Entries tagged with “McDonald’s”.


Green Point Track Whale Cottage PortfolioOn Saturday Cape Town Mayor Patricia de Lille officially opened the Green Point Track, a new sporting facility which is hidden on the cul de sac road that leads away from the Cape Town Stadium, across the road from McDonalds.  Given that the launch has been very low key, with barely any information to be found via Google, we requested Artvark, the creators of ten urban art sculptures made for the Green Point Track, to let us have more information about the project.  It was interesting to read the motivation for the sculptures created, linking Cape Town’s sporting and recreation past and present.

On the cards since 2009, the urban art project was deemed to be an important part of the upgrading of the Track, to commemorate its history specifically, and the sporting and cultural history of Cape Town generally.  Landscape artist Darryl Pryce-Lewis conceptualised the idea of negative and positive panels made from metal, all to be positioned in a straight line, creating a ‘visual effect to be able to look through a negative space of an individual sculpture towards the positive, the symbolism of this already touch upon the diverseness and challenges faced in our country‘, explains Artvark. (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   M-Net’s channel location will change on 5 August, as Cape TV will be broadcasting from it. Multichoice is paying for installers to visit each affected Cape Town subscriber for the decoder to be adjusted, at its expense.

*   If membership of FEDHASA Cape is an indicator, then the hospitality business is going through tough times, their membership numbers declining due to businesses closing down or changing ownership, reports Travel News Weekly?

*   South Africa loves its Scotch, having imported R1,7 billion of whisky, reports the Financial Mail.

*   Are Celebrity wines worth their endorsement?  James Molesworth rates the wines of Ernie Els, Brangelina, Sting, and other celebs on THV. (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:

Restaurant Openings

*   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.

Restaurant Closures

*   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

Cape Town positions itself as a Festive Season playground, yet is not very tourist-friendly when it comes to being open for business on Christmas Day.  For a city that is the Gourmet Capital of our country, the best that many tourists could eat yesterday was a McDonalds burger!

A Tweet by Table Bay Hotel concierge Ryan Van Zyl yesterday morning highlighted how difficult it would be for him to find restaurants for his guests on the special day.  In Camps Bay, for example, out of about 25 restaurants in the suburb, about half were closed for the day.  Even more closed late afternoon, meaning that Paranga, Zenzero, and Café Caprice were making a killing on the Promenade.  However, this came at a price, with queues to be allocated a table, and slow service in some instances, we have been told by our guests. Today a similar number of Camps Bay restaurants are closed, expecting the annual arrival of rowdy Capetonians taking over the beach suburb, causing mayhem, with potential theft of tourist and restaurant possessions, making Camps Bay a no-go zone just from the traffic build-up alone. Kloof Street has close to 40 restaurants, and is known as the street that never sleeps, always having restaurants open.  At 19h00 yesterday we found only four of these operating: Nando’s, Mc Donalds, Myög, and Mixa’s Schwarma!  Caffé Milano was open during the day yesterday, but had to close when it ran out of supplies.

A restaurant owner’s wife responded on Twitter to Van Zyl’s retort, saying that it was their restaurant’s annual gift to their staff for their hard work, to be closed for two days, which doesn’t make sense, as one can give staff ample time off during winter, when restaurants cry about how quiet they are.   In addition, the Tweeter shared that the lost business does not weigh up against the problems they experience with reliable supply of produce.  This sounds like a more serious issue, but surely one can order ahead for the two days?  Good restaurants will have well-established supplier relationships, which surely cannot be influenced by public holidays, as the Christmas days are not the only ones on which suppliers could be closed. One wonders how the restaurants that were open yesterday coped, from a supply point of view.  Staff reliability is of course the unmentionable, and this may well be the real reason why so many restaurants were closed yesterday.  No Guest House or Hotel, also operating in the hospitality industry, would dream of closing for two days over Christmas, or would have the audacity to ask its guests to make up their own beds on these two days! Surprising is that most restaurants are open on New Years’ Eve, and making plenty of money out of the rates they are charging, supplier support appearing to not be an issue next week!

We have never understood the country closing down for about three weeks around 16 December, when the hospitality requires supplies of guest refreshment portions and amenities, being more fully occupied in the same period as in any other time of the year.   Retailers feel the brunt of supplier closures too, disappointing their clients with out of stocks.  Our experience with the V&A Waterfront and Woolworths showed that the management was not only away from their businesses over weekends, but appear to be so over this whole Christmas week, the Waterfront’s running appearing to be in the hands of its Information Centre’s Assistant Manager Zulfa Nordien.  Commendable is that the phone of Cape Town Tourism was answered yesterday, albeit at their airport branch, the City head office on Burg Street appearing to be closed, with its management on holiday too this week!  This is one of the busiest tourism weeks lying ahead!  Very few Tweets of Cape Town Tourism and the V&A Waterfront are proactive in providing tourist information to our City’s visitors over the festive season, largely restricted to reTweets, or if one is lucky, to having ones queries answered. Today the V&A Waterfront Tweeter got her information wrong in answering a question about whether the new V&A Market on the Wharf is open today!

Western Cape Minister of Tourism Alan Winde has encouraged the hospitality industry to take its breaks over winter. Perhaps it is time for him to be prescriptive in encouraging our Cape Town and Western Cape restaurants to be tourist friendly, and to be open over Christmas.  We salute the restaurants and their staff who put service above self yesterday, and welcomed customers and spoilt them with Christmas cheer and good food.

POSTSCRIPT 26/12: We are grateful that Minister Winde supported our plea, in a Tweet in response to this blogpost:alanwinde @FoodWineBlogClu YES we should be open for business over the festive season. It’s harvest time for the tourism industry. @WhaleCottage

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

There are few restaurant openings, and restaurant closures are minimal at present, a good sign of some recovery. This list of restaurant news is updated continuously, as we receive information:

Restaurant Openings

*   Merchants Café has opened on Long Street, opposite Merchants on Long, both belonging to Hanneli Rupert.

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, Eat Out Top Chef at The Test Kitchen, has opened a real test kitchen, called The Kitchen of Dreams, a private experimental place to develop new recipes, at the Old Biscuit Mill.  He is also opening a pop-up Pot Luck Club in Swiss ski resort Verbier, at the Hotel Farinet, from 8 December – April, to be run by him, his chef Nicolas Wilkinson, and front of house Selena Afnan-Holmes.

*   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.

