Entries tagged with “Chez d’Or”.


It’s been a long time since I have been to a restaurant that is as badly run and so overall disappointing as Café des Arts, previously Topsi’s.  It is an embarrassment for Franschhoek, a village that prides itself on its gourmet standards.

I had read feedback about Café des Arts on Twitter, both Rob Armstrong and Dax Villanueva praising it, and felt obliged to try it out, one of the few Franschhoek restaurants I had not been to yet.   I arrived at about 20h00 on Friday evening, to a restaurant which still has the Topsi’s signs outside on the main road and on Reservoir Street, dishonest I felt, given that the restaurant name change took place in August last year, and no attempt has been made to change the signs after taking over from esteemed chef Topsi Venter.  I was one of four tables, all Franschhoekers that I knew.  I was surprised in retrospect to see them eating there, one couple in particular, having come out from Cape Town and previously owning a wine farm in Franschhoek.

I take my time in ordering at a restaurant, assimilating the interior, making notes about what I have observed, and felt pressurised to order by the co-owner Louise Rambert, when I had not even looked at the menu board.  She brought the winelist blackboard to the table first, but oddly placed it behind me, which meant that I had to turn around to read it.   The menu blackboard was placed against a wall, which I could read more comfortably, yet not all the handwriting on it was legible.   The teriyaki pork belly with Asian noodle stirfry had sold out, but it had not been deleted from the menu board, and Louise snapped at me when I wanted to order this dish.

I had not been to Topsi’s for many years, but remember that she had tables on two levels of the restaurant.  Now it is contained to the higher level, the entrance section being an untidy mess, containing a bookshelf that had not appeared to have been touched in years and left in a haphazard state.  An industrial fridge and a counter with the coffee machine, as well as more menu boards, were visible, the room looking more like a storeroom than part of a restaurant.  Tables are wooden, with riempies-style chairs.  There are no tablecloths, and a paper serviette is offered.  The cutlery and glassware is cheap.   On the table was an Oryx desert salt grinder and an unbranded pepper grinder, as well as a green sugar bowl.   On a cold winter’s night the ceramic fireplace made the restaurant comfortably warm.  The kitchen is open to the restaurant.  There was artwork on the walls,  mainly by Wakaba Mutheki, but also by other artists, such as Koos de Wet, the only other artist’s name which Louise could remember, yet they sell the artwork for RED! The Gallery in Tokai.  A Mandela portrait is striking in its realism, and costs R30000.   One wonders how a gallery could place this expensive art in such a poor quality restaurant environment.  Louise told me that they have sold quite a few works already.

Chef Chris Hoffman previously owned Café des Arts in Kalk Bay, where he had a similar concept of displaying art in his restaurant, but these were local artists.  He was trained as a chef by Topsi 16 years ago, in her Franschhoek restaurant, and he took over Topsi’s after a visit last year, feeling that Topsi was struggling to run her restaurant after a serious knee operation, and that her family was neglecting her, one of the other guests told me.  Chris closed down his restaurant in Kalk Bay, and took over Topsi’s, renaming it Café des Arts, and Topsi can be seen there frequently, I was told, when she is not at her daughter’s good Franschhoek Food Emporium deli in Place Vendôme.

At first I thought Louise was a waitress, as she had attitude, but she pointedly told me that she was the ‘owner’ of the restaurant, until I asked her about the chef, and she admitted that he co-owns the restaurant with her.  I have never met a restaurant owner who is so disinterested in her clients, who deals with them functionally, who takes no interest in finding out what makes them come to the restaurant, and whether one is a local or not.  Louise told me proudly that they do not advertise, as they are only there to serve the locals, and want to get known by word-of-mouth.   A waitress worked with Louise, but stood near the kitchen most of the time, only bringing one dish to the table, and not communicating at all.  Louise asked for feedback about my main course dish, being lamb’s liver, and when I told her it was tough, she did not respond, walking away from the table.   It became clear to me why she was pressuring me to order – the chef Chris left at 8.45 pm, once he had cooked my liver, walking through the restaurant in his odd-looking civvies, blatantly demonstrating that he had finished with us and his restaurant for the day!

The lamb’s liver (R75) was served with mash, bacon, and balsamic onions, and a rather tasty sauce, but was tough, but the pedestrian knife may have been partly to blame. I am so used to Reuben’s calf’s liver, that I did not like the lamb’s liver by comparison.   I felt the dish to be expensive for what one got.  Other options are two salads, a soup (R48) and mussels (R55/R85) for starters, two fettuccine dishes (R65 – R75), and main course choices were Red Snapper and Lamb loin chops (R110 – R115).   I ordered the apple crumble for dessert, and was assured by Louise that it came with fresh whipped cream, but it was not whipped, and there was barely any on the plate, so that I had to ask the waitress for some more.  I had also asked Louise to only warm up the dessert a little, but it arrived piping hot.  I liked that it contained raisins, but the crumble topping was burnt.  Other dessert options were chocolate tart, and a bread and butter pudding made from croissants, Louise said verbally, but the board stated that it was made from hot cross buns.  All desserts cost R30.   I was told by one of the patrons that the menu is changed regularly, and that she likes to eat at this restaurant, as they make dishes that vegetarians like she can order. 

The winelist offered one or two wines per variety, a house Helderberg Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon (Louise told me that this belongs to Boekenhoutskloof) for R25 per glass.  Haut Espoir Shiraz costs R130, and Stony Brook Shiraz 2006 cost R35/R170.  I was disappointed with it, given its age.

I will never go back to Café des Arts, after my experience.  I found it absolutely amateurish in all respects, and cannot see how it can survive.  With a disinterest in the patrons, mediocre food, lack of food presentation, the chef leaving early, no interior design, no website, false marketing riding on the Topsi’s name,  and a hand-written invoice with no contact details should one want to book in future, Café des Arts cannot be taken seriously in Franschhoek, nor is it a tribute to what went before at Topsi’s.  I was happy to leave and have a lovely cappuccino at Reuben’s across the road.

POSTSCRIPT 4/5:   The owners’ reaction to the review has been surprisingly unprofessional, and has led to them banning me from their establishment.  See the Comments to the blogpost. 

POSTSCRIPT 14/5: I photographed the Topsi’s sign on Huguenot Road today, still up 10 months after Topsi’s closed down, and became Café des Arts!

POSTSCRIPT 22/5:  Seeing a number of extremely positive TripAdvisor reviews for Café des Arts via a Franschhoek Restaurant Google Alert today, I noticed that a review that I posted on TripAdvisor about my dinner at Café des Arts, condensed in content to my review above, has been removed!  TripAdvisor has not sent a notification as to the reason for the content removal.

Café des Arts, Reservoir Street, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-2952.  No website, and none intended.  Facebook page.  Tuesday – Saturday.   Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  

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

The Franschhoek Wine Valley (the new tourism body name, the “Tourism Association” part of the name recently having been dropped) Food & Wine Route has been launched to the media, and soon will be presented in a new map, that will reflect the wealth of 42 restaurants, 48 wine estates and 3 delis and shops that sell foodstuffs in and around Franschhoek. The new Food & Wine Route is a good marketing reaction to the increasing dominance of Stellenbosch as the new gourmet center of South Africa, and its large number of wine estates, even though the tourism association’s website still refers to Franschhoek as the “Gourmet Capital of South Africa”!

Last year we wrote about the Food & Wine Route when it was first announced, and from the initial information it appeared to have a broader focus initially.  Now the Route is more focused, and will incorporate mainly the restaurants and wine estates that are members of Franschhoek Wine Valley.   Interestingly, the geographic delineation of Franschhoek has been broadened to incorporate the wine estates and restaurants on the R45 between Klapmuts and Simondium, including Noble Hill, Backsberg, and Babel at Babylonstoren, on the basis that they have become members of the Franschhoek Wine Valley association, even if they fall under the Paarl wine district.   Strangely, Glen Carlou has not chosen to be part of the Franschhoek Food & Wine Route, it being one of the first properties one passes when driving to Franschhoek on the R45.

Tania Steyn, the Marketing Manager of Franschhoek Wine Valley, explained that this new project consists of two parts.  The first is the Food & Wine Route map, in A3 size, which will list all the restaurants and wine estates, the one side featuring those in the village, and the other side those that are outside Franschhoek.   The Food & Wine Route map will replace the most handy Franschhoek Wine map, which guest houses and their guests have found to be useful in highlighting all the Vigneron members in Franschhoek.  The second part of the project is an e-commerce platform for specific Food and Wine Route Experiences, that one cannot visit spontaneously without a booking.  The bookings will be made on the website, and it is hoped that visitors to Franschhoek will book a number of such experiences, and will therefore stay in the area for longer.

The wine estates on the new Franschhoek Wine Valley Food & Wine Route are Akkerdal, Allèe Bleue, Anthonij Rupert Wines (L’Ormarins and Protea brands, and home of the outstanding Motor Museum), Backsberg, Boekenhoutskloof, Boschendal Wines, Chamonix, Colmant Cap Classique & Champagne, Dieu Donnè Vineyards, Franschhoek Cellar, Glenwood, Graham Beck Franschhoek, Grande Provence Estate, Haute Cabriere (with Pierre Jourdan sparkling wines), Holden Manz (previously Klein Genot), La Bri, La Chataigne, La Motte (with Pierneef art gallery), La Petite Dauphine, La Petite Ferme, La Manoir de Brendel, Leopard’s Leap, Lynx Wines, Maison, Mont Rochelle, Moreson, My Wyn, Noble Hill, Plaisir de Merle, Rickety Bridge, Solms-Delta (with interesting slave museum), Stony Brook, Topiary Wines (newest Platter 5-star sparkling wine in Franschhoek), Val de Vie, and Vrede & Lust.   These wine estates can be visited without appointment.

