Entries tagged with “Nova”.


An unlucky restaurant location for the Cape Town branch of Bouillabaisse, and new sister restaurant Crepe Suzette, in the Rockwell Centre in De Waterkant in Cape Town, in what was meant to have become Conrad Gallagher’s Epicurean Gourmet Market before he fled the country with huge debts, resulted in both the restaurants closing down in September.  These restaurants have fused, and have just opened as Camil’s Restaurant, ironically in the previous location of Gallagher’s Geisha Wok in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel on Main Road in Green Point.   Whilst now fused into one restaurant, a creperie menu and an a la carte menu will be offered to all patrons.   Camil and Ingrid Haas are to run the operational side of the restaurant, while the new partner Jochen Buechel, previous owner of the Place on the Bay in Camps Bay, will look after the marketing of the restaurant.   It is bold to close two restaurant brands which were marketed jointly, off the base of the respected Bouillabaisse brand in Franschhoek, and to start from scratch with the new Camil’s brand.   A review of Camil’s will follow.

A new “Caffe”, which opened five weeks ago, is L’Aperitivo, a wine and cocktail bar that serves breakfast, and light lunches and dinners from “9h00 till late”, the sign on the door says.  Owners Andrea Gargiulo (Italian) and Stef Rau (Swiss) are charming hosts.  They met two years ago, on a cruise liner, and fell in love with Cape Town.   Before setting up their restaurant, they ran the Primi Piatti in the V&A Waterfront for two years.  It is located next door to the Bang Bang Club, a favoured haunt of teenage disco lovers, adding a free bonus to L’Aperitivo patrons, if they enjoy the music and watching the youngsters coming and going from the venue from Wednesdays – Saturdays.   The food menu is written onto a blackboard: the base Insalata L’Aperitivo costs R 30, and R 40 when tuna or chicken mayonnaise are added, and R 55 if salmon is added.   The Frittata costs R 40, the Chicken Parmigiana and a salad (just some green leaves) R 55, Roast Beef with baby potatoes and salad costs R 58, and sandwiches R 45.   For dessert the choices were an Affogato at R 22 and half a pineapple and ice cream at R 25.   Every day fresh ingredients are bought, and the menu changed to reflect what is available.   L’Aperitivo only stocks the very good Glen Carlou wines at the moment, Stef having a close relationship with the Swiss owner Hess.  They plan to offer 30 – 40 wines-by-the-glass, a commendable goal (Stef used to work at Belthezar, known for its wide selection of wines-by-the-glass).    Andrea was previously a ‘mixologist’, he says, a cool word for a barman!    His favourite restaurant is Aubergine.   L’Aperitivo stands for fresh quality food, and good and prompt service.  An ordered take-away Parma ham and brie roll turned out to be a salami roll when opened, a disappointment in an otherwise good experience!  Its brochure states: “L’Aperitivo is a Wine & Cocktail Bar with a Caffe providing a variety of freshly produced food, and which encapsulates a European style of life.   Enjoy the gathering of like-minded people to understand the way of life.   The setting is intimate, comfortable and relaxing, to ensure you enjoy your stay at whatever time you visit L’Aperitivo”.   L’Aperitivo, 70 Loop Street, tel 076 574 1805/082 898 7079.   Open Mondays – Saturdays.

Vanilla officially opened in the Cape Quarter just over a week ago, to a record crowd of 250 guests, the launch invitation being such a hit that the expected one-third no-show did not happen.   This created a problem for the owners initially in coping with serving the drinks and excellent snacks, but was quickly addressed.   It is a shame that the City of Cape Town cannot get the paving completed outside the main Somerset Road entrance to the Cape Quarter.   In fact, the main entrance to the centre was closed off on Thursday evening, meaning that one would have to find the entrance from the street behind the centre.  Franschhoek chef Matthew Gordon is the consultant chef to Vanilla, while its chef is Evan Coosner, previously with Reubens in Franschhoek and at Ginja.  A review of Vanilla is to follow.

