Entries tagged with “Bree Street”.


Chefs Warehouse Chef Liam and chefs Whale Cottage PortfolioLiam Tomlin is the most internationally experienced and respected but one of the least known chefs working in Cape Town, despite having worked in our country for ten years.  The recent move of his Chef’s Warehouse & Cookery School on New Church Street to Bree Street, now named Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen, seems to have transformed him and he seems happier than he has been for a long time, being back in the kitchen and hands-on in his restaurant.

Located in a heritage building on food fashionable Bree Street, where Caveau used to be before it went under, Chef’s Warehouse & Canteen has been painted a soft grey, which brings out the best of its simple red Chef’s Warehouse branding.  When I arrived to meet Judy for lunch, I spotted former Portofino restaurateur Cormac Keane Chefs Warehouse Exterior Whale Cottage Portfolioihaving lunch as I was taking a photograph of the exterior of the building. Cormac was a maverick whilst he lived in Cape Town, and it is a shame that he left Cape Town to return to London, having shaken things up in the restaurant industry when he operated here until the World Cup 2010, it not living up to his expectations. The Irish roots of Chef Liam and Cormac created a friendship in the early days in Cape Town for both men, which still holds.  Chef Liam started his career in Australia, and opened his restaurant BANC in Sydney, which earned him a 3 Hats award, as well as two Restaurant of the Year awards.  He moved to our country ten years ago, and has written cookbooks (‘BANC’,Season to Taste’, and ‘Lessons with Liam‘), which are available at Chef’s Warehouse, still serves on the British Airways Taste Team, and has assisted wine estates such as La Motte in setting up Pierneef à La Motte and its kitchen.  For a year he operated at Leopard’s Leap in Franschhoek, selling cooking and baking utensils and vessels, and offering cooking courses, whilst also (more…)

Seline van der Wat 4 and 20 Cafe Whale Cottage PortfolioIt was on Twitter that I saw Seline van der Wat, MasterChef SA Season 2 Finalist, request suggestions for food destinations in Cape Town.  I had so enjoyed her spunk on MasterChef SA that I invited her to join me in sharing my Foodie Cape Town yesterday.

We met at Melissa’s on Kloof Street, where I had my favourite iced coffee for the day, and Seline gave me some feedback about where she had been in Cape Town relative to my list of favourite food destinations.   The Neighbourgoods Market at the Biscuit Mill and Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants were the only two food stops she had been to already.

We talked about MasterChef SA Season 2, and she wore the wooden rabbit brooch which she had worn throughout the show.  She wears it every day, and her sister and fellow MasterChef SA Finalist Leandri was given an identical one as a gift.  One senses that they are very close, Seline being slightly older, and having an older sister who recently made them aunts, as well as a younger sister who is still at school.  She lives in Pretoria, and has resigned her job as an engineer working on renewable energy via Hydropower.  From a rigid day job she would escape to the kitchen to express her creativity via cooking, she and Leandri sharing an apartment. Seline could not stop raving about Chef Chris Erasmus at Pierneef à La Motte, loving his passion for food, and his sense of community.  She plays the piano, guitar, and cello.  They grew up in Mafikeng, and lost their mother about ten years ago, necessitating them to cook for the family of four daughters and their dad.  Having such famous daughters has made their dad a celebrity in their home town, and he has met many more of the locals since his daughters were on TV.  He himself now hosts Moroccan dinner parties, while the youngest sister is starting to learn to cook and bake as well.  Seline said that she and Leandri did not watch soaps on TV (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   ‘Cape Town’s most stylish hotels’ feature in the Telegraph Travel article, which focuses on more than just the Mother City’s hotels.  Given Cape Town’s status of World Design Capital 2014, Woodstock, Bree Street, and Long Street are recommended for arts, sculptures, jewellery, and crafts.  Hemelhuijs and The Pot Luck Club are recommended restaurants.  The Mount Nelson, One&Only Cape Town, Cape View, The Clarendon, and Ellerman House are recommended as accommodation establishments.