Those estates for which one must book a winetasting are Eikehof, Franschhoek Pass Winery (Morena sparkling wine), Haut Espoir, La Bourgogne, La Roche estate, La Vigne, Landau du Val, Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons and Von Ortloff.  Bellingham Wines, Klein Dauphine, La Chaumière and Veraison Vineyards are not open to the public at all, but their wines can be bought at the highly regarded Franschhoek wine shop La Cotte Inn on the main road in the village.

The Franschhoek restaurants and food outlets on the Food & Wine Route are Allora, Babel at Babylonstoren, Backsberg, Boschendal Restaurant, Boschendal Le Café and Boschendal Le Pique-Nique, Bread & Wine, Café Allèe Bleue, Cafè BonBon, Col’Cacchio Pizzeria, Cosecha Restaurant at Noble Hill, Dalewood Fromage (but not open to the public), Dieu Donnè Restaurant, Dutch East, Elephant & Barrel, Essence, Fizz Affair Champagne Lounge, Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz, Freedom Hill Restaurant, Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms-Delta, The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Haute Cabrière, Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Kalfi’s, Fromages de France (La Cotte Inn),  Le Bon Vivant, Dish @ Le Franschhoek, Le Verger The Orchard Restaurant (Le Franschhoek Hotel), The Common Room, The Tasting Room,  L’Ermitage Restaurant, Mon Plaisir at Chamonix, Mange Tout, Monneaux, Reuben’s, Rickety Bridge, Ryan’s Kitchen, Salmon Bar, The Country Kitchen, The French Connection, The Grill Room, The Jam Jar, The Olive Shack, and The Polo Club Restaurant (at La Vie). Oddly, Pierneef à La Motte is not listed, and one hopes this is just an oversight.   Other missing restaurants are Café Benedict, BICCCS, Chez D’Or, Cotage Fromage at Vrede & Lust, Crepe & Cidre, Café Le Chocolatier, Café des Arts, and the Franschhoek Food Emporium.

The Franschhoek Food & Wine Route Experiences which one can book include the following:

*   Solms-Delta Cape Music Tour, teaching participants about “Cape rural and vernacular music”. R 50 (minimum of 6 persons).  Monday – Sunday.

*   Plaisir de Merle “Award-winning wines wine tasting”. R 20, and R40 if cellar tour added. Monday – Saturday

Plaisir de Merle Flavour Sensation Tasting, food and wine pairing. R 50.  Monday – Saturday

*   Plaisir de Merle Wine & Chocolate Tasting. R 50. Monday – Saturday

*   Charcuterie Tasting with Neil Jewell. R 25 – R105. Daily before 11h00 and after 15h30

*   Franschhoek Cellar Cheese and Wine pairing. R 35.  Daily

*   Huguenot Fine Chocolates Chocolate Tour and Tasting. R 25.  Daily 11h00 and 15h00

*   Chamonix Grappa & Schnapps Tasting. R15.  Daily

*   Dieu Donné Micro-brewery and beer tasting. R15 beer tasting and R 35 for full bewery talk and tasters.  Daily

*   Babylonstoren Guided Garden Visit. R 20, Wednesday – Sunday 10h00 and 15h00.

*   Le Bon Vivant Surprise Menu. R 485 for 5-course meal and wine, R360 without wine. Daily except Wednesdays.

*   Food and wine pairing at Pierneef à La Motte. R 195 for 5 pairings, extra R 50 for glass of La Motte MCC. Tuesday – Sunday 12h00 – 14h00.

*   Cape Gourmet Delights Tour, with stops at Grande Provence, Moreson and Vrede & Lust. R1995 per day includes “light lunch”. 10 persons maximum.  Monday – Friday.

A walking tour as well as a talk on ceramics are part of this programme, but seem out of place in not having anything to do with Wine or Food.

One hopes that the Franschhoek Wine Valley Food & Wine Route map will indicate which wine estates, food shops and restaurants sell foods, such as the vegetables, breads and chocolates at the Farm Shop at Pierneef à La Motte; salmon products and breads at the Salmon Bar; the Mediterranean delicacies at The Olive Shack; wonderful freshly baked wholewheat bread at Grande Provence; breads and sweet treats at Café BonBon and Café Benedict; olive oils and balsamic vinegar at Allèe Bleue; heavenly chocolates as well as breads at Café Le Chocolatier; Truckles cheeses at Franschhoek Cellar; and a selection of home-made pies, preserves, dips, cold meats and breads at the new Franschhoek Food Emporium.   It would be good if the fortnightly Farmers’ Market at Holden Manz also be listed.

We salute the Franschhoek Wine Valley for putting together this initiative, and trust that the Food & Wine Route map will be finalised and printed as soon as possible, given that the summer season ends in two months’ time.   We encourage Franschhoek Wine Valley to add the names of the omitted Franschhoek restaurants, by encouraging them to sign up as members, so that the map can be as representative of the food and wine delights in Franschhoek as possible.

POSTSCRIPT 22/4: The new Franschhoek Wine Valley Food & Wine Route maps have been made available, and can be collected from the Franschhoek Tourism Bureau, or from Whale Cottage Franschhoek.  Oddly, it lists the two Pick ‘n Pays too, under the ‘Franschhoek Restaurants & Food section”.  Following our recommendation above, the Franschhoek Food Emporium was added, but Café Le Chocolatier, Café Benedict, BICCCS, Chez d’Or, Cotage Fromage, Crepe et Cidre, Café des Arts, and the new Le Coq are not on the map.  Other sources of food to buy, as listed two paragraphs above, are not indicated on the map.

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

Franschhoek still officially carries the Gourmet Capital crown, even though it faces strong competition from Stellenbosch, which is seeing the opening of an increasing number of excellent restaurants, so much so that we recently suggested that the town establish the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route.

Franschhoek probably has sat back on its gourmet laurels for a while, but must be delighted about the opening of two new excellent restaurants, Ryan’s Kitchen and Pierneef à La Motte, which add new interest to Franschhoek as a culinary destination.  In fairness to Franschhoek, I have suggested a Franschhoek Restaurant Route:

*   Pierneef à La Motte is culinary art, and has upped the quality of Franschhoek’s restaurant choice.  Its focus is Winelands Boerekos with a contemporary twist.  Chef Chris Erasmus is a breath of fresh air, working with historic recipes and transforming them into works of art,  reflecting Pierneef’s standards.  Tel (021) 876-8000

*   Grande Provence  is quietly delivering quality cuisine, with chef Darren Roberts doing the most beautiful presentation of his food.   The restaurant is not afraid to charge  a price that reflects his standards of cooking.   Outstanding decor, and surrounded by artwork from its Gallery.  Perfection is visible from the time one drives into the wine estate.  Top 10 restaurant for the past two years. Tel (021) 876-8600.

*   The Tasting Room is loved by some, but not by all.  It is expensive.  It seems to have good nights and bad nights.  Joint 10th with Overture on Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant List last year.  Tel (021) 876-2151

*   Ryan’s Kitchen has only been open for three months, set in a guest house,  with a high-tech kitchen, and quality cuisine by chef Ryan Smith.  “Contemporary South African cuisine” is the restaurant positioning, and a stronger African feel will be introduced in October, with a “Taste of Africa” menu.   Tel (021) 876-4598

*   Reuben’s has been the darling of Franschhoek, and a recent Tweet stated that it is the restaurant that tourists visit, while those that know go to Le Bon Vivant.   Opened 6 years ago, the restaurant’s service standards have dropped as Reuben’s has expanded to Robertson, and chef Reuben Riffel has taken on more projects.  Recently lost the sommelier to Bosman’s, but may not be a bad thing for the restaurant, as she was not very customer-friendly.  The biggest compliment to Reuben and his team, but also the largest challenge, in opening Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town  (A first meal at the new Reuben’s was a-maze-ing).   Tel (021) 876-3772

*   Allee Bleue has been very low key restaurant-wise, and it is uncertain exactly where the management wants to go with its dining options.  The Bistro at the entrance to the wine estate has always been friendly, and serves Bistro-style food at reasonable prices.  The departure of Chef Dane Newton is a shame, but with his replacement currently working at the Michelin-starred Schwarzer Adler, interesting things could be coming out of this kitchen soon. Tel (021) 874-1021

*   Cafe Bon Bon is one of the most relaxed and friendly breakfast and lunch-time stops in Franschhoek, on a most beautifully developed small-holding.  Tel (021) 876-3936

*   Haute Cabriere is owned by Franschhoek restaurant mogul Matthew Gordon.  While many find the ‘cave’-like interior a shame given the beautiful view outside, it remains popular, also as a wedding venue, and has a good relationship with Cabriere wines. Tel (021) 876-3688

*   La Petite Ferme is one of the best known restaurants with consistent quality and does not amend its menu much.  Visitors return, not only for the quality food but also for the wonderful view over Franschhoek, and for the relaxed atmosphere.  Tel (021) 876-3016

*   Dieu Donné also has an excellent view from its glass ‘walls’.   Its food quality was better when it first opened about two years ago. Tel (021) 876-2493

*   Le Bon Vivant is tucked away, off the main road, and is a ‘loner’, doing its own thing.  Beautiful presentation of food by chef Pierre. Tel (021) 876-2717

*   Rickety Bridge has a restaurant right at the vineyards, and offers picnics in summer.  Tel (021) 876-2129

*   French Connection is another Matthew Gordon restaurant, and is a pedestrian favourite of locals and tourists.  Good main road location.  Serving breakfast as well now.  Tel (021) 876-4056

*   Dutch East was struggling when we visited it in June.  It seemed to be trying too hard.   There is no particular style of food served.   Tel (021) 876-3547

*   Chez d’Or was previously Cafe Rouge, and has expanded its size, and brought the restaurant closer to the main road.   Sandwiches and pedestrian Bistro food.   Tel 082 372 7645

*   Allora is a good quality Italian restaurant.  Despite sister-restaurants in Johannesburg, the welcome is personal and one does not get a chain-feel at all. Good value family eating.  Tel (021) 876-4375.