*   TRUTH Coffee has opened on Buitenkant Street

*   FEAST is to open where Franschhoek Food Emporium was, in Place Vendome

*   Okamai Japanese Restaurant has opened at Glenwood wine estate in Franschhoek

*   Cavalli restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, this year or next

*   Stables at Vergelegen Bistro has opened as a lunch restaurant in Somerset West.  Its Lady Phillips Restaurant is being given a make-over by Christo Barnard, and will open with a new name Camphors at Vergelegen. The new chef will be PJ Vadas, previously of The Roundhouse in Camps Bay.

*   Chef Johan van Schalkwyk has left the Stone Kitchen at Dunstone Winery, and has opened his own restaurant Twist Some More in Wellington.

*    Chef Bjorn Dingemans has opened The Millhouse Kitchen restaurant on Lourensford wine estate in Somerset West.

*   Down South Food Bar, previously on Long Street, is said to re-open in the Riverside Centre in Rondebosch

*   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.

*   No. 6 Restaurant at Welbedacht has opened at Welbedacht/Schalk Burger & Sons wine estate in Wellington, run by the ex-owners of Oude Wellington

*   Café Dulce is to open a new branch in Tygervalley Centre

*   Gourmetboerie has opened at the bottom end of Kloof Street, where Depasco used to be.

*   Kushi Indian Restaurant has opened a branch on Main Road in Sea Point

*   Thai Café is opening on Plein Street, Stellenbosch

*   Simply Asia has opened in Paarl

*   Bellini’s is said to be opening on Greenmarket Square

*   Moksh Authentic Indian Cuisine restaurant has opened in Paarl

*   Vino’s has opened in Wellington

*   Alfama’s has opened on Waterkant Street

*   Taj Mahal has opened in Sea Point

*   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

*   An Indian restaurant is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street, by the Madame Zingara Group

*   The Caviar Group has opened three new restaurants in the Gateway Centre in Umhlanga: Beluga, Sevruga, and Osetra

*   A new bar and Café is to open underneath the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, where Bamboo used to be

*   Cattle Baron has opened in Hermanus, and at Pontac Manor in Paarl.

*   Café Blanc de Noir has opened on Brenaissance wine estate in Stellenbosch

*    The Reserve is said to be opening a beach restaurant in the V&A Waterfront.

*   Chef Nic van Wyk, previously with Terroir, has opened a restaurant at Diemersdal in Durbanville.

*   Lizette’s Kitchen has opened in Vöelklip, Hermanus.

*   Paulina’s Restaurant has opened at Rickety Bridge in Franschhoek

*   Ocean Jewel Deli has opened at Woodstock Junction

*   Buitenverwachting has opened Coffee Bloc Coffee Shop and Roastery

Wakaberry is opening on Kloof Street, and has opened in Stellenbosch

*   Rock Sushi Thai has opened in Meadowridge

*   Jimmy Jimanos sports bar is opening on Long Street

*   Dolcé Bakery has opened in St John’s Piazza in Sea Point

*   The Salzburger Grill has opened in Sea Point

*   Sacred Ground is opening as a Deli and Bakery in The Square in Franschhoek at the end of November

*   The Stall has opened as a Bar and Family Café in the old Pippin Farm Stall, at the entrance to Franschhoek, owned by Essence owner

*   The Rotisserie at Leopard’s Leap has opened.

*   Burger King will open its first South African branch in Cape Town next 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 is to open in the V&A Waterfront in December, involving Chef Seelan Sundoo.

*   McDonald’s is opening new branches in Cape Town, in Wynberg, Lansdowne, and Claremont

*   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

*   Kloof Street House has opened, where the Opal Lounge was

*   Latitude33 has opened on Bree Street

*   Antipasto Bar has opened at the new Anthonij Rupert Wines tasting room, where Graham Beck used to be, outside Franschhoek

*  Luke Dale Roberts is continuing his expansion trail, and is opening in the current Long Street Café next year.

*   Mischu: The Coffee Showroom has opened on Regent Road in in Sea Point.

*   Urban Café Sushi & Asian Cuisine to open in the old Cape Quarter.

Restaurant Closures

*   The Kove in Camps Bay has closed down, its space has become part of sister restaurant Zenzero

*   Sinnfull has closed down in Sea Point and Camps Bay

*   Liam Tomlin Food has closed down in Franschhoek

* Planet Green Salad has closed down

*   Illyria in the Eikestad Mall has closed down

*   Freedom Hill Restaurant has closed down.

*   Wale Rose Lifestyle has closed down in Bo-Kaap.

Restaurant staff/venue changes

*  Table Thirteen has reduced in size in Green Point and will open in Paarden Eiland later this year.

*   The V&A Waterfront Food Court is closed for renovations until November.  A sign outside the construction area lists the following businesses moving into or returning to the area: Primi Express, Anat, Carnival, Nür Halaal, Royal Bavarian Bakery, KFC, Boost Juice, Simply Asia, Steers, Debonairs, Subway, Marcel’s, and Haagan Dazs.  Nando’s is also opening.

*   Fyndraai Restaurant will move to another building on the wine estate in November, and will offer fine dining.  The current restaurant will serve light lunches and picnics.

*   Chef Andrew Mendes from ex-Valora is now at Nelson’s Eye restaurant, where they are setting up a lunch section and cocktail bar upstairs.

*   Giulia’s Food Café Restaurant has opened where Miss K was on Main Road, Green Point. Now serve Italian-style lunch and dinner, but have retained some Miss K breakfast and pastry items.

*   Having bought the farm about 18 months ago, Antonij Rupert Wines has taken over the Graham Beck Franschhoek property. They will re-open the tasting room, initially offering all its Antonij Rupert, Cape of Good Hope, Terra del Capo, and Protea wines to taste.  They are renovating the manor house, to which the Antonij Rupert and Cape of Good Hope wines will be moved for tasting at a later stage.

*   Orphanage is expanding into a property at its back, opening on Orphan Street, in December, creating a similar second bar downstairs, and opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers

*   MondeVino Restaurant at Montecasino in Johannesburg, the MasterChef SA prize for the next two years, is to be renamed Aarya, and is to be run by Chef Deena Naidoo from November onwards.

*   Bizerca has moved into the ex-Gourmet Burger space in Heritage Square on Shortmarket Street.

*   Marcellino’s has changed its name to EuroHaus, with a Zerban’s style restaurant added to the bakery.

*   Crêpe et Cidre has closed down in Franschhoek. Gideon’s The Famous Pancake House has opened in its space.

*   Brampton winetasting bar on Church Street, Stellenbosch has trebled its current size

*   Chris Marais is the new chef at Blaauwklippen, previously with The Oyster Box

*   Phil Alcock is the new chef at Two Oceans Restaurant at Cape Point, having previously worked at The Cape Grace, The Showroom, maze, and more

*   Albert van der Loo, previously with Le Coq and Dieu Donne restaurants in Franschhoek, is the new Head Chef at Oude Werf Hotel in Stellenbosch.

