Entries tagged with “Groote Post”.


Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne FestivalOne of Franschhoek’s most popular annual events is the Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, which will be held this coming Saturday and Sunday.  Close to 50 top Champagnes and MCCs (Méthode Cap Classique) will be available to taste, as is food supplied by Franschhoek restaurants.

The theme is ‘Black and White‘, with an emphasis on spots and stripes, and bubbly fans will be enjoying ‘The Magic of Bubbles‘ on what is forecast to be a perfect weather weekend. Not only will MCCs from Franschhoek be on show, but top sparkling wines from other regions  and Champagnes will be too.

Veuve Clicquot winemaker Pierre Casenave will be at the brand’s stand between 12h00 – 13h00 on both days. Other Champagne brands available for tasting are Billecart- Salmon, Champagne Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon, Piper Heidsieck, Thierry Lesne, and Tribaut.

The 40 well-known MCC producers pouring their bubblies are Pierre Jourdan, (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…)

Beerhouse Bottled Beers Whale Cottage PortfolioThe largest selection in Africa of beers on tap (16) and bottled beers (99) is available at newly opened Beerhouse, on party mile Long Street in Cape Town.  The Beer List states that ‘we see ourselves as (part of) the world beer revolution’, and Beerhouse plans regular events to ‘incubate the ideals of craft’ and to celebrate the world’s oldest and greatest beverage’!

One cannot miss the strong beer yellow painted building exterior opposite Mama Africa.  The Beer Hall is upstairs, once a bead outlet.  The decor of the beer hall  is quite plain, with some TV screens, and framed pictures of dressed up beer bottles in felt, representing traditional dress from around the world. The backs of wooden benches are painted beer yellow, and banquettes have been upholstered in the same colour.  Beerhouse on Long Exterior Whale Cottage Portfolio While they were renovating the building, they found attractive raw brickwork, and left some of it at the top of the walls.  Lovely wooden floors had to be tiled, as the dust was affecting shops downstairs. Interior decorator Justin Plunkett of Joom came up with the theme of 99 beer bottles, after the well-known song ‘99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer. Take one down and pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall’.   (more…)

The Cap Classique and Champagne Festival is one of the highlights of the Franschhoek calendar, and its contribution to tourism is in the league of the Bastille Festival and Franschhoek Literary Festival.  In the next two days 51 Méthode Cap Classique (MCC) and Champagne producers will be offering their bubblies for tasting, at marquees alongside the Huguenot Monument.  Thirteen MCC producers are from Franschhoek. The dress theme is ‘Black and White’ with an emphasis on ‘Birds and Bows’, and the Festival is open from 12h00 – 17h00.  Entrance costs R200.

The bubbly producers are as follows: Colmant, Graham Beck Wines, Krone, La Motte, Morena, Môreson, Pierre Jourdan, Simonsig, Steenberg, Allée Bleue, Avondale, Bon Courage, Boschendal, Bramon, Cederberg, Chabvin, De Wetshof, Dieu Donné, Domaine des Deux, Francois La Garde, Villiera, Genevieve, GM & Ahrens, Guinevere, Groote Post, JC le Roux, Kumkani, Laborie, L’Omarins Anthonij Rupert, My Wyn, Plaisir de Merle, Pongracz, Quion Rock, Rickety Bridge, Ross Gower, Saltare, Saronsberg, Silverthorn, Sterhuis, Stony Brook, Tanzanite, Villiera, Weltevrede, Wonderfontein Paul René, Woolworths, Billecart Salmon, Tribaut, Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon, Therry Lesne, and Veuve Clicquot.

Food and other beverages will be offered for sale by Franschhoek restaurants, including Café Bon Bon, Deluxe Coffeeworks, Chamonix, Haute Cabrière is offering salads, Huguenot Fine Chocolates, Jessie’s Ice Cream, Le Franschhoek Hotel is offering pork pies and macaroons, Le Quartier Français, Bread & Wine, Mont Rochelle, Roca Restaurant, Salmon Bar, with Wild Peacock selling oysters.

POSTSCRIPT 2/12: The Franschhoek Cap Classique and Champagne Festival has just endeded, a highly successful event.  The best dressed stand, in our opinion, was Morena from Franschhoek, always looking classy. Graham Beck was the best branded stand.

Cap Classique and Champagne Festival, end of Huguenot Road at Huguenot Monument, Franschhoek. Tel (021) 876-2861.  www.franschhoek.org.za Book via www.webtickets.co.za

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

It was on a visit to Birds’ Café about three months ago that I noticed the papered-up space two doors away, and heard from Birds’ Café that a restaurant was to open.  I was lucky to meet Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room owner Lyndall Maunder, who has worked with David Higgs and George Jardine, was ex-Superette chef, and has been an avid visitor of the USA, in the about-to-be renovated restaurant space, which previously housed a motorcycle repair shop.  An unbelievable renovation relative to what the space looked like before has created a buzzing and busy American-style hamburger joint on Bree Street, named after Lyndall’s mother’s maiden name.

The restaurant is L-shaped, one entering into a front section with a massive metal-top counter at which one can sit on wooden bar stools and see the three chefs prepare the dishes in rapid succession, and the waitron staff prepare the drinks.  Lamps are industrial, funky globes unhidden by any lampshade.  One non-descript artwork is too small to make any impact on the large wall, and there is a photograph of the motorcycle mechanics at the entrance.  Plants in terracotta pots line the shelves, even in front of the windows of a back section, adding a green touch to an otherwise white interior. On Saturday over lunchtime there was only space available at the counter, and Lyndall had her hands full in preparing all the food with her two assistants, one of them Chef Marcel, not stopping for one minute, not even having time to greet any customers or at least nod in recognition.  The busy restaurant is an amazing feat for a city which is quiet on weekend days, and which only really got going a week ago, having closed over the festive days after its early December opening, as business in the city centre was so quiet.  Sebastian was the most communicative staff member I spoke to, but appeared to know very little about his boss and the motivation for her American-themed diner, not even being able to obtain this information from his boss!  The rest of the restaurant has tile-topped tables with wooden chairs.  A paper serviette and Fortis cutlery is pre-set at the tables and on the counter, with bottles of Heinz ketchup, salt cellars, and pepper grinders.

Not American at all is the concept of a ‘Stammtisch’, a German tradition of regular guests having their ‘own’ table, with their name on it, which one can be requested to vacate if the Stammgäste arrive, the menu explains, and requests one not to be offended if this should happen.

As I sat down Sebastian brought a glass of water, without knowing me or asking for it, probably an American touch.   The menu is a very simple laminated white sheet, which is easy and cheap to update, even having a space for specials to be written onto it.  Unfortunately there are a number of typing errors on the menu. On Wednesdays – Fridays the menu says that the restaurant stays open until ‘late’, which could be as late as 2h00, Sebastian told me, depending on demand.  The customer profile to date is a mix of  businessmen from nearby, coming in for the all-day breakfast or lunch, or they are ‘poppies coming to be seen’, he said.  From the menu one can see that Lyndall is a no-nonsense type of lady, with every menu category having serving times specified, e.g. Breakfasts are served until 17h00, salads and sandwiches from 11h00 – 17h00,  burgers and sides from 11h00 until late, wine and beer are served from 10h00 until they close, and hot and cold drinks are served throughout the day and night.  The menu also has a ‘note on Clarke’s’, explaining ‘you may pick up from our menu that we’ve got a thing for that lump of land across the pond called the US of A – what with burgers, cheese fries, Reubens, Cobb Salad…They may have cursed us with the atrocities of fast food but the humble beginnings of their cuisine certainly wasn’t ill-intended and they have some cool, tasty as hell stuff that’s a lot of fun. If you do it right and with great produce you can end up having the greatest meal you ever ate’.   The suppliers are named, being Bill Riley Meats’ free-range beef, burger buns come from Trevor Daly in Worcester, coffee comes from Deluxe (supplying the machine as well as a full-time barista), breads come from the Bread Company in Muizenberg, Juicebox supply the juices, and from The Creamery comes a selection of four artisanal ice creams.  In my experience on Saturday, the last sentence in the welcome and introduction was not evident at Clarke’s: “We love being here and we love having you, so please enjoy your time with us and visit again soon”.  I popped in to say hello at Bird’s Café afterwards, and the warm welcome from Chef Leigh Trout was a delight, compared to what I had experienced at Clarke’s.

Breakfast options include a Fruit Cup, and raisin and pecan nut bread with maple butter, costing R20 – R25. Cooked breakfasts range from R40 – R55, and one can order scrambled egg with sausage, mushrooms and a muffin; eggs, bacon, sausage and mushrooms; hashed browns with poached eggs, asparagus and hollandaise; Huevos Rancheros, being refried beans, eggs, and avocado; omelette stuffed with spinach, smoked aubergine and goat’s cheese; and French Toast, sounding absolutely indulgent in consisting of a Nutella and banana-stuffed croissant with bacon, fruit, crème fraiche, bacon, and caramel Turtles, and Mrs Butterworth’s syrup. Sandwiches cost R25 – R45, and include grilled cheese, a pulled pork sub, ‘chicken parm’ sandwich (with tomato ragout and  Colby cheddar), a Reuben (brisket, braised cabbage, Emmental, blue cheese dressing), and a pressed vegetable sandwich.  For brunch one can have a Caesar or Cobb salad, smoked tomato soup, and macaroni and cheese, costing around R 40. I never eat hamburgers, but decided to order one as I believe this to be the essence of Clarke’s.  One can order any type of burger, as long as it is a Cheeseburger or Veggie Burger, at R50, with extra for bacon and fries.  The Cheeseburger was served in a big toasted bun, in a papered green plastic basket, with a tiny portion of pickled cucumber and onion relish on the side.  I missed a slice of tomato and gherkin.  The patty was prepared rare-ish, and one is not asked how one would like it. While one knows that the meat quality is excellent, it seemed expensive for what one got (without chips). For dessert one can order a ‘sweet pie’ of the day, or three scoops of The Creamery ice cream, from a choice of peanut butter, natural, cardamom, and coffee, at R35.  No cappuccino is specified on the beverage list, and probably the American equivalent is the Flat White, at R16.