The Grand Cafe’ branches in Plettenberg Bay and Camps Bay are soon to be joined by a third branch in The Water Club in Granger Bay, adjacent to the V&A Waterfront. 

Franschhoek is set to see the opening of a new bakery and cafe’ in the building which once housed the Franschhoek Tourism Bureau and, more recently, Winelands Experience.  The new La Place Vendome, a stylish center set to open at the entrance to Franschhoek soon, will house another new coffee shop, a deli and food hall, and a champagne bar.

Genot restaurant on Klein Genot wine estate in Franschhoek was relaunched last week, with the owner Angie Diamond taking over the management of the restaurant.   It is beautifully located above the wine cellar, with a view of the vineyards and surrounding Franschhoek mountains when one sits on the terrace outside.  Inside no expense has been spared in the large restaurant space, with lots of chandeliers perhaps making it too bright at night. The restaurant’s model is Baia, a well-known seafood restaurant in the V&A Waterfront, but at far more reasonable pricing.  Angie feels that Franschhoek does not offer its visitors a good selection of fish dishes.  The winelist is restricted with about five choices per variety, one of them being the Klein Genot, where applicable.  The Klein Genot Shiraz is the lowest priced, at R 158 per bottle, but is still very young, being a 2007 vintage.   The chefs come from Malawi, Mocambique and Zimbabwe, and they add an African feel to dishes, Angie says.   Eleven starters are priced from R 38 (chicken livers, sardines) to R 58 (mussels, and a delicious prawn cocktail), with oysters costing R 18 each.   Five salads (Caprese, Greek, etc) cost about R 48 and three soup choices are also offered, at R 48.   Eight seafood main courses range in price from R 78 for the calamari to R 228 for a seafood platter, and include two kingklip dishes.  The baby kingklip was huge, and came on the bone, which re-created an old childhood fear of bones. The restaurant would have filleted it, had one requested it.  Steaks cost R 138 for a 500 gram fillet, and R 78 for a stuffed chicken dish.  Eight desserts (excellent Pavlova being one of them) cost R 48 each.   On weekend nights live music will be offered, and a Frank Sinatra interpretor Andre Ahlers entertained the fully booked restaurant.   It was a pleasure to meet a fellow Twitterer @MarcKatzy, who came over to introduce himself.   Genot, Klein Genot estate, Franschhoek, tel 021 876-2738, www.kleingenot.com

Rust & Vrede has just been named the best Restaurant of all wine regions in the world, in the 2010 Best of Wine Tourism Awards, organised by the Great Wine Capitals Global Wine Network.  It was lauded for its “welcoming, top quality restaurant”.  It is the only South African entry to have won an accolade.   Will it become South Africa’s Top restaurant of the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards, presented on 22 November?

Steenberg Winery is opening a new restaurant this week, called Bistro Sixteen82, serving breakfast, lunch and tapas seven days a week, its ad says.   Reservations tel 021 713 2211.  

Beefcakes is a new restaurant with a large space on Somerset Road in Green Point, close to Limnos.  It is clearly set to cater for hungry soccer fans when they walk along Somerset Road to and from the Cape Town Stadium for the 2010 World Cup!

Ginja has made the move into its new premises at the previous Nova/Relish location, at the start of New Church Street.  Chef Chris Erasmus and executive chef Michael Bassett run the restaurant, which now also serves lunches.

Bukhara has re-opened in its Burg Street location in Cape Town, after a fire necessitated a renovation lasting about three months.   “Bukhara Cape Town is proud to announce the opening of their new look restaurant”, its ad says.    Tel 021 424-0000.

Doppio Zero has a special Breakfast offer of R 35 for a cooked breakfast, or fruit and yoghurt, with toast and a cappuccino or a fruit juice, at its Main Road, Green Point branch, from Mondays to Fridays.  Tel 021 434-9581, www.doppio.co.za

Clos Malverne wine estate is one of a number of wine estates to open a restaurant this month (George Jardine opens The Restaurant at Jordan next week).  The restaurant opened last week on the Stellenbosch Devon Valley estate, simply called “The Restaurant”.   It offers a choice of five starters, ranging from R 39 – R 44, seven main courses, ranging in price from R 89 – R 98, and four desserts, at R 35 – R39.  The ad refers to the restaurant as follows: “…this Contemporary South African cuisine style restaurant will truly tantalize your taste buds”.   The Restaurant is open on Tuesdays – Sundays for lunch only. Tel 021 865-2022.