*   Col’Cacchio is one of a chain by the same name, and one can predict what is on offer.  Not the best service, but very popular for outside sitting.   Tel (021) 876-4222

*  Boschendal- other than going there for historical reasons, or to eat their long-standing buffet lunch, there is little to attract one to an estate that does not yet embrace excellence, a shame given its heritage.  Its Le Piqniques are well-known and very popular in summer.   Tel (021) 870-4272

*   Fyndraai at Solms-Delta wine estate is a pleasant surprise, with interesting Kaapse kos.  On good weather days, sitting on the terrace is a treat.  Tel (021) 874-3937

*   Cotage Fromage is a joint venture between Matthew Gordon, Duncan Doherty and Pierre Smith, serving breakfasts and lunches, and doing the catering for wedding and other events at Vrede & Lust.   The menu does not reflect the capabilities of the three chefs.   Tel (021) 874-3991

*   The Grillroom is another Matthew Gordon restaurant, and fills a niche for patrons wanting mainly steak.  Unique restaurant in that one can buy good quality meat to take home too, as well as Franschhoek wines.   Tel (021) 876-2548

*   Cafe des Arts has taken over from Topsi’s, a Franschhoek institution.  Topsi still appears to be there regularly. (Tel (021) 876-2952

*   Salmon Bar is undergoing a renovation in part of the old Bouillabaisse building, which will enhance its visibility when it re-opens in November. Tel (021) 876- 4591

*   Bread & Wine is linked to Le Quartier Français, and only serves lunches.  Previously included in Eat Out Top 10 list, to the surprise of many. Good bread and charcuterie.  Tel (021) 876-3692.

*   Mon Plaisir is on the Chamonix estate, and is owned by a French couple offering French fare.  Little ambiance inside the restaurant.  Tel (021) 876-2393

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

I have come across a blog called “Food Blog Code of Ethics”, compiled by two food bloggers in America, which has raised the important issue of ethics in food blogging, which principles can apply to wine and other blogging too.  The Code raises important issues for South African bloggers in dealing with the ethics of blogging.

Brooke Burton writes the blog ‘FoodWoolf’, subtitled “the restaurant insider’s perspective”, and Leah Greenstein’s blog is called ‘SpicySaltySweet’.  They got together with other food bloggers to create an ‘union of ethical food bloggers’, setting “Reviewers’ Guidelines” and compiling the Code of Ethics.   We do not necessarily agree with all their principles, but welcome it as a foundation for a Blogging Code of Conduct that we may jointly subscribe to as members of the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club.

The blog post on reviewing restaurants states the following principles they subscribe too – our comments are in italics.

1.   One should visit the restaurant more than once, and state if the review is based on only one visit – we do not agree that a review should be based on more than visit, as the strengths and weaknesses of a restaurant are usually the same and apparent immediately.   Restaurants should strive for consistency, so that the reviewer should experience it in the same way on any visit.  Reviews help restaurants improve their food and service quality, if they are smart about facing them and learning from them, not always a strength of restaurantsMultiple visits are expensive, as most visits are paid for by the reviewer.  On our Blog we will update our impression with a Postscript, as we did recently for La Mouette, for example, in that the experience was vastly different compared to previous ones, highlighting a consistency problem.

2.  One should sample the full range of dishes on the menu – this is a hard one to implement, as many menus are excessively big.  Taking a partner to lunch/dinner and ordering different dishes helps, so that the reviewer can try a larger number.  Recently we were criticised by Richard Carstens’ sister-in-law, Leigh Robertson, for not having a starter at Chez d’Or, and that writing a review based on tasting three dishes only was not fair to the restaurant.  I doubt if a starter would have made my review any more positive.  Having a wide range of dishes, when paying for it, is a cost and a space consideration.

3.   One should be fair to a new restaurant and wait for a month after its opening, to give it a chance “to work out some kinks”, and should qualify reviews as ‘initial impressions’ if the review is done in less than a month after opening – bloggers have become very competitive, and some want to write a review about new restaurants before their colleagues do.  Our reviews state when the restaurant opened if it is new, so that the reader can read such “kinks” into it.  The first ‘Rossouw’s Restaurants’ review of La Mouette raised the issue of how quickly one can/should review a new restaurant, one of Rossouw’s inspectors having been at the restaurant on its first or second day of opening.  Two visits to Leaf Restaurant and Bar on two subsequent days showed their acceptance of customer feedback by moving the ghetto-blaster they have set up on the terrace from on top of a table, to below it, after my comments to them about it.   No other business, play or movie has a second chance in reviews being written about it, in that they are normally done after opening night - so why should restaurants be ‘protected’ in this way?   No business should open its doors when it is not ready to do so (Leaf held back its opening because it had problems in getting a credit card machine installed by the bank)!

4.  One should specify if one received a meal, or part of it, or any other product for free, and should also declare if one was recognised in the restaurant – absolutely agree on the declaration of the freebie, and we have regular Blog readers and Commenters who delight in checking blogs for the freebies.  Some bloggers are labelled by such readers as not having credibility, in that they usually only write about meals they received for free, and usually are very positive about them, so that they can be invited back in future!   The recognisablity of the reviewer is an interesting issue.  I always book in the name of “Chris”, with a cell number.   If I know the owner or a staff member of the restaurant, I will state that in the review.

5.   One should not use pseudonyms in writing reviews, and reviewers should stand up and be counted by revealing their names – absolutely agree.  In Cape Town we have a strange situation of Food bloggers who hide behind pseudonyms.  Andy Fenner (JamieWho) wanted to remain unidentified when he started blogging, yet appointed a PR agency to raise his profile, and was “outed” by Food & Home, when they wrote about him, using his real name.  He is now open about his real name (probably being irritated by being called Jamie more often than Andy, I assume).  One wonders what bloggers using pseudonyms have to hide?  Wine bloggers seem to be more open and upfront about who they are.   I would like to add here how difficult it is to make contact with Food Bloggers in particular .  Most do not have a telephone number nor an e-mail address to contact them on their blogs, and one has to use a Comment box to contact them, which most do not respond to.   Yet many of these bloggers are looking to make money from advertising on their blogs. 

The Code of Ethics which the two bloggers prepared with their colleagues is as follows:

“1. We will be accountable

  • We will write about the culinary world with the care of a professional. We will not use the power of our blog as a weapon. We will stand behind our claims. If what we say or show could potentially affect someone’s reputation or livelihood, we will post with the utmost thought and due diligence.
  • We understand why some bloggers choose to stay anonymous. We respect that need but will not use it as an excuse to avoid accountability. When we choose to write anonymously for our own personal or professional safety, we will not post things we wouldn’t be comfortable putting our names to.
  • If we review a restaurant, product or culinary resource we will consider integrating the standard set of guidelines as offered by the Association of Food Journalists.

2. We will be civil

  • We wholeheartedly believe in freedom of speech, but we also acknowledge that our experiences with food are subjective. We promise to be mindful—regardless of how passionate we are—that we will be forthright, and will refrain from personal attacks.

3. We will reveal bias

  • If we are writing about something or someone we are emotionally or financially connected to, we will be up front about it.

4. We will disclose gifts, comps and samples

  • When something is given to us or offered at a deep discount because of our blog, we will disclose that information.  As bloggers, most of us do not have the budgets of large publications, and we recognize the value of samples, review copies of books, donated giveaway items and culinary events. It’s important to disclose freebies to avoid be accused of conflicts of interest.

5. We will follow the rules of good journalism

  • We will not plagiarize. We will respect copyright on photos. We will attribute recipes and note if they are adaptations from a published original. We will research. We will attribute quotes and offer link backs to original sources whenever possible. We will do our best to make sure that the information we are posting is accurate. We will factcheck. In other words, we will strive to practice good journalism even if we don’t consider ourselves journalists”.

The above aspects are clear and need no elaboration.  The last sentence of the Code is odd though, in that we are “new age” journalists, and must play by the same rules as the print, radio and TV media do.  That means we must research our stories, to ensure their accuracy.   One can correct a blog post if one makes an error, including spelling and grammar ones.  An American food blog recently added a note about getting the name of a restaurant reviewer wrong – she did not change it in the blog post, but wrote an apology at the bottom of her post, highlighting the error, which most readers probably would not have picked up.  A controversial issue is the announcement of Reuben Riffel taking over the maze space at the One&Only Hotel Cape Town, which Riffel has denied.   No correction or apology to Riffel or the hotel has been posted,

We encourage Bloggers and Blog readers to give us their views on the Code of Ethics as well as the Restaurant Review guidelines, which we will be happy to post.  I would like to get the ball rolling by stating that the Code should include the publishing of Comments, even if they are controversial, as long as they do not attack the writer or the subject of the blog post with malice, and the Commenter is identified, as is the family or other relationship of the Commenter (e.g. JP Rossouw’s and Richard Carstens’ sisters-in-law).   I would also like to hear views about revealing to the restaurant that one is writing a review, in that I was recently criticised by the co-owner of Oskar Delikatessen for not asking permission to write a review and to take photographs, which contradicts the Code on writing unidentified.  A third issue is the acceptance of advertising on one’s blog, or accepting sponsorships for brands, and how this should be revealed.

