Guests attending the Radford Dale tasting at I ♥ my Laundry last night were astounded at the difference in the taste of a wine when it is evaluated in a standard restaurant glass, compared to a varietal specific glass made by Riedel.
Led by passionate wine-lover Tarryn Thomas, new Cape representative of Reciprocal Wines, owned by wine guru Michael Fridjhon and importers of wines and agents for Riedel glassware, she did tastings of the Radford Dale wines, first in what she called a ‘Joker’ glass one would typically find in a restaurant, one design for all white wines, and another for all red wines. Then we tasted the same wine in a Riedel varietal-specific wine glass, and the difference was unbelievable. Even if the same wine is tasted in two different Riedel glass types, the aroma and taste of the wine differs, the varietal-specific glass bringing out the best in each of the wines we tasted, each introduced by charming and eloquent winemaker Jacques de Klerk:
* The Chardonnay 2010 had a different texture in the Riedel glass, being a surprise even to Jacques, and he was instantly hooked, as the Riedel Chardonnay Montrachet glass brought out the best in his wooded wine, giving brioche and fruit at the back of the palate. In the Riedel Chardonnay glass the taste was much softer and more velvety.
* The Chenin Blanc 2012 was tasted in an unwooded white blend glass, and once again tasted far better in the Riedel-varietal glass, even compared to tasting it in a Riedel Chardonnay glass, the citrus and intense fruit notes coming to the fore best. This is their flagship wine, being 100% barrel fermented and matured.
* The Pinot Noir 2012 was said to be ‘Wimbledon’, all strawberries and cream, as well as blackberries. When tasted in the ‘Joker’ glass, the wine had almost no aroma and the tannins were upfront, and could even make a wine taste corked, compared to drinking it in a Riedel Pinot Noir glass. The Radford Dale Pinot Noir grapes come from Elgin, which Jacques said is the leading terroir for Pinot Noir, with amazing soil types, high altitude, and true winter dormancy. He described this grape variety as being ‘heart breaking’, difficult to make, but getting better in South Africa. The grapes are harvested early, and he does not go ‘for a raspberry Kool- Aid style’, he explained descriptively, it having ‘powdery type tannins’, creating a ‘satin feel, almost lace like’.
* Black Rock 2009 is a Rhone blend of 71% Shiraz, 13% Carignan, 12% Grenache, 3% Mourvedre, and 1% Viognier, and was described as having a new car smell and spice aroma. It is ‘big, bold, and mouthwateringly good” in the Riedel Shiraz glass, said Jacques. The Syrah grapes come from the Perdeberg in the Swartland, a region with ancient granite soils, the vines never being irrigated.
* The Shiraz 2009 had been decanted in the unusually shaped Escargot decanter, as ‘wine and air are best friends’, especially for younger wines, ‘bringing the flavours and textures out of them‘, Jacques said. The grapes come from17 year old trellised vines in the Helderberg, which has ‘koffieklip’, pebbles in the shape of coffee beans. The grapes are unirrigated, the clay soil giving the wines a water reserve. The wine has paprika, clove, and violet aromas. It is low in sulphur.
* The Pinotage 2012 is named after Dr Frrankenstein, a humorous ode to the founder of the grape variety, being Dr Abraham Perold, and because Pinotage has been seen to be a monster by some who do not like the varietal. Jacques did say that if you treat it well as a winemaker, it gets better. Riedel does not have a Pinotage tasting glass, and encouraged the producers to club together for Riedel to make a Pinotage tasting glass mould.
* A vine-dried unfiltered dessert wine, fermented in old barrels for one year, and not made from bortrytised grapes, was a sweet end to an interesting tasting. This wine is mainly produced for own use.
Riedel’s new head Maximilian Riedel says that ‘Riedel turns every sip into a celebration‘. Tarryn explained that Riedel has different glass ranges, the Vinum restaurant range being machine made and costing about R70 per glass. The Sommelier range is handblown, and costs about R800 per glass. Riedel is a family owned eleventh generation company run for the past 250 years. The glass design is based on stimulating the senses, including sight, the lead crystal letting in more light; the sound, when the glasses are clinked; the weight is perfect to get it to one’s mouth, and does not have a rim; and its taste, the design directing the wine perfectly to the palate. Riedel was the first glass manufacturer to create glasses made from Austrian crystal on the basis of ‘the content dictates the shape’. The tongue has different ‘taste zones‘, sweet upfront, followed by salt, acid, and bitterness right at the back. The shape of the varietal-specific glasses directs the wine to the taste zone it is intended for.