*   Six of Africa’s twelve top music festivals are hosted in South Africa, and include Oppikoppi (in Limpopo province, the largest local music festival); Up the Creek (in Swellendam); Cape Town International Jazz Festival; Splashy Fen (at Underberg); AfrikaBurn (in North Cape province); and Rocking the Daisies (in Darling).

*   National soccer team Bafana Bafana arrived in Cape Townlast weekend, in preparation for the African Nations Championship, which kicks off at Cape Town Stadium on Saturday.

*   James Romanow, writing in the New Mexico Leader Post, says that drinking a House of Mandela wine is a fitting tribute to the late Nelson Mandela.

*   A manual of information published by (£30 million a year budget) Visit Britain, which was targeted at accommodation establishments and tourism players in the UK to guide them in dealing with tourists from around the world, has been criticised for ‘racial stereotyping‘!   For example, the manual describes: (more…)

Cyclist SA VenuesThe Western Cape province introduced tough new cycling legislation earlier this week, aimed at better behaviour by both cyclists and motorists on the roads of Cape Town and the province.  Other than newspaper coverage this week, there has been no communication to Western Cape residents, nor to tourists arriving from other provinces and from overseas.

The Western Cape Provincial Road Traffic Administration Act 2012 (Act 6 of 2012): Safety of Cyclists Regulations, 2013, places the following duties on motorists:

*   keep a distance of 1 meter from a cyclist (no longer 1,5 meters as initially recommended)

*   must pass a cyclist carefully, and are allowed to drive over a solid line into an oncoming lane to keep the specified distance from the cyclists, but only if there is no oncoming traffic (this sounds like a dangerous relaxation of the law, which in essence means that the motorist must give way, and that (more…)

La Parada Kitchen with Bull head Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Thursday the massive new La Parada Bar da Tapas opened on Bree Street, the second outlet with this brand name in the Harbour House group. It is a restaurant and bar that will attract custom due to the extraordinarily low prices of its food and beverages, in a block that now includes Africa Café, Bistrot Bizerca, HQ,  Awestruck, Simply Asia, The House of Machines, &Union, and Birds Boutique Café.  La Parada means stop or standstill, a clever name for one to break away from a busy day, even though one can imagine that it will become very noisy as it becomes popular due to its low prices.

La Parada is in a building that has been extensively renovated, and La Parada has taken the ground floor.  A night club is set to open in the basement in two weeks, I was told by a waiter, and a glass floor in one section will attract attention to what will be happening below.   One cannot help but notice the restaurant on Bree Street, diagonally opposite &Union, as it has windows opening along almost all of the street frontage, with counter seating inside and outside.  It was very cold yesterday, and there was no place to hide from the cold wind inside the (more…)

The House of Machines Interior Whale Cottage PortfolioThe House of Machines opened on Monday in a pedestrian lane on Shortmarket Street, and promises to be a good coffee spot as a start, as its co-owner Brad Armitage was a co-owner of Vida e Caffè when it first opened.  We found a motorcycle shop discreetly positioned at the back of the outlet, and experienced a vibrant coffee shop, bar, and light snack restaurant with very friendly and attentive service.

The building dates back to the 1890s and has housed a bar, a restaurant, a workshop for furniture designer Gregor Jenkin, and most recently a yacht design company. All three the co-owners designed the interior.  It is dominated by a massive black bar/serving counter, with wooden table counters attached to the wall at which one sits on signal red (not Vida red, as I joked with Brad!) stools.   Each table can seat up to four comfortably, and has a glass jar with Bakers & Chef cutlery, and Natural salt and pepper grinders.  Beautiful ceiling beams and weathered cement floors have been left as is.  The seating wall is covered with a collection of photographs of the three co-owners with their bikes, on their visit to the USA, which they undertook to obtain ideas and inspiration for their new venture.  Paul van der Spuy is one of the owners, who loves coffee shops, is a men’s fashion designer who owns Blue Collar White Collar, is the unofficial ‘Mayor of Cape (more…)

I never experienced Cheyne’s when it operated from a small space on Bree Street after the World Cup, but was very impressed when I sampled Chef Cheyne Morrisby’s cooking at the Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz. Now Capetonians can enjoy Chef Cheyne’s Australasian-infused South African cuisine in Hout Bay.

