Entries tagged with “La Mouette”.


Taste CT 2014 Banners Whale Cottage PortfolioFor the seventh year ‘Taste of Cape Town’ is delighting Capetonians with a feast of delectable food, excellent wines, talks and demonstrations about food and beverages, as well as entertainment, held at the Green Point Cricket Club near the Cape Town Stadium until today.

‘Taste of Cape Town’ has had incredible luck with the weather over the years, and temperatures have been climbing since opening day on Thursday, touching on 30ºC yesterday afternoon, and forecast to exceed  this temperature today.  Other than the Lindt stand, the ‘Taste of Cape Town’ stands do not have airconditioning, but attendees sought shade on the cricket ground to eat and drink their purchases. Outside each food stand a stand-up table allows one to eat, and to meet other ‘Taste of Cape Town’ attendees and obtain tips from them as to what to try at other stands on the route.  The chefs have a challenging time preparing hundreds of portions of three dishes each, with limited space and cooking facilities. There was barely any waiting time at any of the stands,  once one had ordered.  Payment is in terms of ‘scoins’, vouchers valued at R5 each, available to buy in booklets of 20 at R100. The cost of each dish is priced in scoins, none costing more than 8 scoins (R40).  The prices have not been increased in the past six (more…)

Ultimate BraaiMaster Season 3 Cape Final Banners Whale Cottage PortfolioYesterday I was invited to attend the judging of the Cape Finals of Season 3 of Ultimate Braai Master held in the parking area of The Lookout at the V&A Waterfront.  Not only was it a good way to catch up with a number of chefs who judged the Cape Finals, but it was also an opportunity to meet Cooked in Africa Films producer Justin Bonello.

Justin chatted to blogger Thuli Gogela of Mzansi Style Cuisine Blog (she appeared in the Bloggers episode of season 2 of MasterChef SA)  and I as the judging came to an end at the Finals.  One sensed his overriding passion for food, which has grown into TV production, with 21 productions to date, including two previous Ultimate Braai Master Ultimate Braaimaster Season 3 Cape Finals Thuli Gozela Justin Bonello Whale Cottage Portfolioseasons, two seasons of Charly’s Cake Angels, as well as Seasons at Terroir, which was launched last week and focuses on Chef Michael Broughton, and his restaurant Terroir at Kleine Zalze.   Justin denied that Terroir not making the Top 20 Eat Out restaurant list last November was a blow to their production, saying that Chef Michael’s food is beyond Top 10 competitions, clearly a fan of the chef’s food. He is fascinated by the revolution of growing one’s own vegetables and herbs, and proudly showed me a photograph of his vegetable garden at home, out Hout Bay way, which will become the subject of a TV series  ‘Green Time’ at the end of 2015, with seven pilot projects of vegetable gardening at schools being developed. (more…)

StreetSmart Banner Whale Cottage PortfolioI have not been a great fan of the forced R5 addition to one’s restaurant bill without permission in Streetsmart restaurants, but after attending the presentation of monies to support the good community work for street children it is funding, and hearing what a difference the money makes to the less fortunate at a function held at The Salesian Institute on Thursday evening, my perception about Streetsmart has changed completely.

Established in 2005 by tour operator Margi Biggs as a means of helping street children, and now chaired by committee junkie Nils Heckscher (he has been or currently serves on the board of FEDHASA Cape, Cape Town StreetSmart Nils Heckscher Whale Cottage PortfolioTourism, the former Cape Town Routes Unlimited, and Tourism Marketing of South Africa), Streetsmart generated just over R900000 in the past year, and a total of R7 million since its establishment.  R5 is added to the restaurant bill per table, irrespective of the number of patrons seated at the table.  This money is transferred to Streetsmart once a month.  Streetsmart is also collected in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and in India.