Riedel would like top restaurants and wine estates to stock their glasses, to bring out the best in their wines. Riedel is used at Creation and Hamilton Russell in Hermanus, Delaire Graff, La Motte, Rust en Vrede, Waterkloof, Reuben’s Franschhoek, and the Kove restaurant group, including Pepenero, Paranga, Zenzero and Bungalow. Tarryn is willing to do tastings of South African wine varietals in Cape Town, and is a passionate champion for our local wines, having worked with Fridjhon for the past eight years.
Sales and Marketing Manager Angela Jordaan explained that The Winery of Good Hope was established by Alex Dale, British born but who grew up in Burgundy, and winemaker Ben Radford, in conjunction with Edouard Labeye, who lives in the Rhone valley, and is the master blender, coming to the wine estate four times a year. Chenin Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz are the three lead varietals of the company, which has four brands: Radford Dale, The Winery of Good Hope (Bush Vine Pinotage, Oceanside Cabernet Sauvignon-Merlot, Mountainside Shiraz, Reserve Pinot Noir, Bush Vine Chenin Blanc, and Unoaked Chardonnay), Land of Hope (an empowerment project which receives 50% of the proceeds in the Land of Hope Trust, to fund the education of the children and relatives of their farm workers, with a Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Chenin Blanc), and Vinum Africa (Cabernet Sauvignon and Chenin Blanc). All the wines of the company have screw caps, making them age better, giving the wines a better colour, and holding their structure better, Angela said. About three quarters of the wine is exported to eleven countries. The local market is important, but tough to crack, given the oversupply of wines in general. She emphasised that the passion of the company is to make quality wines.
The difference in taste of the Radford Dale wines in different glasses, and the enhanced taste of each wine in the appropriate Riedel varietal glass was an eye-opener to each of the guests at the tasting!
Riedel: The Wine Glass Company, The Reciprocal Wine Trading Company. Tel 073 304 7201. www.reciprocal.co.za Twitter: @ReciprocalWine
Radford Dale, The Winery of Good Hope, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 855-5528. www.thewineryofgoodhope.co.za Twitter: @AngJordie Tasting by appointment only.
I ♥ my Laundry, 59 Buitengracht Street, Cape Town. Tel 084 660 0777 (Clayton)/083 6020291 (Mico) www.Ilovemylaundry.co.za Twitter:@ILovemyLaundry, Monday – Sunday.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
The Spring and Summer 2012/13 specials for Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and are updated continuously. We welcome information about new specials, and feedback about your meals at these restaurants:
* Pepenero in Mouille Point : Sirloin and chips R89, Seafood platter R 129, 1 kg prawn platter R99, Sushi platter R109, Mussels and chips R79, Pasta of the day R79, Chicken schnitzel R79, Lamb chops R109, Crayfish tails R149, Mussels and fries R79. Half price sushi all day. Daily. Spring/Summer. Tel (021) 439-9027 (checked 5/9)
* Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square: Lunch (6 options) at R55. Monday – Saturday, 11h00 – 17h00. Current. Tel (021) 465-0967 (updated 5/9)
* Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: Oysters R 6 each, 400g Rump Espetada R 125, Kingklip and 6 prawns R 110; kingklip and calamari R110; 250g Lobster and 6 prawns R179; Seafood platter R139. Current. Tel (021) 439-3494 (updated 5/9)
* Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront: half price sushi Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 18h00; 25 % off sushi, Sunday 12 – 2pm, 50 % on Sunday 2 – 6 pm, 3-course R160, lunch and dinner; 2-course lunch R120. Until end September. Tel (021) 421-5134 (updated 5/9)
* Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 50 % off sushi, dimsum and cocktails all day Sunday, and from 12h00 – 19h00 other weekdays. 2-course lunch R135; 3-course lunch and dinner R175. Spring. Tel (021) 418-2948 (updated 5/9)
* La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point : 6-course Tasting Menu R 295, with wines paired R 480. Monday – Sunday dinner, Sunday lunch. Summer. Tel (021) 433-0856 (updated 4/11).
