What an amazing experience it was to sit next to Clem Sunter at the 5th anniversary of the Thursday Club lunch at Buitenverwachting yesterday, the guest of the wine estate’s PR consultant Sandy Bailey. At the lunch Sunter’s new book ‘21st Century Megatrends: perspectives from a Fox‘ was launched. Sunter was the first speaker at the Thursday Club at its launch five years ago.
We were welcomed with a choice of a glass of Buitenverwachting Blanc de Noir or Meifort (a blend of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon). Sunter was already in the restaurant, and was happy to pose for a photograph, volunteering to move away from the glass door so that the light did not affect the photograph, clearly an old hand at this. We started chatting before the lunch started, and I received a quick overview of his talk, and learnt a lot more about him.
Christopher Sunter was born in the UK, the only son of a mother he was very close to, and went to school at Winchester College. At school Sunter played the guitar, and the first song he sang was ‘Oh my Darling Clementine‘, which led to his classmates calling him ‘Clem‘ after the song, and the name stuck. He went to Oxford, and there he started a band with his friend, called the Clem & John Band. His biggest claim to fame is the fact that the band co-headed a concert in Oxford at which the Rolling Stones performed as well, in June 1964, and he ended off his talk with this information. We were lucky to have Clem sing for us at the table, his face lighting up as he did so. He shared that he performed with eleven other CEOs at a concert at The Barnyard in Johannesburg last year, organised by Reg Lascaris, the proceeds going to charity. He sang ‘Peggy Sue‘ and ‘Blue Suede Shoes‘ at the concert, and ‘Peggy Sue‘ for us at the table too. Should his career as a scenario planner ever fail, which is highly unlikely, he can fall back into a career as singer! Sunter also is very funny, saying that every year for three weeks he lived in the home in which his mother lived before she passed away. Every evening they were served a glass of wine, and he told a funny story about the residents of the home which brought the house down as he started his talk. Sunter joined Anglo in London after university, and moved to Anglo Zambia in 1971, and then to Anglo South Africa two years later, serving as a Non-Executive Director of the company now, as well as consulting to corporates around the world as a scenario planner, and writing books. Sunter has owned a holiday house in Simonstown for a number of years already, and he and his wife plan to move to Cape Town next year, a ‘semi-gration trend’, he said. They live in Rosebank in Johannesburg and he said that he loves living in Africa, and feels completely at home in this country. Two of his three children live outside South Africa, one of them in Perth, which caused a laugh as I had asked him whether we need to pack for Perth again, which he now refers to ‘parched Perth’ due to the impact of climate change on Australia. (more…)
Michael Pollan is a man with a food conscience, and has written a number of books on the theme of sustainable food and healthy eating, promoting cooking at home, and eating out responsibly, if one must eat at a restaurant, reports The Daily Telegraph
Admitting that he once was a McDonald’s fan, having one of their meals daily, and that their chicken nuggets are his son’s ‘Proustian smells and tastes of childhood‘, he would not touch their food anymore. He is concerned that ‘we don’t cook, can’t cook, won’t cook‘, despite the flood of TV food shows and rise in cookbook sales, leading us to eat unhealthy food, which is not environmentally responsible. Even worse is that we don’t connect socially over home-cooked meals any more. Pollan is a Professor in Journalism at the University of California, Berkeley, and was named in 2010 as one of TIME‘s 100 persons to ‘most affect our world‘.