Heckscher suffers badly from being in the shadow of his very well-known (more…)

Diners Club Winelist Awards 2More restaurants in the Western Cape than in any other province entered and received a Diners Club International Winelist Award 2013. At the 30th Awards function held for the Western Cape at the Vineyard Hotel on Wednesday,  MasterChef SA Judge and Tsogo Sun Chef Benny Masekwameng announced the 38 winners in the Diamond, 30 in the Platinum, 26 in the Gold,  and 2 in the SilverDiners Club Chef Benny Whale Cotatge Portfolio Award categories, 96 awards in total.

Veteran wine critic Dave Hughes chaired the judging panel, which included fledgling judge Chef Benny, restaurant guide editor JP Rossouw,  wine judges Christine Rudman and Fiona McDonald,   Winestyle.biz owner Nikki Dumas, and the Cape Wine Academy head Marilyn Cooper.  He said that it was fitting that the Awards ceremony was held at The Vineyard hotel, the Newlands area having been the first in Cape Town in which grapes were grown, but soon (more…)

MasterChef 2 13 Finalists Whale Cottage PortfolioEpisode 13 of MasterChef SA last night marked the halfway mark for the reality TV cooking show, and focused on the use of Dairy.  Many panna cotta dishes were made for the Dairy Challenge, which panned out for some, and not so for others.

The episode began with the Finalists discovering that all their dairy products had been removed from the fridge in their house, and they reacted grumpily to not being able to have coffee to wake up with.  Herman Cloete said their mood was ‘scratchy‘.  When they arrived at the MasterChef kitchen, Chef Andrew Atkinson cheekily asked why they looked as if they did not have a good start to the day, knowing full well what had happened at the house.  It was meant to introduce the Invention Test, to test the Finalists’ creativity with the products most commonly found in households, being dairy.  The Pantry had been stocked with milk, cream, cheese, and yoghurts, and the Finalists were challenged to make any dish with dairy, be it a starter or dessert, as long as they got the basics right.  They were given 10 minutes to grab their products in the Pantry, and 60 minutes to prepare their dish. (more…)

MasterChef 2 12 Cloche Whale Cottage PortfolioLast night’s episode 12 kept viewers glued to the screen, as Finalists Sanet Labuschagne, Tiron Eloff, and Jason Steel had to replicate La Mouette Chef Henry Vigar’s dish. Karen Els enjoyed her special MasterClass at The Creamery.

Chef Henry Vigar of La Mouette was the ‘top Cape Town chef‘ viewers were told would be present in the episode, and whose dish they had to replicate.  When Chef Pete Goffe-Wood introduced the chef as being a good friend, that it is his favourite restaurant, and that the chef is from the UK and has a South African wife, and has worked at top UK restaurants, we could not help but think that it was Chef Luke Dale-Roberts from The Test Kitchen and the Pot Luck Club, as the description could have equally applied to him.  As MasterChef 2 12 Chef Henry Whale Cottage PortfolioChef Henry has not made the Eat Out Top 20 list since he opened in Cape Town three years ago, it was a surprise that M-Net overstated his standing, as he is very low key on the Cape Town restaurant scene.  Kamini Pather said that the restaurant is best known for its six course tasting menu.  La Mouette was a favourite of ours when it opened, but we have not been for a long time, due to poor service, even from the owners. Chef Henry’s dish was Salt and pepper prawns, chorizo popcorn, tamarind sauce, and shaved radish on sweetcorn purée. The task was to replicate Chef Henry’s dish exactly and to make four exact portions of it. (more…)

The Autumn and Winter 2013 specials for Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and are updated continuously. We welcome information about new specials, and feedback about your meals at these restaurants:

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : Sirloin and chips R89, Lamb shank lasagne R99, Seafood platter R149, Sushi platter R129, Crayfish tails R169, Chicken schnitzel R85, Minestrone R65, Chicken liver pasta R80, Prawn platter R119. Half price sushi all day. Daily. Tel (021) 439-9027 (updated 2/9)

*   Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: Oysters R8 each, Seafood soup R55, Prawn special R110, Linefish and prawn combo R99, Linefish and calamari R99, Sole and Calamari R99, Rump or sirloin R99, Spare Ribs R99, Rump Espetada R99, 250g Lobster and prawn platter R139; Seafood platter R125. Tel (021) 439-3494 (updated 12/6)

