Tag Archives: Richard’s Bar

‘Kaapse Stories from the Mother City’ reflects multi-coloured Cape Town at Richard’s Supper Stage!

Cape Town has an exciting new entertainment venue in the heart of Sea Point, co-owned by new Cape Town citizen, singer, actor, producer, and impresario Richard Loring, and is a fantastic asset for the city and its entertainment industry, and is an entertaining way for tourists to learn about the history and culture of Cape Town. Richard’s Supper Stage opened officially this week, while the Bistro downstairs opened earlier this year.

Richard’s Supper Stage has a separate entrance, on Glengariff Road, with a real theatre entrance (a canopy in red and white stripes, a garden developed by Richard along the pavement, and fairy lights in the trees outside), and one receives a very friendly welcome from some of the cast and the front of house staff as one arrives.  Immediately one is taken into the theme of the show, with District Six street names attached onto every step of the staircase.  At the entrance upstairs is a bright and colourful chandelier, which reflects the multi-coloured character of the show, made from bottle tops and recycled ‘goodies’, the entertainment venue Tweeted.  Another Twitterer speculated that the lamp comes from Magpie Homewares in Barrydale.  The venue is vast, seating about 200 patrons, the tables and chairs seating ten each. To help those patrons sitting further back or near a pillar, flat screen TV screens will project what is happening on the stage.  The stage is relatively small, and one could be disappointed if one does not have front row seats.  However, the cast walks the room, so one has a good opportunity to see the stars up close, and to photograph them.  Colourful life-like images of Bo Kaap adorn the walls.

To kick off the evening, Richard Loring sang a welcome song, and then thanked the VIPs attending, including Conrad Sidego, the Mayor of Stellenbosch, the Consul General of India, and the DA Councillor for Sea Point, Bev Schafer. He shared that the opening had been preceded by 12 months of preparation, both in terms of renovating the building, and in writing and casting for the show.  He first came to Cape Town in 1969, and reminisced about how ‘fabulous‘ Sea Point was in the ‘Seventies and the ‘Eighties. The objectives which the co-owners Richard and Roland Seidel have set themselves are to offer tourists entertainment with a local touch, to create a sustainable business which employs staff in operating the restaurants and in performing in the shows, and to create a platform for developing local talent. Roland and Richard met eight years ago, and the seed was planted then already to do something together. Earlier this year Richard and Jeanette Loring moved down to the Cape. Roland thanked the City of Cape Town for its assistance in getting the building renovations done, the previous owners having ‘actively violated’ building regulations.  Debbie Damant of Wesgro was also thanked for offering space on their stand at Indaba in May. Su Birch, GM of Wines of South Africa (WOSA), was saluted for her contribution to wine marketing.

Kaapse Stories from the Mother City’ tells the story of the ‘Rainbow Nation’ via the Jantjies family, being Grandpa Joe (Royston Stoffels), brother Bernie on the piano, Uncle Charlie on percussion and guitar, and singer granddaughter Genevieve, and how it was affected by the politics of the previous apartheid government, being moved out of District Six to another part of Cape Town.  The script was written by well-known Basil Appollis, giving it a colourful Cape character, and the show is produced by Richard. The District Six’s Constitution, Caledon and Chapel Streets are recalled.  Mpumi Sizani adds a beautiful touch with her orange Xhosa traditional outfit, and superb singing. The ‘white elephant Green Point (sic) Stadium’ is referred to a few times.  Robben Island and Table Mountain appear in the storyline.  A Ghoema song is sung.  ‘Waka Waka‘ and ‘Shosholoza‘ take one back to the World Cup.  Miriam Makeba’s famous ‘Pata Pata’ and ‘Mama Themba‘ songs get the audience going.  The biggest surprise of the evening was when the character that was dressed as a car guard (Ebenezer Sawuhi), and the front of house host Germandt Geldenhuys both sang the most amazing opera music, including ‘Nessun Dorma‘, receiving a standing ovation.