Beer is served in quarts at R28, or at R16 – R20 for Corona, Savanna, Hunter’s Dry, Amstel, Windhoek, Black Label, and Tafel beer.  Surprising is that there is no craft beer, given the restaurant’s proximity to AndUnion.  The wine selection is disappointingly small for a ‘Bar’, with four options (no vintages specified), but at least each is available by the glass, for Groote Post Old Man’s Blend, Diemersdal Sauvignon Blanc, Springfield Life from Stone, and Fat Bastard Shiraz, in a range of R 25/R95 – R 40/R150.

Clarke’s is a great new addition for the city centre for a drink, a bite to eat, or a coffee, given its excellent opening hours and easy-to-park convenience after hours and on weekends.  Owner Lyndall can be a caring person, as experienced at Superette, but needs to let go as chef and take on the role of owner, to connect with her customers, so that she can build relationships with them, to ensure that they return.

Clarke’s Bar & Dining Room, 133 Bree Street, Cape Town. Tel (021) 424-7648. www.clarkesdining.co.za Twitter: @ClarkesDining.  Monday – Tuesday 7h00 – 18h00, Wednesday – Friday 7h00 – late, Saturday 8h00 – 15h00.

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

One of the cleverest ideas for a new restaurant and champagne bar is MCC Franschhoek, and it is appropriate that its opening co-incided with the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival this weekend.  MCC Franschhoek is a showcase of 34 Franschhoek sparkling wines of 14 Franschhoek producers.

The brainchild of Philip and Christy Harrison, previously managing De Huguenot Estate, MCC Franschhoek allowed the couple to work with a beverage they love best. Christy told me that Philip loves cooking,  having started to do so in Majorca, after studying accountancy. Both Philip and Christie owned a Weatherspoons outlet in Heathrow, but moved back to Cape Town thirteen years ago, Philip managing The Galley in Fish Hoek. They moved to the design of wedding stationery, and it is Christy who designed the stylish logo for MCC Franschhoek.  Due to the closure of the De Huguenot restaurant and Harry Q Bar at De Huguenot Estate (to be run as a wedding and event venue only in future), Philip and Christie took part of their share of the venture in kind, and therefore they have the stylish silver-upholstered chairs, black bar chairs and tables, and couches from De Huguenot restaurant, which are spread out in the courtyard of the Village Square. Each table has the MCC range and price list, and a perspex salt and pepper grinder stand.  Quality material serviettes and Fortis cutlery are stylish.

Alleé Bleue (Brut Rosé), Boschendal (MCC Le Grande Pavillion Brut Rosé, MCC Grande Cuvée Brut), Cape Chamonix (MCC Blanc de Blancs), Colmant (Brut Reserve, Brut Rosé, Brut Chardonnay), Dieu Donné (Maingard Brut, Rose MCC), Franschhoek Pass Winery (Morena Brut, Brut Rosé, Cuvée Catherine, Malabar Shiraz), Graham Beck (Brut, Brut Rosé NV and 2008, Bliss Demi Sec, Brut Blanc de Blancs, Zero), GM & Ahrens (Cap Classique), Hauté Cabriere (Pierre Jourdan Brut, Cuvée Belle Rose, Brut Sauvage, Blanc de Blancs, Cuvée Reserve), La Motte, Môreson (Miss Molly, Solitaire, Gala, Pink, One), My Wyn, Stony Brook (The Lyle), and Topiary (Blanc de Blancs Brut) sparkling wines are sold by the bottle, while a select number of bubbly brands can be bought by the glass, advertised on a blackboard.  Prices start at R110 for Miss Molly, peaking at R650 for the GM & Ahrens.  Surprisingly (given its name), a number of wines are offered too, and many are non-Franschhoek. Protea Sauvignon Blanc, Glenwood Sauvignon Blanc, Haute Cabrière Chardonnay/Pinot Noir, Beyerskloof Pinotage Rosé, Glenwood Shiraz Merlot blend, Graham Beck Game Reserve, and Guardian Peak Shiraz are all available by the glass, reasonably priced in a range from R20 – R35.

MCC Franschhoek opens from 8h00, and serves well-priced breakfasts, one paying per item (e.g. 2 eggs, bacon and toast costs R47); muesli, yoghurt and berry coulis, and a croissant with cheese and preserves cost R20 each.   There is no breakfast cut-off time.  The ‘Bites’ menu has a mix of salads (R45 – R65), sundowner platters (R50 – R75, and includes oysters, cheese, cold meats, and biltong), main courses, and desserts (R35 – R45), which can be ordered throughout the day.   I ordered a perfectly prepared Franschhoek salmon trout served with boiled potatoes, and a crispy fresh asparagus salad (R75).  Other main course options are sirloin steak and prawns in a beer batter, also costing R75.  One can also order beef lasagne, mussels, an open chicken Satay burger, and two tarts.  The menu will be updated and amended regularly.

I was impressed with the scale of the Franschhoek Cap Classique & Champagne Festival in showcasing the leading bubbly brands for sale in this country.  It is held at the Huguenot Monument, which attracted 2000 bubbly-lovers yesterday, and more are expected today between 12h00 – 17h00.  Eight champagne brands (Billecart Salmon, Champagne Guy Charbaut, Claude Beaufort, Follet-Ramillon Brut Tradition, Piper Heidsieck, Thierry Lesne, Tribaut Brut Tradition, and Veuve Clicquot) presented their precious bubbles, as did 37 local sparkling wine producers. Staff representing the local brands Allée Bleue, Avondale, Bon Courage (in beautiful Carrol Boyes coolers), Boschendal, Bramon, Chabivin, Colmant, De Wetshof, Dieu Donné, Domaine Des Dieux, Francois la Garde, Genevieve MCC, The House of GM & Ahrens, Graham Beck, Groote Post, JC le Roux, Krone, Laborie, La Motte, Nicolas Feuillate Champagne for Woolworths, Morena, Môreson, My Wyn, Namaqua Wines (Guinevere very deep pink, with 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay, all 3000 bottles exported), Pierre Jourdan, Pongracz, Quoin Rock, Rickety Bridge (new 2010 release, 50% each Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, with only 3500 numbered bottles produced from Franschhoek grapes), Ross Gower, Saltare, Silverthorn, Simonsig, Steenberg, Sterhuis, Villiera, Weltevrede and Woolworths Wines all looked chic in their black and white outfits, the dress code of the Festival, which most attendees honoured too.  There were surprisingly few Franschhoek restaurants represented (Le Quartier Français, Mont Rochelle Country Kitchen, Haute Cabrière, Roca Restaurant, and the Salmon Bar), and the food was generally of a disappointing quality, given the theme of the Festival.  An exception was the sushi, salmon and other canapé platters made by new Le Franschhoek Hotel chef Oliver Cattermole.

MCC Franschhoek, 3 Village Square, 53 Huguenot Road, Franschhoek.  Tel 083 772 9449/083 391 3869. No website.  Twitter: @MCCFranschhoek  Wednesday – Monday, 8h00 – until late, weather dependent.

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

We are delighted that many restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands have seen the benefit of offering specials, and have done so since last winter, many running through summer too.   The winter specials for Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and will be updated continuously:

*   Pure at Hout Bay Manor: 3-course dinner for R195, includes 2 glasses of Groote Post wine, 10 May – end June. Closed July.  Tel (021) 790-0116.

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : sirloin and chips R79, seafood platter R 129, 1 kg prawn platter R99, oysters R9 each, sushi platter R109.  Half price sushi all day.  From 9 May. Tel (021) 439-9027

*   Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square:  lunch (6 options) at R50.  3-course dinner with glass of wine R150.  Sunday Buffet – 2 courses plus coffee R120, 3 courses plus coffee R150.  Winter. Tel (021) 465-0967

*   Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: oysters R6 each, 1 kg prawns R99, line fish R79, for lunch and dinner.  300 gram sirloin steak, spatchcock chicken peri peri, 500 gram spare ribs all R79 for lunch only.  Full sushi platter R99, half platter R50. Winter. Tel (021) 439-3494.

*   Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront: half price sushi Monday – Saturday 12 - 6 pm; 25 % off sushi Sunday 12 – 2pm, 50 % off Sunday 2 – 6 pm, 3-course menu R160, daily, lunch and dinner; 2-course lunch R120. 3-course lunch and dinner R160. End September. Tel (021) 421-5134

*   Myoga at Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7 course dinner, with 5 choices per course, for R195, Mondays – Saturdays, throughout winter. Tel (021) 657-4545

*   Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 1 kg Prawns R99; 50 % off sushi and cocktails all day Sunday, and from 12h00 – 19h00 weekdays. 2-course lunch R120; 3-course lunch and dinner R160.  End September. Tel (021) 418-2948.

