Tag Archives: WhaleTales blog

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 68 of Level 1, 7 May 2021


Friday 7 May 2021, Day 68 of Level 1 😷🥲

Corona Gratitude 🙏

#grateful for a relaxed day, waking up early and getting my work done by midday; for the lovely rain which fell overnight, and during the course of today; for a lovely refreshing power walk in the drizzle, up Houghton Road, up Camps Bay Drive, up to Fulham Road, and back home; for meeting the prize winner of a Vegan Tasting Menu competition at Anatoli Turkish Restaurant, such a lovely couple; for being healthy, happy, and free. 🙏💙 Continue reading →

Sweet Service Award goes to Woolworths Camps Bay; Sour Service Award goes to Standard Bank!


The Sweet Service Award goes to Woolworths Camps Bay, the store with the friendliest service of all that shop at, with a personalised greeting by name from most of its staff, a real community store. Compared to our local Pick n Pay, the Woolworths is an absolute pleasure to shop at. Continue reading →

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 67 of Level 1, 6 May 2021


Thursday 6 May 2021, Day 67 of Level 1 😷

Corona Gratitude 🙏

#Grateful for a successful day; for getting up early to finish all my work so that I could squeeze in a power walk up 100 Houghton Steps, and coming down my secret Bakoven lanes with a total of 100 steps, being protected against the very strong Southeaster, receiving 300 Discovery points; for my Dinkel poppyseed rolls being ready for me; for an interesting meeting at Origin Roasting, drinking a lovely Nigiro Earl Grey Bloom tea; for a good Utopia Status meeting with Dilmah Earl Grey tea, crowned by a rainbow; for a quick pop in at Grand Pavilion, but the owner wasn’t there; for a cosy soup-in-bed evening; for Kfm playing great music to finish my steps for today; and for being happy, healthy and free. 🙏💙 Continue reading →

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 66 of Level 1, 5 May 2021


Wednesday 5 May 2021, Day 66 of Level 1 😷

Corona Gratitude 🙏

#Grateful for a fabulous and efficient day, packing a lot in after a solid 6,5 hour sleep; for starting writing just after 6h00, getting everything done so that I could fit in a power walk on my secret Bakoven path, gaining another 300 Discovery points; for tackling the email of response to the R1 million plus maintenance quote for our EbbTide apartment😱; for 2 Discovery Gameboard plays, giving me a R100 Woolies voucher; for a lovely lunch at Roots Café & Kitchen at Roeland Square, across the road from Wembley Square; for a lovely client meeting at Anatoli, spoilt with Dilmah Earl Grey tea and lovely crunchy chocolate biscuits; for a fabulous hot restaurant news update; for a quick shop at Hartlief; for the weather being less dramatic than was predicted for today, without the thunderstorms forecast ; and for being warm in my winter pyjamas, happy, healthy, and free. 🙏💙 Continue reading →

Lockdown Restaurant closures in Cape Town & the Winelands now at 100! More than 70 new restaurants have opened in the past year!


The Level 1 regulations introduced on 1 March, with a restaurant closing time of 23h00, and the serving of alcohol being permitted since February, have been a boost to the local restaurant industry, one of the hardest hit industries since Lockdown started a year ago, with good bookings in the past two months.

Despite the Lockdown regulations affecting the restaurant industry so badly in the past 13 months, a total of 75 new restaurants have opened in Cape Town and the Winelands during Lockdown. Restaurateur Michael Townsend Continue reading →

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 65 of Level 1, 4 May 2021


Tuesday 4 May 2021, Day 65 of Level 1 😷

Corona Gratitude 🙏

#Grateful for a cooler day, fog rolling in from Lunchtime onwards, not clearing, ahead of a major storm; for a hardworking day; for a power walk up the 100 Houghton Steps, up to Ingleside Road, and then to Woolies, buying soup ingredients for the cold weather and rain coming, and gaining 300 Discovery points; for a productive afternoon tackling a major maintenance quote challenge for our apartment block, exceeding R1 million, someone having lost the plot 😡; for a refreshing Bakoven walk, with only a hint of a sunset; for such s lovely response to my photographs of the sunset yesterday 💙💙💙; and for being happy, healthy, and free. 🙏💙 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


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


A surprise unplanned and delightful lunch at Salsify at The Roundhouse on Friday generated some surprise information from staff of the restaurant, based on questions I posed, hearing rumours about further plans for the restaurant.

Salsify at The Roundhouse is no longer part of the LDR Group, the name for Chef Luke’s collection of restaurants, exiting the Group since the end of last year the Salsify staff told us proactively. Chef Ryan Cole heads up the restaurant, retaining the same three backers who helped start the restaurant with Chef Luke almost three years ago. Continue reading →

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 63 of Level 1, 2 May 2021.


Sunday 2 May 2021, Day 63 of Level 1 😷

Corona Gratitude 🙏

#Grateful for a very relaxed catch-up with myself Sunday; for it being surprisingly hot today, at 27C; for a power walk through my secret Bakoven lanes, scoring 300 Discovery points, feeling good in making up for zero points 😱 yesterday; for finishing off the litter hotspot of yesterday, filling a garbage bag with all the cardboard boxes that had remained; for having two Camps Bay brothers Ben and Troy McWilliam assist me in cleaning up litter at the Tidal Pool, doing this for their Rondebosch High school community project, lovely to see them so eager, and the luck that there were fewer picnickers and hence less litter, despite the heat; and for being happy, healthy, and free. 🙏💙 Continue reading →

Corona Virus: Lockdown Journey Journal, Day 62 of Level 1, 1 May 2021


Saturday 1 May 2021, Worker’s Day, Day 62 of Level 1 😷

Corona Gratitude 🙏

#grateful for a lovely relaxed day, after an unbroken sleep of six hours 💙; for a Social Media morning; for putting my civic duty of cleaning a specific litter hotspot in Camps Bay ahead of my steps and points quest, being helped by Learner Marc from Bakoven; for a lovely dinner at Utopia with Tania Harrison, watching the sun set, meeting interesting diners, and being entertained by George Sax 🎷; for a pop-in glass of wine and belly dancing 💃 at Anatoli; for my cats being happy to have me back home 😻😻; and for being happy, healthy and free. Continue reading →