Having only opened five days ago, Cheyne’s was already fully booked for lunch yesterday, all customers choosing to sit outside on a lovely sunny autumn day.  All the inside furniture was taken outside, so it is difficult to judge what the restaurant will look like when it is set up inside.  Comfortable cream chairs are set at white topped tables, without tablecloths, but with material serviettes, salt and pepper grinders, Fortis Hotelware cutlery, and good glassware.  A smallish sign on the Pam Arlene Place building is the only indication of where the new restaurant is, but the tables filled with happy diners attract attention of the traffic passing by.  About thirty diners can be accommodated at this stage, Chef Cheyne only launching the restaurant officially later this month.

It is heartening to see Chef Cheyne with his trademark cap in the kitchen, being absolutely hands-on, at the cost of regular customer contact, but it was impressive that Chef Cheyne did come to greet each table.  I overheard a table debating Cheyne’s name and how to pronounce it.  Chef Cheyne is Cape Town born, worked at Blues for two years, and a planned one year job in London became an eleven year one, working at the Conran Group restaurants. In this time he cooked for Kate Moss, Kylie Mynogue, and Robbie Williams.  He traveled to the East, including Thailand and Indonesia, and he said that his cooking style is that of the Pacific Rim.  He loves their cooking methods, their simple approach to ingredients, and keeping food simple, fresh, clean; and uncomplicated. They use base flavours to give food a good foundation.  He decided to return to Cape Town with his family, wanting them to ‘feel’ Africa, and also wanting to give back to his home country. He has two waiters, Simon being an ex-advertising industry executive, having worked at a post-production company. He wanted to switch career direction to work in a more social environment. Confident Clayton worked with Cheyne’s at his restaurant on Bree Street, whereafter he went to The Roundhouse, and then followed Chef PJ Vadas to Camphors at Vergelegen.  The traveling to Somerset West became too much for him, and when he received Chef Cheyne’s call, he decided to return to work with his old boss again.

The menu is printed on brown board and will be changed monthly. It is attached to a clipboard with a small winelist.  It carries an introduction by Chef Cheyne, describing his approach to cuisine: ‘I am passionate about influences and unique flavours from the Pan Asian/Pacific Rim region that stretches across South East Asia, Japan, Singapore, to Australia and New Zealand. I hope that you enjoy the food journey‘. There are about six starter and main course options, and three dessert choices.  Everything sounds special yet unusual, one not finding the combination of ingredients offered by Cheyne’s elsewhere on a local menu.  From the starter list there was no hesitation in ordering the crispy Crayfish tempura, miso, garlic chive wonton, and sauce shumai (R55), the added chive flower making it a most attractive starter.  Other starters (ranging from R40 – R55) are Roasted rice cakes, Red Dragon sauce, toasted sesame, and coconut flakes; Beef Tataki, miso, mirin and English mustard, and Tempura onion crown; Pork belly ssam, crisp baby gem leaves, Chinese mustard and XO sauce; Keralan spiced squid, green chilli puree, red kimchi and coconut jelly; and sticky duck, pear noodles, star anise and ginger glaze.

The main course choice was an easy one too, Chef Cheyne’s speciality being pork belly, and it was tender and filling, topped with the most delicious crackling, served with an unusual corn and cumin purée, Fuji apple tempura, coconut dumplings, and soy and maple sauce (R90).  Other main courses, none costing more than R95, are 48 hour Beef Short Rib, confit fingerling potatoes, braised daikon with a dashi reduction; Malaysian Laksa, grilled linefish and tiger prawns, warm cucumber noodles, and nori dust; Ramen noodles with Korean BBQ pork, bamboo shoots, spring onion, and poached egg; and Ramen noodles with white sesame and ginger chicken, prawn dumpling, and poached egg.  The dessert list is short and sweet, each item costing R45: Fried apple pie, kaya paste, sticky miso, sour cream ice cream; white chocolate and toasted sesame semi freddo, with banana tempura; and a delectable pear cinnamon and ginger tarte tatin with tamarind ice cream.