*   221 Waterfront:  3-course meal at R135 on Wednesdays.  Dine & Cruise package: 1,5 hour cruise, 2 glasses sparkling wine, 3-course meal R370; Lunch & Cruise package: 1 hour cruise and meal R210.  Winter. Tel (021) 418-3633

*  The Lookout Deck, Hout Bay:  Seafood Platter with line fish, mussels, calamari and prawns R65. Until 31 August. Tel (021) 790-0900

*   La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point (photograph above): Tasting Menu (items change monthly) 6 courses R240 for 2 persons, Tuesday – Sunday dinner, Friday and Saturday lunch.  Winter. Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Bertha’s in Simonstown: 1 kg Queen prawns cost R99 each, Calamari, mussel, chips, BBQ chicken and wing platter R99, 600g ribs plus 500ml Windhoek draught R99. Winter. Tel (021) 786-2138

*   Aubergine:  2-course lunch R184,  3-course lunch R235.  2-course dinner R200, 3-course dinner R275.   Wednesdays – Fridays except public holidays. Winter.  Tel (021) 465-4909

*   Ferryman’s Tavern, V&A Waterfront: Combo-specials R100 (linefish + calamari), R85 (sirloin + calamari), R99 (pork rib + chicken wings), Mussel hotpot R75.  Winter. Sunday Hot Pot Buffet Eat as much as you like R120, Sundays, until end August.  Tel (021) 419-7748

*   Hildebrand: 2 courses R99, 3 courses R130 if eat before 19h00;  Winter. Tel (021) 425-3385

*   Leaf Restaurant and Bar: 50 % off sushi all day, Dimsum 30 % off, Burgers R50 – R65.  Winter. Tel (021) 418-4500

*   Blowfish in Blouberg: Breakfast specials: egg and bacon sandwich R19, Three Cheese and Mushroom omelette R25, Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs R25; Lunch specials of Surf ‘n Turf, Rack of Ribs, Thai Chicken Curry, and Mussel and Chorizo Chowder at R49 Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 17h00; Dinner specials: seafood platter, slow roasted lamb shank, oxtail stew, and seafood curry R99, Monday – Saturday 17h00 onwards. Winter. Tel (021) 556-5464

*   Vanilla, Cape Quarter:  1/2 price sushi 12h00 – 18h00,  half-price cocktails 4 – 6 pm. Winter. Tel (021) 421-1391

*   Knife restaurant, Century City:  Bagel R35; Salad R45; Rib, meatball, chicken wing and chip platter R60, all specials include a beer/glass of wine/colddrink and coffee.  Lunch special, 12h00 – 15h00, Mondays – Fridays. Winter. Tel (021) 551-5000

*   Saul’s Sushi @ Vegas, Sea Point: 30 piece sushi platter R99 – Wednesdays and Thursdays; two for the price of one – Sundays.  Winter. Tel 087 151 4595

*    Bhandaris Indian Restaurant: Buffet R99 Wednesday dinner and Sunday lunch and dinner. 30 % off for pensioners on Tuesdays. Lowest value meal for free if buy bottle of wine or two drinks for a pre-booked table of up to 10, on Monday evenings; Lamb R79, Chicken R69, Fish R85 – Tuesday – Sundays.  Winter. Tel (021) 702-2975/Tel (021) 782-1525.

*    Zorba’s, Lagoon Beach Hotel, Lagoon Beach Drive, Milnerton: Seafood and meat platter for two plus two glasses of Hartenberg wine R199  19 August – 19 September. Tel (021) 528-2093

*   Trees Restaurant, Townhouse Hotel, Cape Town:  Casserole or steak with starch of day and glass of wine R105.  Winter. Tel (021) 465-7050

*   Down South Food Bar, 267 Long Street: Rib & Prawn Platter including a side and sauces R75.  Winter. Tel (021) 422-1155.

*   Il Cappero, Barrack Street: Daily lunch main course special at R40.  Three month Winter Special Card, costs R 140 for 11 starters, 11 main courses and 11 desserts, at 50 % off the menu price.   Monday – Friday. May – July. Tel 461-3168

*   Cape Town Fish Market:  ”All you can eat Breakfast Buffet” R 60, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays; Seafood lunch buffet R125, Sundays and public holidays.  Winter. Tel (021) 418-5977

*   Trinity, Bennett Street:  “All you can eat” Dim Sum R135. Two-for-price-of-one burgers Wednesdays. Pizza R50 until 7 pm daily.   Seafood platter R100  on Thursday.  “All you can eat” ribs Mondays R99.  Two for the price of one sushi and Dim Sum Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 20h00.  Pizza R50 Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 19h00. Winter. Tel (021) 418-0624

*   French Toast, Bree Street: Bruschetta tapas free  Monday – Saturdays, 5 – 7 pm.  All wines costing R 400 or less half price on Mondays.  2-course lunch consisting of soup and choice of two tapas plus glass of wine or cup of coffee R89, Monday – Friday 12h00 – 16h00.  Winter. Tel (021) 422-3839.

*   Cru Café Restaurant & Wine Bar, Cape Quarter: Scrambled egg and salmon breakfast for 2 plus bottomless cup of coffee R 78, Weekdays; 2 gourmet burgers with onion rings, French fries and Stella Artois beer R120 weekday lunch; Comfort food (Bobotie or Bredie) for two for R119, including 2 glasses of wine, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. T-bone steak (350g) for two at R150, Friday and Saturday evenings. Until September. Tel (021) 418-6334

*   Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: 250 g rump or sirloin R45, 19 – 21 August; 250g rump and starch R59, daily.  Winter. Tel (021) 418-9393

*   The Square, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands:  ‘Tastes of 2011′ focuses on different theme every month, from April – September.  British menu change weekly,  2 courses R140 or 3 courses R170.  Dinner only, Monday – Sunday.  Tel ()21) 657-4500

*   Dunes, Hout Bay : Sunday buffet with smoked salmon, oysters and cooked breakfast R100. Current. Tel (021) 790-1876

*   Arnold’s on Kloof, 60 Kloof Street, Gardens: Jack Black stew (type of stew changes throughout winter) for two plus bottle of Altydgedacht R99.  Tel (021) 424-4344. Throughout winter.

*   Five Flies, One free main course for every main course ordered.  Until end August. Tel (021) 424-4442

*   Balducci’s, V&A Waterfront: Alfresco Lunch specials – soup and salad R89, fish R89, calamari R89, seafood platter for two R245, Steak Roll and chips R85, Steak and chips R99, Burgers R55 – R75, Glass of wine R27, bottle R99.  daily 12h00 – 16h00. Tel (021) 421-6002

*   Harbour House, Kalk Bay: 2-courses R140, 3-courses R160. Excludes Sundays.  September. Tel (021)  788-4133

*   Live Bait, Kalk Bay: Seafood platter R65. Sunday – Thursday evenings, and Monday – Friday lunch. September. Tel (021) 788-5755

*  Polana, Kalk Bay: Mozambique-style prawns, Algarve salad and chips. R50, Sunday – Thursday dinner and Saturday lunch. September. Tel (021) 788-7162

*   Massimo’s Pizza Club, Hout Bay: “Order any 2 adult take away (pizza, pasta salad)” to a minimum value of R100, and get an &Union beer, Darling Brew beer or a 500ml bottle of Bob’s Your Uncle wine for free, all day Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays until 17h00.  Lunch offer – Free glass of house wine or beer when ordering main course, Wednesday – Friday, 12h00 – 16h00. Until August Tel (021) 790-5648.

*   Codfather, Camps Bay:  half-price sushi 12h00 – 18h00, daily.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-0782

*   Caffe Milano, Kloof Street: Lunch specials - Rump on a baguette R70; Pizza with pomodoro sauce, mozzarella and basil, R 70.  Winter. Tuesday – Sunday. Tel (021)426-5566.

*   Black Marlin, Simonstown:  2-course meal R115, 3-course R140 includes glass of wine.  Until July. Tel (021) 786-1621

*   Savoy Cabbage:  2-course R175, 3-course R195 includes glass of wine .  Until end August. Tel (021) 424-2626.

*   Bayside Café: for every main course, get another lesser-priced main course.  Lunch Monday – Friday,  Sunday – Thursday.  Until October. Tel (021) 438-2650.

*   Mamma Mia Restaurant,  Steenberg:   2-courses R150, 3-courses R175.  Until August. Tel (021)  701-8585

*   Café Chameleon,  Plattekloof: lunch pizza minus 10%, until August. Tel (021) 911-1025.

*   Cape Town Fish Market, ”All you can eat Breakfast Buffet” R60, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays; Seafood buffet lunch R125, Sundays and public holidays. Winter. Tel (021) 554-5962.

*   Tobago Restaurant, Radisson Blu, Granger Bay: two main courses for price of one, Monday – Saturdays.  Until 30 September.  Tel (021) 441-3414

*   La Bruixa, Sea Point:  Seafood paella for two for R260, includes a salad.  Lunch 12h00 – 15h00.  Until June.  Tel (021) 434-8797

*   Sinatra’s, Pepper Club Hotel, Loop Street:  Glass of bubbly and 6 oysters for R 60.  Fridays from 16h00.  Until December.  Tel (021) 812-8826

*   Chai yo, Canal Walk: Buy two main meals and get lesser priced one free.  Winter. Monday – Sunday.   Tel (021) 555-0620.