* Bertha’s in Simonstown: 1 kg Queen prawns cost R99 each, 1kg mussels R99, 1 kg chicken wings R99, Half rack of ribs R59. Bertha’s seafood platter R109. 2 courses R 120, 3 courses R150. Until end September. Tel (021) 786-2138 (updated 5/9)
* Aubergine: 2-course lunch R198, 3-course lunch R254, Wednesdays – Fridays. Monday – Saturdays except public holidays. Daily dinner specials. 3-course R365, 4-course R425, 5-course R 495 meat and seafood degustation menu. Winter Bistro 2 courses R200, 3 courses R 275, optional wine pairing. Until mid-September. Tel (021) 465-4909 (updated 5/9)
* Ferryman’s Tavern, V&A Waterfront: Ostrich burger plus red wine R 75. T-bone steak plus a beer R95. Current. Tel (021) 419-7748 (updated 5/9)
* Blowfish in Blouberg: half-price sushi Wednesday and Sunday 5 – 8 pm; Prawns R5,90 each, 24 prawns R135, 10 prawns R59. Current. Tel (021) 556-5464 (updated 5/9)
* Knife restaurant, Century City: Bagels R35, Chicken sandwich R45, Steak sandwich R55. Lunch special, 12h00 – 15h00, Mondays – Fridays. Summer. Tel (021) 551-5000 (updated 5/9)
* Saul’s Sushi @ Vegas, Sea Point: Eat as much sushi as you like for R120 Mondays, Tuesdays, Fridays, and Saturday; Mongolian eat as much as you can R79; Sushi 30 % off on Wednesdays; Sundays 50 % off. Summer. Tel 087 151 4595 (updated 5/9)
* Trees Restaurant, Townhouse Hotel, Cape Town: Grill special plus glass of wine R125 daily, buffet R155 Sundays – Thursdays. Indefinite. Tel (021) 465-7050 (updated 9/8)
* French Toast, Bree Street: Bruschetta tapas free with glass of wine Mondays – Saturdays, 5 – 7 pm. All wines costing R 400 or less half price on Mondays. Big Bottle Thursday wine sold by the glass. Daily lunch specials. Current. Tel (021) 422-3839 (updated 5/9)
* The Square, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 5 course menu R 195/R295 with wines, dinner only. Half price sushi 5 – 7 pm. Monday – Sunday. Current. Tel ()21) 657-4500 (updated 5/9)
* Dunes, Hout Bay : Sunday buffet with smoked salmon, oysters and cooked breakfast R120. Summer. Tel (021) 790-1876 (updated 5/9)
* Arnold’s on Kloof, 60 Kloof Street, Gardens: Early bird breakfast half-price special if order before 7h00 Monday – Friday. Peppa Poppers R35, Biltong fillet steak mens/ladies R115/R 75, Stew for U2 R119, Chicken Kloof R 59, Chicken parmesan R69, Carpaccio kudu fillet biltong R49. Summer Tel (021) 424-4344 (updated 5/9)
* Five Flies, Half price for all main courses. Mondays – Sundays. August and September. Tel (021) 424-4442 (updated 2/8)
* Codfather, Camps Bay: half-price sushi 12h00 – 18h00, daily. Indefinite. Tel (021) 438-0782
* Black Marlin, Simonstown: 2-course meal R115, 3-course R140. Indefinite. Tel (021) 786-1621
* Cape Town Fish Market, Big Bay, V&A Waterfront, Canal Walk, Tyger Valley, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Tokai, Grand West Casino: “All you can eat Breakfast Buffet” R60, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays; 4-course Seafood buffet lunch R125, Sundays and public holidays. Buy one, get one free – hake on Mondays, sushi on Tuesdays, calamari on Wednesdays. Indefinite. Tel (021) 554-5962.