Pollan’s book ‘The Omnivore’s Dilemma‘ inspired Angus McIntosh, owner of Spier’s Farmer Angus meat and egg supply, to be environmentally responsible in the biodynamic rearing of his animals. He gave me a copy of the book, to inspire me to spread the message when I visited his farm. The book is subtitled ‘The Search for a perfect meal in a fast-food world‘ and encapsulates Pollan’s criticism of fast food, which he calls an ‘industrial meal’, and of McDonald’s in particular. Pollan analysed the ‘nutritional’ content of McNuggets from a flyer, and found them to contain 38 ingredients, of which 13 are derived from corn, as well as synthetic ingredients made at petroleum refineries or chemical plants, allowing the food to be stored for longer. Corn is the staple diet of cattle, yet ‘violates the biological or evolutionary logic of bovine digestion’, writes Pollan. The omnivore’s alternative to industrial food is claimed ‘organic‘ food, sounding more ethical and sustainable. He concludes his book with a description of a meal he prepared from self-foraged ingredients, the ultimate way of eating but time-consuming to gather, including mushrooms, wild boar, fava beans, pâté, morels, bread (made using wild yeast), a garden salad, and a fruit tart for which the fruit was sourced from a public cherry tree, served with chamomile tea. (more…)
There have been a number of restaurant openings, four in Franschhoek in December alone, and restaurant closures are minimal at present, a good sign of recovery. This list of restaurant news is updated continuously, as we receive information:
* The Rotisserie at Leopard’s Leap has opened in Franschhoek, with Chef Pieter de Jager (left), moving across from Pierneef à La Motte
* Antipasto Bar has opened at the new Anthonij Rupert Wines tasting room, where Graham Beck used to be, outside Franschhoek
* Sacred Ground has opened as a Deli and Bakery in The Square in Franschhoek
* Kloof Street House has opened where Opal Lounge used to be.
* Col’Cacchio has opened a new outlet in Westlake, and new ones are coming in Claremont and Hermanus.
* New Vida é Caffe new branches are to open on Maindean Place in Claremont, at the new Wembley Square 2 development, at The Paddocks, Groote Schuur, and Roeland Street. Two more branches are planned for Mauritius.
* Honest Chocolate is opening a second outlet, a ‘production kitchen’ in the Woodstock Industrial Centre
* Moyo has opened, where the Paulaner Braühaus was, in the V & A Waterfront.
* FEAST is to open where Franschhoek Food Emporium was, in Place Vendome
* Cavalli restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this year or next
* Camphors at Vergelegen has opened, with Chef PJ Vadas.
* David Higgs (ex Rust en Vrede) has opened Five Hundred, a new 30 seater restaurant in The Saxon in Johannesburg.
* Cousins has opened in the Parliament Hotel, where Il Cappero used to be.
* Gourmetboerie has opened at the bottom end of Kloof Street
* Kushi Indian Restaurant has opened a branch on Main Road in Sea Point
* Thai Café is opening on Plein Street, Stellenbosch
* Bellini’s is said to be opening on Greenmarket Square
* Moksh Authentic Indian Cuisine restaurant has opened in Paarl
* Alfama’s has opened on Waterkant Street
* It’s a House is to open on Jarvis Street, as a bar, coffee shop, and design art space.
* Lion’s Head Bar is to open on Bree Street, selling craft beer and food
* Shake your Honey Mumbai is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street, in August.
* A new bar and Café is to open underneath the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, where Bamboo used to be
* Café Blanc de Noir has opened on Brenaissance wine estate in Stellenbosch
* Chef Nic van Wyk, previously with Terroir, has opened The Eatery at Diemersdal in Durbanville.
* Lizette’s Kitchen has opened in Vöelklip, Hermanus.
* Paulina’s Restaurant has opened at Rickety Bridge in Franschhoek
* Buitenverwachting has opened Coffee Bloc Coffee Shop and Roastery
* Wakaberry has opened on Kloof Street
* Rock Sushi Thai has opened in Meadowridge
* Jimmy Jimanos sports bar is opening on Long Street
* The Salzburger Grill has opened in Sea Point
* The Stall has opened as a Bar and Family Café in the old Pippin Farm Stall, at the entrance to Franschhoek
* Burger King will open its first South African branch in Cape Town later this year!
* A coffee shop, chocolaterie, bar, and fashion boutique will open in a 3-storey building on Long Street in February, as yet unnamed.
* The Beer Bar is to open on Long Street
* Eataria is to open on Long Street
* Portuguese restaurant Alfama has opened on Bree Street
* Shimmy Beach Club has opened in the V&A Waterfront in December, involving Chef Seelan Sundoo.