POSTSCRIPT 22/8 : Reuben Riffel’s appointment as the new operator of the restaurant at the One&Only Hotel Cape Town has been announced in the Sunday Times today.   We congratulate Spill blog on having had its ear to the ground in announcing this news ahead of all other media.  The One&Only Hotel had denied speaking to Spill about Reuben’s appointment at the time that they wrote the story, and Riffel had denied it too. 

POSTSCRIPT 29/8:  Since writing this post, the identity of The Foodie as being David Cope has been revealed by Crush!2.  Furthermore, Clare “Mack” of Spill Blog (with her husband Eamon McLoughlin) has been identified as being Clare McKeon, an ex-Irish TV chat show hostess, columnist, author of “The Emotional Cook”, magazine beauty journalist, and owner of the Bliss Beauty Salon.  

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

We have been tracking recent restaurant opening, closure, and restaurant and chef change information in Cape Town and in the Winelands on our Winter Restaurant Specials blog post, but have decided to do an update for those not looking for specials necessarily.  

Restaurant openings

*   La Mouette has opened at 78 Regent Road in Sea Point.  

*    Brio is a new jazz restaurant, in half of the ex-Riboville in town (on the Adderley Street side)

*    Van Hunks has opened at 1 Union Street, off Kloof Street in Gardens

*   Cafe Nood has opened in Wilderness Road, Claremont

*    Ryan’s Kitchen has opened at Rusthof guest house in Franschhoek – the chef Ryan Smith is ex-Mont Rochelle. 

*   The House of Meat has opened in the Pepper Club Hotel, corner Long and Bloem Streets, offering a full braai for R 295  

*   Spiros has opened in Hout Bay

*   La Cantina has opened in the Alliance Francaise.

*   The De Leuwen Jagt restaurant on the Seidelberg wine estate outside Paarl has opened The Fabulous Bakery.  

*   Gesellig has opened on the corner of Church and Regent Roads in Sea Point, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.  

*   Indochine has opened at the Delaire Graff wine estate in Stellenbosch. 

*   The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe has opened at Haskell Vineyards in Stellenbosch. 

*   The Wild Peacock Food Emporium has opened in Stellenbosch.  

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened in Stellenbosch.  

*   Knife Restaurant has opened in the Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, a sister restaurant to Fork.

*   Sommelier Restaurant has re-opened, after a two-year closure, at Sante Hotel & Wellness Centre

*   Illyria coffee shop has opened in the Eikestad Mall in Stellenbosch

*   Pierneef à  la Motte has opened at La Motte in Franschhoek.

*   The Artisan Cafe has opened inside Table Thirteen in Green Point, with a barista

*   The Fish Shack has opened in The Paddocks, Milnerton

*   Maison in Franschhoek is to open a restaurant

*   Etienne Bonthuys (ex-Tokara) has opened his long-awaited restaurant on Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, called Casparus, in partnership with artist Strijdom van der Merwe.

*   Luke Dale Roberts, award-winning chef whilst at La Colombe (reaching 12th place on Top 50 Restaurants in the World list), has opened The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.

*   Sofia’s at Morgenster has opened.

*   Down South has opened on Long Street 

*   Victoria Eatery has opened in Hermanus.

*   French Toast has opened at 199 Bree Street, a wine and tapas bar

*   DISH has opened at Inn on the Square, Greenmarket Square

*   Babel has opened at Babylonstoren near Klapmuts/Simondium (next to Backsberg)

*   Hemelhuijs has opened at 71 Waterkant Street, for breakfast and lunch

*   Barracudas has opened  with ‘simply sumptious seafood’ served, in Fish Hoek.

*   The Olive Shack at Allora in Franschhoek has opened as a deli, doing olive oil tastings, and serving Breakfast, Greek lunches and picnics

*   Sotano by Caveau has opened in the La Splendida Hotel in Mouille Point

*   Tables restaurant has opened at Nitida wine estate in Durbanville

*   Mozarella Bar has opened on Kloof Street, Gardens

*   Café Benedict has opened on the main road in Franschhoek.

*   Trinity has opened as a ‘super club’ in Bennett Street in Green Point

*   Il Cappero Italian Restaurant has opened in Barrack Street

*   Sugar Hut Club has opened in the old Castle Hotel building on Canterbury Street, next door to Charly’s Bakery

*   Caffé Milano has opened on Kloof Street, Gardens

*   The Stone Kitchen has opened at Dunstone Winery in Wellington

*  The Franschhoek Food Emporium has open in Place Vendome, and is owned by legendary Topsi’s daughter Danielle

*   What’s On Eatery  has opened in Watson Street, between Loop and Bree Street

*   Haas Coffee Collective  has opened on Rose Street in Bo-Kaap

*   Crush coffee shop and bakery has opened in Paarl, owned by Gerard van Staden, previously chef at le Franschhoek Hotel, and later overseer of all restaurants owned by Robert Maingard in Franschhoek.

*   Dear Me Brasserie and Tjing Tjing Bar has opened on Longmarket Street.

*   Quilter & The Workmen is to open in Bree Street in May

*   Act Restaurant and Play Bar  have opened at the Baxter Theatre

*   Le Coq has opened in Franschhoek

*   Dash  has opened in the Queen Victoria Hotel in the Waterfront

*   Café Dijon has opened another branch at Zorgvliet wine estate

*   Harbour House is to open a branch in the V & A Waterfront in September, in the Fisherman’s Choice site, near Sevruga

*   KOS Coffee & Cuisine has opened in The Regency on Regent Road in Sea Point

*   Café Extrablatt opens where shu used to be, next door to Doppio Zero in Green Point, in August

*   Skinny Legs & All That has opened on Loop Street

*   Leopard’s Leap opens its new picnic facility, tasting room and cookery school in October

Restaurant closures

*  Josephine’s Patisserie on Loop Street

*   Ginja on New Church Street

 maze at the One&Only Cape Town 

*   Panarotti’s and Shimmi’s Bar in Hermanus

*   Bouillabaisse in Franschhoek.     

*   Yum in Vredehoek. 

*   Cape Town Fish Market in Camps Bay

*   Vista Mare in Camps Bay

*   La Table de France in Sea Point

*   La Brasserie in Franschhoek

*   shu on Main Road in Green Point

*   Camil’s on Main Road in Green Point

*   Madame Zingara has left Cape Town

*   Fiesta in the Old Cape Quarter

*   Jardine’s Restaurant has closed on Bree Str

*   Liquorice and Lime has closed down on St George’s Mall

*   Cheyne has closed on Bree Street

*   The Kitchen Bar in the Quarters’ Hotel in Hermanus has closed

*   The Bistro in Franschhoek has closed down

*   The Sandbar in Camps Bay has closed down

*   The Blonde building is up for sale, and does not appear to be re-opening in August, as was announced by The Caviar Group, owners of Blonde, two months ago.

*   The Green Dolphin Jazz Club in the V & A Waterfront has closed down

*   Mezzaluna in Loop Street has closed down

*   Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge Pete Goffe-Wood’s Wild Woods Restaurant has closed down.

*   Restaurant Christophe closes down in Stellenbosch on 25 June. Chef Christophe Dehosse will be back at Joostenberg from August.

*   Nando’s in Camps Bay has closed down

*   Haute Cabriere under the chef-manship of Matthew Gordon closes on 7 June at the wine tasting venue with the same name in Franschhoek.

Restaurant name-changes/take-overs/chef changes/address changes

*   Leaf Restaurant and Bar has opened where The Showroom/Portofino used to be.  

*   Mason’s Cafe and Grill has opened where Cafe Gainsbourg used to be

*   On Broadway has moved to the New Space Theatre building, and is using the ex-Anytime restaurant space as one of the restaurants its patrons can eat at before the show.

*   Camil Haas, the co-owner of Camil’s in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, has left the restaurant (which has since closed down).  He is working for Reuben Riffel at Reuben’s in Franschhoek and at the One&Only Cape Town.  

*   Tank in the old Cape Quarter has changed its name to Aqua.

*   Luke Dale-Roberts is no longer the Executive Chef at La Colombe, but will consult to the restaurant.  

*   Cafe Rouge in Franschhoek has been renamed Chez d’Or.

  Richard Carstens has left Chez d’Or in Franschhoek, and is the Executive Chef and Wilhelm Kuehn the owner of Tokara Restaurant in Stellenbosch

*   Buena Vista Social Club has moved to the top end of Portswood Road in the Waterfront. 

*  Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town has opened, where maze used to be.

*   Cafe Le Chocolatier has taken over from Cafe Vendome in Place Vendome in Franschhoek.

*   Dutch East has taken over from Burgundy in Franschhoek

*   Cafe des Arts has taken over Topsi’s in Franschhoek.

*    Amazink, ex-Roots, in Khayamandi in Stellenbosch, has opened, with Bertus Basson from Overture an advisor.