*   Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront: 2 course lunch R125, 3 courses R165, 4 courses R195;  half price sushi and dim sum Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 18h00; 25 % off sushi and (more…)

The list of Valentine’s Day specials will be updated as we receive new information:

Cape Town

*   Café Chic, Gardens: 5 courses R290.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   Richard’s Supper Stage, Sea Point: Glass of sparkling wine, Show, 4-course buffet  dinner and a rose.  R400 Tel 076 1444 809

*   Richard’s Bistro, Sea Point:  3-course lunch with glass of sparkling wine R150.  Tel 076 1444 809.

*   Five Flies:  3 course menu plus glass of bubbly plus glass of wine R360   Tel (021) 424-4442

*   Diemersdal Farm Eatery: 8 tapas dishes plus bottle of Diemersdal Rosé R250. Tel 079 917 2797

*   De Grendel Restaurant:   4-courses R550 excluding wine, and R650 with wine pairing.  Includes a complimentary bottle of De Grendel Rosé  Tel (021) 558-7035

*   Pepper Club on the Beach, Camps Bay: Glass of sparkling wine, and 4 course dinner R405.   Tel (021) 438-3174

*   Sinatra’s, Pepper Club Hotel: Glass of sparkling wine and 3 course dinner plus movie R375.  Tel ()21) 812-8888

*    Five Flies: glass of sparkling wine, wine with main course and 3 courses R 360.  Tel (021) 424-4442

*   La Mouette: 4 courses R350/R550 with wine.  Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Signal, Cape Grace:  ‘Feast’ R385.  Tel (021) 410-7099

*   Bay Hotel, Camps Bay: 4 course dinner and live music R 395.  Tel (021) 430-4444

*   Bardelli’s: 3 course meal and glass of bubbly R160.  Tel (021) 423-1502 and (021) 683-1423.

*   5Rooms, The Alphen hotel: 3 courses R295.  Tel (021) 795-6300

*   Orphanage:   3 courses of ‘rude food’, and a ‘love potion‘ R250.  21+ year olds only. Tel (021) 424-2004

Franschhoek

*   Reuben’s: 5 course dinner R320  Tel (021) 876-3772

*   Noble Hill, R45: Picnic basket to share for lunch, with complimentary bottle of Mourvèdre Rosé R295.  Free pink strawberry cake for main course lunch ordered.  Pairing of pink salmon blinis and Blanc de Blancs R265 for two.  Tel (021) 874-3844.

*   Grande Provence:  4 courses with extras plus a glass of wine on arrival R495   Tel (021) 876-8600

*   The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz: Glass of Colmant MCC on arrival, 3 courses R 350. Tel (021) 876-2729

*   The KItchen at Maison: 4 course dinner R425.  Tel (021) 876-2116.

Somerset West

* Waterkloof: 6 courses R 500 without wine pairing and R650 with wine pairing.  Tel (021) 858-1491

Stellenbosch

*   Hartenberg: Picnic plus glass of Villiera Brut Rosé and a bottle of wine  R 190.  Tel (021) 865-2541

* Cuvée, Simonsig:  6 course dinner paired with wines R 385.  Tel ()21) 888-4952

*   Wild Peacock Emporium: 3 course dinner paired with L’Avenir wines R320.  Tel (021) 887-7585

McGregor

* Wahnfried: classic Merchant Ivory love story ‘A Room with a View’ – cost R0, including a glass of MCC.