Reuben’s in Robertson was a refreshing pit stop on a trip to Plettenberg Bay last week.   The 30-seater restaurant is located in the 10-bedroom Small Robertson Hotel, a beautifully renovated historical building creating an oasis in an otherwise dreary town.    The staff at all levels were extremely friendly.   The menu design is the same as that of the Reuben’s Franschhoek branch, but the menu items differ vastly.   Four starters range in price from R 58 for a salad of beetroot and goat’s cheese to R 70 for salmon sashimi.   Five main courses start with R 78 for a gnocchi, to R 135 for the veal fillet.  Two cheese courses are offered, at around R 65, and four desserts range in price from R 30 – R 62.   Whilst our party of four loved our food and the good service, one was left with a feeling that the prices may be too high for a small town restaurant, no matter how good it is, and that its menu may not be appropriate for someone wanting a good light lunch, having a further 2 – 4 hours to travel to the Garden Route or to Cape Town.   As per the Reuben’s menu in Franschhoek, the menu lists Reuben Riffel as the Concept Chef.  The Reuben’s Robertson team are Aviv Liebenberg as the Executive Chef, and Christien van der Westhuizen as the Pastry Chef.  An interesting feature of the menu not seen on the Franschhoek menu is a listing of the suppliers of the fruit and vegetable, dairy and olive products, and the pork (including Happy Hog!).   Reuben’s Robertson is located at 58 Van Reenen Street, tel 023 626 7200. www.therobertsonsmallhotel.com.  

Reuben Riffel has been a Brand Ambassador for South African Tourism, in its campaign on CNN.   Erstwhile Top 10 chef Richard Carstens is said to be cooking at Reuben’s in Franschhoek.  Recently he was helping out at Roots restaurant in Gauteng, after Nova closed down.

Alle’e Bleue in Franschhoek has a new surprise every few weeks, and the latest is its menu for its beer garden adjacent to the picnic area at the bottom end of the wine estate.   One can order Paulaner beer and a spinach and smoked chicken salad, a quiche and salad, a Swiss sausage salad or a local cheese platter, at prices ranging from R 45 – R 59.  It hosted its first sushi/wine pairing dinner on Friday, and its first High Tea yesterday.

Grande Provence received a rave review in the Weekend Australian last month, journalist Susan Kurosawa describing it as the “best restaurant in South Africa’s winelands”.    She makes one odd comment about the Grand Provence menu: “The menu is seasonal but, for this being South Africa, expect cute wildlife to be involved. …..  I can’t pronounce much of it, let alone countenance eating Bambi’s relatives”!

Allora in Franschhoek, an Italian restaurant that is part of a chain with a number of branches in Johannesburg, has introduced a restaurant booking incentive called the Allora Miles Program.   The Allora Miles Card will be handed to accommodation staff, and they will receive points each time they make a booking for guests (who arrive!).   Prizes are awarded on the basis of points accumulated, and include airtime and Allora vouchers, vouchers for shopping at Woolworths and Pick ‘n Pay, and electrical appliances.   Feedback supplied to the restaurant is that the incentive programme is ‘too Johannesburg-like’ to be a success in Franschhoek.

Col’cacchio Pizzeria makes delicious pizzas (in Camps Bay at least), and all eight branches in the greater Cape Town area, including Franschhoek and Stellenbosch, are offering a special “Mix & Match” lunch offer, with two courses on the lunch menu for R 99 on Mondays – Thursdays, between 12h00 – 17h00.

Baraza in Camps Bay is to relaunch itself next week as Sapphire.