* La Bruixa, Sea Point: Seafood paella for two for R260, includes a salad. Meat paella R200. Current.Tel (021) 434-8797 (updated 5/9)
* La Boheme, Sea Point: 2-courses R95, 3-courses R 120. Current. Tel (021) 434-8797 (updated 5/9)
* The Round House, Camps Bay: 4-course a la carte menu R450, 6-course set tasting menu R595. 3 course lunch R220. Current. Tel (021) 438-4347 (updated 5/9)
* Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel: 5-course Vegan Journey menu (R300), 5-course The Journey menu R330. Until end October. Tel (021) 483-1000 (checked 5/9)
* Savour Restaurant, 51 on Orange: 2-course R189, 3-courses R225, for lunch and dinner. Current. Tel (021) 469-8037 (updated 5/9)
* La Colombe, Constantia: 8-course Gourmand menu R 625, or with wine R850, Monday – Saturday, Current. 3 course lunch R240 from 16 June – 15 November, 5 course dinner R395 with wine, R310 without wine 16 June – 31 October. Specials do not apply to Sundays. Tel (021) 794-2390
* Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel: 2-course lunch R185, 3-course lunch R215, 3-course dinner R250. Current. Tel (021) 713-2222 (updated 5/9)
* Constantia Uitsig: 3-course lunch and dinner R390, Monday – Saturday. Current.3-course lunch R210 . 17 April – 15 November, 3-course dinner R250 from 17 April – 31 October. Specials do not apply to Sundays. Tel (021) 794-4480
* River Café: 2 course lunch plus tea/coffee R99, 3 courses R 119; tea/coffee plus muffin, scone, croissant or slice of cake of the day R35 15h00 – 16h30. Not available on Sundays. 1 May – 31 October. Tel (021) 794-3010
* Rick’s Café Américain, Park Road: Lunch specials R45, change daily; and more specials on drinks. Indefinite. Tel (021) 424-1100
* Barocca, Camps Bay Club: 2 for the price of one burgers Tuesday evenings; From 5 pm. Indefinite. Tel (021) 438-1992
* Seaforth Restaurant, Simonstown: Buy one pizza get one free Mondays, Deep fried prawns R98 Tuesdays; hake and chips R38 Wednesdays; Eat as much calamari as you like R49 Thursdays; Steak and calamari R78 Fridays; Eat as much as you like pork spare ribs R88 Saturdays. From 6 pm. Current. Tel (021) 786-4810 (updated 5/9)
* Pizzeria Villagio, Howard Centre, Pinelands: 20 % of bill for table of more than two, on Wednesdays. Current. Tel (021) 531-4473 (updated 5/9)
* Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 5-courses R315 includes movie and popcorn, Current. Tel (021) 437-9000 (updated 5/9)
* Diva Pizza, Buitenkant Street: 2 large margherita pizzas with choice of two toppings R89, Monday, Tuesday. Current. Tel (021) 461-0013 (updated 5/9)
* Tokyo Restaurant & Sushi Bar: Buy two get one free daily until 5pm; Sushi Buffet Fridays and Saturday from 5 pm, 7 plates R99, unlimited number of plates R118. Indefinite. Tel (021) 424-5108
* BlueFin Seafood & Sushi, Plattekloof: 50 % off sushi 11h00 – 17h00; ‘Eat as much as you like’ Sushi R129; Platters ½ price from 11h00 – 19h00. Monday – Sunday. Current. Tel (021) 558-4281 (updated 5/9)
* Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 50 % off sushi daily from 10h00 – 19h00. Burger plus Castle Lite draught R50 on Fridays. Children under 16 eat free per adult. Current. Tel (021) 434-3004 (updated 5/9)
* Reuben’s, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront: One&Only Seafood Platter for Two R995. Dish of the day and glass of wine R99 lunch Monday – Friday. Sunday lunch buffet R225. Current. Tel (021) 431-5888 (updated 5/9)
* Bayside Café, Camps Bay: Order two main courses, and second person gets lower priced dish free. Sunday dinner – Friday lunch. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-2650 (updated 5/9)
* Café Chameleon, Plattekloof: Monday – Friday lunch special of small pizza R 45. Monday and Saturday dinner large pizza special R55. Ongoing. Tel (021) 911-1025
* Taiwan City Chinese Cuisine, Century City: 2 courses for 2 persons for R 128. Current. Tel (021) 555-3081 (updated 5/9)
* Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course dinner R 225. Current. Tel (021) 657-4545 (updated 5/9)
* Zorba’s, Lagoon Beach: Seafood and meat platter for two R220. 500g rump steak R135, Beef espetada R110. Lunch and dinner daily, Current. Tel (021) 528-2093 (updated 5/9)
* Den Anker, V&A Waterfront: Vol au vent with Vedett white beer R 85. Until October. Tel (021) 419-0249
* F.east, Loop Street: chicken or vegetable curry lunch special R59. Current. Tel (021) 424-5903 (updated 5/9)
* I ♥ my Laundry, Buitengracht Street: 8 pieces of Dim Sum and a cappuccino or glass of wine R40. Daily 7h00 – 19h00. Fondue Thursdays R125. Current. Book at 084 6600 777 (updated 5/9).