*   Chef School owner Kevin Warwick has taken over Kate’s Village in Hermanus, now called The Class Room

*   Da Luigi has opened where Vista Mare was in The Promenade in Camps Bay

*   Satay Bar has opened where Zucca was in Kloof Street

*   Le Quartier Francais has closed its bistro iCi, and opened The Common Room

*   Franko’s Kitchen in Plettenberg Bay has reopened as a sushi restaurant called Kitchen Café

*  Fu.shi in Plettenberg Bay has closed down, and has a new owner and a new name The Terrace

*  The Old Post House in Plettenberg Bay has closed down, but is set to re-open for three months with a new owner

*   Blakes has opened on Buitengracht/New Church Street, where Relish/Ninja used to be, belonging to Rochelle Bushelle, owner of the Opal Lounge, and offering a lounge, bar and dining services

*   Franschhoek Kitchen is the new name of Genot restaurant on the renamed Holden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek (previously Klein Genot)

*   Chef Eric Bulpitt has moved to The Roundhouse, due to the closure of Jardine’s

*   Woodlands Eatery is the new name of ex-Yum in Vredehoek, with chef Larry, previously with Emily Moon in Plettenberg Bay

*   ZAR nightclub has opened in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, where Camil’s used to be 

*   Marika’s Greek Restaurant from Bakoven has moved to a new venue, at 176 Buitenkant Street, above 7Eleven.

*   The Rhubarb Room moves to 227 Bree Street

*   David Higgs is leaving Rust en Vrede  on 18 June and is moving to Johannesburg.  John Shuttleworth will step into his chef’s shoes.

*   Vanessa Quellec is to leave Caffe Milano  in July

*   Restaurant winter break closures

*   The Mount Nelson’s Cape Colony has re-opened, with a new name, Planet Restaurant, and menu. 

*   Vaudeville has reopened. 

*   Massimo’s Pizza Club in Hout Bay will re-open on 20 April, in their original venue in Hout Bay. 

*   The Salmon Bar in Franschhoek has moved into a new main road outlet in The Yard (part ex-Bouillabaisse and Pam Golding) and has re-opened.

*   Miguel’s in Plettenberg Bay has re-opened in the same location.

*   Rust en Vrede will close from 18 June – 18 July

*   Tokara will clsoe between 2 – 9 May

*   The Test Kitchen will clsoe between 7 – 23 May

NOTE: This information will be updated regularly, as we receive new information.

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

It’s been confirmed!  Six-time Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Chef Richard Carstens is to be the Executive Chef of a new improved Tokara restaurant in October, after a week in which the rumour circulated, was denied by the Tokara Ferreira family, and was finally confirmed by a media release on Friday.   The move creates a culinary hub in the Helshoogte Pass, with the two Delaire restaurants across the road, and the Pass being a link between the competing gourmet towns of Stellenbosch and Franschhoek, and adds further weight to Stellenbosch now wearing the Gourmet Capital crown and for it to establish a Restaurant Route. 

Tokara restaurant has been an institution for the past ten years, and was vacated by Chef Etienne Bonthuys last weekend, as he is opening a restaurant on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch.    Bonthuys has not always been the easiest of chefs and restaurant owner, so new owner Wilhelm Kuehn, co-owner of Jardine’s in Cape Town, will have to rebuild the brand to attract new patrons, whilst retaining the Bonthuys regulars.  Kuehn plans to build the Tokara restaurant to be on a par with the highly regarded Tokara wine and olive oil product brands, to create synergy between the three entities.  

Carstens is not known for his long-term staying power at restaurants (the exception being his five year tenure at Lynton Hall), but Kuehn says he is hoping for a long-term relationship with his new chef.   The media release states that Tokara Restaurant will be focused on contemporary cuisine.  “Each plate of food will offer the diner a sense of the natural environment and the location of the restaurant as well as the current season through the ingredients used”, says Carstens.     The menu contains “unfussy a la carte options as well as a more playful tasting menu, each course optionally paired with a glass of Tokara wine or a selection of other premium South African wines”.   There will be no molecular gastronomy at Tokara, a distinctive Carstens’ trademark, but not appreciated by all.  A bar will be built in the foyer, from which one can enjoy the wonderful views onto the Tokara vineyards and onto Stellenbosch.

Asked about the future of Jardine’s in Cape Town, Kuehn said that nothing will change.  Eric Bulpitt is their Executive Chef, who is off to a 6-week stint at Noma, the world’s top of the 50 Top Restaurants list, until mid-September.  Sous chef Julie will hold the kitchen fort at Jardine’s in Cape Town.    A manager will be appointed for the Tokara restaurant.   George Jardine has no involvement with Tokara at all, and still is a co-owner of Jardine’s in Cape Town, although his focus is Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine in Stellenbosch, said Kuehn.

Richard Carstens is contracted to Chez d’Or in Franschhoek until September, but the association is a disappointing one.   Read our review.

Tokara Restaurant with Richard Carstens will open in October, serving lunch from Tuesdays – Sundays, and dinner from Tuesdays – Saturdays. Tel (21) 808-5959. On the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route.

POSTSCRIPT 1/8: Richard Carstens left Chez d’Or on Wednesday, the day of our review, two months ahead of his contract ending with the Franschhoek restaurant.

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

I decided to try the new Chez d’Or restaurant on the main road in Franschhoek for lunch, after the 60th birthday concert on Sunday of well-known potter David Walters in the NG Church, diagonally across the road.  I had read in the local rag ‘The Franschhoek Month’ that six-time Eat Out Top 10 chef Richard Carstens had opened the restaurant, which led me to believe that he was the new owner of the restaurant.   It was a massive disappointment and let-down.

Previously low key Cafe Rouge, which was set back in Bijoux Square, making it hard to see, the new restaurant has been brought forward and expanded in this Square, in the space in which the optometrist was previously located.   Owner Jason de Jongh has re-invented the restaurant completely, with the larger space, more upmarket interior design, changing the restaurant name to bring it in line with his guest house name (Val d’Or), and bringing Carstens in on a three-month consultancy contract only (not mentioned in the article).   Carstens is the South African ueber-chef, who indulges in foams, is a good trainer of staff, and is good at helping set up new restaurants, but has had little staying-power (except at Lynton Hall, where he worked for five years).  Jason explained that he wanted to create a Bistro-style restaurant, with Carstens’ input, but without the type of cuisine Carstens has become known for, so as to not create a huge difference in the quality of the food served after Carstens leaves the restaurant in September.   Carstens is quoted in the article as saying about the restaurant: “Its a classic yet contemporary bistro with Asian influences”.  The red and white tablecloths with white overlays create the Bistro look.  The cutlery is neatly wrapped inside the serviette, probably a Carstens’ touch.

The problem with the restaurant and Carstens’ connection was immediately evident when the hardboard menu started with a list of sandwiches!  These are served between 11h00 – 17h00, and are quite expensive, in ranging from R 45 for an aubergine, mushroom, pepper, coriander pesto and gruyere sandwich, to R58 for a ribeye and aioli or smoked salmon sandwich, and a beef burger.  A further problem was that Carstens explained some of the menu items but not all – the Carstens touch shows when he described the Soup of the Day (the waitress just called it a Butternut Soup).   Carstens described it as a Butternut Soup served with almonds and snoek, changing its nature completely, snoek not being to everyone’s taste.  The spiced tomato, coconut, lime and chilli sorbet soup sounded delicious too.  The wholewheat bread did not look home-baked, and in fact seemed to show its age with first signs of mould, so we did not eat it.  The butter was untidily cut and presented.   Other starter choices are spiced calamari (R58), duck liver pate (R52), smoked rainbow trout (R65), chicken spring roll (R47), and a mushroom and artichoke salad (R45). 

The Pork belly (R85) was served on a tiny portion of mash with butternut, the black eggplant puree looking unattractive in the brown (with green oily bits) mustard sauce.  Overall, the plate of food looked unattractive, and the pork had an odd taste.  My son’s Ribeye steak(R98) was ordered medium rare, but was prepared more to the medium side. It was tender, but the chip portion was tiny, so the waitress brought more, without extra charge.   The spinach was tender and tasty.  The Tempura linefish (R80) was kingklip.  Other main courses are Duck leg (R85), Asian braised lamb shank (R98), and Beetroot and aubergine curry (R70).

The winelist is on the reverse side of the menu, and will not feature on the Diner’s Club Winelist of the Year awards list.  It is simply divided into “Methode Cap Classique Sparkling”, White Wine, Rose Wine, Red Wine and Dessert Wine/Port and is commendably Proudly-Franschhoek in its wine selection, with the exception of the Landskroon and Quinta Do Sul Vintage Reserve ports.  Each wine is described in brief, but no vintages are listed.  The wine-by-the glass prices are so low (R18 for Porcupine Ridge Viognier/Grenache, Haut Espoir Sauvignon Blanc R20, Eikehof Cabernet Sauvignon R18) that one wonders how young they are, and whether they are drinkable.  The Haute Cabriere Pinot Noir is the most expensive wine on the list, at R250, but most wines are under R200, making the wine choice affordable.

We skipped the starter to leave space for Carstens’ signature dessert, which is not on the menu – frozen dark chocolate mousse served with saffron ice cream on biscuit crumbs, with mint sauce.   The dessert sounded better than the real thing, which were four unequally cut blocks of frozen chocolate mousse.  The saffron ice cream and mint sauce were delicious.   Other options are an interesting sounding Gin and lemon tart (R40); Poached banana ice cream (R38); Vanilla creme (R38); Chocolate tart, cardamom ice cream with pear (R50); and a Cheese board (R65).

We left Chez d’Or bitterly disappointed, in having expected Richard Carstens’ quality but getting a most unsatisfactory meal, even though he was in the kitchen!   Anyone who would think of coming to eat at the restaurant, on the basis of Carstens’ association with it until September, should not eat here.   I felt cheated, as I could not sense Carstens’ hand here at all.

Carstens is rumoured to be taking over the Tokara restaurant when his consultancy contract at Chez d’Or comes to an end in September, but Tokara is denying this.