Nando’s, South Africa’s most creative chicken restaurant chain, is turning up the heat in Turkey, when it opened its first branch in Istanbul last week, reports the Hurriyet Daily News of Turkey.   The company aims to open 60 Nando’s in Turkey, to add to its total of 850 restaurants in 26 countries.  Known for its sharp marketing and cheeky advertising campaigns in South Africa, the Nando’s co-founder Robert Brozin said at the Istanbul opening: “I think that we are representing our leader Nelson Mandela with our restaurants.  Nando’s is like a messenger of South Africa.   With each new restaurant that Nando’s launches in other countries, Mandela sends a signed letter to us”!   Nando’s in Knysna has just closed down, reports CX Express.

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

This week marks the official launch of two competing but neighbouring restaurants in the new Cape Quarter extension on Somerset Road in De Waterkant.   Cru Cafe’ (see review here) has been open since the beginning of the month, but celebrated its launch on Tuesday.  Vanilla has also opened, and its launch evening is on Friday.   In general, these are the two ‘serious’ restaurants in this new lifestyle centre, that is set to take off as Capetonians discover its unique combination of high quality shops.   Lazari is a restaurant that disappointed on a first visit, with a shrieking pink interior, and the restaurant staff and the patrons being unsure as to which of their two terraces are for smokers and non-smokers!   The visible food preparation area when one enters the restaurant is enough to put one off from entering and sitting down!

This week saw the opening of the long-awaited Crepe et Cidre in Franschhoek, near Huguenot Fine Chocolates.  It belongs to Robert Maingard, the largest hospitality owner in the village, also owning Le Franschhoek, and Dieu Donne, and he is also set to open a sports bar in the old station building soon.  He is opening two further restaurants in Franschhoek, on opposite sides of the main road, when he completes the malls next year, one being on the current Pick ‘n Pay site and the other on the site where the Huguenot Hotel was located.   Crepe et Cidre will be run by Gerhard van Staden, previously chef of the Le Franschhoek.  The creperie has “imported” Yann Guyonvarch from Brittany in France to train the staff in crepe-making.  His true French accent is a delight, but his stay will be a short 2 weeks.  Imported French cider is served.

At La Brasserie in Franschhoek, the Friday jazz evenings will start again tomorrow (30 October), and the opening session will be dedicated to the launch of a CD ‘Tribute to Alex van Heerden’, who played with the Cape Dutch Connection, and passed away tragically.

In Hermanus the new Hermanos restaurant has opened in the building in which Joubert restaurant operated before closing down earlier this year, with a new chef and owner Wayne Spencer.  He was originally the Executive Chef at Birkenhead House in Hermanus, and at Phinda Game Reserve, and worked at the Michelin-starred Port Palace in Monaco.   He says of his new restaurant that it is fine-dining but that it is not intimidating, and he will not place a lot of emphasis on plating the food.  He intends to come out of the kitchen, to chat to his guests, which is commendable – too few chefs do so.   The menu is small, with 5 starters (R36 – 48), 7 mains (R68 – R 110), and 4 desserts (ranging betwen R 30 – R 40), and sounds interesting. The winelist is more extensive, and is very proudly-Hermanus.  The restaurant is open Mondays to Saturdays for dinner only initially, and can be booked at tel 028 313-1916.  

The Seafood at The Marine restaurant in Hermanus was a pleasant surprise earlier this week, when the most delicious kingklip was served.  The restaurant offers a choice of two courses at R 180 and 3 courses cost R 215.   A number of irritations on arrival – struggling to find the booking on the reservation list and a wobbly table – were sorted out when addressed, and the Relais & Chateaux crested butter arrived rock hard, so much so that it was unspreadable.  The restaurant has no ambiance, it being too brightly lit and it not having any attempt at a decor focus.  But the food cooks, and the hand of Executive Chef Peter Tempelhoff, a previous Eat Out Top Ten chef whilst at Grande Provence, is evident.  The biggest surprise was the presentation of three scoops of ice cream on a block of ice, serving a functional as well as an aesthetic role.   The whale-shaped biscuit served with the coffee, whilst not new, remains a cute and clever touch.   The service is friendly and willing, and a miscommunication between the waiter and the kitchen was quickly rectified.   No senior management was visible all evening.   The cloakrooms are most disappointing for a five-star hotel, and the owner Liz McGrath would do well to invest some monies in upgrading these at The Marine.