*   Chef Emile Fortuin, who was at Reuben’s Robertson for a very short time, has left and moved to Tokara

* Camil and Ingrid Haas (ex Bouillabaisse and Camil’s) have returned to Franschhoek, with the view to get involved in a restaurant

*   Chef Cheyne Morrisby has left the Mantella Group (owners of Blake’s and ex-Opal Lounge), and is starting his own pop-up restaurant.

*   Tiaan van Greunen is the new Executive Chef at Reuben’s at The Robertson Small Hotel, after the departure of Emile Fortuin

*   Alex von Ulmenstein is the new Restaurant Manager at Indochine, at Delaire Graff Estate.  Raymond Brown has left Reuben’s Franschhoek, and is the new Maitre’D at Indochine.

*   Zelda Oelofse is the new Manager of Harvest Restaurant at Laborie, having taken over from Yolanda Prinsloo.

*   Maryna Frederiksen is the new Executive Chef at The Franschhoek Kitchen at Holden Manz.

*   The ex-Caveau owners are said to be taking 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.

*   Kloof Street House has opened where Opal Lounge used to be.

Restaurant breaks

*   Massimo’s is closing between 6 – 15 November.

*   The Pot Luck Club is closed until it re-opens in its new venue in the Old Biscuit Mill in January.

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

In September last year we wrote about Kloof Street, and suggested that it be renamed FoodHood, when the ‘Name your Hood’ campaign made its short-lived appearance.  Kloof Street has 38 restaurants, making it one of the most densely populated restaurant streets.  In the past year seven restaurants closed down on Kloof Street, including Opal Lounge, Chez Chez, Mason’s, and St Elmo’s, with some new restaurants opening.  Frommers’ travel guide calls it “The Dining Mile”.

The restaurant list ranges from inexpensive food on the run (McDonalds, Nando’s, Scooters) to fine Milanese pastries (Caffe Milano), homely baking and cooking (Manna Epicure and Tamboers Winkel), the Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant finalist fine dining Planet Restaurant at the Mount Nelson Hotel, and numerous other restaurants.  The street venues offer food served over long hours, meaning that one will always find something to eat on Kloof Street, even late at night.

We have listed the restaurants on Kloof Street, starting from the bottom of Kloof Street, and working up towards Table Mountain:

*   Gourmetboerie - said to open in October, where Despaco and short-lived Sabrina’s used to be. 8 Kloof Street.

*   McDonalds - Monday – Sunday, open 24 hours a day.

*   Best of Asia – 7 Kloof Street.  Tel (021) 423-1177.  Monday – Saturday 11h30 – 22h00, Sunday 11h30 – 21h00.

*   Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants: Deluxe coffee, Jason’s croissants and breads. Fresh and cured meats, eggs, chicken, duck, lamb, beef, pork. Metal Lane, 8 Kloof Street.  Tel (021) 424-7204. Monday – Friday 7h30 – 17h30, Saturday 9h00 – 13h00.

*   Bardelli’s - Italian cuisine, with pizzas.  18 Kloof Str.  Tel (021 423-1502.  Monday – Thursday 18h00 – 22h00, Friday and Saturday 18h00 – 23h00, Sunday 12h00 – 22h30

*   Vida e Caffe – good coffees, few snacks. 34 Kloof Str. Tel (021) 426-0627.  Monday – Sunday

*   Mozzarella Bar – salads, sandwiches and other dishes all contain … mozzarella, plus Puglia Cheese mozzarella to buy.  R10 LavAzza cappuccino excellent value.  Some Caffe Milano (sister restaurant) pastries to buy. Giorgio Nava-owned.  51 Kloof Str.  Tel (021) 422-5822.  Monday – Saturday 7h00 – 19h00.

*   Nando’s – chicken, chicken, chicken! – 42 Kloof Str.  Tel (021) 426-0240.  Monday – Sunday

*   Knead - artisan bakery sells breads and some pastries, sit-down menu serves sandwiches, pizzas, egg dishes. Lifestyle on Kloof,  50 Kloof Street.  Tel (021) 671-7915.  Monday 7h00 – 18h00, Tuesday – Saturday 7h00 – 23h00, Sunday 7h30 – 18h00.

*   Hudson’s Burger Joint – burgers highly regarded. 69A Kloof Str.  Tel (021) 426-5974. Monday – Sunday 12h00 – 23h00

*   Mitico Pizzeria e Spaghetteria – 71 Kloof Str. Tel (021) 422-2267. Monday – Saturday 11h00 – 22h00.

*   Ocean Basket – Part of a seafood franchise, good value. 75 Kloof Str. Tel (021) 422-0322.

*   Café Sofia Meze & Tapas – Breakfast and Lunch,  part of a franchise.  60 Kloof Str.  Tel (021) 426-0801.

*   Arnold’s on Kloof – Well known for (early) breakfasts, but also large lunch and dinner menu, cocktails, salads, burgers, pasta and sandwiches.  60 Kloof Street.  Tel (021) 424-4344.  Monday – Friday 6h45 – late.  Saturday & Sunday 8h00 – late.

*   Planet Green Salad Bar – 103 Kloof Street.  Monday – Friday 10h00 – 18h00, Saturday 10h00 – 14h00.

*   Myög -   frozen yoghurt with wide range of toppings (photograph),  103 Kloof Street. Monday – Saturday 10h00 – 22h00, Sunday 12h00 – 22h00.

*   Planet Restaurant at Mount Nelson Hotel –  fine dining, on Top 20 Eat Out list.  Tel (021) 483-1000. Monday – Saturday dinner.

*   Van Hunk’s – South African cuisine, comfortable dining.  Corner Kloof and Upper Union Str.  Tel (021) 422-5422.  Monday – Sunday 11h30 – 22h00.

*   Royo Kloof Asian Restaurant - 115 Kloof Str.  Tel (021) 422-1888.  Monday – Sunday 11h00 – 15h00, 17h30 – 22h00.

*  Tokyo Restaurant & Sushi Bar – 115 Kloof Str. Tel (021) 424-5108.  Monday 17h00 – 22h00, Tuesday – Saturday 11h00 – 23h00, Sunday 12h00 – 23h00.

*   Saigon - Vietnamese and some Japanese food.  corner Kloof/Camp Str.  Tel (021) 424-7676.  Monday – Sunday 12h00 – 14h30, 18h00 – 22h30.