Chez d’Or, Bijoux Square, 60 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  Tel (021) 876-4197. www.chezdor.co.za  (The website is disappointing, with only a Home page, giving contact details and a restaurant interior shot, no menu or winelist).  Monday – Sunday.  Lunch and Dinner.

POSTCRIPT 30/7: It has been confirmed that Richard Carstens will be the Executive Chef of Tokara Restaurant, in conjunction with Jardine’s Wilhelm Kuehn, from October.

POSTSCRIPT 1/8: I have been informed by Wilhelm Kuehn, the new operator of the Tokara restaurant, that Richard Carstens has left Chez d’Or.  The Chez d’Or staff confirm that he left on Wednesday, the day of our review, and that he left ahead of the end of his contract.    We were clearly told by the owner that he would be at the restaurant until September.

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

Stellenbosch has always been top of the pops as far as its wine selection and quality goes (i.e. wines winning awards), but has played poor cousin to Franschhoek for many years when it comes to its restaurant status, that is until recently, when the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list included more Top 10 restaurants in Stellenbosch (Rust en Vrede, Overture and Terroir) than in Franschhoek (The Tasting Room and The Restaurant at Grande Provence).  Stellenbosch has always been the best marketed collective wine region, and was the first to introduce the Wine Route concept, which has been adopted by most wine-growing regions now.

My visit to Stellenbosch last week, to experience recently opened restaurants, confirmed my view that Stellenbosch by rights now should be called the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, not only due to the Eat Out Top 10 listings, but also in terms of the newer restaurants bubbling under.  I believe that the tourism authority should be ahead of the game, and introduce a Restaurant Route for Stellenbosch, given the wealth of its creative and gourmet talent.   It is easy to see that opening good quality restaurants on wine estates is a growing trend in Stellenbosch, and is good for business, as Werner Els told me at Haskell Vineyards, its Long Table restaurant leading to wine sales from restaurant patrons.

My recommendation for the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route is the following, based on own experience and recommendations.  It is not comprehensive.  I have added links to the restaurant listings that I have reviewed, and reviews of the newer restaurants will be published shortly.

Rust en Vrede - probably the best restaurant in the town currently, a slick operation, run by modest but talented chef David Higgs, on the Rust en Vrede wine estate.  Featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list 2009 and 2010, number 74 on 50 Best Restaurants in the World 2010 list, and Top vineyard restaurant of 2010 Great Wine Capitals in the World - read the review here.  Tel (021) 881-3881  CHEF DAVID HIGGS LEFT THE RESTAURANT ON 25 JUNE, NOW WORKING AT RADISSON’S BLU GAUTRAIN HOTEL IN JOHANNESBURG. 

*   Overture – Chef Bertus Basson is a hard-working re-inventor of his menu and operation, always looking to improve his complete package.   On the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list for 2009 and 2010.  Fantastic views from the location on the Hidden Valley wine estate – read the review here.  Tel (021) 880-2721

*   Terroir does nothing for me, I must admit, and therefore I do not understand that it is a perennial on the Eat Out Top 10 list (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 – the Terroir website does not list the awards after 2006, so some awards may have been left out!).  I have been there a number of times, and have not been excited about its menu, restaurant interior, and service.  The outside seating on the De Kleine Zalze wine and golf estate is great for a warm day.  Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Restaurant Christophe - Die Skuinshuis is the setting for this exceptional restaurant, Chef Christophe Dehosse being the hands-on owner and chef, who talks to his customers in his charming French accent, a rare treat in restaurants.  The foie gras, served with toasted brioche, is to die for – read the review here.  Tel. (021) 886-8763. THE RESTAURANT CLOSED DOWN ON 24 JUNE.

*   Delaire at Delaire Graff -  no money was spared in building and decorating this restaurant and winery building, and it houses a most impressive art collection.   Chef Christian Campbell is doing outstanding work, and his crayfish lasagne is exceptional.  Turnover of staff has reduced the quality of service  - read our latest review     Tel (021) 885-8160

*   Indochine at Delaire Graff – this is the newest Stellenbosch restaurant, and is relatively less opulent in its interior design compared to its sister restaurant.   Young chef Jonathan Heath is a star to watch, and his Asian fusion menu is sure to attract the attention of the Eat Out Top 10 judges.   He explains the menu, and the dishes when he serves them personally.  The two course special at R225 sounds expensive, but it does not reflect the amuse bouche, sorbet and sweet treats (with cappuccino) one receives at no extra charge.  The Tikka Duck Marsala starter is excellent -  read our review.  Tel (021) 885-8160

Restaurant at Majeka House -the restaurant is overshadowed by the Boutique Hotel in terms of its branding, and is not known to most foodlovers, a hidden gem in Paradyskloof, a suburb opposite the Stellenbosch Golf Course.   Its young Chef Anri Diener trained at Tokara and Delaire, and is a rising star, presenting exciting French cuisine.  The Millefeuille of chocolate mousse served with coffee meringue bars is to die for – Read the review.  Tel (021) 880-1512

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine -  a mouthful of a brand name but also a mouthful in value and excellent quality, a far cry from Jardine, which he co-owns in Cape Town, but rarely still cooks at.  It is set at the end of a long road, on the Jordan wine estate, overlooks a big pond and the beautiful Stellenbosch mountains in the far distance, teeming with birdlife.  Interior functional, as in Cape Town.  Most beautiful and unique ”bread” plate ever seen.   Read the review.  Tel (021) 881-3612

*   The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe - set at the end of a long road up a hill, above Rust en Vrede, on the Haskell Vineyards (marketers of Haskell and Dombeya wines), the food of Chef Corli Els is a wonderful surprise.  The restaurant interior and waiter service do not match the excellence of her food or the quality of the Haskell wines. The Papaya and Avo salad stands out as one of the special treats I enjoyed last week.   Read the Review.  Tel (021) 881-3746

*   The Big Easy - set on Dorp Street with some parking, and owned by Ernie Els and Johan Rupert, the restaurant is large, but divided into different rooms, allowing private functions.  Average food, below average service generally.  Sweet Service Award.  tel (021) 887-3462

*   Warwick wine estate – owner Mike Ratcliffe is a good marketer, and his gourmet picnics, designed by Chef Bruce Robertson, and prepared by their chef Bruce, are a great hit in summer.  Winter warmer foods available too – read the picnic review here.  Tel (021) 884-3144

*   Nook Eatery - has been operating for a year, and has developed a reputation for good value, healthy (organic where possible) and wholesome food.  Restaurant location in ‘League of Glory’ TV series, and next door to Restaurant Christophe.  Good value buffet lunch, Wednesday pizza evenings, and sweet treats throughout the day.  Hands-on owners Luke and passionate Chef Jess do not open the Eatery if they are not there themselves.  Read the review here.  tel (021) 887-7703  

*   Tokara DeliCATessen – has a buffet lunch too, very large restaurant space combined with a deli, but service poor and food quality average – read the review here.   Tel (021) 808-5950

*   Eight at Spier – the menu was designed by Judy Badenhorst, ex-River Cafe, and now running the Casa Labia Cafe in Muizenberg.  Have not read much about it, and not experienced yet.   Tel (021) 809-1188

*   Melissa’s on Dorp Street – a perennial favourite, with a limited menu and standardised across all the branches.  Fresh and wholesome foods, service not always great.  Sour Service Award Tel (021) 887-0000

Wild Peacock Food Emporium on Piet Retief Street (ex Okasie) – this is the newest eatery to open, belongs to Sue Baker and is managed by ex-Rust en Vrede front of house manager and daughter Sarah, selling deli items, a range of cold meats, imported French and local cheese, fresh breads, and has a sit-down menu as well.    Review to follow.  Tel 082 697 0870

*   Mila, The Cake Shop- this must be the tiniest eatery interior in Stellenbosch, next door to The Big Easy, but it is crammed full of the most delectable cakes and pastries.  Service not great when sitting outside.  Review to follow.  Tel 074 354 2142.

*   Cupcake - serves a range of cupcakes, but not as wide a variety as one would expect.  Good sandwiches and cappuccino, pretty square with water feature in which to sit.  No review written.  Tel (021) 886-6376

*   Umami - set in the Black Horse Centre on Dorp Street, this restaurant had not wowed me, but serves satisfactory lunches and dinners.   No review written, and I rarely hear anyone talk about it.  Tel (021) 887-5204

*   Wijnhuis - located on Andringa Street, in the vicinity of tourism outlets.  Given its name, it should be very popular in this town, and given the connection to its namesake in Newlands, and its parental link to La Perla, it should offer a lot better food quality and service than it does.  Not reviewed, and would not recommend.  Tel (021) 887-5844

  Pane E Vino - this food and wine bar is hidden to those who do not come to Bosman’s Crossing.  Owned by Elena Dalla Cia, husband George and father-in-law Giorgio do wine and grappa tastings in the restaurant too.  Good Italian fare. Not reviewed yet.  Tel (021) 883-8312 

*   Cafe Dijon - French-style bistro on Plein Street.  One experience not satisfactory due to owner not being there.  Rated by JP Rossouw of Rossouw’s Restaurants.  Tel (021) 886-7023

*   Bodega @Dornier - I have not been to this restaurant on the Dornier wine estate, and have not read any reviews yet.  Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Cuvee Restaurant, Simonsig – Interesting Cape Dutch modernist interior curation by Neil Stemmet. Excellent quality food, Simonsig wines, napery, cutlery, tableware, stemware, and service.  Read the Review Tel (021) 888-4932

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Church Street – newly opened, opposite Vida e Caffe, this artisan bakery and cafe allows one to order from a list of cold meats, cheese and preserves what one wants to eat with the breads they sell.  Read the review.  Tel (021) 883- 2188  

*   Tokara - Etienne Bonthuys has left Tokara, and Richard Carstens is said to be stepping in his shoes, when his contract with Chez d’Or in Franschhoek finishes in September (he left in July already). Tokara denied that Carstens is taking over the restaurant lease.   It has now (30/7) been confirmed that Jardine’s Wilhelm Kuehn is taking over Tokara, and that Richard Carstens will be the Executive Chef.  Opened on 19/10.  Read the review. Tel (021) 808-5959.

*   Towerbosch Earth Kitchen on the Knorhoek wine estate. Lovely fairy-like setting, fantastic Boerekos feast served in bowls rather than dishing up per plate.  Read the review.   Tel (021) 865-2114.

*   Stellenbosch Slow Food Market, Oude Libertas – previously the Bosman’s Crossing Market, it moved to Oude Libertas late last year.    Good quality and often organic foods, not quite as top level and exciting as in its previous location, only open on Saturdays

*   Casparus is the name of Etienne Bonthuys’ new restaurant on Dorp Street, an amazing marriage between the cuisine creativity of Bonthuys and the interior design creativity of partner Strijdom van der Merwe.  There is no restaurant like this in South Africa!   Read the review.   Tel (021) 882-8124.

*   Johan’s at Longridge is a refreshing new restaurant on Longridge Winery, with a focus on fresh vegetables from its large vegetable garden alongside the restaurant.  Co-owner Chef Johan comes from a Michelin two-star restaurant in Holland, as does Chef Marissa.  Attentive service led by Chris Olivier, excellent food, great wines.  Read the review.   Tel (021) 855-2004 

*  de Huguenot, on De Huguenot Estate in Johannesdal, Pniel, is a superb fine-dining restaurant which opens in July, headed up by Chef Tanja Kruger, a member of the South African Culinary Olympic team.  Beautiful view onto Groot Drakenstein mountains.  Read the review.

POSTSCRIPT 17/10:  The Top 20 finalists for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards were announced at the end of last month, and the list contains five Stellenbosch restaurants (compared to only two from Franschhoek):  Rust en Vrede, Overture, Terroir, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, and Restaurant Christophe.   The Top 10 winners will be announced on 28 November.

POSTSCRIPT 29/11:  Stellenbosch now wears the Gourmet Capital crown, with four Eat Out Top 10 restaurants:  Overture, Rust & Vrede (now South Africa’s number one restaurant and top chef David Higgs), Terroir, and Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine.

POSTSCRIPT 15/4:  It has been announced that David Higgs has resigned, and will leave Rust en Vrede mid-June.

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

Cape Town’s restaurants are feeling the hospitality winter blues, with a large number of restaurants announcing their restaurant specials.  The winter has claimed its casualties too, and there could be more in what has been a poor winter for many businesses.

La Mouette has opened at 78 Regent Road in Sea Point.   Brio is a new jazz restaurant, in half of the ex-Riboville in town (on the Adderley Street side), while Liquorice and Lime has taken over the other half of Riboville (on the St George’s Mall side).  Van Hunks has opened at 1 Union Street, off Kloof Street in Gardens.  Cafe Nood has opened in Wilderness Road, Claremont. Ryan’s Kitchen has opened at Rusthof guest house in Franschhoek – the chef Ryan Smith is ex-Mont Rochelle.  On Broadway has moved to the New Space Theatre building at 44 Long Street, with a new restaurant where Anytime was.  Buena Vista Social Club has moved to the top end of Portswood Road in the Waterfront.    The House of Meat has opened in the Pepper Club Hotel, corner Long and Bloem Streets, offering a full braai for R 295, from 3 pm every day.   Amazink, ex-Roots, in Khayamandi in Stellenbosch, has opened, with Bertus Basson from Overture an advisor. Spiros has opened in Hout Bay.  Mason’s Cafe & Grill has opened in the ex-Cafe Gainsbourg.  La Cantina has opened in the Alliance Francaise. The De Leuwen Jagt restaurant on the Seidelberg wine estate outside Paarl has opened The Fabulous Bakery.   Gesellig has opened on the corner of Church and Regent Roads in Sea Point, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.   Chez d’Or has opened in Franschhoek, with Richard Carstens as consultant Chef, scheduled to stay until September, but he left on 28/7.  It has been confirmed that Carstens will take over the running of Tokara in October, given that Etienne Bonthuys is set to open a new restaurant on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch.  Gesellig is a cosy and friendly new eatery in Sea Point.   Indochine  has opened at the Delaire Graff wine estate in Stellenbosch.  The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe has opened at Haskell Vineyards in Stellenbosch.  The Wild Peacock Food Emporium has opened in Stellenbosch.  Knife Restaurant has opened in the Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, a sister restaurant to Fork.  De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened in Stellenbosch.  Cafe Le Chocolatier has taken over from Cafe Vendome in Place Vendome in Franschhoek. Leaf Restaurant and Bar has opened where Portofino/The Showroom were located.  Epicerie Fine is the new name of the L’Ermitage Deli in Franschhoek, and has a new owner.   Sommelier Restaurant at the Sante Hotel and Wellness Centre has re-opened.  Illyria coffee shop has opened in the Eikestad Mall in Stellenbosch. Babylonstoren is to open a restaurant in October, next door to Backsberg.  The Fish Shack has opened at The Paddocks in Milnerton.  Reubens at One&Only Cape Town has opened.   Luigi’s from Hout Bay is said to be opening where Vista Mare was in The Promenade in Camps Bay.   Satay Bar has taken over from Zucca in Kloof StreetPierneef à La Motte has opened at La Motte. Luke Dale-Roberts, ex-chef at La Colombe and making 12th place on the Top 50 Restaurants in the World list earlier this year, will be opening The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock in November.  Sofia’s at Morgenster will open in Somerset West in November.  Down South will open on Long Street in October.  French Toast has opened at 199 Bree Street, a tapas and wine bar.  Babel opens at Babylonstoren next to Backsberg on 14 November.   Hemelshuijs has opened at 71 Waterkant Str, serving breakfast and lunch, and dinner on request.

Portofino, which opened where The Showroom was, has closed its doors. The first review of Portofino appeared on this blog.   Cafe Gainsbourg on Kloof Street, Anytime on Long Street, Josephine’s Patisserie, Ginja, maze at the One&Only Cape Town, La Table de France in Sea Point, Panarotti’s and Shimmi’s Bar in Hermanus, Miguel’s in Plettenberg Bay, and Bouillabaisse and La Brasserie in Franschhoek have also closed down.   Camil Haas, the co-owner of Camil’s in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, has left the restaurant, but is doing food and wine pairing evenings in Franschhoek, and has joined Reuben’s, substituting for Reuben Riffel in Franschhoek and at the One&Only.  Yum in Vredehoek has closed down.   In Camps Bay the Cape Town Fish Market and Terra Mare have closed down.  Luke Dale-Roberts is no longer the Executive Chef at La Colombe, but will consult to the restaurant.   Tank in the old Cape Quarter is to get a new name.   Cafe des Arts has taken over from Topsi’s in Franschhoek.  Satay Bar has taken over from Zucca in Kloof Street.  shu has closed down on Main Road, Green Point, and it appears that Camil’s has too.   Madame Zingara has left Cape Town, to pitch her tent in Johannesburg.  Le Quartier Français has clsoed iCi, and has opened The Common Room.

Some restaurants are closing to have a winter break. The Mount Nelson’s Cape Colony re-opens with a new interior and new menu on 1 November.  Vaudeville has closed between August and October.  Marianna’s in Stanford is re-opening on 14 October. The Salmon Bar in Franschhoek re-opens on 1 November, undergoing renovations in a new location (parts of ex-Bouillabaisse and Pam Golding venue). Massimo’s Pizza Club in Hout Bay has gone into winter hibernation, and is likely to reopen in November, in a new venue across the road from its previous venue in Hout Bay, with the new name Massimo’sMario’s, which had to close during the World Cup due to a fire in the kitchen, has re-opened. 

The following restaurant specials have been announced (NOTE: This Specials list is updated continuously).  WE HAVE STARTED A NEW SPRING/SUMMER SPECIALS LIST

We have seen our list used without acknowledgement on other bloggers’ blogs – please acknowledge Whale Cottage Portfolio Blog as your source:

CAPE TOWN

*   The Cru Cafe in the Cape Quarter:  buy 1 wine flight, get 1 free, served with snacks, all days of week, lunch and dinner

*   Wang Thai: 2 courses including rice R 69, at V&A Waterfront, Constantia, Somerset West, and Lagoon Beach branches, until 30 November 

*   Andiamo in the old Cape Quarter: R 49 breakfast special (juice, cooked breakfast, cappuccino), until 11h30 daily; 2 pizzas or 2 pastas with 2 glasses of wine R 125; Basil, chilli chicken/salmon salad with bottle of water or colddrink R 59, until 31 October. Tel (021) 421-3687

*   Pure at Hout Bay Manor: 3 course dinner for R 200, and R 280 with a glass of wine added

*   Vanilla in the Cape Quarter:  1/2 price sushi 12 – 6 pm, 25 % off cocktails

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : sirloin and chips R 79, seafood platter R 129, prawn platter R 99, oysters R 9 each, half-price sushi, spaghetti bolognaise R59

*  Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square:  lunch (6 options) at R 50.  3-course dinner at R 135.