* McDonald’s is opening new branches in Wynberg, Lansdowne, and Claremont in Cape Town
* The Red Table Restaurant at Nederburg has opened for lunches Wednesday – Sunday
* Wilderer Distillery and La Grapperie at Spice Route restaurant are opening in Spice Route wine estate, in addition to their existing location
* Tridici has opened on the N2 near Swellendam.
* TriBakery is to open near Moyo in the V&A Waterfront
* Latitude33 has opened on Bree Street
* Luke Dale Roberts appears to be continuing his expansion trail, and is said to be opening on Long Street. He has been seen with plans together with Giorgio Nava of 95 Keerom Street and Carne, as well as with Bertus Basson of Overture.
* Mischu: The Coffee Showroom has opened on Regent Road in in Sea Point.
* Deluxe Urban Café has opened in the old Cape Quarter.
* Gourmet Cakes has opened on Kloof Street
* Peter’s House has opened on Kloofnek Road
* A new restaurant and micro brewery is to open next door to The Bromwell in Woodstock (name not yet known).
* Le Venue has opened at The House of JC le Roux
* The Harbour House group is opening a new restaurant at 107 Loop Street.
* French Toast Wine and Tapas Bar has closed down, following the death of co-owner John Harrison.
* The Kove in Camps Bay has closed down, its space has become part of sister restaurant Zenzero
* Sinnfull has closed down in Camps Bay
* Planet Green Salad has closed down
* Freedom Hill Restaurant has closed down (and subsequently burnt down).
* Wale Rose Lifestyle has closed down in Bo-Kaap.
Restaurant staff/venue changes
* The V&A Waterfront Food Court has re-opened, with Primi Express, Anat, Carnival, Nür Halaal, Royal Bavarian Bakery, KFC, Boost Juice, Simply Asia, Steers, Debonairs, Subway, Marcel’s, Haagan Dazs, and Nando’s.
* Fyndraai Restaurant will move to another building on the wine estate, and will offer fine dining. The current restaurant will serve light lunches and picnics.
* Giulia’s Food Café Restaurant has opened where Miss K was on Main Road, Green Point. Serve Italian-style lunch and dinner, but have retained some Miss K breakfast and pastry items.
* Orphanage Cocktail Emporium has expanded into a property at its back, opening on Orphan Street, creating The Dining Room downstairs. It is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, in about 6 months.
* Marcellino’s Bakery has changed its name to EuroHaus, with a restaurant added to the bakery.
* Maryna Frederiksen is the new Executive Chef at The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz.
* The ex-Caveau owners have taken over the running of the Twankey Bar of the Taj hotel.
* Sand at The Plettenberg hotel has changed its name to Seafood at The Plettenberg.
* Lasse Presting is the new Manager of the Haute Cabriere restaurant
* Chef Alistair Lawrence has taken over from Fernando Romano at 5 Rooms at The Alphen Hotel
* De Oude Bank Bakkerij is expanding, and will open a retail section selling charcuterie, fresh meats, home-made ice cream, and wines, collectively called De Companje, from February
* Taste Restaurant has moved to Bilton Wines
* Bar1 has opened where Sunbird Bistro was in Camps Bay.
* Oppie Dorp has opened where Cognito was on Dorp Street in Stellenbosch.
* Chef Reuben Riffel and his colleague Maritz Jacobs have been contracted to design the menus and prepare the food for weddings and events at Allée Bleue.
* Thai Café is to open where the coffee shop was at the entrance to Piazza St John in Sea Point
* Sensei Deon de Jongh has left Okamai at Glenwood wine estate in Franschhoek.
* Baked Bistro has open in Bakoven, where Marika’s and Saboroso used to be
* The Urban Garden Restaurant is to open where Bistro on Rose was.
* Sadly Isabella Immenkamp, the excellent service-orientated hostess at Burrata, is leaving for Jordan Restaurant at the end of February.
* The Pot Luck Club has re-opened in its new venue at the top of the Old Biscuit Mill in February.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage