tjing Momiji, and Rust en Vrede.

 

The interview about the changing restaurant scene in the past 13 months highlighted the following:

#   The restaurant industry has been doing well in the past two months, when the regulation regarding the sale of alcohol in restaurants was normalized, and the Curfew start time moved to midnight. Restaurants are reporting excellent trade, especially on weekends.

#   A total of 100 restaurants have closed down in Cape Town and the Winelands. Chef Luke Dale Roberts has lost two restaurants in his stable, only retaining The Test Kitchen and The Pot Luck Club.

#   More than 70 restaurants have opened, Chef Liam Tomlin having opened three in this period.

#.  A handful of restaurants announced their permanent closure, but managed to reopen again, including Clarke’s, Nelson’s Eye, and Perseverance Tavern.

#.  Franschhoek has been particularly hard hit by the Lockdown, losing Foliage a week ago, and Entrée and Fork recently. Yet restaurateur and Chef Darren Badenhorst has opened two new restaurants,  and has taken over the running of Tuk Tuk, in addition to his two existing restaurants.

#.  The ultimate fine dining restaurant has opened in our county, Restaurant KLEIN JAN at Tswalu Private Game Reserve, owned by Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen, who also owns one Michelin Star JAN restaurant in Nice. The new restaurant is likely to fly right into the number one spot when Eat Out reintroduces its Awards.

Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen finally opens his Restaurant KLEIN JAN in the Kalahari, most expensive restaurant in SA!

#. Capetonians can more easily access our city’s fine dining restaurants. It still takes three months to book at Wolfgat, and it took six months to get into The Test Kitchen. The latter restaurant now has availability for all dates in May. Most top restaurants now offer Reduced Tasting Menus, fewer courses offered making them more affordable.

I am grateful to have had the opportunity for an amended German version of this story to be published in the Newsletter of the Süd-Africa Magazin.  https://www.sued-afrika.de/artikel/newsletter-11-kapstadt-gastroszene-im-wandel. And for the magazine using a photograph of Utopia Cape Town restaurant.

 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.whaletalesblog.com  www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide

 

Tasting Menu prices: which top restaurants are charging what, including wine pairings?

 

Tasting Menus have had a reputation in our country to offer endless numbers of courses (over 20 at The Test Kitchen in pre-Covid Lockdown times), with a price ticket to match!

Seeing the prices charged by Chef Jan-Hendrik van der Westhuizen at his new Restaurant KLEIN JAN at Tswalu, as well as his Innovation Studio pop-up in Cape Town, I did some research to check what is being charged at some of our top restaurants. I have listed the number of courses and the prices, and then calculated an average price per course with and without wines..

The Test Kitchen and Restaurant KLEIN JAN offer the most expensive Tasting Menus on a total price as well as on a per course basis. It is a shame that the La Colombe Group Menus are almost all designed according to the same formula. Interesting too is that most top Restaurants charge a Premium on their Vegetarian/Vegan Tasting Menus.  Continue reading →

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 49 of Level 3 Adjusted, 13 February 2021

 

Saturday 13 February 2021, Day 49 of Level 3 Adjusted, Day 344 of Lockdown 😷

Corona Gratitude 🙏

#Grateful for an amazing day with many surprises; for Imtiaz coming to work; for a leg wax at the Skin Studio in Sea Point, Stephanie always being gentle 💙; for a lovely hair cut and colour by Isabella Page Morgan 💙; for getting to my lunch date with Gary Peterson at the new Noah Café almost on time, spending a most wonderful lunch and afternoon there 💙; for collecting the last three boxes of figs from Peppertree Café 💙; for a quick clean up walk with Imtiaz, but we were far too early as the picnickers were still in Camps Bay in full force, so I’ll go and do the rest tomorrow after the rain; for a fabulous evening at Utopia, lovely to see that it was so full that reservations were closed for this evening; for a surprise gift pack of wines and a gin standing outside my door from the lovely UK clients staying in one of the apartments in our building, with whom I had such a lovely restaurant chat two days ago, who had to return to the UK today due to a serious illness of his brother-in-law; and for being happy and healthy. 🙏💙 Continue reading →

La Colombe named 2020 Best South African and African Restaurant in inaugural World Culinary Awards!

 

La Colombe has been announced as Best South African as well as African Restaurant in the inaugural 2020 World Culinary Awards. Its sister restaurant Epice at Le Quartier in Franschhoek was named Best New Restaurant in Africa. South Africa was named Best Culinary Destination in Africa.

The World Culinary Awards ‘serves to celebrate and reward excellence in the culinary industry through our annual awards programme. World Culinary Awards is the sister event of World Travel Awards, itself inaugurated in 1994’, its website states.

I have been fortunate to eat at a number of the award-winning restaurants.

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