The speculation in a previous WhaleTales blog post that Ginja is to move to New Church Street (between Buitengracht and Kloofnek Roads), into the previous Relish and Nova restaurant space, has been confirmed by the EatOut website.  “Executive Chef Chris Erasmus will continue the Ginja legacy with his playful take on gastronomy, abundant with colour, texture and taste – using the finest local produce”, the website says. 

Allee Bleue in Franschhoek is hosting its first Sushi and wine-pairing evening on Friday 6 November, at R 195, with a miso soup and tempura prawn starter, and five main sushi courses, each paired with a different Allee Bleue wine.   The dessert is a green tea brulee.  Chef Dane Newton, previously at Chamonix, is known in Franschhoek for his sushi.    In addition to Allee Bleue’s Bistro, the new Winetasting Courtyard 5-item menu, and the scrumptious picnic baskets, a small beer garden menu is also available to be enjoyed with the Paulaner draught beer served at the lower end of the estate.

Jordan wine estate is opening its The Restaurant at Jordan on 21 November.   The e-mail sent to announce the opening looks amateurish, and is an instant turn-off, as one is asked to commit to the food one would like to eat on that day, and the exact time slot in which one would like to eat it in.  Payment must also be done by bank transfer prior to arrival.  For a weekend treat, a visit to a wine estate is enjoyed in leisurely fashion, without being so prescriptive!  George Jardine of Jardine is the new chef of the country restaurant.

Cafe’ Sofia is boldly advertising its seven branches (Green Point, Camps Bay, Sea Point, Rondebosch, Gardens, Greenside and Blouberg) in a striking half-page advertisement: “Come and experience our new 2010 menu, the best breakfast in town or Happy Hour Cocktails.  You may be in for a surprise”.  The Happy Hour cocktails are priced at R 25 for cocktails and R 15 for beer on tap between 17h00 – 19h00, while breakfasts range from R 19 – R 29. 

It was a food book launch week last week, with“Franschhoek Food”, written by Myrna Robbins, featuring the main chefs of Franschhoek’s restaurants, and some of their favourite restaurant menu recipes, as well as wine pairing suggestions.   “South Africa On a Plate” was also launched, a book featuring restaurants that deduct R 5 off the patron’s bill to go toward the Streetsmart charity.   A three-course dinner suggestion, with the recipes, is featured for each restaurant.   Grande Provence, Cafe’ 1999, Jewel of India, Auberge Michel, Ginga, Haiku, Rust en Vrede, Jardine, La Colombe, Ninth Avenue Bistro, Myoga, Mosaic, Bosman’s, Hartford House, Roots, The Saxon, Ile Maurice, and Terroir are some of the restaurants included in the book.   The inspiration for the book comes from Jess Meredith-Watts and his fiance’ Louise, who were touched by beggars on the streets, and felt that they could make a difference, by giving all the profits of the book sales to the Streetsmart charity.   More details about the book are available here.

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

More restaurant opening and movement news continues to reach WhaleTales.

Klein Genot is ending its relationship with Mark Radnay, of the Overture partnership with Top 10 chef Bertus Basson, after a one-year marriage, due to the restaurant not being financially viable, says Basson.   Angie Diamond, the owner of the luxury 5-star Klein Genot boutique hotel and winery called WhaleTales to say that she is taking over the Genot restaurant, with a name refinement to Genot Restaurant Cigar Bar, from 1 November, and is celebrating the opening with a Frank Sinatra tribute evening on 5 November, and a jazz evening on 6 November.    Diamond says her new restaurant model is Baia, the upmarket seafood restaurant in the V & A Waterfront, but at far reduced prices.  Starters range in price from R 38 for sardines to R 68 for parma ham and melon, with mussel and prawn starters costing R 58.   Salads average R 48, and the fish main courses range between R 78 for the calamari and sole to R 98 for baby kingklip.   Meat dishes range from R 78 for a spatchcock chicken to R 138 for rack of lamb. Pasta dishes are available at R 48 – 58, and desserts cost R 48 each.  Live music will be offered on Friday and Saturday evenings.   The restaurant is also offering a new service to guest houses, with complimentary transfers to the restaurant.   Genot is also offering picnic baskets, to be enjoyed at 20 picnic spots along the riverbank of the wine estate.