Tel 072 601 1616

Hermanus

*   Creation: 7-course tapas menu, each paired with a Creation wine R100.  11h30 – 19h00.  Tel (028) 212-1107

Plettenberg Bay

* Cornutti: 3 courses R320.  Tel (044) 533-1277

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

Christmas Eve

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 6-course dinner and glass of Prosecco R350. Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel : 5-course menu R910.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Oasis Bistro, Mount Nelson Hotel: Buffet R650.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Tobago’s, Raddison Blu:  3-course R450.  Tel (021) 441-3000

*   The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: 3 courses R375.  Tel (021) 876-2729

Christmas Day lunch

*   The Square Restaurant, Vineyard Hotel: 3-course lunch R 415. Tel (021) 657-4500

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel: Buffet lunch, party hats, gift, crackers R945.  Tel (021) 437-9052 (sold out)

*   The Pavilion at The Marine, Marine Hotel, Hermanus: welcome drink, canapés, Christmas lunch, petit fours R 595.  Tel (028) 313-1000

* Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 6-course lunch with glass of Prosecco R350  Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson hotel: 5-course lunch R 950. Tel (021) 483-1000

*   Ballroom, Mount Nelson hotel: Buffet R700.  Tel (021) 483-1000

*   1800° Restaurant, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: Christmas Lunch Buffet R320. Tel (021) 430-0506.

*   Tobago’s, Radisson Blu: Buffet R595.  Tel (021) 441-3000

*   Le Franschhoek hotel, Franschhoek:  Buffet R 395.  Tel (021) 876-8900

*   Le Coq Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Franschhoek: 3 courses R240. Tel (021) 876-4404

*  The Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek:   3 courses R375.  Tel ()21) 876-2729

New Year’s Eve

* Café Chic: 6-course dinner R485.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 8-course dinner and glass of Prosecco R 450.  Tel (021) 438-7074

*   Blues, Camps Bay: 4-course dinner, DJ, and unlimited bubbly R1700   Tel (021) 438-2040

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay:  3-course dinner and welcome drink R 1000.  Tel (021) 438-0007

*   Hussar Grill, Camps Bay: 4-courses R475.  Tel (021) 438-0151

*   Azure at Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: Buffet and live music R 1895.  Tel ()21) 437-9000

*   The Conservatory at The Cellars-Hohenhort, R750.  Tel (021) 794-2137

*   Constantia Uitsig: 5-course dinner R 850.  Tel (021) 794-4480

*   Five Flies: 4-course menu, masked ball, and sparkling wine R600.  Tel (021) 424-4442

*   The Greenhouse, Cellars-Hohenhort, Constantia: 9-course dinner R950, or R1250 with wine.  Tel (021) 794-2137

*   La Colombe, Constantia: 5-course dinner, DJ, sparkling wine at midnight R1600.  Tel (021) 794-2390

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 5-course meal and glass of sparkling wine R795. Tel (021) 433-0856

* 1800° Restaurant, Green Point: 6-course dinner, and entrance to the VIP Sky Bar R1200.  Tel (021) 430-0506

*   Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course meal at R850.  Tel (021) 657-4545

*   Nobu, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront: 8-course dinner and band R2250. Tel (021) 431-5222

*   Orinoco: 3-course dinner, ‘Sixties’ theme, DJ, welcome cocktail, canapés, glass of sparkling wine R600.  Tel (021) 418-4544

*   Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town: 5-course dinner and band R1750.  Tel (021) 431-5222

*   The Roundhouse, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner, live music and DJ, sparkling wine R1650.  Tel (021) 438-4347

*   Salt Restaurant, Ambassador Hotel: 8-course tasting menu, glass of sparkling wine, band R995.  Tel (021) 439-7258

*   Savoy Cabbage: Canapés, Christmas cocktail, gala dinner R995.  Tel (021) 424-2626

*   Signal, Cape Grace hotel, V&A Waterfront:  4-course dinnerR1950.  Tel (021) 410-7100

*   The Table Bay Hotel, V&A Waterfront: cocktail reception, Buffet dinner, sparkling wine R2100.  Tel (021) 406-5000

*   Tjing Tjing Bar, Dear Me: entrance fee, food, and party R300.  Tel (021) 422-4920

*   The Boat House, Scarborough: 5-course dinner and sparkling wine R980.  Transfer R500 pp.  Tel 083 305 8533

*   Massimo’s, Hout Bay: Welcome drink, 4 course dinner R425.  Tel (021) 790-5645

*   GOLD: Cocktail on arrival, drumming, live music, ‘African Feast’, bubbly R1100.  Tel (021) 421-4653

*   Makaron, Majeka House, Stellenbosch: 4-course dinner R625.  Tel (021) 880-1549

*   Moyo, Spier, Stellenbosch: Welcome drink, 3-course meal, R495.  Tel (021) 809-1133

*   Restaurant at Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch: 8-course food and wine pairing R468.  Tel (021) 865-2022

*   Tokara, Stellenbosch: 8-course dinner R950.  Tel (021) 885-2550

*   Eat @ Simonsig, Paarl:   Live band, 3-courses, bubbly at midnight R275.  Tel (021) 863-3845.