*   Hussar Grill, in Camps Bay and Green Point: 400g beef ribs, 200g rump/sirloin steak, 200g boerewors R99, until stocks last

*   Pepper Club on the Beach in Camps Bay: “Nip and Tuck promotion” – Prawn platter R98; Potjies R79,95; Sirloin and Prawn combo R89,50; Seafood platter R139,95; half-price sushi – until end October

*   Kuzina in the new Cape Quarter:  Meze platter for two plus bottle of wine R 189, Mondays – Fridays 12h00 – 18h00 and Sunday evenings from 18h00. Continuous. Tel (021) 418-8000

*   Saul’s Sushi@Vegas, 118 Main Road, Sea Point: “Eat as much as you like” sushi R 120 Mondays and Tuesdays, “two for the price of one” sushi Fridays and Saturdays

*   Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: oysters R 6 each, 1 kg prawns R 99, line fish R79, for lunch and dinner.  300 gram sirloin steak, spatchcock chicken peri peri and 500 gram spare ribs all R 79 for lunch only.  Full sushi platter R99, half platter R50. Tel (021) 439-3494.

*   1800 in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Main Road, Green Point: 300g sirloin steak R99. Until end October.

*   Myoga at Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 6 course dinner, with 5 choices per course, for R 150, Mondays – Saturdays, continues throughout summer 

*   Tank in old Cape Quarter: 2 courses R R140, 3 courses for R 165, both with a glass of wine, until end October.  Tel (021) 419-0007  

*   Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 1 kg prawns R99; 50 % off sushi Sundays – Mondays from 12h00 – 19h00.  Tel (021) 418-2948.

*   The Kove, Victoria Road, Camps Bay: 2-course meal with glass of wine R120; Fish and chips R 79, 400g ribs R75, Oysters R 9,  Seafood Platter R129, Rump 250gm R 79, Rump 500gm R 109, 1kg of prawns R 99, Lamb chops R99.  Tel (021) 438-0004

*  Cafe Sofia in Camps Bay, Green Point, etc:  Breakfats specials, Burger R59, Chicken skewers R59. 

*   221 Waterfront: two drinks for price of one, Mondays – Fridays, 16h30 – 18h30, two dishes on “Lite” and Sushi sections of menu for the price of one, 3-course dinner for R 135

*   Jakes in the Village/on Summerley, in Steenberg and Kenilworth, respectively:   25 % off all dishes, 5 – 7 pm only, Mondays – Saturdays, until end September

*   Buitenverwachting in Constantia:  2 courses R 149, 3 courses R 169, 4 courses R 199

*   Duchess of Wisbeach, corner Main and Wisbeach Roads, Sea Point – free bottle of wine for a table of four

Le Restau Paradiso, Kloof Street: Marie’s Menu 3 courses R 110; Capetonian Menu 3 courses R 130; French Classics Menu 3 courses R 150, until December.

*   A Tavola in Claremont: 50 % off all pasta dishes on Mondays. 

*   The Lookout Deck, Hout Bay:  6 prawns free with specific main courses; 6 oysters R 36 (5 – 7 pm only), until end September

*   La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point: 6 courses for R 175.  Express Lunch – 2 courses (with 2 choices each) at R 99.   Monday – Saturday dinner, Tuesday – Sunday lunch,  until launch of Summer menu at Garden Party on 10 October. Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Blonde restaurant, Hatfield Street: “two …blondes are better than one” promotion of 25 % off the bill, until September

*   Lagoon Beach, Milnerton – 2 course meal from R 75, “all-you-can-eat” Sunday buffet R 99

*   Jardine, Bree Street: 3-course dinner at R 180, Tuesdays – Saturdays

*   Berthas in Simonstown: 1 kg mussels, 1 kg Queen prawns or 1 kg mini seafood platter cost R 99 each

*   Ricks Cafe Americain, lunch special for R 39, Mondays – Saturdays, until 31 October

*   The Square Restaurant, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 5-course dinner costs R 165.  Tel (021) 657-4500

*   Pepperclub Luxury Hotel & Spa: 6 oysters and a glass of bubbly R60, Fridays from 16h00, with jazz

*   Aubergine:  2-course lunch R184,  3-course lunch R235, Wednesdays – Fridays

*   Balducci’s: All pizzas (except Flaming Prawns) R49, 26-piece Platinum Sushi Plate for R99, Burgers from R55.  Monday – Sunday, 12h00 – 18h00.

*   Ferrymans, V&A Waterfront: 3-course pairing meal, with wines matching starter and main course, at R200, until September.

*   Saul’s Taverna: for every meal ordered from main menu, the second person get’s a free main course from chef’s special menu

*   Societi Bistro: “Tour of France” – 3-course French menu R 150, until October

*   Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay: Moelas Estufadas R35, Escargots R35, Oxtail R99, Hake and squid, chorico R29, Hake Fillet R69, Butternut and feta lasagne R69.  Tel (021) 790-1036

*   Quay 4: Snoek and chips R59, until October

*   Black Marlin: Snoek on braai R55, half crayfish on braai  R75, Saturdays and Sundays;  3 course meal plus glass of sherry R125, until October

*   Hildebrand: 2 courses R 89, 3 courses R 120, until September

*   Chenin Restaurant and Bar: Sirloin steak R60. Tel 021 425-2200

*   Leaf Restaurant and Bar : 51 % off sushi from 11h00 – 16h00 and all day Sunday, 18 prawns for R69, 50 % off dimsum. Current

*   Gesellig, Regent Road, Sea Point: 2 courses plus soup or dessert = R 90 for dinner; lunch costs R40 for dishes usually costing R65 – R77 12h00 – 14h00

*  The Fish Shack Restaurant and Wine Bar, Paddocks, Milnerton: Shack Platter and glass of wine R 90

*   Blowfish in Blouberg: Seafood platter R 89, 20-piece sushi platter + glass of wine R99, 500g rump steak R 95, Chicken schnitzel R75, Prawn platter R69, Thai seafood curry R79, Mixed Grill Espetada R95, until October. Tel 021 556-5464

*   Ocean Basket: Starter, seafood platter, and bottle of Two Oceans wine for 2 for R 235 (only at Hout Bay, Plumstead, Tygervalley and V&A branches), until 31 October.

*   Live Bait, Kalk Bay Harbour: pan-fried paprika calamari R50, until end October, Monday – Thrursday lunch, Sunday – Thursday dinner, tel 021 788-4133

*   Bamboo, below Cape Royale Hotel: unlimited prawns at R 95 on Sunday evenings, 10 oysters for price of 8

*   Cape Town Fish Market: 2 courses R 59, 3 courses R 69, (snoek paté, 200 g hake and chips, koeksisters) until 17 October

*   Cafe Chic:  3 courses R130, half price cocktails Wednesdays, until October. Tel (021) 465-7218 

*   OYO at V&A Hotel : 500g crayfish special R185. Current

*   Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: 200g sirloin steak and 4 prawns R 65; chicken or beef burger with chips for lunch only 12h00 – 17h00 R29, both offers until end October

*   Spur: rump and sirloin, and beef or chicken schnitzel all R 59,95, until end October

*   Dale’s Black Angus Grill, Tableview: Beef Burger, Minute Fillet Steak and Egg, Mussel and Lobster Pot, Zuricher Geschnetzeltes, all R40; Liver R35; Fish & Chips R30; Castle Draft R12, until end October Tel (021) 551-7776 

THE WINELANDS

*   Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250 gram steaks at R 99, including a glass of estate wine, May – September. Tel (021) 874-1021

*   Olivello, Klapmuts, outside Stellenbosch: 2-course meal R 99, 3-course meal R 119.

*   Le Bon Vivant in Franschhoek: 2-course meal for R 150, 3 courses for R 175, until end October. Tel (021) 876-2717

*   Cuvee, Simonsig wine estate, outside Stellenbosch:   2 course lunch or dinner + glass of wine R 170, 3 courses R 200, August – October

*   Bosman’s, Grand Roche Hotel, Paarl: 3-course lunch and 2 glassses of wine for R 260, Sundays

*   Lanzerac Hotel in Stellenbosch : 3 course lunch R 235

*   Le Petite Ferme, Franschhoek: 2 courses R 100, 3 courses R 150, plus carafe of wine, live music, every Friday evening, until end October

*   Ryan’s Kitchen at Rusthof, Franschhoek : 5 course meal Taste of Africa R395, with wine added R595.  Summer Tel (021) 876-4598.  

*   Noble Hill, Klapmuts: Farmer’s Lunch costs R 62, Mondays – Fridays

*   Restaurant Christophe, Stellenbosch: business lunch – 2 courses R130, 3 courses R 150, Tuesday – Friday, served within one hour, all year

*   Allora in Franschhoek: 3 course menu at R89, until end November. Tel (021) 876-4375.

*   Café Nadine, L’Ermitage, Franschhoek - pasta, sald and glass of wine  R69.  Tel (021) 876-9200

*   Waterkloof Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West: Summer special – 2 courses R140, 3 courses R170, and includes a tasting of 5 Waterkloof wines. Tel (021) 858-1491

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 2 course meal and glass of wine R85. Until end October. Tel (021) 876-9200

OTHER AREAS

*   Season in Hermanus: 2 course meal R 75, bredie of the day R 48, Sunday roast R 65, 3-course Sunday lunch R 110. Tel (028) 316-2854

*   Mediterrea in Hermanus: 3 course meal R 195, Monday – Thursday dinners and Sunday lunches

*   The Class Room, Hermanus: 5 course gourmet dinner, R 165, Wednesdays – Saturdays, until end October.  Tel (028) 316-3582

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

Copyright: Whale Cottage Portfolio