Overture restaurant on the Hidden Valley wine estate outside Stellenbosch is going from strength to strength, and chef Bertus Basson says a younger more affluent clientele is booking at the restaurant.   A sommelier starts at Overture at the beginning of October.   The sister catering company has been awarded the catering for all events at Lourensford, and will be moving its operation to the Somerset West wine estate.

Chef Bruce Robertson has revealed that two of his current restaurant consulting projects are for two hotels managed by Queensgate Holdings.  The Upper East Side Hotel is opening as a 4-star conference hotel in Woodstock in May 2010, and Robertson is setting up a 260-seater restaurant and kitchen.   He is also setting up the 160-seater restaurant and kitchen for the hotel Queensgate is opening in Pearl House on Adderley Street,   Furthermore, Robertson is setting up a gourmet picnic service at Warwick Estate in November, according to a recent tweet from Mike Ratcliffe (“Gourmet picnic project with Chef Bruce Robertson taking shape”).   About the Franschhoek restaurant that he is helping to set up, Robertson is staying mum, only revealing that it is on a wine estate.   Robertson has also become a gourmet tour guide, and has teamed up with Bon Appetit magazine and Ryan Hilton from AdmiralityTravel to bring tour groups from the USA to South Africa, with Robertson taking them to unusual gourmet highlights, including slowfood, outstanding herb gardens, wine biodiversity, and cooking for his guests.

More than seventy restaurants received 2010 American Express Platinum Fine Dining Awards this month, 13 of these going to new restaurants winners, reports TravelWires.   The new restaurant winners in the Western Cape include Bizerca, Gold, Salt, The Pavilion in Hermanus, Grande Provence, and Rust en Vrede.  Those from other parts of the country, receiving the Awards for the first time, include Mastrantonio, Osteria Tre Nonni, Sel et Poivre, Harvey’s, Roma Revolving Restaurant, and Orange.   The Award winners are judged on the basis of cuisine, service, wine list, decor, ambiance and overall excellence and consistency.   Standards are checked regularly, says American Express.

The Caviar Group of restaurants, which already includes Beluga and Sevruga, as well as the Caviar deli in the V & A Waterfront, is opening its first non-caviar named restaurant, to be called Blonde.   Its newsletter is keeping the location of the new restaurant a secret, but hints at the decor and style as follows:  it will be a 120-seater restaurant offering ‘fine-dining cuisine’, and will only be open in the evenings.  It is in a Victorian building, it has a ’seductive interior of bar and lounge’, it has ’couches covered in rich fabrics, the gorgeous wooden floors and high ceilings, to the crisp white linen, designer chairs, beautiful staircase, and romantic balcony”  They gush on : “One thing’s for sure.  Blonde will be in a class of its own.   We love Blonde!”   It refers one to the website www.blondedining.co.za for more information, but there is none!  Caviar’s design agency Malossol has tweeted on Twitter that they are currently designing a Caviar “group menu”, which means that Blonde could be opening soon.

Ginja restaurant, currently located off Buitengracht Street, in a building which has not benefited the image of the restaurant, and once a national top 10 restaurant, is said to move to the building in which Nova restaurant was, on New Union Street in the City Bowl.

George Jardine of Jardines is said to be opening the new restaurant on Jordan Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, and to be moving to the Winelands, for a lifestyle change.

Allee Bleue’s plans to open a fine dining restaurant lower down on the Franschhoek estate appear to be on ice, due to the economic climate.   However, construction work on its second informal restaurant linked to its wine tasting venue, adjacent to the security entrance, is almost complete.