Before, midway, and after the show the Cape-style dinner is served.  The starter of samoosa, sweet peppers, smoked snoek paté, and a Greek salad was brought to the tables.  The main course was an extremely generous buffet, and a very orderly system was used to request table by table to come up to be served the vegetable breyani, potato bake, tomato and onion relish, Basmati rice, Korma chicken and prawn curry, vegetables (carrots, butternut, green beans, cauliflower, broccoli, beetroot), Cape yellowtail, and beef fillet.  A plate of desserts was brought to each guest, and included a koeksister, a fruit kebab, and a slice of melktert and malva pudding.

After the ‘Kaapse Stories from the Mother City‘ show finishes, the venue turns into a jazz club, and jazz and cabaret artists will be invited to perform from 22h30 onwards, on nights on which ‘Kaapse Stories’ is performed.

Richard’s Bar has a collection of memorabilia to celebrate Richard’s 50 years in show business, the walls have wallpaper of images from his shows, and over the bar are clips from films and TV shows in which Richard has starred.  Richard Loring is best known for his production of ‘African Footprint’, which toured world stages. In Johannesburg he ran a similar Sound Stage Supper Theatre in Midrand, and he was the Entertainment Consultant to Golf Reef City before moving to Cape Town.

Richard’s Supper Stage, Glengariff Road, Sea Point.  Tel (021) 434-4497.  www.richardscapetown.co.za. Twitter: @KaapseStories. R400 per person includes the show, a welcome drink, and 3 course dinner. Thursday – Saturday (July and August, when group bookings are received), Monday – Sunday from September.

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

Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro a welcome new Sea Point entertainment venue

A chance Facebook post about Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro earlier yesterday took me to the entertainment venue last night, and I was delighted to meet entertainment legend and director/producer Richard Loring, who is the co-owner with Roland Seidel, who had owned Seidelberg wine estate.

A double story venue which previously housed Adega restaurant, next door to the 7-Eleven on Main Road Sea Point, will become a 200-seater ‘Supper Stage’ upstairs, with entry via Glengariff Road (the new striking red and white striped awning is a promise of great things to come).  Richard has redone the paving outside the entrance, and received permission to plant a garden on the pavement, to lift the tone of the neighbourhood.  Even 7-Eleven owner Elia Hadjidakis has promised Richard and Roland that this branch will become their flagship, to match the quality of the new entertainment venue.  Upstairs the massive space will sport Richard’s white piano, and some of the guests will see Robben Island from there. Upstairs too will be Richard’s Bar, which will be decorated with all Richard’s memorabilia spanning the past 50 years, the anniversary being celebrated later this year.  All the walls will be covered with wallpaper of Cape Town images, some of Adderley Street in black and white, and others in colour, such as of Bo-Kaap.  On Main Road a new red canopy with see-through ‘windows’ protected the Bistro deck downstairs from the strong southeaster wind.

Richard’s wife, former model Jeanette Stuart, is in Johannesburg, packing up their house there for the move to Cape Town.  Richard owned a house in Camps Bay for many years, but has now bought a house in Gordon’s Bay. In Johannesburg Richard ran the Sound Stage Theatre and dinner venue for 18 years, having put on 40 productions in this period. After selling the theatre he worked for the 1100-seater Lyric Theatre at Gold Reef City as theatre show consultant before moving to Cape Town in November.

I asked how Richard and Roland had met.  ‘African Footprint’ promoter Wolfgang Bocksch introduced Richard to Roland about eight years ago, and they talked loosely then about doing a theatre in Paarl.  Nothing came of this, but Roland did make an African Footprint wine to be sold at the ‘African Footprint’ shows. After an illness, which necessitated the sale of Seidelberg to Fairview last year, Roland contacted Richard, and they rekindled their idea of a show, choosing Sea Point. Originally the idea was to get Adega to provide the food service, but increasingly Richard and Roland realised that they should be in control of this side of their business too, and appointed Chef Ulli Stamm.  Richard and Roland have developed the story for ‘Kaapse Stories from the Mother City’, with Basil Appollis writing the script for the show.  They are busy casting for the show, which will be specifically aimed at tourists, but also at locals.  The cost of the show and buffet dinner should be around R350.  The show will be a fun mix of dance, humour, pathos, and history, a celebration of what Cape Town is all about, Richard said. Richard sees their venture making a contribution to tourism, in informing tourists about the history of the Cape, in allowing the employment of about 40 staff members to run the operation, and the development of new local entertainment talent.  While we were chatting Richard was keeping an eye on his staff all the time, giving them feedback about do’s and don’ts.