*   La Boheme, Sea Point:   2-courses R95, 3-courses R115.  Throughout 2011. Tel (021) 434-8797.

*   Food Barn, Noordhoek:  3-courses with 2 glasses of Steenberg wine R165,  4-courses with 3 glasses of Steenberg wine R185,  5-courses with 4 glasses of Steenberg wine R215.  Lunch daily.  Wednesday – Saturday dinner, May – October. Tel (021) 789-1390

*   What’s On Eatery, Watson Str:  2 course dinner at R 99, includes a glass of wine. Breakfast weekdays R25.  Lunch R39, menu changes daily, on weekdays, R5 extra for glass of wine or milkshake, every 7th lunch is free with What’s On Loyalty Card. 11 May – October. Tel (021) 422-5652

*   Nobu, One&Only Cape Town, Cape Town:  5-course R299, May – August. Tel (021) 431-4511.

*   The Kove, Camps Bay: 2-courses R 120, 3-courses R150.  Rump steak R79, Fillet R99, Grilled Norwegian Salmon R99, Peri Peri baby chicken R90, Line fish R90, Seafood platter R165, Gourmet Burger R60.    Winter. Tel (021) 438-0004

*   The Greenhouse, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, Constantia: 6-course meal with wines from Klein Constantia R295. Tuesday – Friday.  Until September. Tel (021) 794-2137

* Dear Me,  Longmarket Street: 25 % off standard price of 3-course (R240) or 5-course (R350) dinner.  Thursdays.  From 19 May until July.  Tel (021) 422-4920

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay: 2-courses R150, 3-courses R180.  Parmesam lamb R99, Veal Saltimbocca R89, Beef & Reef R 120, Gnocchi Ragu R69, Pancetta and pea risotto R79, Canneloni R69, and Kingklip R99.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-0007

*   The Round House, Camps Bay: 7-course lunch and dinner R240, or R460 paired with wine.   Winter. Tel (021) 438-4347

*   Planet Restaurant,  Mount Nelson Hotel:  4-course Vegan Journey menu R300, 4-course The Journey menu R220, 6-course The Journey menu R300.  Winter. Tel (021) 483-1000.

*   Brio 1893: 3-course dinner R165.  Monday – Thursday.  Closing down 12 August. Tel (021) 422-0654

*   GOLD Restaurant: Winter special R200 + 10 % service fee.  June – September. Tel (021) 421-4653

*   Salt Restaurant, Ambassador Hotel:  2 courses R120 amd 3 courses R140.  Receive a voucher for a free bottle of Hartenberg wine for the next visit if order two 3-course meals.  Until 31 August. Tel (021) 439-7258

*   Tuscany Beach, Camps Bay: 50 % off partner’s main course, Dinner, daily; 25 % off Sushi, 12h00 – 18h00, daily.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-1213.

1800 Degrees, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel: Hot and cold Tapas and jazz, with a bottle of Diemersfontein wine per couple R195 per person, Sundays, 12h00 – 15h00. 100 gram sirloin, 100 gram rump and 100 gram rib eye steaks R99 plus one sauce and jacket potato.  Winter. Tel (021) 430-0511.

*   St Elmo’s: 2 large regular pizzas R99,90,  2 medium regular pizzas R69,90 Take-away, Daily.  2 Large pizzas R79,90 on Tuesdays;  1 Large pizza plus 400g rack of ribs and chips for R109,90, Take Away, daily; Small pizza plus 330ml Coke R24,90, Monday – Friday lunch. Winter. www.stelmos.co.za

*   Café Delicieux, Welgemoed: 2-course dinner R125, 3-courses R155.  Friday evenings.  Winter. Tel (021) 913-1053

*   Café Manhattan, 74 Waterkant Street and 247 Main Road, Three Anchor Bay: Burger and a glass of wine R45.  Winter. Tel (021) 421-6666/Tel (021) 439-9666.

*   Pigalle, Green Point: 3 course dinner and show R330 – R350, 8 June, 21 July, 10 August, 14 September.  Tel (021) 421-4848

*   Pepper Club on the Beach, Camps Bay: Seafood platter R149,95; Sirloin plus 3 prawns R 98,95; Prawn platter R98,95.  Until 31 December. Tel (021) 438-3174

*   Mint, Taj Hotel: 3 courses plus a glass of Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc or Merlot R185, Monday – Sundays, Until 30 September. Tel (021) 819-2000

*   News Café, Green Point: English Breakfast R19, 7h00 – 9h00 Monday – Friday, 7h30 – 9h00 Saturday and Sunday, until 1 February 2012

*   Long Street Café: Butter Chicken Curry and rice, R55, until 10 June, Monday – Sunday.  tel (021) 424-2464

*   Savour Restaurant, 15 on Orange: 3-course meal R180, Monday – Sunday, Until 31 August. Tel (021) 469-8037

*   La Colombe, Constantia: Lunch – 3-courses R240, 3-courses plus wine R280, Monday – Saturday, until 30 November.  Dinner – 5-courses R310, 5-courses plus wine R390, Monday – Saturday, until September. Closed 30 May – 20 June.

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel: 2-course lunch R165, 3-course lunch R195, 3-course dinner R215.  Until 1 September.  Tel (021) 713-2222

*   The Grand Café and Beach Granger Bay: 2-courses R 125, 3-courses R150, Tuesday – Sunday. Winter. Tel (021) 425-0551

*   Constantia Uitsig: 2-course lunch and dinner R190, 3-course lunch R220, 3-course dinner R250, Monday – Saturday. Until 30 September.  Closed 4 – 26 July.

*   Blues, Camps Bay: 2-courses R120, 3-courses R150, includes a glass of wine and cup of coffee. Monday – Sunday.  Until 1 September.

*   River Café, Constantia: 3-courses and carafe of wine R180, lunch, Monday – Saturday.  Until 30 September. Tel (021) 794-3010.  Closed 10 – 30 August.

*   La Cuccina, Hout Bay: Homemade meal for two plus bottle of wine R100. Monday – Saturday. Until 30 December.

Mugged on Roeland: All you can eat Pizza R80, Friday evenings. Until 30 December. Tel 084 5894 665

*   Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay: Free bottle of Elements wine plus 2 Amarula Crème Brulee with two meat main courses ordered; 1 kg prawns R99; Soup R35; Malay Lamb Curry R89; Mussel Mexicana R69; Winter Platter R99.  Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Until 30 September. Tel (021) 790-1036

*   Rick’s Café Américain, Park Road: Tapas or Mezze Platter plus 1/2 litre house wine R105; 1/2 litre Paulaner, Erdinger and Valentins beer R 30, 5 – 7 pm; Lunch specials from R39; and more specials on drinks. Winter.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   Barocca, Camps Bay Club: 2 for the price of one burgers Tuesday evenings; Pasta and a glass of wine R50 Thursday evenings.  From 5 pm.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-1992

*   Seaforth Restaurant, Simonstown: Deep fried prawns R90 Tuesdays; hake and chips R38 Wednesdays; Eat as much calamari as you like R49 Thursdays; Steak and calamari R78 Fridays; Eat as much as you like pork spare ribs R88 Saturdays. From 6 pm. June. Tel (021) 786-4810

*   Pizzeria Villagio, Howard Centre, Pinelands: Free glass of Teddy Hall wine with home-made pasta on Tuesdays.  Winter. Tel (021) 531-4473.

*   delish, Hout Bay: Cooked breakfast R35; Soup and ciabatta R30, Monday – Friday lunch; Tagines, ragouts and curries plus glass of wine or beer R75, from 12h00, daily.  Winter. Tel (021) 790-5324

*   Café Sofia, Sea Point, Kloof Street, Camps Bay and Green Point: Buy 2 main courses and get one free, from 17h00, daily.  Winter.

*   Saul’s Taverna, Sea Point: 2-course meal and cocktails for two R140.  Winter. Tel 087 151 4592

*   Adega, Sea Point: Lamb shank R69, Feijoada R89, 1kg King Prawns R95. Winter. Tel (021) 434-3029

*   La Grotto, Plumstead: 300g rump steak R89. Winter. Tel (021) 797-8420.

*   Wangthai, V&A Waterfront, Constantia, Lagoon Beach, Somerset West:  Free glass of Durbanville Hills wine with Curry Festival meal.  Winter. Tel (021) 421-8702/(021) 794-0022/(021) 551-9254/(021) 855-0112.

*   Addis in Cape Ethiopian Restaurant, 41 Church Street: 2-course set menu R130.  Tel (021) 424-5722. Winter

*   Ocean Basket, Western Cape: Oysters R8 each, until 15 July.

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 4-courses R370, 5-courses R495, wine flight prices R50 – R135, until October. Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Diva Pizza, Buitenkant Street: 2 large margherita pizzas with choice of two toppings R85 on Tuesday and Saturday evenings.  Until 31 August. Tel (021) 461-0013

*   Harveys, Winchester Mansions, Sea Point: 2-course lunch R130, 3-course lunch R160; 2-course dinner R150, 3-course dinner R 180.  Monday – Sunday. Winter. Tel (021) 434-2351.