* Slug & Lettuce, Kloof Street: 300g rump steak, chips and onion rings R89. Until mid-September. Tel (021) 422-5325
* Foodbarn, Noordhoek: 50 % of all lunch dishes Monday – Friday; 3-courses R175, 4-courses R195, 5-courses R225, all with Ntida wines, until end September. Tel (021) 789-1390 (updated 5/9)
* Cru Café, Cape Quarter: 2 jumbo gourmet burgers R99, 12h00 – 14h00 daily. Hake and chips, or chicken schnitzel and chips, R39, Sundays 12h00 – 15h00. Bucks Fizz free with breakfast on Sunday. Current. Tel (021) 418-6334 (updated 5/9)
* 1800°, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: Get Rubbed 200g rump/sirloin plus glass wine/beer R99. Current. Tel (021) 430-0506 (updated 5/9)
* Tuscany Beach, Camps Bay: 50 % off partner’s main course. 25% off all sushi. Every evening, Monday – Friday lunch. Until mid-September. Tel (021) 438-1213 (updated 5/9)
* Pigalle, Green Point: 2-courses R140, 3-courses R170, 4-courses R 200 Monday – Thursday, Seafood Platter for two R275, Monday – Thursday dinner, and Tuesday – Friday lunch. Until end September. Tel (021) 421-4848 (updated 5/9)
* RBG Bar & Grill, Park Inn, Foreshore: Classic Burger R50, Grilled Chicken Caeser R50, Sirloin steak R85 Monday – Thursday 12h00 – 14h00. Until end September. Tel (021) 427-4800 (updated 6/9).
* Hussar Grill, Green Point: 2 courses R99. Until end October. Tel (021) 433-2081 (updated 7/10)
* Blues, Camps Bay: 2 courses R120, 3 courses R 150. End September. Tel (01) 438-2040 (updated 5/9)
* 5 Rooms, Alphen Boutique Hotel: ‘Chalmer’ sirloin R95, Hanger steak R109, Tempura lobster R129, 3 courses R199. Summer. Tel (021) 795-6313 (updated 26/11)
* Liberty’s, Upper Eastside Hotel: choice of one of three pasta dishes R48 on Mondays; one bottle of house red or white wine for two main courses ordered on Wednesdays; 12 Mozambican prawns done three ways for R85 on Thursdays; 3 &Union beers plus a tasting prego roll R100 on Fridays; Current. Tel (021) 404-0570 (updated 5/9)
* Harbour House, Kalk Bay: 2 courses R 150, 3 courses R170. September. Tel (021) 788-4133 (updated 5/9)
* Harbour House, V & A Waterfront: 2 courses R150, 3 courses R170, all meals except Sunday lunch. September. Tel (021) 418-4744 (updated 30/8)
* Mezepoli, Camps Bay: Beef, chicken or vegetarian pita with chips, beer, or cold drink R70 on Mondays; half-price sushi; Meze platter R120 Sundays. September. Tel (021) 438-1915 (updated 5/9)
* Ocean Blue, Camps Bay: Seafood platter R99, Linefish R79, Calamari R79, Sirloin steak R79, Prawns and linefish R79, Calamari and linefish R79, calamari and prawns, R79, Steak and prawns/calamari R79, Lobster and prawns R129, Oysters R6. Breakfast R30. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-4204 (updated 23/7)
* Sinatra’s, Pepper Club Hotel: 3 course meal with glass of house wine R200, until end September. Tel (021) 812-8888
* Zenzero, Camps Bay: 3-courses set menu R 149. Butternut and Feta cannelloni R79, Parmesan lamb chops R119, Osso Bucco R99, Lamb shank R109, Wild mushroom risotto (R89), chicken risotto (R89), pan fried tuna R119. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-0007 (updated 5/9)
* Bungalow, Clifton: ‘Speciality Winter Menu’, with six main courses ranging in price from R90 for Bouillabaisse to R155 for crayfish pasta, and one dessert, chocolate fondant, at R60. Until end September. Tel (021) 438-2018.