Chef Ulli previously worked at Arnold’s, Papino’s in Hout Bay, and then owned Trattoria Maranello in Camps Bay.  Despite his German background, there are no German dishes in his extensive menu, instead being more focused on Mediterranean cuisine, and specially Italian.  The tables on the deck outside have grey tops, and the chairs are grey plastic.  There are no table cloths but there are material serviettes.  Each table has a red candle in a glass, a salt and pepper grinder, and Willowcreek decorated olive oil and balsamic vinegars jars were brought to the table. Cutlery is ordinary. Small self-baked seed loaf slices were brought to the table. The menu is introduced by Chef Ulli in English, French, and Italian, and he writes: “It has always been my passion to bring the real culinary traditions of the Mediterranean to my table and ‘Richard’s’ is my way of sharing this experience. We proudly use locally raised and organically grown ingredients wherever possible and make sure high quality imports are used wherever necessary. Our menu is designed to encourage you to sample many different items. My team and I are honoured to cook for you and look forward to seeing you again and again and…” . The rules of the house are also listed, children under three years generously eating for free, food tolerance information is welcomed, all dishes are prepared ‘al minuto‘ and can be ordered without chilli. All dishes come with a side of salad or vegetables, and a choice of starch.

Ten starters have a good price range from R26 (foccacia) – R79 (carpaccio of smoked salmon), typical Italian dishes including minestrone, calamari, bruschetta, and antipasto. Six salads range from R45 – R62 (Moroccan lamb), including Caprese and Greek salads. Sandwiches (around R50) and burgers (even a salmon one at R89) are available. Pasta dishes range from R58 (Capellini al salmone) to R89 (prawn risotto). Fish dishes include cod, queen and king prawns, and calamari.  I had a fish dish off the specials board, a kabeljou with plain white rice and the most heavenly caper cream sauce (R108).  Steaks range from R96 – R135, and chicken dishes cost R69 – R88. Thirteen pizza options, made from Eureka Mills stone ground flour, include two Flammkuchen choices, and range from R46 for margherita – R97 for a salmon pizza, ensuring that no one will go hungry at Richard’s. Dessert options are plentiful, and cost R34 – R 49, including a good Tiramisu (R37), gelato, cassata, and Créma Catalana.  Coffee is by Italian Makamba. There is a separate breakfast menu.

The winelist has about three brands per variety, the regions are specified but the vintages are not.  Bollinger Special Cuveé Brut costs R1500, and Moët & Chandon R850. Prosecco Tereza Rizzi (R38/R220) and Maximilian (R240), Krone Borealis (R35/R199), and Pongracz (R194) sparkling wines are offered.  Shiraz options are Excelsior Paddock (R34/R115), Annandale (R440), and Rickety Bridge (R169). Local wines made from Italian grapes Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Barbera, and Nebbiolo are on the winelist, as are imported Italian wines, including Brunello (a 2006 at R1350, and a 2004 at R3800).  A wide selection of commercial beers is also available.  I was spoilt by Chef Ulli with a small taste of Limonché, made by local Belgian Jochen Nickmans.

It’s early days for Richard’s Bistro, the menu perhaps being too extensive and unfocused, and the service needing finetuning.  When Richard is there, things will run more smoothly, but no manager seemed to be in charge.  The opening of the new theatre/dinner venue in May is an exciting new tourism attraction for Cape Town, and can be expected to be a slick show.

POSTSCRIPT 31/3: I returned to Richard’s Bistro for breakfast, and had a long chat with co-owner Roland Seidel.  Attractive murals have been added to the walls on the deck downstairs, giving a strong message of the music that will be performed upstairs from May onwards.  The Italian Eggs Benedict cost R47, and included spinach.

POSTSCRIPT 27/7: Chef Ulli Stamm has left Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro.

Richard’s Supper Stage & Bistro, 229A corner Main and Glengariff Roads, Sea Point.  Tel (021) 434-6738 (Bistro)/(021) 434-4497 (Supper Stage from May). www.richardscapetown.co.za Twitter:@KaapseStories Monday – Sunday 7h00 – 1h00. Free wi-fi.

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