Few details are available about the restaurant which is opening at La Motte wine estate. About ten days ago Hein Koegelenberg, the owner, posted the following blog post: “Construction of La Motte’s restaurant and art gallery is coming along nicely on the grounds of the estate in Franschhoek….A bridge will connect the restaurant and the tasting room.  Whilst the team …is working hard to build the structure, other teams are equally busy to make sure that the restaurant and gallery are going to be world class and offer unforgettable experiences”. 

Reuben and Maryke Riffel’s baby daughter Latika was born last Monday.   Congratulations go to them from all at Whale Cottage.

DoppioZero in Main Road, Green Point, has an impressive decor, with the luxury of space.  It has opened a bakery in the restaurant, with breads, rolls, croissants, cakes and other sweet treats for sale.   The franchisor was hands-on in the restaurant last weekend, serving customers, and checking customer satisfaction, to ensure the success of this newest restaurant in the franchise chain, having opened less than 2 weeks ago.   An interesting and clever service offered by the restaurant is a “mess-bib”, Doppio branded, which is put around patrons eating pasta or any dishes with a sauce.

New restaurant Le Tique opens in the Sugar Hotel on Main Road in Green Point tomorrow.   Restaurant-lovers can pay R 250 each to attend the opening.  “Entice yourself with the finest gourmet from the earliest renaissance, contemporary twisted, French with a hint of European Influences. Featuring South Africa’s Finest Venison.  Platinum wines of this worlds, proudly South African viticulture. Bellini’s & cocktails to lure your fantasies” is the copy contained in the invitation.

Basil O’Hagan, whose O’Hagan’s pub chain was liquidated 8 years ago, is reinventing himself and has launched a new pub and restaurant chain called Brazen Head, with 23 pubs planned for the greater Cape Town area in the next ten years, including the city center, Hermanus, Paarl, Somerset West, George, Knysna, and Tygervalley.   An outlet is already trading in Stellenbosch, reports Cape Business News, and other Brazen Head pubs are already operating in Gauteng.

Bukhara was to have re-opened its restaurant in Burg Street, but the person answering the call yesterday said that there is no opening date in sight yet, it probably being another 2 – 3 weeks.   Bukhara is doing renovations and repairwork after a fire caused damage in the restaurant some time ago.   A restricted Bukhara menu is available at Haiku, the sister restaurant downstairs from Bukhara.

Late casualties of the credit crunch are Aqua D’or and the Franschhoek Water Company, both of which have closed down.  The Franschhoek Water Company was the supplier of the L’Aubade and Franschhoek mineral water brands.  Earlier this year the Franschhoek Water Company had handed over the distribution of its water brands to Aqua D’or, but took the distribution back when customers complained about the poor service from Aqua D’or. NOTE: SINCE THIS POST WAS WRITTEN, AQUAD’OR HAVE CONTACTED WHALETALES TO DENY THEIR CLOSURE.  THE INFORMATION OF THE CLOSURE WAS INDUSTRY TALK, AND WHEN THE COMPANY WAS CALLED FOR CONFIRMATION, THE SALES AND ADMIN DEPARTMENT LINES JUST RANG, WHICH WAS TAKEN AS A CONFIRMATION OF THE CLOSURE OF THE COMPANY.  EARLIER THIS YEAR AQUA D’OR FACED PROVISIONAL LIQUIDATION.   WE APOLOGISE TO AQUA D’OR FOR ANY INCONVENIENCE WHICH THIS POST MAY HAVE CREATED.

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

Good news for Cape Town food lovers is that the restaurant closures trend seems to have stopped, and is being reversed by new restaurants opening up.

The most interesting of the new restaurant openings is The Quarter, a gourmet bunny-chow restaurant owned by Bruce Robertson, previously of The Showroom.. Located at 44 Long Street, underneath The New Space Theatre, The Quarter is more of a take-out than sit-down restaurant, due to its small size, but is not for the faint-hearted. Robertson has glass jars quirkily “decorating” his restaurant, containing various food types preserved in glass jars, including octopus, crayfish, and the most off-putting of all, a de-skinned rabbit.