* Mariner’s Wharf, Hout Bay: Free filter coffee or tot of Allesverloren port for 2 courses ordered. Starters R25 – R39, Mains R60 – R99, Desserts R25. Until 15 September, excludes Sundays and public holidays. Tel (021) 790-1100
* Salt Café, Bantry Bay: Breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage and coffee or juice R65. Spring. Tel (021) 439-3354 (Updated 3/9)
* Rocca, Cape Quarter: 3-course dinner R123 Monday – Saturday. Current. Tel (021) 418-8000 (updated 5/9)
* Mezbaan Indian Restaurant, Hilton Cape Town: ‘Curry Cup’ Buffet with soup, salads, nine curries, sambals, naan bread, poppadoms, and a selection of desserts, and all soft drinks R151, Thursday evenings. All year. Tel (021) 481-3700
* Buitenverwachting Restaurant, Constantia: 2 courses R175, 3 courses R225. Tapas menu 5 dishes R129 and 7 dishes R179. Until end September. Tel (021) 794-3522 (updated 5/9)
* Haiku: Dim Sum, Robata and Sushi platters R119, Lunch Monday – Friday. 3 courses R179, 5 courses R249, Dinner Monday – Wednesday. Current. Tel (021) 424-7000 (updated 5/9)
* Saints on 84 Kloof, Gardens: Order 2 flatbreads and pay for one Monday; order 2 Saints classic burgers and pay for one Thursday. Winter Tel (021) 424-0030
* Alexander Bar and Café, Strand Street: Home cooking dish of day R40, Mondays. Current. Tel (021) 300-1088 (updated 5/9)
* Il Cappero, Camps Bay: 50 % off pasta and desserts on Monday lunch and dinner. September. Tel (021) 438-7074 (updated 5/9)
* St Elmo’s: 4 Pizza pies R99; 2 large regular pizzas R109,90; 2 medium regular pizzas R74,90; 2 large pizzas R89,90 on Tuesdays only; Large regular pizza plus 400 gram rack of sticky ribs and chips R 129,90; Small regular pizza plus 330ml Coca Cola R29,90. All branches.
* Andiamo, old Cape Quarter, De Waterkant: 2 pizzas or 2 pastas, or one of each, at R 109,95. Until October. Tel (021) 421-3687.
* Upstairs @ Quay Four: Malay Kreef Curry R90. Until end September. Tel (021) 419-2008 (updated 5/9)
* Debonairs Pizza: Pizza Tower (4 layers of large pizza) R109,90. Until 29 October. Tel (021) 439-7575
* Maxi’s, Cape Gate, N1 City, Paarl, Zevenwacht: 350 gram T-Bone steak R59,90. From 15h00. T&Cs apply. Current. Tel 0834562947
* Café Chic, Gardens: 3-course dinner R150. Summer. Tel (021) 465-7218 (updated 11/10)
* Balducci’s, V&A Waterfront: Sushi plate R109, all pizza and pasta R49. Free bottle of Sauvignon Blanc or House Red for two main meals ordered, at R90 minimum spend per main meal. Until 18h00 daily. Current. Tel (021) 421-6002 (checked 5/9)
* Willoughby’s, V&A Waterfront: ’Clicquot Fridays’: 3 sashimi dishes with tuna and salmon, and glass of Veuve Clicquot R149. Fridays. Current. Tel (021) 418-6115 (updated 5/9)
* Sotano by Caveau, La Splendida Hotel, Mouille Point: Beef burger, lamb pita, club sandwich, and haloumi/tomato/caper flatbread R65, 2 lamb burgers for the price of one on Wednesdays from 17h00, Spring. Tel (021) 433-1757 (updated 3/9)
* Kushi Indian Restaurant, 315 Main Road, Sea Point, and Red Sails, Main Road, Hout Bay: Butter Chicken, mixed vegetable curry, Naan, Basmati rice, and glass of Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Sauvignon R99. End September. Tel (021) 433-2069/791-4805 (updated 5/9)
* OYO at V&A Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 500g crayfish R199. From 1 October. Summer. Tel (021) 419-6677. (added 20/9)
* Andiamo, old Cape Quarter: 2 pastas or 2 pizzas, or one of each R109,95. Until end October. Tel (021) 421-3687 (added 23/9)
* Reserve Brasserie, Adderley Street: 3-course Business Lunch and local beer or mineral water R140, Wednesday – Friday. Tel (021) 422-0654. Current (added 23/9)
* Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: 250 gram Rump steak R49, 8 – 14 October. Tel (021) 418-9393 (added 8/10)
* San Marco, V&A Waterfront: 2 for the price of one main meals; Pastas R69, Gourmet Burgers R69, Breakfast from R29. Current. Tel (021) 418-5434 (added 10/10)
* Blues, Camps Bay: glass of bubbly and 3 oysters; Fritto Misto; West Coast mussels, all cost R69, between 3 – 6 pm
* Leaf Restaurant: Combos R99. Sushi Buffet eat as much as you like R119, 50% off sushi before 18h00, free sushi platter up to R80 value on guest’s birthday. Summer. Tel (021) 418-4500. (added 27/11)
* Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250g steaks at R115 – 145, including a glass of estate wine, current. Lunch, Wednesday – Sunday. Chicnics (standard and vegetarian picnics) from 1 September, cost R145 per person, winetasting offered. Tel (021) 874-1021 (updated 5/9)
* Allora in Franschhoek: 3-course Sunday lunch R99 all year. Lunch and dinner: 2 courses R89, 3 courses R110. Current. Tel (021) 876-4375 (updated 5/9)
* L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 3-courses R 200 and a glass of wine. Lunch. End September. Tel (021) 876-9200 (updated 5/9)
* Grande Provence Jonkershuis, Franschhoek: 3-course meal for a minimum of eight guests, R 250 per person. 1 May – 30 September. Closed Sunday evenings until September. Tel (021) 876-8600.