The winelist contains two brands per major wine varietals, and almost all are available per bottle and by the glass. Corkage is charged at R30 per bottle.  Pongracz costs R195 and Graham Beck Brut Rosé R215. Brampton Shiraz costs R35/R130, Madonna Shiraz R40/R185, La Motte Sauvignon Blanc costs R35/R140, and Durbanville Hills R30/R130.

Cheyne’s exterior and modest interior decor is unpretentious, and does not reflect the excellent creative cuisine prepared by Chef Cheyne.  Service could be a little smarter, especially from Clayton, given his background.  Prices are extremely reasonable, for the quality of food served.  Cheyne’s will become a challenge to Hout Bay restaurants, especially Kitima.  A nice touch was bringing two coconut ice bonbons with the bill.

Cheyne’s, 1 Pam Arlene Place, Main Road, Hout Bay (near Caltex garage).  Cell 079 067 4919. Website under construction. Twitter: @Cheyne_Reaction. Open Tuesday – Sunday Lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner.

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

I travel along fashionable Bree Street regularly, and noticed the new Latitude33, a mixed venue selling clothing, artwork, some deli items, and is a restaurant.  Its name reflects Cape Town’s geographical location, and its interior is dedicated to the oceans surrounding our city, and surfing in particular.  Its striking ceiling in the coffee preparation area reflects that this new Cape Town eatery is set to make waves!

I found the venue open last week, and was told that they close the kitchen at 15h00, and the venue at 15h30, as they open early in the morning.  I had never driven past Latitude33 before its closing time, and therefore never previously had found it open and operating.  Arriving just at closing time then, I was still made to feel welcome, was served an iced coffee (R25), and co-owner Charles Post came to chat, to share background information.  The venue was previously a nightclub which had burnt down, and the building was extensively renovated.  Charles lived in New Zealand, where he was a rugby player, but not quite at All Black level, he admitted. While he is not a surfer himself, he loves the surfing lifestyle, and that is what they have brought into the venue decor, with big surfing posters from Australia, and surfboards on some of the walls, some painted by Glen Roe, with tributes to Pink Floyd, Jimi Hendrix, and more.  A sports corner with big leather couches and a flatscreen TV will serve rugby lovers.  The interesting wave-like ceiling, seemingly flowing out of the shelving unit behind the coffee machine, was inspired by photographs which Charles saw on a website for Melbourne-based Baker D Chirico.  Wooden chairs and tables fill the venue, and also are on the pavement, interspersed with wine vats.  The chairs have blue and red stripes on them, almost giving them an Indian touch. Cutlery is by Fortis Hotelware, and blue paper serviettes are offered. Cape Herb & Spice Atlantic Sea Salt and Extra Bold Peppercorn grinders are on the table.  The multi-use venue was inspired by a shop which Charles saw in Bali. His girlfriend Olivia Franklin runs the upstairs section, with clothing for sale, as is her artwork.