*   Scooters – pizzas, mainly take-away and delivery. Corner Kloof and Union Str.  Tel (021) 422-5995.  Daily until 20h00.

*  Asoka – light meals. 68 Kloof Str. Tel (021) 422-0909.

* The Slug & Lettuce - Bistro, English style pub, tapas, beers, wines by the glass. 64 Kloof Str. Tel (021) 422-5325.  Monday – Sunday 11h00 – 2h00.

*   DaVinci’s – pizzas.  Corner Kloof/Camp Str.  Tel (021) 424-7504.  Daily 11h30 – 23h00.

*   Saints on Kloof – burgers and beer! 84 Kloof Street.  Tel (021) 424-0030.  Monday – Sunday 9h00 – 23h00.

*   Toni’s on Kloof Mocambique Portuguese Cuisine – 88 Kloof Str.  tel (021) 423-7617.  Daily 12h00 – 15h00, 18h00 until late.

*   Shelley’s Gourmet Deli -Bistro, health and light meals served.  90 Kloof Str.  Tel (021) 424-2740.  Monday – Wednesday 8h00 – 16h00, Thursday – Saturday 8h00 – 22h00, Sunday 8h00 – 15h00.

*   Melissa’s – Deli, part of a chain. Breakfast and lunch buffet, cakes, coffee.  Monday – Sunday.  Tel (021) 424-5540. Monday – Friday 7h00 – 19h00.  Saturday 8h00 – 19h00.  Sunday 8h00 – 18h00.

*   Cocoa Oola Café and Pizzeria - Part of the Cocoa group, with other branches in Rondebosch Cocoa Wah-Wah), Observatory (Cocoa Chaa-Chi) and on Foreshore (Cocoa Expresso).  Large menu, with pizzas, sandwiches, wraps, breakfast, tramezzinis, burgers, pasta, craft beers, and cocktails served in quirky spacious turquoise and lime green interior. Wireless internet.  TV screens.  Corner Kloof and De Lorentz Str.  Tel (021) 422-3638.  Monday – Saturday 7h00 – 23h00, Sunday 8h00 – 20h00.

*  Tamboers Winkelfarm style kitchen in the city, rotisserie chicken forms foundation for many dishes, increasingly adding sweet treats (cupcakes, macaroons, etc).  Also sell charcuterie, free range eggs, Manna Epicure breads, and other deli items (photograph).  3 De Lorentz Str. Tel (021) 424-0521. Tuesday – Friday 9h00 – 20h00, Saturday and Sunday 9h00 – 16h00.

*   Jackal & Hide - ‘Continental cuisine’, bar. 108 Kloof Street.  Tel (021) 424-1020.  Monday – Saturday 15h00 – 24h00.

*   Café Paradiso - Part of the Madame Zingara group, beautiful view onto Table Mountain, seating inside and outside, inexpensive comfort food.  110 Kloof Str. Monday – Saturday 8h00 – 22h00, Sunday 8h00 – 14h30.  Tel (021) 423-8653

*   Manna Epicure - Good breads, cakes and sweet treats, deli.  Attractive white cottagey interior.  151 Kloof Str.  Tel (021)    Tuesday – Sunday   8h00 – 17h00.

Caffe Milano - Milanese pastries, salads, few cooked foods, excellent breakfast (all day on weekends), fabulous Eggs Benedict. Giorgio Nava-owned.  153 Kloof Str.  Tuesday – Sunday, 7h00 until 17h00.  Tel (021) 426-5566 (photograph).

Bombay Bicycle Clubwacky-looking inside and outside bohemian decor, also owned by Madame Zingara group.  Comfort food, inexpensive.  Kloof Str.  Tel (021) 423-6805. Monday – Saturday

*   Bacini’s Ristorante & Pizzeria - Italian style restaurant. 177 Kloof Str. Tel (021) 423-6668.  Monday – Sunday 12h00 – 23h00.

*  Liquorice & Lime – Coffee shop, Breakfasts and light meals.  162 Kloof Str.  Tel (021) Monday – Friday 7h00 – 17h00, Saturday & Sunday, 7h00 – 17h00.

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

MasterChef SA Finalist Samantha Nolan showed her leadership skills in the team competition in episode 5 of MasterChef South Africa last week, with her Red team winning the Harvest Celebration lunch challenge.  Her selection of mainly Cape Town Finalists to her team reflected her loyalty to Cape Town and to the team members that she had got to know in the earlier rounds of the reality TV show competition, and who had become friends.  She appears to be a strong contender for the title, not having been faulted by the judges in the episodes to date.

Samantha agreed to an interview immediately when I called her, subject to the approval from M-Net’s Senior Publicist Ingrid Engelbrecht, as we had to obtain for our interview with Finalist Guy Clark.  I asked Sam to choose a suitable venue, and even offered to drive out to Table View, but she selected Andiamo in the old Cape Quarter.

Samantha brought along her husband Paul, and he comes across as the most wonderful supportive husband one could wish for, the two making a good team.  They ‘met’ telephonically fifteen years ago, both working for ESKOM, and he called her in the Medical Aid department with a query. On his next visit to Johannesburg, where she was based, they met, and the rest is history.  Both had two children from their previous marriages, and now the family of six lives in Cape Town.  Paul left his job at ESKOM, and has become an electronic contractor, with contracts in Kazakhstan, Kenya, and Liberia, the family joining him for the first two contracts.  Disaster struck when Samantha had a heart attack last year, while Paul was in Liberia, and a rare genetic defect, being a shortage of chemicals which had never been evident before, was diagnosed.  She takes medication for the condition now. She said that the stress of MasterChef has not affected her at all.  It did mean however that she could not join Paul in Liberia, because of the poor medical conditions in that country.  Paul works six weeks away, and then comes home for two weeks. He finishes the contract next month, and then wants to start a facilities management consultancy, helping companies like ours with all maintenance requirements.