* La Residence, Franschhoek: 4 courses R 600 per person, all inclusive of ‘house wines’ and local beverages. Dinner. Daily. Current. Tel (021) 876-4100 (updated 5/9)
* Haute Cabriere, Franschhoek: 4-course Table d’Haut lunch R150, Tuesday – Friday; Pierre Jourdan Breakfast, cellar tour, and tasting R150, from 10h00 Saturdays; Pinot Noir Tasting Menu – 5 courses and wine R495, Friday and Saturday dinner, Saturday and Sunday lunch. Current. Tel (021) 876-3688 (updated 5/9)
* Freedom Hill Restaurant, outside Franschhoek: 2-courses R105, 3-course R135. Selection of tapas R10 – R30 each. Wednesday – Mondays. Summer. Tel (021) 867-0963 (updated 5/9)
* Reuben’s: Burger and chips R 85. Current. Tel (021) 876-3772 (updated 4/9)
* Dish at Le Franschhoek: 3 course lunch R 195. Sundays. Bookings essential. September. Tel (021) 876-8900 (updated 5/9)
* Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte (photograph): 6-course dinner with ‘surprises in-between’ R350, or R495 with wine pairing. Summer. Tel (021) 876-8800 (updated 31/8)
* The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Français: two for the price of one on Wednesdays, FIRST TEN ONLY, until end September. Tel (021) 876-2151.
* Bosman’s, Grande Roche, Paarl: 2-courses R135, 3-courses R170. Monday – Sunday lunch (Bosman’s and at Bistro) and dinner (Bistro only). End September. Tel (021) 863-5100 (updated 5/9)
* eat @ Simonsvlei, Simonsvlei Winery, Old Paarl Road: Steak and baked potato R95 Friday evenings. 3 course carvery R135 Sundays. Free milkshake and kiddie’s pizza with adults eating Tuesday – Saturday. Summer. Tel (021) 863-3040 (updated 5/9)
* Harvest at Laborie: 2 courses R110, 3 courses R 135, Monday – Friday lunch. Until end October. Tel (021) 807-3095 (added 11/9)
* Towerbosch Restaurant, Knorhoek Wine Estate, Stellenbosch: Asado Argentian-style braai on Sundays R165, R175 from 1 October. Indefinite. Tel (021) 865-2958 (updated 6/9)
* Tokara Restaurant, Stellenbosch: Chef’s Menu – 4 courses, inclusive of glass of wine R 250. End September. Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Tuesday – Saturday dinner (closed 24/9 – 4/10). Tel (021) 885-2550 (updated 5/9)
* Wild Peacock Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Str, Stellenbosch: Specials as per menu, dinner Friday evenings. Early bird mini breakfast plus tea/coffee R25 Monday – Friday 7h30 – 9h00. Terrific Tuesday lunch R59 Tuesdays 12h00 – 14h00. Indefinite. Tel (021) 887-7585 (updated 5/9)
* Johan’s at Longridge, Stellenbosch: 6-course lunch and dinner plus 6 glasses of wine R 400. Friday – Tuesday (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays). Current. Tel (021) 855-2004.*
* Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch: 4-course wine and food pairing lunch R198, Tuesday – Friday, Summer. Tel (021) 865-2022 (updated 21/8)
* Lord Neethling Restaurant, Neethlingshof, Stellenbosch: choice of 4 hot dishes with 250 ml wine R80 mid-September, Sunday buffet lunch R150 Summer. Wednesday and Friday dinner, and Monday – Saturday lunch. Tel (021) 883-8966 (updated 5/9)
* 96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3 course meal R185. Monday – Saturday, 3 – 30 September. Tel (021) 842-2020 (update 29/8)
* Warwick wine estate: Picnics for two R299. Monday – Sunday. Summer. Tel (021) 884-4410 (updated 5/9)
* Terroir, Kleine Zalze: 2 courses R 175, 3 courses R198, both with a glass of Kleine Zalze wine. Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Until 30 September. Tel (021) 880-8167
* Dornier Bodega Restaurant, Dornier wine estate: 2 courses R150, 3 courses R 175. Lunch daily, but closed Mondays. Asparagus menu from 28 September. Tel (021) 880-0557 (updated 11/9)
* Overture: 4-courses R 250, and R350 if paired with wines. Tuesday – Friday lunch, Dinner Thursday and Friday, until 14 September, thereafter R350/R490. Tel (021) 880-2721 (updated 6/9)
* Hartenberg: Steak and Shiraz, R95, Fridays.