*   The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Franschhoek: Welcome drink and midnight glass of sparkling wine as well as dancing, 7-course dinner R790.  Tel (021) 876-8600

*   The Kitchen, Maison, Franschhoek: 8 courses, each paired with a Maison Estate wine, R950.  Tel (021) 876-2116.

*   Reuben’s, Franschhoek: 6-course dinner R1200. Tel (021) 876-3772

*   Le Coq Restaurant & Sushi Bar, Franschhoek: 3 courses and a glass of sparkling wine R280. Tel (021) 876-4404

*   The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Somerset West: 6-course meal R650, or R825 with wine.  Tel (021) 858-1292

*   The Pavilion at The Marine, Marine Hotel, Hermanus:  Canapés, welcome drink, 6-course menu, R1150.  Tel (028) 313-1000

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

Last year Eat Out editor Abigail Donnelly introduced a new series of complementary awards to the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, having been the sole judge of both sets of awards.  This year Mrs Donnelly made the fatal error of choosing UK Blogger Bruce Palling to give her credibility for her choice of Top 20 restaurants, out of which the Top 10 Restaurant list will be announced tomorrow evening.  She also has named the ‘Best Of’ awards her ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards, making it clear that she is the sole judge of the awards, and that Palling had no input in these awards.  We have already seen irregularities on the Top 19 Restaurant shortlist, so it will be interesting to see which of Mrs Donnelly’s favourites and friends will be rewarded in the ‘Best Of’ categories.

What is interesting this year is that the finalist restaurants in the six ‘Best of’ categories have been pre-announced, unlike last year, when only the Boschendal Style Award finalists were announced.   There is one exception, being the Best Italian category, for which the finalists have not been announced. Could it mean that this category is once again reserved for Mrs Donnelly darling Chef Giorgio Nava of 95 Keerom Street, last year’s winner in this category?

Something else that is noticeable is the vast number of listings in each of the ‘Best Of’ categories, which makes one think that New Media Publishing is dreadfully short of money this year:

*   they did not have enough money to put their Eat Out 2012 judge Bruce Palling into a first class seat to attend the Awards event tomorrow evening, as per Palling’s Tweet and confirmed by New Media Publishing

*   advertisers were hounded to place advertisements in the new Eat Out magazine, and the rates tumbled the closer it got to the deadline date!

*   even worse, the 24 reviewers were not invited to the Gala Awards dinner until a week ago, having been invited to the dinner in all the past years.  They were fuming in having been left out, and many made other plans for tomorrow evening, and will therefore not be able to attend.  The Eat Out Review Team is interesting in itself, with long-standing Eat Out reviewers Graham Howe, Diane de Beer, Greg Landman, and Errieda du Toit, to which have been added bloggers (but not known as restaurant reviewers on their blogs) Dax Villaneuva, Tandy Sinclair, and Ishay Govender. The remaining 17 reviewers – Carla Rossouw, Charlotte Pregnolato, Colette du Plessis, Frank Chemaly, Hennie Fisher, Janine Walker, Kate Ziervogel, Lee Middleton, Lisa van Aswegen, Louise Liebenberg, Marie-Lais Emond, Nothando Moleketi, Paula Mackenzie, Pero Lotz, Priscilla Urquhart, Richard Holmes, and Sdu Gerasch – are unknown.