The Chef is Gerald Walford, a friend of Charles from Johannesburg, and he said he enjoys the ‘change of pace in Cape Town’, although he expected it to be slower than it is!  He is aware of Cape Town’s reputation for less good service, and they want to ‘bring Johannesburg service flair’ to their restaurant, and have chosen staff to achieve this. Value for money is important, and they are striving to offer the best possible quality. The feedback they have received is that their portions are too big, and they have reduced them.  The menu changes regularly, and is ‘client-friendly‘.  Suppliers have been ‘hit and miss’, Gerald said, but he seems satisfied with them now.  They stock an interesting selection of unusual jam ‘blends’, supplied by Die Ou Pastorie in Pretoria, including Rooibos Sweet Chilli, Balsamic Pinotage Jelly, and Vanilla Plum. Chef Gerald worked with MasterChef SA judge Andrew Atkinson at the Michelangelo Hotel in Johannesburg, and calls him his mentor.  He also worked with MasterChef SA Culinary Producer Arnold Tanzer during Season 1 last year. His philosophy is to make his customers as happy as possible, and to offer consistency, and therefore he is hands-on in preparing the food.  I was impressed that he came to check on my feedback about the excellent Salmon Eggs Benedict (R65), which I had ordered from their all-day breakfast menu, a good enough reason to go back again.  The bread range which is offered is rye, bagels, sour dough, white, wholewheat and panini, baked in-house. Eggs Benedict is also available with bacon and spinach. A full cooked breakfast costs R65, and a mini breakfast R50. Omelettes start at R20, and one can select sixteen ingredients to add, the price of each specified.  French Toast sounds delicious, at R45, with a choice of bacon and syrup, Nutella and caramelized banana, berry compote and whipped cream, or chorizo and roasted coconut!  Lunch is served from 12h00, and consists simply of salads (cous cous, grilled chicken, and steak, ranging from R55 – R65), burgers (beef, chicken, or ostrich, at R65), sandwiches (with schnitzel, Asian Pork belly or Club, ranging from R50 – R65) and wraps (mushrooms, grilled chicken, and beef, at R35 – R40).

Andrea Maskew is the Pastry Chef, having owned a catering company previously, and has been a freelance food stylist for Woolworths’ Taste magazine, working with Food editor Abigail Donnelly and assistant Hannah Lewry.  She bakes fresh pastries and confectionery every day, including cupcakes, muffins, triple Lindt chocolate cookies, white chocolate mousse cake, and fudge.  She studied at the SA Chefs’ Academy.

Coffee is by Truth, and they have borrowed a barista from the coffee supplier.  Their iced coffee is good and strong.  Service is friendly, but seemed slow, given that I was the only customer eating at the time.  I returned yesterday, to try one of the dishes, and to photograph the interior, the chairs already having been placed on the tables on my previous visit, not making the eating section of Latitude33 photographable then. The food is excellent, but the paper menu, the paper serviettes, the menu offering, and the service all have potential for improvement.  A liquor licence will be applied for, and therefore clients are encouraged to bring their own wine.  No corkage is charged.

Latitude33, 165 Bree Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 4249520. www.lat33.co.za Twitter: @Latitude33_Cpt.  Monday – Friday 7h00 – 15h30, Saturday 8h30 – 14h00.  Free WiFi.

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

Liam Tomlin Food, a joint venture company with Liam Tomlin, Hein Koegelenberg, Hanneli Rupert-Koegelenberg and Berdine Neethling, is to relocate to Cape Town in November, the company announced today.

Co-owner Hein Koegelenberg said in a meeting today that to be closer to their support base in Cape Town, it makes sense to move the cookery school to a Cape Town venue.  Chef Liam Tomlin is still running courses at the current venue in Franschhoek until the end of October, and will be one of a program of chefs who will be doing cooking demonstrations at Leopard’s Leap, and will continue as a consultant chef to Leopard’s Leap. The program could include a three Michelin star chef from the Institut Paul Bocuse school of cooking.  The new Leopard’s Leap tasting venue was officially opened six months ago.

The move to Cape Town will co-incide with a food offering at Leopard’s Leap, given the demand expressed by winetasters.  Hein said that plans have not been finalised, but it is likely that cake and coffee, as well as chicken from their rotisserie will be sold with salads and bread.  Some of the space in the shop is likely to sell fresh foods to take home.

In the media release Liam Tomlin is quoted as follows: ‘It makes sense to be nearer to our main support base and although we will miss the beauty of the Franschhoek Valley and its friendly people (not to mention having wonderful wines across the room from us!), we are also looking forward to being in the hustle and bustle of Cape Town’.

To tie in with its Liam Tomlin Food culinary connection, Leopard’s Leap is launching a Culinary wine range, inspired by the French regions of Champagne, Loire, Rhone, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Sauternes, each of the wines being suitable for pairing with specific foods.  The range will be available exclusively at the Leopard’s Leap tasting room in Franschhoek, and at the new Liam Tomlin Food venue in Cape Town.

Good news is that Harry Joubert, previously with the Brampton tasting room in Stellenbosch, is the new manager of the Leopard’s Leap tasting room.