The New Space Theatre building also has the popular Italian style Anytime, Boo Radleys and Union at St Stephens Church connected to it.

The Eastern Food Bazaar has opened in the old Wellington Fruitgrower’s building, on the corner of Darling and Adderley Streets, and serves value-for-money Indian foods.    It is taking Cape Town by storm.

Sadly, the latest restaurant to close is Nova, off New Church Street in Cape Town.  Chef Richard Carstens has been a Top 10 restaurant chef.   Nova tried to appeal to guest houses to visit the restaurant, offering them a special discount, instead of inviting these owners to experience the restaurant with their compliments.    In Hermanus too, the excellent Joubert closed on 3 July.   The chef and owner says he is just not able to keep the restaurant alive financially, and is looking for a job.

Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com.

The second Taste of Cape Town food show will be hosted from 2 – 5 April at the Jan van Riebeeck Sportsfield off Kloofnek Road in Tamboerskloof.   Chef and writer Justine Drake is co-ordinating the event again.

Eighteen top restaurants, including Reubens, Aubergine, Bouillabaisse, Crepe Suzette, Jardine, La Colombe, Nova, Overture, and Terroir, many of these on the EatOut top ten restaurant list, will display their fine food fare, alongside  premium drinks’ brands and live entertainment.

The ‘Taste of Cape Town’ event will include a Pick ‘n Pay Fresh Living Chef’s Theatre, a Beer Academy at which food and beer pairing will be done, and the Checkers Wine Route Taste Experience

The ‘Taste of Cape Town’ opens on 2 April from 18h30 – 22h30, from 13h00 – 22h30 on 3 and 4 April, and from 12h00 – 17h00 on 5 April.

More details can be obtained from www.tasteofcapetown.com.  Entrance costs R 170, inclusive of tasting vouchers to the value of R 100, or R 80 without the tasting vouchers.   Tickets can be bought at Computicket.

Well-known Franschhoek tapas restaurant Bouillabaisse is to open a sister restaurant in the new Epicurean Food Emporium in Cape Town next month.  Chef and owner Camil Haas previously owned Klein Oliphantshoek, the guest house at which he and his wife Ingrid prepared award-winning tasting menu meals for their guests. 

Not only will a new Bouillabaisse open in Cape Town, but a new restaurant Crepe Suzette will also be opened by the Haas duo.

The Epicurean Food Emporium has been designed by Conrad Gallagher Consulting, and will open in The Rockwell, an apartment building in De Waterkant.    It will be set up as a neighbourhood food market, with 15 food and beverage stores selling freshly baked bread, homemade jam, chutney, pesto, olive oil, wine, gourmet sandwiches, chocolates, ice cream, confectionery and cheeses.  It is to become a one-stop market synonomous with fine food, outstanding service, quality and food trends, reports Supermarket & Retailer.   Further restaurants, in addition to Bouillabaisse and Crepe Suzette, are set to open.

Other restaurant news is that onewaterfront, the restaurant in the Cape Grace Hotel in the Waterfront, which became famous when Bruce Robertson was the chef, is changing its name to Signal, reports eatout, in honour of Cape Town’s traditional noon day gun on Signal Hill.   The restaurant will serve Cape food, reflecting the French Huguenot, British, Dutch and Asian heritage of the Cape.

Bruce Robertson, now the owner of award-winning and Top 10 restaurant The Showroom, is opening another restaurant, located in the Grand Daddy Hotel, previously The Metropole Hotel, in Long Street, called theshowroomcafe, reports eatout.   The menu will be casual, local and “unfussy”, and the chef is Simone Rossouw.

Richard Carstens, top 10 restauranteur when he was at Lynton Hall in KwaZulu-Natal and Bijoux in Franschhoek, is not moving to Franschhoek, as speculated, but is relaunching Relish in New Church Street, and is now called Nova, reports eatout.    A tasting menu (at R 325 per person) and an a la carte menu will be offered.