*   Savour, 15 on Orange Hotel: Sunday Lunch Buffet plus ’never-ending supply of Methodé Cap Classique’ R265.  Winter. Tel (021) 469-8000

*   Karibu, V&A Waterfront: 220g rump, Malay chicken, calamari, and bobotie R49.  Monday – Sunday lunch, Sunday – Wednesday dinner.  Until 31 August. Tel (021) 421-7005.

*   Hussar Grill, Green Point and Camps Bay: 2-courses R99, no corkage.  Winter. Tel (021) 433-2081/(021) 438-0151

*   Tokyo Restaurant & Sushi Bar: Buy one get one free daily; Sushi Buffet Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings R110.  Winter. Tel (021) 424-5108.

WINELANDS

Franschhoek

*   Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250g steaks at R115, including a glass of estate wine, current. 3-course lunch R 100, and R150 with wines paired.  Chicken and Prawn Potjie with Roti and glass of Allee Bleue Isabeau or Shiraz R85.  Lunch, Wednesday – Sunday. Until end September. Chicnic picnics daily (weather depending), R145 per person. Summer Tel (021) 874-1021

*   Ryan’s Kitchen at Rusthof, Franschhoek: 3-course dinner R195; 6 course Taste of Africa dinner R295.  Winter. Closed 27 June – 14 July.  Tel (021) 876-4598.

*   Reuben’s, Franschhoek: 2-course lunch and dinner R 220, 3-courses R268, 4-courses R315.  Current. Tel (021) 876-3772

*   Allora in Franschhoek: 3-course Sunday lunch R100.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-4375.

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 1-course R93, 2-courses R125, 3-courses R175, and glass of wine with each option. Lunch. Winter. Tel (021) 876-9200

*   French Connection, Franschhoek: 2-courses R95, 3-courses R125.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-4056

*   Grande Provence Jonkershuis, Franschhoek: 4-course lunch and dinner, minimum 8 guests, R200.  Monday – Saturday dinner, Monday – Sunday lunch.  Closed 18 – 31 July.  Until 30 September. Tel (021) 876-8600

*   Mon Plaisir @Chamonix, Franschhoek: 2-courses R 170, 3-courses R199.  Winter. Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Wednesday – Saturday dinner.  Tel (021) 876-2393.

*   Monneaux Restaurant, Franschhoek Country House: Cape Malay Curry R95, Wednesday evenings; Firecracker Menu - 2 courses R145, 3 courses R175, all nights.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-3386

*   Salmon Bar, Franschhoek: 3-course dinner plus glass of Porcupine Ridge R150, Fridays and Saturdays.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-4591.

*   Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel, Franschhoek:  2-courses plus glass of wine R150, 3-courses plus glass of wine R190, Winter Brunch Buffet plus glass of bubbly R150.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-3000.

*   Fyndraai, Solms Delta, Franschoek.  2-course Sunday Lunch Buffet R125. Tel (021) 874-3937.

Paarl

*   Laborie Restaurant in Paarl: 5 food portions each paired with wine R395.  Winter. Tel (021) 807-3095

*   Freedom Hill: 10 % off discount with Loyalty Card.  Closed July and August.  Winter. Tel (021) 867-0963

*   Bosman’s, Grande Roche, Paarl: 2-courses R120, 3-courses R155.  Monday – Sunday lunch.  Until April (except 20 December – 10 January). Tel (021) 863-5100.

Stellenbosch

*   Olivello, Klapmuts, outside Stellenbosch: 2-course meal R115, 3-course meal R135 plus glass of wine.  Winter. Tel (021) 875-5443

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course lunch and dinner from a la carte menu (with a few surcharges), with glass of Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc or Petit Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, R180, Winter; 4-course Chocolate dinner in conjunction with Lindt Chocolate Studio.  R300. 15 June. Tel (021) 842-2020

*   Warwick, Stellenbosch:  Tapas menu range R15 – R45 per dish. Winter. Tel (021) 884-4410

*   Dornier Bodega, Stellenbosch: Meat-free Mondays, Comfort Tuesdays, Pasta Wednesdays, Soup Thursdays, Fish Fridays, all R79, lunch, May – September, Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Towerbosch Restaurant, Knorhoek Wine Estate, Stellenbosch:  Soup & Bredie Menu with soup and bredie R90, Wednesdays – Saturdays; Asado Argentian-style braai on Sundays R165.  May – August. Tel (021) 865-2958

*   Tokara Restaurant, Stellenbosch: Chef’s Menu - 3 courses and amuse bouche and palate cleanser R225.  From 10 May, during winter. Tel (021) 885-2550

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, Stellenbosch: 1-course meal with glass of wine R95; 4-course meal with 2 glasses of wine R 225. Tuesday – Saturday lunch, Thursday and Friday dinners.  From 10 May in winter.  Tel (021) 881-3612

*   Terroir, Kleine Zalze estate:  2-courses R170, 3-courses R195.  Includes glass of Kleine Zalze wine.   May – September. Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner,  Sunday lunch.  Closed 1 – 11 July. Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Restaurant Christophe, Stellenbosch:  4-course dinner R150 Tuesday – Saturday.  Inexpensive Bistro lunches Tuesday – Friday.  Closed down 24 June. Tel (021) 886-8763

*   Overture, Stellenbosch: 2-course meal R 160.   Winter, but closed in July.  Tel (021) 880-2721

*   Wild Peacock Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Str, Stellenbosch: 3-course dinner and glass of wine R140.  Wednesday evenings. Winter. Tel (021) 887-7585

*   Delaire Graff, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch : 3-course Organic Tasting Menu with 2 glasses of wine R295, Monday – Friday lunch, Wednesday – Friday dinner.  Winter. Tel (021) 886-8160

*   Johan’s at Longridge, Stellenbosch: 2-course lunch plus glass of wine R150.  Friday – Tuesday lunch (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays).  Winter. Tel (021) 855-2004.

*   Delheim, Knorhoek Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course Mushroom Week mushroom menu R120 for 3 courses and 3 glasses of Delheim wine.  Until 10 July.  Tel (021) 888-4607

Somerset West

*   Waterkloof, Somerset West: Receive a R100 voucher off for a meal in June, for meals in May.  Tel (021) 858-1491

Hermanus

*   Season in Hermanus: Sunday lunch roast from R65; Afval plus soup and glass of wine R65 on Wednesday for lunch or dinner; Lowest priced of two steaks ordered on Friday evenings is free.  August. Tel (028) 316-2854

*   The Class Room, Hermanus: 3-course Sunday lunch R130.  Winter. Tel (028) 316-3582

*   Rossi’s Italian Restaurant, Hermanus: Half price pizza and pasta Mondays;  free bottle of house wine for table of 2 or more on Wednesdays; Children under 4 eat free on Thursdays. Winter.  Tel (028) 312-2848

*   Mediterrea, Hermanus: 50 % off all main courses, Sunday – Thursdays.  Until 31 August. Tel (028) 313-1685

*   Joe’s Restaurant, Stanford: Abalone Buffet (abalone fritters, sausage, scotch eggs, burgers, curry, samoosas, and lasagne) R95, daily lunch. Winter. Tel (028) 3410 662

Plettenberg Bay

*   Nguni - Friday dinner special R50.  Every Friday.  Winter. Tel (044) 533-6710

POSTSCRIPT 5/5: TV presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen has praised her Restaurant Special meal at Blowfish as follows: “Thank you for your HotWinter specials on your site, tried out the lunch special at BlowFish, it was good value for money xoxo”

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

Copyright: Whale Cottage Portfolio

One of the exciting things about winter is that a number of restaurants are offering excellent value Gourmet evenings, with top wine makers presenting their wines, paired with special dishes prepared by the chefs of the restaurants.  It is a shame that some of the dates clash.

The Pavilion at The Marine Hotel, Hermanus

6 May:   Bouchard Finlayson Winery

3 June:   Paul Cluver Wines

1 July:   Klein Constantia Wine Estate

5 August:   Creation Wines

2 September:   Hamilton Russell Vineyards & Southern Right

The 5-course dinners, paired with wines, cost R 320 per person.  Tel (028) 313-1000

The Grand Café Camps Bay

11 May:   Peter Falke Wines

15 June:   Stellekaya

13 July:   Haute Cabriere

The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300.  Tel (021) 438-4253 NOTE THAT THE RESTAURANT IS CLOSED UNTIL END JULY, CONTRADICTING THE NOTICE ABOUT THE PAIRINGS THEY SENT

The Grand on the Beach

18 May:   Antonij Rupert Wines

22 June:   Ernst Gouws & Co

20 July:   Peter Falke

The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300.  Tel (021) 425-0551

Bosman’s, Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl

27 May:   AA Badenhorst Family Wines with winemaker Adi Badenhorst

10 June:   The House of Krone with winemaker Matthew Krone

22 July:   Glen Carlou with winemaker Arco Laarman

26 August:   Backsberg with winemaker Guillaume Nell

3 September:   Nederburg Auction Pre-dinner with cellarmaster Razvan Macici

28 October:   Raats Family Wines with winemaker Bruwer Raats

The 5-course meal with wine, coffee, canapés and petit fours costs R690.  Tel (021) 863-5100

The Garden Room, Mount Nelson Hotel

29 April:   Vergelegen with winemaker Andre van Rensburg

27 May:   Bouchard Finlayson with winemaker and owner Peter Finlayson

24 June:   Neil Ellis Wines with owner Neil Ellis

29 July:   Groote Post with winemaker Lukas Wentzel

26 August:   Rust en Vrede with winemaker Coenie Snyman

30 September:   Deetlefs with winemaker Willie Stofberg

28 October:   Boschendal with winemaker Lizelle Gerber

15 November:   Moreson with winemaker Clayton Reabow

9 December:   Boekenhoutskloof with winemaker Marc Kent.

The 7-course dinner costs R 395 per person with matching wines.  Tel (021) 483-1000

Chenin Wine Bar and Restaurant

26 May:   Ernie Els Wines

Cost is R 100. Tel (021) 425-2200

Buitenverwachting

28 April: Buitenverwachting winemaker Brad Paton

Cost of the 5-course meal is R460.  Tel (021) 794-3522

Nobu at One&Only Cape Town

29 April:   Stark-Condé Wines

Cost of the 7-course meal is R R480.   Tel (021) 431-5111

What’s On, Watson Street

7 May:   Fleur du Cap winemaker Christoff de Wet

Cost of the 6-course dinner and wines is R300 per person or R500 per couple.  Tel (021) 422-5652

Marika’s, Gardens

9 May:   Mischa and Eventide

6 June:   Barton Wines winemaker JP Geyer

4 July:   Nabygelegen with winemaker James McKenzie

Cost of 5-course dinner and wines is R 200.  Tel (021) 465-2727

1800°C Grill Room, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel

7 May:   Hartenberg Estate

2 June:  Morgenhof

7 July:   Warwick wine estate

4 August: La Motte Wine Estate

Cost of 4-course dinner with welcome drink and wines R335.  Tel (021) 430-0506

Casa Nostra, Sea Point

28 May:   Fairview

2 July:   Klein Constantia

Cost of 4-course meal R230.  Tel (021) 433-0187

Bergkelder, Stellenbosch

30 June:   Fleur du Cap Unfiltered

Cost of 5-course meal, Wine and Flavoured Salt tasting by Craig Cormack of Sofia’s is R400.  Tel (021) 809-8025

French Toast

22 June: L’Avenir Vineyards

6 July:   Constantia Glen

3 August :  Diemersdal

7 September:   Creation Wines

5 October:   Rustenberg Wines

Cost of 3-course Tapas and wine pairing R 220 per person.  Tel (021) 422-3839.

24 August: Overgaauw vintage port pairing (with David van Velden) with food, R80.  Tel (021) 422-3839

Café BonBon, Franschhoek

8 June:  Jacoline Haasbroek from My Wyn

22 June:   Haut Espoir

4-course dinner and wine pairing R195 per person.  Tel (021) 876-3936

La Mouette, Sea Point

8 June:  Arco Laarman from Glen Carlou

4-course French theme dinner R240 per person. Tel (021) 433-0856

Swiss & Austrian Social Club, Sea Point

11 June:   Waverley Hills Organic Wines

5-course dinner paired with five wines R250.  Tel (021) 434-8405

Fork

19 July:   Joubert-Tradauw

9-course emal paired with wines R225.  Tel (021) 424-6334

15 on Orange

21 July:  Warwick wines

6-course meal paired with wines R295.  Tel (021) 469-8000

Knife Restaurant

27 July: Glenwood Wines

4-course meal paired with wines R220.  Tel (021) 551-5000

Warwick Wine Estate

22 and 29 July: 4-course dinner paired with Warwick wines, celebrating Stellenbosch Wine Festival.  R390. Tel (021) 884-4410

The Class Room, Hermanus

12 August: Rust en Vrede

3-course dinner paired with wines R195.  Tel (028) 316-3582

Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions

3 August: Avontuur Wine Estate

5-course dinner paired with 7 Avontuur wines R345. Tel (021) 434-2351

5 October: Luddite

5-course dinner paired with 6 Luddite wines at R345 per person Tel (021) 434-2351

Sinn’s, Wembley Square

25 August: Durbanville Hills with winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee

4-course dinner paired with 4 wines R225.  Tel (021) 465-0967

Pure Restaurant, Hout Bay Manor

24 September:   Groote Post wine estate

5-course dinner paired with wines R 260.  Tel (021) 791-9393

96 Winery Road

28 September:   Van Ryn’s

4-course dinner paired with Van Ryn’s brandy R320.  Tel (021) 842-2020

Cassia Restaurant, Nitida wine estate, Durbanville

30 September:  Nitida wines

4-course dinner paired with Nitida wines R 300.  Tel (021) 976-0640

Bayside Café, Camps Bay

30 September: Beyerskloof Wines

5-course dinner paired with Beyerskloof Wines R 175 per person.  Tel (021) 438-2650

Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch

28 October: Clos Malverne wines

5-course dinner paired with Clos Malverne wines R 445.  Tel (021) 865-2022

La Residence, Franschhoek

18 November: Waterford Wines with winemaker Francois Haasbroek

6-course Dinner paired with Waterford wines R 800.  Tel (021) 876-4100

The Vineyard Hotel

Friday 13 May

Schalk Burger & Sons

Friday 27 May

Warwick & Vilafonté

Friday 10 June

West Coast Wines with Tierhoek

Friday 24 June

Stellakaya with Ntsiki Biyela

Friday 1 July

La Motte

Friday 15 July

Solms Delta Wine Estate

Friday 5 August

Dombeya Wines with Rianie Strydom

Friday 19 August

Catherine Marshall Wines

Friday 2 September

Meerlust Wine Estate

Friday 16 September

Favourites from Wine Concepts

Friday 7 October

Hermanuspietersfontein

Friday 21 October

Wines from the Swartland (Kloovenburg, Babylon’s Peak)

Friday 28 October

Constantia Valley Wines

The dinner costs R 250 per person.  Tel (021) 657-4500.

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

We have written about Crush!1, Crush!2 and Crush!3, Michael Olivier’s digital food and wine magazine, which he launched last year.   As other publications are being launched which embrace food and wine, both digitally and in print, I chose to evaluate Crush!4 against its competitors, putting myself in the shoes of a food and/or wine marketer, deciding where to spend a marketing budget, and as a food and wine lover, deciding where to spend my time reading.   I evaluated Winestyle, TASTE, and Crush!4, all three magazines focusing on food and wine, with a Postscript on Crush!5.

Winestyle

The first (Summer) issue of Winestyle was sent to subscribers (note one does not pay to receive the magazine) in December, and its concept is a most creative and environmentally-friendly “print on demand” one.  This saves the publishers from over-printing, saving paper and costs, and ultimately the environment.  It is published quarterly.  What makes it unique is that a weekly newsletter is sent by e-mail to each subscriber, updating them on food and wine news.  While the brand carry-over is not strong in terms of the banner design of the newsletter (initially I thought the newsletters were from wine consultant Nikki Dumas, who has a similar company name).   This builds brand awareness weekly, and bridges the quarterly print publishing period.

The 88-page magazine is larger than the standard A4 size, and has an attractive cover, although it is not photographed in a vineyard.  The paper quality is outstanding, as is the photography.  Editor Jenny Ratcliffe-Wright is from Warwick wine estate originally, where her mother Norma and brother Mike make excellent wines, and this makes Jenny well-connected to the wine industry.  In her editorial Jenny writes: “It is our intention to help everyone make full use of every wine-drinking day …. it’s your passport to all things enjoyable, to in-the-know wines, delicious and simple-to-prepare food and accessible travel – all in a large, sexy, glossy, collectible magazine”.   The theme of the Summer edition is celebration, and therefore champagnes and sparkling wines are predominantly featured.

Advertising support is impressive for a first edition, and reflects the confidence of the advertisers in the publication, and wine estates Graham Beck,  Glen Carlou, Clos Malverne, Kleine Zalze,  Nederburg, Highlands Road Estate, OBiKWA, Creation, Eikendal, Adoro Wines, Muratie, and Morgenhof have taken full-page ads.  Jenny anticipates having 2500 subscribers by the time the next issue is launched in March.

The editorial content includes a focus on sparkling wine producers in Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, including JC le Roux, Simonsig, Villiera, Morgenhof, Cabrière, Graham Beck, Anura, and Sterhuis, and recommends accommodation and restaurants in the area.  A profile on a very casual looking Jean-Philippe Colmant, making excellent bubbly in Franschhoek and importing champagnes, is written by Cape Talk’s John Maytham.  A travel feature focuses on the Champagne region, which is informative and has beautiful photographs.  A food feature focuses on Tapas, with short recipes, and amazing photography by Christoph Heierli.  A Restaurant feature recommends places offering ‘alfresco dining’ in Johannesburg, Durban, the Winelands and Cape Town.   A feature on cocktails has some that call for sparkling wine. The results of a wine-tasting, a panel comparing South African sparkling wines Silverthorn, Colmant Brut, Villiera, Jacques Bruére, and Simonsig, with champagnes Moët & Chandon, Veuve Cliquot, Piper-Heidsieck, Pol Roger and Tribaut Brut Tradition, are featured.  Joint first winners were Silverthorn the Green Man Brut and Tribaut Brut Tradition.  A tasting panel evaluation of the 2010 vintage Sauvignon Blanc of Groote Post, David Nieuwoudt Ghost Corner, Neil Joubert, Arabella, Sophie Terblance, Delaire, Diemersdal, Klein Constantia, De Grendel and Du Toitskloof ranks them in this order.  An article on cigars concludes what must be the most excellent food and wine publication available locally now.