I asked Samantha where the MasterChef interest had come from, and she said that she saw the first Australian programme three years ago, and just knew that she wanted to be part of it when it came to South Africa. She has been Googling it over this period. She dreamt about being a contestant, and having become a Finalist is her dream come true. She is proud to have made Top 15 to date, out of an initial field of 9500 applicants.  For her cold audition at the Cullinan Hotel in Cape Town, when they were reduced down from 4000 to 120 contestants, she prepared hot cross bun ice cream with clotted cream (a challenge to find the unpasteurised milk), making it all herself, which she served with three berry sorbets and a white chocolate ganache. She loves experimenting with and making ice creams, something she developed when they lived in Kenya, as ice cream is very expensive there.  For the Hot audition in Johannesburg she prepared ceviche, seeing in the last minute that it had to be a literally hot and cooked dish, having interpreted it figuratively initially.  She quickly had to rewrite her recipe, creating a dish called ‘Fish cake journey‘, which represented three types of cultures in South Africa, and it put her into the final 120 finalists, and earned her the MasterChef SA apron:

*   the European influence was represented by salmon with dill sour cream

*   the South African influence, being smoked snoek with curry and a sweet chilli sauce

*   the Asian influence, being a prawn fish cake with a ponzu dressing

Taking part in MasterChef SA was something she absolutely wanted to do, and despite Paul being in Liberia, and the Finalists having to be at Nederburg for up to two months without contact with her family, the family made a plan to make Samantha’s dream come true.  Her 14 year old son Ryan seems to be following in his mom’s shoes, and had the cooking duty for his siblings, her daughter Caitlin did the shopping,  each child having specific chores. A friend down the road kept an eye on the children, and took them to school.  The children Skyped Paul daily, and so any problems were sorted out with Paul, even if he was far away from home, so that Samantha could be focused on what she was doing at MasterChef.  The children enjoyed the experience too, learning to be responsible, and independent. Her family organisational skills, with Paul away so often, seem to have benefited Samantha, from what we have seen in MasterChef so far, not easily getting rattled.  It appears that the judges did not manage to bring her to tears in the series.

Samantha looked soft and gentle in the interview, with her long blond hair loose, something I hadn’t seen in the show as it always tied back, but it is clear that Samantha is organised, determined, and focused.  She is honest and direct, reflecting her European background, with her father being Dutch, and her mother half Dutch and half Austrian.  Her dad didn’t cook, being better at woodwork, but her mom cooked European dishes, such as pea soup and ham, ‘kroketten’‘potjiepot’ (similar to our potjiekos), poffertjies, and she baked cakes, rusks, and spekulaas with her mom. She described herself as ‘a dutiful daughter’, in helping her mother, who lives in Johannesburg, and owns a B&B there.  There is a lovely relationship between Paul and Samantha, and sometimes she looked to him for answers, or he would prompt her about something she had cooked. He proudly said: “I get anything I want culinary-wise”.  But Paul did admit that he is a fussy eater, and he has exact requirements for his fried eggs! I got the feeling that Samantha can be independent, but that Team Nolan always comes first.

Samantha has a curious interest in food, and told me how she tried to make mozzarella herself. She found it very difficult to find unpasteurised milk, and said that she won’t be trying this again.  She taught herself to make artisanal bread when they bought some from Olympia Café in Kalk Bay at a market out their way.  She developed her own recipes, and she bakes a selection of breads, including olive ciabatta, epi breads, baguettes, seed loafs, and paninis, for friends, using Eureka flour. She says she has a standard domestic oven.  She describes herself as a ‘home cook’, and says she really got cooking when they used to eat out, and they were rarely happy with what they were served.  She would head home and recreate the dish, making it better than they had experienced. She told me how she spoilt the children and their friends in Kenya one day, when she made them self-made ‘McDonalds’ breakfast burgers, with a patty, cheese, and egg on a muffin, which she wrapped in wax paper, and then ‘branded’ with the McDonalds logo.  The children loved them, and she still receives ‘orders’ for them!  So too she has made them the KFC ‘Famous Bowl’.

I asked her what favourite dish she likes to prepare most, and Paul said it is her spit braai lamb.  What makes it so special is her marinade, for which she uses garlic, olive oil, lots of lemon juice and rosemary, pepper, whisking this in her Bamix. Both like to braai, but their techniques differ, Samantha keeping her grid closer to the coals, and therefore cooking her meat more quickly. She is good at making sauces, and makes her own Hollandaise, mayonnaise, and other sauces.

She told me how moving it was to do the braai challenge at the Cradle of Humankind outside Johannesburg, a beautiful, humbling and amazing experience, made all the more special that no one else had ever prepared food in this sacred space before, or probably would not do so in future.  In Paarl the group of 18 finalists was divided into three groups, and they took turns to cook for each other at night at the guest house at which they stayed.  She says that when they first started, they made fancy dishes for each other, but over the two month period they got to know each other better, and relaxed the level of cuisine over time. Samantha shared a room with Sue-Ann Allen, also from Cape Town.  She said that the MasterChef kitchen at Nederburg was ‘amazing’. MasterChef SA was tough, she said, a true test of character.  She did reveal that the sending back of her Red team’s pork shoulder in episode 5 by Chef Andrew Atkinson was ‘just TV’, as it had been cooked perfectly!  I asked her what the worst part of the show was, and she said there was nothing.  The best part was ‘everything’, she said, loving it, ‘a surreal experience’, and a ‘dream come true’.   Her end goal in participating is to win the title, but just having been part of it is a huge honour.  I asked her about the restaurant prize which goes to the winner, given her four children and husband, and she answered immediately that it is no problem at all, and that she would relocate to Johannesburg to take up the prize as Chef at MondoVino, if she were to win. Her mother is in Johannesburg, and it is a place that she knows, having grown up there.  She praised the judges, saying how nice they were, ‘all great guys’.  The tears on the show were real, and are important for such a reality show, wanting emotion.  She said that it was easy to break the Finalists’ resistance, giving the long days they had on set, so the tears came easily.

I asked Samantha how she decides what to cook for the family, and she told me that she loves reading cookbooks and magazines.  She rarely repeats what she has made before.  She will wake up, and decide that it is a ‘duck day’, or a ‘lamb day’, for example, and then look for a recipe that will be interesting to make.  She loves making an orange chocolate mousse, Paul said.  She couldn’t tell me what her personal favourite dish is, but finally said that it is pizza, the family having three favourites at different times of the day : For breakfast it’s the BBB, topped with bacon, banana and chilli; for lunch it’s topped with salmon and avocado after; and for dinner it’s the PPP (peri peri and prawns).

I asked Samantha if she is treated like a ‘celebratory’, and she laughed and said ‘unfortunately not yet’. Her children are very proud of her, and want to boast about their mom, and are a little surprised that she is not recognised everywhere she goes, wanting her to tell others that she is MasterChef Sam.  She has just been profiled in the Tygerburger, and more people in their area are recognising her.  Samantha couldn’t answer what her favourite restaurant is, first saying Thai Café, which is near Andiamo, where they enjoyed the crispy duck, but she admitted that her home is her favourite!  M-Net encouraged the Finalists to sign up on Twitter, and Samantha (@SamanthaLNolan) says she is getting used to it.  She is more active on Facebook, where she has a fan page onto which she posts recipes.