POSTSCRIPT 2/10: Despite the media release published a month ago, and the interview I had with Hein Koegelenberg at that time, Liam Tomlin Food will close down at Leopard’s Leap at the end of October, and will not move to Cape Town, Hein Koegelenberg confirmed telephonically today, saying that it was not financially viable to open the cooking school company in Cape Town.  Chef Liam Tomlin will be available to Leopard’s Leap on an ad hoc consultancy basis.  Leopard’s Leap will start serving food from 1 November.

Liam Tomlin Food: www.liamtomlinfood.com Twitter: @LiamTomlinFood

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

The most unusual name for a classy cocktail bar must be that of newly opened Orphanage on Bree Street, which is on the corner with Orphan Street, a street name I had not noticed previously. I was impressed with its elegant and classy interior, unusual cocktails and other drinks, and interesting value for money food.

As I was driving to the Labia cinema last Saturday, I drove past the former Rhubarb Room space, and saw the new brown painted exterior, with candle-holders outside attracting one’s attention.  With the front door open, one could also see a massive chandelier, which runs along the length of the room.  I stopped to take a quick interior photograph, and returned after the movie, when the venue had filled up a little more, its first day of opening to the public and also the birthday of Johnny Friedman, the owner of the building and a partner in the business. Manager and co-partner Raymond Endean seemed a bit hesitant about sharing information initially and about letting me have a menu to take along for this story, but mellowed as more guests arrived and all appeared to be running smoothly.

The massive chandelier dominates the interior, almost detracting from the massive wooden bar running along the length of one wall.  On the opposite side are striped couches with coffee tables, creating sections, as well as a collection of high bar tables and stools.  More seating is available in the little courtyard, which one had not noticed before.  In the far end a DJ had set up his equipment, and played mood music, which became progressively louder, but did not overpower the conversation.  He was later joined by saxophonist Jamie Faull, and they performed together.  Jamie plays his sax on Wednesday and Sunday evenings. The staff wear amazing outfits, with waistcoats, black pants, Orphanage aprons with the key logo, and bowler hats, and are all very friendly and eager to serve.  There is low lighting, despite the chandelier, with many candles.  Cleverly the high table tops have been cut out to hold a bucket, into which a candle had been placed.  If one orders sparkling wine or white wines, it becomes an ice bucket, a clever touch, as it is space-efficient too.  A chest of drawers allows one to store one’s left over bottle for a next visit, and hence the key is the symbol printed on the brown serviettes, on the business cards, and is incorporated in the design of the menu too. The decor design was done by Inhouse architects. A large rectangular serviette contains the Inox fork and unbranded knife in a brown sleeve, with the key logo, brought to the table on a silver tray. Everything is printed on brown paper, with the key logo, and even the bill was presented in a brown sleeve. They purposely try to steer away from what everyone else does, wanting to be unique.

The first indication I had that things are different at Orphanage was when the cappuccino was served in a ‘blikbeker’, the sugar sticks being served in a smaller size.  Raymond explained that he managed Asoka Bar for seven years, and Eclipse and Caprice in Camps Bay prior to that.  The idea behind Orphanage is to go back to the time of the Prohibition, to create the feel of a ‘hidden bar’.  In deciding on a name, they were aware of their location on Orphan Street, also the home of the St Paul’s Church across the road.  A dreadful influenza epidemic swept through the region in the early 1900′s, leaving many children in the Cape orphaned.  Children would come to the church for food, giving the street its name, and Reverend Sidney Warren Lavis helped set up the first ‘orphanage for boys’ in Cape Town in 1919, called the St Francis Childrens’ Home, in Athlone. The placemat proudly shares: “ORPHANAGE are very proud supporters of the St Francis Children’s home that we derive our quirky name & rich heritage from.. because this type of tomfoolery has a social conscience too”. R15 of the ‘More Tea Vicar?’ drink of Finlandia vanilla, rooibos syrup, cranberry, and lemon, which costs R55, is donated directly to the St Francis Children’s Home. In December and January R 10 will be added to every bill, to donate to the St Francis orphanage.  The Rector of St Paul’s blessed Orphanage on its first day of opening. Raymond said that they understand that the name is controversial, as showed when we Tweeted about it.

The drinks list has a number of Orphanage branded wines, and Raymond told me that sommelier and consultant Kent Scheermeyer is helping them to source two red and two white wines, as well as a sparkling wine.  He wasn’t sure where they were coming from, but the Pinot Noir will be from De Grendel, and Mullineux will supply a red blend.  The cocktail list was compiled from a study of bar trends and 200 cocktails were evaluated. Most have a quirky name, and are served in quirky ‘vessels’ too, such as a fine Victorian tea cup.  A cucumber Martini is served with a cucumber sandwich on the side.  Interesting is that a drink is named after the police commissioner in the Western Cape, Hilton Hendricks, who arrived for the birthday party too, with his bodyguards, who (surprisingly) were very hesitant to share his first name.  Moët & Chandon costs R800, Ruinart R1000, Dom Pérignon R1800, and Krug R3600.  &Union beers, Grolsch, Peroni, and some commercial beers are available.  More than twenty cocktails, with interesting names, many related to the name of the establishment (e.g. ‘Innocent Orphan Annie’) cost between R35 and R65.

The menu will be changed every three months or so, and is restricted to only ten items at the moment. It is the domain of Chef André Hendricks, with consultant chef Mac Mulholland, who has worked with HQ, Asoka and Tank.  A kingklip carpaccio (‘Fishy on my Dishy’ – photograph right) sounded unusual, and was exceptional, drizzled with lemon and olive oil (R50).  I was less impressed with ‘Rabbit Food’, with too much rocket, and little asparagus and aged pecorino (R45). Other tapas options are Cauli-fritters (R40), ‘Crayfish Signature’ (R95), ‘Milanese Chick Chick’ (R65), ‘Octopus Crunch’ (R55), and ‘Little Lamb Buns’ (R60).  One senses that the team had great fun in coming up with the names.  One can also order platters of mezze or charcuterie (R95 each), and cheeses (R75), olives, nuts and truffle chips, or a dessert (at R35 each) of ‘pineapple thins’ or ‘Molten Coco Loaf’, which turned out to be a lovely chocolate fondant served with vanilla ice cream. The dessert and the salad were served in bowls set inside wooden blocks, again an interesting and unusual presentation.

Raymond said that they are almost purposely ‘anti-marketing’, wanting to grow their business on the basis of word-of-mouth, on the strength of their service, which was friendly and kind. I was lucky that charming and passionate co-owner Katie Friedman was at Orphanage too, and that she spent time with me to give me more background to the establishment. She has worked in marketing film production companies in the USA, and her business card describes her as the ‘House Marketeer’. She emphasised how blessed they are to have St Paul’s as their neighbours, and that they can contribute to the work that they do for the St Francis orphanage.

Orphanage cocktail emporium is a definite must-see and try, and a convenient stop before and after a night out, with ample parking at night.  It is a classy place to visit, fun and quirky, and having a drink there has a social benefit too.

POSTSCRIPT 5/4: A lovely 26°C evening, at the start of the Easter weekend, was a good opportunity to go back to Orphanage.  I couldn’t believe that it was jam packed outside, and some customers said they had come because of this review.  Co-owner Katie Friedman came to chat and thank me for the review, and told me that next summer they will do breakfast (with porridge options) and lunch too. She also said that they will be open every night of the week now. I tried their crayfish buns.

POSTSCRIPT 18/4: Talk about customer service.  On a last visit I asked if Orphanage had Bailey’s or Cape Velvet, and they told they only had Amarula.  When I went back to re-photograph the kingklip carpaccio in better light tonight, Raymond proudly showed me the Bailey’s they now stock!

Orphanage cocktail emporium, 227 Bree Street, corner Orphan Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 424-2004. www.TheOrphanage.co.za Twitter:@OrphanageClub  Monday – Sunday 17h00 – 2h00, Fridays from 15h00.

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