I cannot wait for the Autumn edition.  I do recommend that there be more synergy between the magazine and the newsletter as well as its website in terms of branding and design.  Of the three magazines reviewed in this blogpost, Winestyle is the best by far, and we congratulate editor Jenny on this achievement for her maiden issue.

TASTE

Woolworths’ in-house magazine is written and published by New Media Publishing, and they have regularly won ADMag and Pica Awards for Customer Magazine of the Year for it, most recently in 2009.   It costs R20,95, is published monthly, and is sold in outlets other than Woolworths too.   It is A4 in size, with 134 pages, and does not have a statement to describe what it stands for, but its cover photograph represents food.  Wines appear to be a secondary focus.  The editor is highly regarded Sumien Brink, with Abigail Donnelly ably at her side.

Advertisers are a mixed bunch, including car retailers, liquor brands (Darling Cellars, Krone, Bombay Sapphire, Veuve Cliquot, Brand House), watch brands, kitchen suppliers, decor brands, food brands (Lancewood, Lindt), investment companies, a restaurant (Cape Town Fish Market), and accommodation, most of the brands not sold by Woolworths at all.

The editorial content of the December issue includes a Trends feature, and food related trends are featured with beautiful large photographs by Lee Malan and Jan Ras.  Where recipes are featured, they are short and sweet, and do not dominate the look of any page (something competitors House and Leisure Food can learn from).  A Foodstuff feature focuses on products that are sold at Woolworths, but most are non-branded items, and the Woolworths link is very low key. It even has an interview with and one done by Andy Fenner, who writes the JamieWho? blog, a contributor to Crush! issues 2, 3 and 4, but he has withdrawn his support, probably due to his new (not yet clearly defined) involvement with Woolworths, and not wanting to be associated with his friend David Cope’s disparaging Twitter campaign against ourselves, in retaliation to our review of Crush!3.   A chicken feature by man-of-the-moment Justin Bonello, a fish focus by Sam Woulidge, a canapé feature by Mariana Esterhuizen of Mariana’s, a feature on Dewetshof by Woolworths wine consultant Allan Mullins, and a feature on Oded Schwartz of Oded’s Kitchen and his relishes, chutneys and preserves, follow.  Christmas recipes are featured, but are few in number.  Restaurants featured are the fabulous Babel on Babylonstoren (next door to Backsberg), and the heavenly Hemelhuijs.  Blueberries are featured, with recipes, as are Summer lunch recipes.  An exclusive extract from Australian Bill Granger’s receipe book “Bill’s Basics” is featured.  A travel feature by Judy van der Walt focuses on the Dordogne region, and the magazine ends off with a month’s worth of recipes for snacks, lunches, tea time, and suppers.

I hadn’t bought a TASTE magazine for a while, and remembered it to be more attractive and impactful.  The focus may be too much on recipes, and too little on wines.   The features are written by good quality journalists, and could possibly be expanded.   I liked the way Woolworths as a brand is not ‘in your face’ when reading the magazine – in fact I wouldn’t have minded more direct brand-linkage, to know what to look for when next I shop.  There are so many organic and other quality suppliers to Woolworths of fruit and vegetables and other foods, as well as of wines, which could all be the subject of features, not necessarily linked to recipes only.  A “new Woolworths products” feature would be welcome.  For a marketer, TASTE would be an important advertising medium to consider, given its association with Woolworths, and the profile of the Woolworths shopper, with a reasonable disposable income.    There is little carry-over between the magazine and its website.

Crush!4

The digital food and wine magazine Crush! has no print partner, and is haphazard in its publishing frequency. On Twitter the editorial team hint at how busy they are in doing work for the publication, but on average it appears to take them two months or longer to publish a new issue.  The arrival of the new magazine is announced on Twitter and by e-mail, as one has to subscribe to receive a link to it, and is free of charge.

Crush!4  has 44 pages and was published early in December.  It appears to have lost its restaurant reviewer JP Rossouw, and Olivier has taken over writing the restaurant reviews, something we suggested in one of our earlier Crush! reviews.   We are delighted with another of our recommendations that Olivier adopted, which was to let (lady) bloggers participate in his magazine, and he has done so by giving highly regarded blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs from Scrumptious blog a recipe feature, and he has introduced a recipe competition, in which the recipes of bloggers Colleen Grove, Jeanne Horak-Druiff, Meeta Khurana-Wolff and Nina Timm can be evaluated by readers.

The navigation of the pages, and more particularly the content on each page, remains tedious. The front cover looks better, the copy on top of the photograph being easier to read, but it is not yet perfect, especially when one compares the ‘less is more’ covers of the two other magazines above.  Most flashing gimmicks have been removed from the front cover, and have largely been discontinued.   Advertising support is poor, and appears reduced relative to previous issues, and compared to the two other publications above, with only Hidden Valley, Pongracz, Laborie, Old Mutual and Ultra Liquors advertising.

The content consists of a wine page written by Olivier, and features premium brandy cocktails, a vineyard dog, wine finds, a wine myth and an overview of Sauvignon Blanc.  The Essentials page, as before, has products with poor brand recognition, but the names are typed alongside each product.  A Plaisir de Merle feature is a good promotion for the wine estate.  The recipe pages by Jane-Anne Hobbs have fantastic photography done by herself (perhaps she should become the Crush!photographer!), but I could only get to see three recipes (soup, dessert, gammon) - I am sure there were more, judging by the six bottles alongside the opening recipe, and Olivier recommends a wine per recipe.   The names of the wines are not typed alongside the bottles.   The JamieWho? page by Andy Fenner is blocked by a Laborie promotion box, still has silly moving balloon captions, and focuses on Absinthe, Champagne, Hangover Cures, Jardine’s Christmas cake,  and Christmas cocktails.  In two of his mini-stories the copy ends mid-sentence.  The review of Babel Restaurant at Babylonstoren is blocked by a competition box, and one does not know how to close it.  Restaurant names at the bottom of the Babel article are harder to read on the right hand side, especially ‘Cafeen’.

A seven-day recipe card feature by Carey Boucher-Erasmus (a food consultant to the Pick ‘n Pay Cookery School, according to Google) is easy to follow and read, but no information is supplied about who Carey is.  There is no consistency in the colours used for the names of white and red wines alongside the bottles, the white wine names typed in blue (High Five) or in green (Quaff Now).   Sophia Lindop does great food features, but has used herbs in the last two issues (rocket in the current issue and rosemary last time), making it hard to see dishes prepared with these, and thus to have attractive photographs, even if they are photographed by star photographer Russel Wasserfall.   David Cope outs himself as a guest house reviewer, of South Hills, presented on a messy red and white check background which is similar to that which he uses on his ‘The Foodie’ blog.  A summer picnic spead looks good enough to eat off the screen, and is prepared by Luisa Farelo, but there is no indication as to who she is (I could not find any information about her on Google).  The focus on Parlotones wines, named after the group, is fun in having their music videos, but I did struggle to get one to play properly.  I also struggled to find the way to open the Prince Albert feature by Russel Wasserfall, eventually finding it at the bottom right, in the smallest possible type size.  A feature on trendy Artisan Breads tells the Knead story, with colour photographs, and mentions the names of only five other artisanal bakeries around the country - there are that many others in Cape Town alone!  Helen Untiedt’s organic vegetable garden, and a Book Review page conclude Crush!4.

My overwhelming frustration with Crush! is the difficulty of reading it, and the struggle to move forward or to close what one has opened.  The promotional boxes blocking copy remains a problem, which cheapens the magazine and is irritating to have to close.  Perhaps Olivier and the design team can look at Opulent Living’s e-magazine, only 8 pages long but published regularly – it is easy to read, has no promotions, with beautiful photographs – a top class digital magazine!   I was interested to see the Crush! blogger recipe rating, and the low participation is a surprise (the highest vote is by only 100 readers after two months), given Olivier’s claim that the magazine would go to more than 1 million readers!     If I were a marketer, I would not advertise in Crush!, as a digital magazine cannot present a food or wine brand with the appetite appeal that a print magazine can, especially given the poor pack presentation.  I would therefore love to see a print version of Crush!, as it contains lots of good information, and could make for beautiful pages of copy and photography, something one would want to keep.

POSTSCRIPT 8/2

Crush!5 was launched today.  JamieWho? (Andy Fenner) has been replaced by Neil Stemmet, a talented interior designer, and he adds an Afrikaans dimension to Crush!, with all five his recipes in Afrikaans on his “Soutenpeper” page (this is causing a problem for English readers!).  David Cope has lost his name, and is only referred to as “The Foodie”, with no red and white check background to his contributions anymore, and both his article on Paternoster, and on FoodWineDesign in Johannesburg (held in November!!), are long-winded and boring, with few attractive photographs.   Jane-Anne Hobbs (unfortunately) has been replaced by Clare Bock (owner of Appetite catering company, I learnt from Google) in a food/wine matching feature – by chance I worked out how this feature works – if you click on a wine bottle, an appropriate recipe pops up, rather than finding an appropriate wine to match the recipe!   The five food bloggers in the recipe rating section are complete unknowns.  Luisa Farelo (with an introduction in this issue – she is a chef and food stylist) does another feature, this time on Sunday lunches, and the styling is good enough to eat again.  A food and wine events calendar is a good new addition, while a classifieds section probably is not, the ads being so small that one cannot read them.  A feature on The Test Kitchen, and owner and chef Luke Dale-Roberts, is good with great food photographs, as is the one on Jordan Winery, but the labels underneath the bottles are so tiny that one may not see them.  The interview with Bertus Basson of Overture (Michael is a stickler for spelling, but misspells the restaurant name in his introduction) is weird, and probably does not do him a favour.  Advertisers are Fairview, Pongracz, Old Mutual, and Avocado magazine.

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

After a closure of a few months for a complete make-over, the old Cape Colony at the Mount Nelson Hotel is no more, and what has arisen in its space is the new Planet Restaurant, based on an extension of the planetary theme of the Planet Bar, opening about three weeks ago.  It gives the restaurant, and the hotel with it, a modern feel worthy of the quality of Chef Rudi Liebenberg’s culinary skills.

For a new restaurant to have so much money thrown at it is unusual, with ads in the Sunday Times costing a fortune, even if they are in black and white, and obviously the decor changes were expensive too.  Therefore it was a surprise that when we tried to make the booking a few days prior to our dinner, it was such a struggle to make it with Emmanuel, one of the Maître d’hôtel.   Chef Rudi has been at the hotel for two years now, but the restaurant staff is refreshingly new.  Restaurant Manager Andreas van Breda moved to Cape Town after a long stint at Claridges in London.   For the first time the restaurant has a sommelier, and they could not have appointed a nicer person than Carl Habel, whom I first met at Myoga, and who remembered my love for Shiraz when he came to say hello, even though he was off duty, a reflection of how good he is at customer service.   He enthused about his new job, and his respect for Chef Rudi, whose focus is on quality produce, and on sourcing local ingredients, which makes it easy for him to pair the Planet Restaurant’s food and wine.   It is hard to believe that the Mount Nelson, one of Cape Town’s top hotels, has never had a sommelier before!   It was lovely to receive the warm welcome at the entrance to the hotel from Osnat Gropper, the concierge, and a Twitter friend.

The interior design was done by DHK Interiors, and they have used a less-is-more decor approach, removing the piano and the old-fashioned Capescape mural (excellent decisions).   As one walks down the passage from the Planet Bar, one notices the panels of strings of blue and clear glass balls, representing the planetary theme, interspersed with massive mirrors with illustrations representing the signs of the zodiac, which is carried into the restaurant itself.   Unfortunately not all twelve signs are represented, so I was disappointed to not see Sagittarius on one of the mirrors, having come for a birthday celebration.  The new restaurant is a clean crisp white space, with a central chandelier and new carpet that echo the planetary theme.  The furniture has been replaced, with brown tables, and velvet-covered cream chairs.  In the centre the seating is leather couches. The tables are covered with boring placemats (for the stature of the restaurant and the hotel it could do with a good quality tablecloth), beautiful cutlery from Hepp Exclusive, good light glassware, and a set of modern salt and pepper grinders from Peugeot, which I had also seen a few days earlier at the restaurant at Delaire Graff.  The planetary theme is extended into the sparkly covers of the winelist, the menu and the billfold, as well as on the inside first pages of the menu and winelist.  

The menu is extravagant, running to many pages, with a few items per page. It is printed on a good quality cream board.  It has an introductory statement by Chef Rudi, and is signed by him, stating: “Our kitchen is all about a journey, a journey with many new and sometimes unexpected variables and it is for this reason that we come back inspired and motivated every day. ….The foundation of our process starts with respect, respect for the ingredient, respect for the process, respect for the end product and respect for the guest.   The majority of our ingredients are sourced locally and prepared using a wide range of modern as well as classical cooking methods”.   An insert offers the “Chef’s Suggestions”.    Two tasting menu options are available, strangely a “Vegan Journey” one listed first, followed by the “Journey”, a non-vegan one, both charged at R380 per person for a minimum of two persons to order, and consisting of six courses each.   Each wine recommendation for the tasting menu is priced separately.  Thereafter the menu has a la carte menu options.   Commendably items on the menu are specially marked with a symbol, reflecting them being vegetarian, vegan and containing nuts, where relevant.

Before we could think of choosing anything,  complimentary glasses of Genevieve MCC were brought to the table, as was a small plate of canapés (duck rillette, salmon and feta, as well as ostrich tartare).  If an amuse bouche is a first presentation of the skills of the chef, then this plateful was a disappointment.   We had to ask for the bread.   Three bread options were offered – ciabatta, country bread (the waiter could not explain exactly what this bread contained) and garlic bread.  Starter options range in price from R65 for a “tomato variation, jelly, cloud, sorbet, greens, basil”, not easy to imagine what exactly is served; to R165 for crayfish ceviche and Namibian red crab remoulade.  Duck and quail terrine, smoked salmon trout, and oysters are also available.  One can also order soup and salads, including a crocodile salad (R90), a menu item from the old Cape Colony menu. 

I chose a cold asparagus soup (R85) as the starter, and it was a surprise to have the plate served with a tower of asparagus mousse topped with thin slices of cucumber.   I have seen ceremonious pouring of soup at a table, but the waiter pouring the soup out of the water glass brought from the kitchen by hand, without it being on a tray or in a prettier container, spoilt what I am sure the chef had intended for the presentation of the dish.  I found the dish very bland. It was served in an interesting soup bowl, with a hole in it for design effect.  The advertised egg yolk was left out of the dish, for no reason.   My partner had a slow-cooked free-range egg with local cured ham and mature gouda, served with a pinotage reduction, which he enjoyed, but commented on the runny egg white.   This dish was on the old Cape Colony menu too, and clearly is a hit, for it to have been retained.   For my main course I chose an extravagant abalone and crayfish dish (R295).   The abalone was tiny, making me feel guilty in having chosen something that was clearly undersized (or alternatively out of a can).   It was cut into two, cooked, coated with herbs and then sauteed in butter, but did not have a distinctive abalone taste at all, the herbs overpowering the usually distinctive taste.  A tiny crayfish tail (more guilt), as well as asparagus spears and sweet corn added colour and taste to the dish, but I missed the velouté advertised on the menu as being part of the dish.   No fish knife was served with this dish.   My partner’s flame-grilled beef fillet was butter soft, but the sautéed mushrooms, potato foam and mini fondants were so badly over-salted that he could not finish them (R170).  Other main course options are a pea risotto (R95); monkfish fillet, chicken, pork cheeks and belly, and mussels and calamari, all costing R150; Karoo lamb (R190); and springbok (R180).   For those able to eat more, there is a choice of six desserts, costing around R65, and two cheese options.   Friandises were served with the excellent foamy cappuccino (R20). 

The 24-page winelist specifies vintages and origin, and is introduced with a page of “Sommelier’s latest discoveries”, which were three Solms-Delta wines: Amalie (R60/R175), Langarm (R35/R155), and Hiervandaan (R70/R310), the serving by-the-glass specified at 175ml, making them expensive.   Five “Methode Cap Classique” 150ml wines-by-the-glass are listed, including Pierre Jourdan Brut (R45), Simonsig Brut Rosé (R50) and Genevieve Brut (R60), and surprisingly, the champagnes Billecart-Salmon Rosé (R320) and Veuve Cliquot (R210) were also listed under this heading!   Ten white and seven red wines-by-the glass, the former ranging from R35 – R65 per 175ml, and the latter ranging from R45 – R75 per glass, are offered.   I was disappointed at the small selection of red wines by the glass, and that none of them included a Shiraz.  The rest of the winelist separates white wines into “Crisp and refreshing”, Fragrant and Floral”, “Rich and Opulent” and “Signature and Cellar”.   Red wines are categorised into “Silky and Smooth”, “Elegant and Fresh”, “Rich and Concentrated”, and “The Great Reserve”.  Unique Vin de Constance and Hamilton Russell Pinot Noirvertical vintage selections are also available, but require big cheque books!   Shiraz options by the bottle include Groote Post Reserve (R270), Waterford Kevin Arnold (R430), Saronsberg (R475), Cirrus (R1020), Hartenberg Stork (R1020), Saxenberg Select (R4435), De Trafford (R760), and Fairview Beacon (R515).   Knowing my love for Shiraz, Carl recommended the Saronsberg 2007, a wine not usually available by the glass.  On tasting, it was acceptable, but it had a taste to it that I did not like, the more I drank of it.  We were not charged for the wine.

Having eaten at The Test Kitchen and Planet Restaurant on two consecutive nights, it is clear that the Planet Restaurant is more of a special occasion restaurant, with the staff smartly and professionally dressed befitting the five star status of the hotel, while the food at The Test Kitchen overall was better.  The service levels were on a par.   The Planet Restaurant still needs time to settle in, and for its quality to be consistent, whether Chef Rudi is on duty or not.  The advertising has not yet offered a return on its investment, as we were one of only five tables in what seemed to be a quiet hotel. Having been on the Eat Out top 20 restaurant shortlist whilst at The Saxon, it will be interesting to see if Chef Rudi can take the Planet Restaurant onto the star top 20 restaurant shortlist for 2011.

Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel, 76 Orange Street, Gardens, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 483-1000 www.planetbarandrestaurant.co.za (No menu or winelist on the website, and disappointingly almost no food photographs in the Gallery).  Monday – Sunday dinner only.

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