*   linked to the above is the vast number of ‘Best of‘ restaurants listed per category, e.g. 43 in the ‘Best Asian Restaurants’ category, 24 in the ‘Best Steakhouses’ category, 33 ‘The Best Country-Style Restaurants’, 15 ‘Boschendal Style Award’ nominations, and an astounding 52 nominations for ‘Best Bistro’, a total of 167 restaurant nominations minus some duplications!  If the restaurants were to send a representative or two in the hope of winning the category award, a large number of seats for the Gala Awards dinner will have been sold!

The Bistro category sounds more like a ‘Proudly South African’ cuisine listing, and contains some odd nominations such as Hemelhuijs, Babel, Bread & Wine, Fyndraai, Gaaitjie, Ile de Pain, and many more on the list of 52!  A Bistro is defined by Eat Out as offering fresh and seasonal produce, having a small kitchen, limited staff, being homely, with congenial hosts, ‘endless amounts of wine‘, ‘spectacular food’, and regular menu changes.  An obvious exclusion is Bistrot Bizerca from this category, but being a Top 19 finalist may have excluded them from this category.  Worthy winners would be Bistro Sixteen82, Dear Me, and The Foodbarn. The nominees are in Johannesburg (Bellagio, Coner Café and Bistro, Eatery JHB, The Leopard, Possums Deli and Bistro, Salvation Café, Tashas in Sandton, Hyde Park, Melrose, Arch, Morningside, Rosebank, Village View, Thomas Maxwell Bistro; in Pretoria (Carlton Café, Karoo Café, Silver Orange Bistro, Zest Bistro); in Durban (9th Avenue Bistro, Bellavue, Craft Trattoria, Marco Paulo, Café 1999, Unity Brasserie and Bar); in Cape Town (Bistro Sixteen82, Constantia Uitsig, Dear Me, The Foodbarn, Hemelhuijs, La Mouette, Societi Bistro, Societi Brasserie, Woodlands Eatery);  in (undefined) ‘South’ (96 Winery Road, Babel, Bar Bar Black Sheep,  Bread & Wine, The Burgundy Restaurant, Café Felix, The Common Room, Fyndraai, Gaaitjie, Hilda’s Kitchen at Grootte Post, Ile de Pain, The Kitchen at Maison, Pembrey’s, Reuben’s Franschhoek – not meeting any of the defined Bistro criteria – Scotty’s, Sofia’s at Morgenster, Stables at Vergelegen); in (undefined) ‘East’ (The Bistro, Gordon’s Restaurant, Haricot’s Deli & Bistro, Skye Bistro at Fordoun, Two Dogs Bistro); and in (undefined) ‘North and Central’ (Mrs Simpsons, O’s restaurant).

The Best Country-style Award nomination list includes the controversial winner of 2011, being The Table at De Meye, a regular past photographer colleague of Mrs Donnelly.  Surprise omissions are The Kitchen at Maison, The Long Table, Fyndraai, The Millhouse Kitchen at Lourensford, Tamboers Winkel, Creation, Sofia’s at Morgenster, Oep ve Eet in Paternoster, and Johan’s at Longridge.  A likely winner would be Mariana’s, a regular past winner of a similar award, and a regular contributor to Taste magazine, as well as Babel, the restaurant with the most nominations (on Top 19 list, as well as Style Award, and Best Bistro nominee). Defined as ‘homely, heart-warming and belly-filling kos’, food in the style of one’s grandmother. The nominees are located in Gauteng (Bellgables Country Restaurant, Die Ou Pastorie, Meadow Green, Roots at Forum Homini, The Other Side Restaurant, Monaghan Farm, The Rambling Vine); in the Western Cape (Babel, Bramon, The Country Kitchen at Mont Rochelle, Dassiesfontein on the N2 highway near Caledon, De Kaap in McGregor, Eight at Spier, Fynboshoek Cheese, Fresh, The Goatshed at Fairview, Havercroft’s, Hilda’s Kitchen, Houw Hoek Farm Stall, Karoux, Mariana’s, Mogg’s Country Cookhouse, The Stone Kitchen in Wellington, The Table at De Meye, Thyme at Rosemary’s Restaurant, Towerbosch, The Wild Apricot); and in KwaZulu-Natal (Café Bloom, Caversham Hill, Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse, La Lampara, Nicolson’s Café, and Tumble Downs).