Samantha and Paul Nolan are a lovely couple, make a great team, and Paul clearly is proud of his talented wife. He watches the MasterChef SA episodes from Liberia via live streaming.  Their dream is to start a pizza restaurant together, but they were not very specific about where they would set it up or when.  Hearing how determined Samantha was to get into MasterChef SA, and having made her dream come true, it can just be a matter of time before the Nolan Pizzeria opens.

POSTSCRIPT 24/4: Samantha sent a photograph of her MasterChef logo steak and Guinness pie she baked with her son Ryan just before the start of the MasterChef SA episode tonight.

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

2011: what a year it’s been for the world, South Africa, and Whale Cottage – unpredictable, up and down, and a year in which one had to rethink every way in which one has run one’s business and life.  Most would say that it’s been one of the worst years ever!  But despite the tough times, there has been a lot to be grateful for as well.  I have summarised some of the high and low lights of the year:

1.  The knock which tourism took, especially from May – August, in being one of the worst winters ever experienced, had an effect on all sectors of the economy.  Restaurants frantically offered specials to gain cashflow, guest houses went back to dropping rates as they do in winter, and few took rate increases in summer, unlike their hotel colleagues, who suffered poor occupancy too.  More hotels and restaurants closed down than ever seen before. The recession in the UK hit South African tourism and wine sales badly, previously our major source market. From 50 % of our business in the summer months in Camps Bay, the UK business will be no more than 5 % this summer.  High airfares and the crippling UK airport taxes have not helped. The tourism situation was so bad that we wrote an Open Letter to national Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk, as Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited were not aware of how bad things were in the Cape, and therefore did nothing to market the region and to help the tourism industry. Cape Town Tourism spent all its energy on Twitter, not yet the medium of communication of our average tourist, and on wasteful promotions, and therefore we did not renew our 20 year membership. The welcome increase in German tourists has not made up this shortfall, but we have been delighted to welcome many more South African guests.   The World Cup has become a swearword, the reality of its lack of a tourism benefit becoming clear. A blessing from Santa has been a much improved festive season, with no snow-bound tourists or strong south-easter wind, as happened last year.

2.  Events are hugely beneficial for business, and the Argus Cycle Tour, J&B Met, and Cape Town International Jazz Festival attracted out of town guests. The U2 and Coldplay concerts helped fill beds and delighted Cape Town audiences.  A fantastic outcome of Coldplay’s performance is that the music video for ‘Paradise’ was filmed in our city, the Boland and the Karoo – no better part of the world could have been chosen for this song!

3.  Cape Town has had an exceptional year, the darling of the world, winning the World Design Capital 2014 bid, Table Mountain being named one of New7Wonders of Nature (amid some controversy and as yet subject to verification), named top destination in TripAdvisor Travellers’ Choice Destination (for what it was worth!), and featuring strongly in the new James Bond book ‘Carte Blanche’.  Our city hotels, especially the Cape Grace and Steenberg Hotel, featured on international top hotel lists. Good news was the sale of the V&A Waterfront to a local company, which is investing in the upgrade of and addition to the country’s most popular tourist destination.

4.   Despite the doom and gloom, there were more restaurant openings, and chef and restaurant staff changes this year than in many years: The Pot Luck Club, Hemelhuijs, Dash, Casparus, Dear Me Foodworld, The Franschhoek Kitchen, Il Cappero, Café Benedict, The Kitchen at Maison, Sotano by Caveau, Knife, De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Ryan’s Kitchen, Caffe Milano, Mozzarella Bar, Cassis Salon de Thé, Power & the Glory, Haas Coffee, Johan’s @ Longridge, Skinny Legs & All, KOS Coffee & Cuisine, Café Dijon @ Zorgvliet, Le Coq, Act and Play Bar at the Baxter, Sunbird Bistro, Societi Brasserie, Jason’s, Bird Café with new owners, Maria’s after a long renovation closure, Toro Wine & Aperitif Bar, Valora, Café Le Chocolatier, Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant after a renovation and chef change, Art’s Café, Spice Route, Mitico, Knead on Kloof, Chez Chez, La Bella, 5 Rooms, Terbodore Coffee Bar, Wale Rose Lifestyle, The Black Pearl, Bistro on Rose, Slainte, Babel Tea House, Rhapsody’s, Café Extrablatt, Harvest, McDonalds in the V&A,  The Mussel Bar, The Franschhoek Food Emporium, Makaron, F.east, Bean There Fair Trade, Sabrina’s, Harbour House in the V&A, MCC Franschhoek, Clarke Bar & Dining Room, Roberto’s, French Toast, Saboroso, Mezepoli, Rocca in the Cape Quarter, and Roca in Franschhoek opening their doors, and new suppliers Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants and The Creamery opening too.

5.  Sadly, the recession was noticeable as it hit restaurants, and it was some of the newer restaurants that were badly hit, including What’s On Eatery, The Olive Shack, Bella Lucia, Blonde, Jardine, Caveau at the Mill, Nando’s in Camps Bay, The Sandbar, The Bistro, Restaurant Christophe, Doppio Zero in Green Point and Clarement, shu, Oiishi Delicious Caffe, Hermanos, The Kitchen Bar, Wildwoods, The Green Dolphin, De Huguenot restaurant, Wildflour, Depasco, Kuzina, and 221 Waterfront.

6.  The eating highlight of the year was the tribute dinner to the closing of El Bulli, one of the world’s best restaurants, by Tokara, Chef Richard Carstens excelling in serving a 13-course meal to a packed restaurant on 30 July, earning him and his team a standing ovation.  This meal alone should have made Chef Richard South Africa’s top chef in the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, but sole judge Abigail Donnelly proved that she was incapable of handling this new role and responsibility, not only in excluding Chef Richard from her Top 10 list, but also in awarding the new Boschendal Style Award to her client Makaron.

7.   Franschhoek evolved as THE wine region, Boekenhoutskloof being recognised as South Africa’s top winery by the Platter Guide, and La Motte the top wine estate in South Africa by the Great Wine Capitals Global Network.  In the latter competition, Tokara was selected as top wine estate restaurant in the country. The sale of the Franschhoek Graham Beck farm was announced, and the operation closes mid-year in 2012. The winemaking will take place at Steenberg and at Graham Beck in Robertson, while a Graham Beck tasting bar Gorgeous will open at Steenberg in February.

8.   Hermanus was in the tourism marketing spotlight, when miraculously both the committee of the Hermanus Tourism Bureau resigned, and the Cape Whale Coast Destination Marketing Organisation was disbanded by the Overstrand Mayor.  We had written about the self-interest which had been served by the previous leaders of these two bodies in ‘Lermanus’!  A welcome product for Hermanus is the recently created Hermanus Wine Route, marketing of which will be in the capable hands of Carolyn Martin of Creation.

9.   The Consumer Protection Act was introduced in April, and has shown benefits in product deficiencies and returns.  Little effect has been seen for the tourism industry.  The Tourism Grading Council of South Africa tried to change its accommodation assessment standards, which caused a huge outcry.  Despite changing back to what they had before, many accommodation establishments lost faith in the organisation, and have not renewed their accreditation.

10.  The wedding of Prince Albert II and Princess Charlène in July put South Africa in the world spotlight, not only due to the televised broadcast of the wedding, but also as they celebrated their wedding with a second reception, at The Oyster Box in Umhlanga, now the country’s best known hotel.

11.  This year proved that the ‘social’ in Social Media is a misnomer in many respects, but it is the marketing platform which cannot be excluded.  We celebrated the 10th anniversary of our WhaleTales newsletter, the 3rd year of blogging, and our 1000 th blogpost this year.  We are grateful to our Facebook friends and likers, Twitter followers, and blog and newsletter readers for their support.

It is hard to predict 2012, and we will go with the flow.  2011 has made us tougher and even more thick-skinned, we have learnt to change with changed tourism times.  We look forward to a stable world economy, politics, as well as weather in 2012!

POSTSCRIPT 2/1: The most read posts on our blog in 2011 were the restaurant winter specials, the Festive Season packages, the marriage of Prince Albert and Princess Charléne, the review of Casparus, the restaurant summer specials, the review of Gaaitjie in Paternoster, the death in Cape Town of the President of Ferrero Rocher,  the listing of restaurant openings and closures, the Consumer Protection Act, and Table Mountain making the New7Wonders of Nature.

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

The recession has taken its toll, and a number of restaurants have closed down.  Interestingly, a number of chefs are moving too, an unusually high staff turnover, some of the movements due to the restaurant closures.  It is noticeable that many restaurants which opened earlier this year have closed their doors already.  Despite the recession, new restaurants have opened or are in the process of opening (we have previously listed restaurants which opened and closed earlier this year).  We will update the list of restaurant openings/closures/changes regularly, and welcome contributions:

Cape Town

*    F.east Indian Restaurant has opened on the corner Long and Bloem Streets, in Cape Town

*    Bean There Fair Trade Coffee has opened on Wale Street, two doors down from Honest Chocolate

*    What’s On Eatery on Watson Street has closed down

*    Chef Christo Pretorius, previously of De Huguenot, has started as Sous Chef at 1800 Restaurant at the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel

*     Wildflour has closed down on Regent Road in Sea Point.

*     221 Waterfront has closed down in the V&A Waterfront, and a ‘concept store’ McDonald’s is opening in its space

*     Dash Restaurant at the Queen Victoria Hotel has lost its Chef Oliver Cattermole (now at Le Franschhoek Hotel), Manager Darren Morgan (now at the One&Only Cape Town), and F&B Manager Alton van Biljon.  Executive Chef Stephen Templeton has also left for a position in the Caribbean.

*    Harbour House has opened a branch in the V & A Waterfront (right), where Fisherman’s Choice was

Café Extrablatt has opened where shu used to be, in Green Point

*     Mezepoli from Johannesburg has opened in the Nando’s space in Camps Bay

*    Goloso Italian Deli and Wine Bar has opened on Regent Road in Sea Point, near KOS

*   Clarke’s Bar and Dining Room has opened, two doors away from Bird’s Café on Bree Street, as an American-style diner, owned by Lyndall Maunder, ex-Superette

*   A late night dinner and dance restaurant will open in the ex-Brio space, with a chef from St Tropez, and a DJ from Cannes

*   Chez Chez has opened as an Espresso and Cheesecake Bar (serving 13 different cheesecakes), 3 De Lorentz Street, Tamboerskloof.

*    The Black Pearl is the new name of the Tapas, Restaurant and Cocktail Bar, with new owners, of the ex-Seven Sins on Kloof Street.

*   Bistro on Rose has opened at 35 Rose Street

*   Rhapsody’s franchise restaurant, mainly in Pretoria, has opened next door to Café Extrablatt in Green Point, where Doppio Zero used to be, with Exceutive Chef Claire Brown, previously with Ginja and Pierneef à La Motte

*   Wale Rose Lifestyle has opened in Bo-Kaap, on the corner of Wale and Rose Street, serving Cape Malay as well as ‘cosmopolitan food’.

*   Andy Fenner (JamieWho?) and friends have opened Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants in Metal Lane, 8 Kloof Street, opposite McDonald’s.  They are stocking Farmer Angus McIntosh’s beef, Richard Bosman’s pork, and eggs and chicken from Simply Wholesome.  A barista will make coffee, and Jason will bake special chorizo muffins and bacon brioche for them.  Saturday markets in the parking area outside may be on the cards.

*   Renamed Blues Beach House restaurant (right) in Camps Bay has re-opened, having been reduced in size by about half, and changed its menu to ‘beach food’*

*   Chef Leigh Trout, ex- Mange Tout at the Mont Rochelle Hotel, has bought Bird Café and Gourmet Eatery on Bree Street, with Kevin Mink.

*    Chef Jacques de Jager, has left Salt Restaurant, setting up a consultancy.  Chef Daniel Botha from Le Franschhoek Hotel has taken over his job.

*   Cocoa Oola has opened on Kloof Street, where Oishii used to be

*   Sommelier Neil Grant, ex-sommelier of Rust en Vrede, is opening Burrata, a new Italian restaurant in the Old Biscuit Mill in mid-February

*   Societi Brasserie has opened in Constantia

*   Manna Epicure is now owned by Betsie van der Merwe from Johannesburg

*   Luke Dale-Roberts, just crowned Eat Out Top Chef, has opened the Pot Luck Club, a Tapas Bar next to The Test Kitchen.

*   Chef Scottie Henry is the new chef at Sinatra restaurant at the Pepper Club Hotel

*   The Mussel Bar has opened on the Victoria Street level of the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay.

*  Peter Tempelhoff of the McGrath Collection, and The Green House in the Cellars Hohenhort Hotel  specifically, has been honoured with the title Grand Chef of Relais & Chateaux.  He is the first Cape Town and only the third South African chef to receive this honour.

*   The Bungalow has opened as a 400-seater restaurant where La Med used to be, part of the Kovensky Group, also owning Pepenero, Paranga, The Kove and Zenzero.