The omission of Belthazar from the Best Steakhouses category nomination list may relate to Eat Out ex-judge Bruce Palling‘s last South African dinner!  This category is typically won by a Johannesburg restaurant, the city being known for its collection of good steak restaurants. Nominees are in Johannesburg (Butcher Shop & Grill, Gray, The Grillhouse, HQ, Karoo Cattle and Land, The Local Grill, Smith & Wollensky Steakhouse, Thundergun, Turn & tender, Wombles); in Mpumalanga (Pioneers Butchery & Grill); in The Free State (The Phatt Chef); in the Eastern Cape (Flava); in Cape Town (Barristers, Carne SA, Cattle Baron – The Grill House, HQ, The Hussar Grill in Camps Bay, Karoo Cattle & Land); in Durban (The Grill Room at The Oyster Box, Havana Grill, Joop’s Place, Steak & Ale); and in Pretoria (Karoo Cattle & Land).

The Best Asian Restaurants list was an easy one to fill up, and contains last year’s winner Kitima, as well as popular Willoughby’s at the V&A Waterfront, potential Top 20 candidate Indochine, and Nobu (not eligible to make Top 20 list this year, due to a chef change).  The nominees are in Johannesburg (Al Makka, Dawaat Pakistan Restaurant, Ghazal North Indian REstaurant, The Good Luck Club, Koi, Kong Roast, Midori, The Red Chamber, Shanyana Vegetarian Restaurant,  Sitar, Yamato); in Pretoria (Guia, Shilla Korean Cuisine, Wing Hin); in Durban (China Plate, Gounden’s, House of Curries, Mo’s Noodles, Spice); in the Eastern Cape (Just So Chinese Restaurant, Shanghai); in Bloemfontein (Nagoya); on the Garden Route (Firefly Eating House); in the Winelands (Genki, Indochine at Delaire Graff, Okamai); and in Cape Town (1890 Sushi House, Biesmiellah, Bombay Brasserie, Bukhara, Chandani, Chef Pon’s Asian Kitchen, Erawan, Haiku, Kitima, Kyoto Sushi Garden, Maharajah, Maharaj Pure Vegetarian, Nobu, Saigon, South China Dim Sum Bar, Takumi, Willoughby & Co).

Pierneef à La Motte, Makaron Restaurant, Babel, The Greenhouse, Overture, Planet Restaurant, and The Tasting Room are nominated for a Top 10 and a Boschendal Style Award. Makaron Restaurant won last year, without Mrs Donnelly disclosing her consultancy relationship with the restaurant, and her accolade about the restaurant described the M Bar of Majeka House rather than Makaron!  Almost all the restaurants are more than a year old, with the exception of Burrata, a restaurant which Mrs Donnelly only got to eat at six months after it opened!  The nominees are Burrata, Keenwa (odd choice), The Restaurant at Waterkloof (consolation prize for losing out on Top 20 nomination?), Craft Trattoria in Durban, Babel at Babylonstoren, Café del Sol, The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français, The Greenhouse (lots of bunnies), The Walnut Grove in Sandton, The Red Chamber, Tasha’s Le Parc, The ‘Greenhouse’ (sic – actually called the Babel Tea House!) at Babylonstoren, Hemelhuijs (an Abi favourite), The Kitchen at Maison, Pierneef à La Motte, Overture (a consolation prize?), Planet Restaurant (a consolation prize?), LIFE Grand Café, and last year’s finalist Kream.  Obvious omissions in this category are Casparus, Delaire Graff, and Indochine.  There is no obvious winner, especially as so few of the restaurants are new, but Hemelhuijs would be a strong contender, changing its decor regularly.

We await the announcement of the ‘Best of‘ category winners on tomorrow evening with interest!  It is clear that Mrs Donnelly could not have visited or eaten at each of the 167 ‘Best of’ nominated and Top 20 Finalist restaurants in the course of one year!

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