*   Chef Brian Smit is now at Tides Restaurant at the Bay Hotel in Camps Bay, previously with Noisy Oyster in Paternoster

*   La Belle Café & Bakery has opened in the Alphen Boutique Hotel.

*   5 Rooms Restaurant has opened at the Alphen Boutique Hotel

*   Gypsy Café has opened in Observatory

*   Kuzina in the Cape Quarter has been sold, and whilst still serving Greek food, it is now called Rocca.

*   Sabrina’s has opened where Depasco was, at the corner of Kloof and Long Street

*   Arts Café has opened at Artscape.

*   Chef Craig Paterson has started as Executive Chef at Dash (Queen Victoria Hotel), the V&A Hotel, and Dock House

*   Caveau at the Josephine Mill has closed down

*   Café Sofia in Green Point has become Slainte

*   Knead has opened a large outlet in Lifestyle on Kloof, Gardens

*   Mitico has opened a pizzeria and ‘spaghetteria’ on Kloof Street, where St Elmo’s used to be

*   Mamma Mia in Steenberg is closing down at the end of February

*   Don Pedro’s in Woodstock will re-open on 14 February, under Madame Zingara management

*   Madame Zingara is said to be re-opening in its original building on Loop Street

*   Tong Lok on Kloof Street has closed down.

*   Mason on Kloof Street has closed down

*   Buzz on Kloof Street has closed down

*   Black Pearl on Kloof Street has closed down

*   Myög has opened as a frozen yoghurt outlet, at 103 Kloof Street

*   Thai Café has opened in the Cape Quarter

*   Bruce von Pressentin has been appointed as Executive Chef at The Restaurant@Longridge

*   David Higgs has resigned as Executive Chef from Radisson Blu Gautrain in Johannesburg (previously with Rust en Vrede).

*   Paulaner Bräuhaus in the V&A Waterfront is closing down on Sunday 19 February!

*   The Fez is closing down.

Franschhoek

*  The Olive Shack at Allora in Franschhoek has closed its restaurant operation, and will only operate as a shop selling olive-related products.

* Leopard’s Leap has opened its Tasting room and Liam Tomlin Food Studio and Store outside Franschhoek

* The Kitchen and The Tasting Room has opened on Maison wine estate in Franschhoek, with Chef Arno Janse van Rensburg (ex Ginja, Myoga), and Manager Julian Smith (ex Azure, Grande Provence,  Waterkloof, Pierneef a La Motte) (left)

*   Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant has re-opened with new decor, and new chef Ryan Shell.

*    Reuben’s is opening a Franschhoek branch in nhis self-owned building off the main road, and will run it concurrently until its Huguenot Road branch lease expires next year

*   Franschhoek Famous Pancake House, with owner Gideon, has re-opened as a take-away pancake outlet, in Mont View Centre, next to the gym, in Fabriek Street, Franschhoek.

*   Batho’s Place African Restaurant has opened in the township in Franschhoek.  082 090 8660

*    Chef Oliver Cattermole, previously with Dash and What’s On Eatery, has started as Executive Chef at Le Franschhoek Hotel.

*   Dieu Donné in Franschhoek has leased its restaurant to Martin and Marco from Durban, and they have renamed it Roca. Chef Jo van Staden has returned to Durban with her husband, Chef Gerard van Staden, who has returned to the Beverley Hills Hotel, after a short stint at the Pepper Club Hotel’s Sinatra restaurant.

*   Chef Chris Smit of Café BonBon has resigned

*   Café Le Chocolatier has opened a chocolate manufacturing and demo outlet Le Chocolatier Factory, next to its restaurant, in Franschhoek

*    Bijoux Chocolates has opened on Huguenot Road in Franschhoek.

*   Terbodore Coffee Roasters have opened a coffee roastery and coffee shop, at Goederust, outside Franschhoek

*   The sushi restaurant has closed down

*   MCC Franschhoek has opened in the Village Square, opposite the church, stocking 34 MCC’s from Franschhoek and serving food as well

*   Judy Sendzul has sold her share in The Salmon Bar to Gregory Stubbs of Three Streams trout farm

*  Babel Tea House has opened at Babylonstoren, serving sandwiches, cake and teas.

*  Donovan Dreyer from Grande Provence has resigned and starts as Restaurant manager of Indochine at Delaire Graff on 6 January.  Aldo du Plessis has taken over as Restaurant Manager at Grande Provence.

*   Mon Plaisir Restaurant has moved next door to the Chamonix tasting room

Stellenbosch

*   De Huguenot Restaurant and Harry Q Bar have closed.  The De Huguenot Estate will concentrate on weddings and events only.

*    Cavallo restaurant is said to open on the stud farm on R44, between Stellenbosch and Somerset West, in 2012 or 2013

*    Chef Anri Diener has left Majeka House, and Chef Tanja Kruger from De Huguenot Restaurant has taken over her position

*   Vanessa Quellec has joined Wild Peacock Food Emporium, to promote their Valrhona Chocolates

*   The owners of Sweet have returned to Sweden, and Dimitri has bought it and renamed it Dimi’s.

*   Manager Chris Oliver and Chef Marissa Chandansing of Johan’s@Longridge have left, and will start a new restaurant, details as yet undisclosed

*   Casparus will close between 24 December and 9 January

*   Laurille and Lynne from Olivello Restaurant on Marianne wine estate outside Stellenbosch are handing over the ownership of the restaurant to Alex and Jane Bradbeck on 23 January.

*   Cupcake on Dorp Street has closed down, and Dorpstraat Deli opens at the end of February

*   De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened a bar, serving Bartinney wines, and craft beers.

Paarl

* Chef Matthew Gordon has opened Harvest, a new restaurant at Laborie

* Peaches and Cream on the Main Road in Paarl has been taken over by Anica Bester

*  The Spice Route Restaurant has opened on the ex-Seidelberg, now belonging to Fairview.

Somerset West

*  Events manager Mandy Smith and Restaurant Manager Allan Ware have been retrenched at Waterkloof

Hermanus/Overberg

*    Mediterrea in Hermanus has changed its name to Grilleri

*   Patron Chef Stefan Louw has taken over the running of Heaven on Newton Johnson wine estate in the Hemel en Aarde wine valley.

*   Ex-Hermanos chef/owner Wayne Spencer is now at Burgundy in Hermanus

*   Simone’s Restaurant has opened in Napier

*   Tipples Bar and Grill has opened in Hermanus

*   Rivendell Estate and Bistro has opened as a restaurant and winetasting venue on the road between Hermanus and the N2, near the Kleinmond turn-off.

Garden Route

*   Katarina’s has opened at the Kurland Hotel.

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