* Taste, mid-way between Stellenbosch and Somerset West: 3 course meal R175, Lunch and Dinner, Thursdays – Mondays. Tel (021) 855-3686
* Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House: 3 courses R195, or R255 if paired with wines. Until end October. Tel (021) 880-1549 (added 11/9)
* Season in Hermanus: Afval R45 Tuesdays. Two for the price of one main course Wednesdays. Hake and calamari combo R55 Thursdays. Free 200g rump steak for a 300 g rump steak ordered for R110, on Fridays. Sunday lunch: 1 course R70 upwards, 2 courses R 92 upwards. Curry Festival R110 Saturdays. Tel (028) 316-2854. Spring. (updated 5/9)
* The Class Room, Hermanus: 2 courses R120, 3 courses R150. Wednesdays – Fridays. 10 October – 3 November. Tel (028) 316-3582 (update 27/9)
* Amigos Cantina Restaurant: Free bottle of house wine for table of 4.2 bottles for table of 8 Tuesdays; buy one get one free on chicken liver starter or Chicken/Beef/Vegetarian Tortilla Wednesdays; free coffee and a port/sherry Thursdays. Current. Tel (028) 313-0384
* Cattle Baron: 300g Chateaubriand R125; Lunch Buffet R59, pensioners R45,90, Wednesday – Friday 12h00 – 15h00. Current. Tel (028) 313-0384 (added 21/9)
* Annie se Kombuis: 2 courses R75, 3 courses R90. Current. Tel (028) 313-1350 (added 21/9)
* Monneaux, Franschhoek Country House: Spring salad with complimentary glass of Rosé R65, Gourmet Ostrich Burger with complimentary lager R65. Until 30 November. tel (0210 876-3386.
* Nguni: Friday night special R50. Tel (044) 533-6710 (updated 31/8)
The hospitality industry was shocked to hear last year that the Alphen Hotel had closed down, after the Three Cities Group had relinquished its contract in operating the hotel. Unknown to most was that Paul Kovensky, owner of Camps Bay restaurants such as The Kove, Zenzero, Pepenero, Bungalow, and Paranga had taken a 30 year lease on the hotel, and was furiously renovating and transforming the then 3-star hotel into a five-star boutique hotel six months later, creating an interior that according to its room book is a ‘little eccentric, somewhat bohemian, rather eclectic and causally elegant and definitely sensual’. The Alphen opened in December last year, and has already been named one of only two South African Hip 100 Conde Nast hotels in the world!
The Alphen once was part of Groot Constantia, converted from a farm to an estate over the years, the first building having been established in 1773. It was taken over by the Cloete family 150 years ago, and declared a national monument in 1973. Wine was made and sent to the kings in England and France, The Alphen being the first wine producer, its sweet wine being particularly well-known. Over the years the estate hosted a number of names from the history books, including Mark Twain, Captain Cook, Cecil John Rhodes, Lord Charles Somerset, George Bernhard Shaw, Jan Smuts, Dr James Barry, royalty, and ambassadors, most of the visitors having been captured in portraits. I was taken around the estate by The Alphen GM Robert van Gent (ex Cullinan Hotel consultant, ex-Hollow Hotel, ex-Euro Disney), and he shared the passion for ‘his’ hotel. He said that Lord Charles Somerset was said to have pistol duels on the garden alongside the hotel. Dr Barry was the first medical doctor to conduct a Caesarean section, and was discovered to be a woman on ‘his’ death, women not being allowed to practice as medical practitioners at that time. In 1962 Sandy Bairnsfather-Cloete inherited the land, and opened The Alphen hotel. The Alphen has ‘inherited’ 300 paintings of the Cloete family, and these have been rehung and grouped into themes, and ‘married’ with paintings specially commissioned by a British artist, for a more modern touch.
In planning the renovations of the buildings on the estate, the very strict requirements of The Heritage Council had to be considered. Mr Kovensky wanted to create something unusual and unique, and Stefan Antoni was appointed to tackle the refurbishment of the 21 rooms of the hotel, as well as create two restaurants and conference rooms. The designers looked to marry the historial heritage of the building with modernity, in its lighting, furniture, fabrics, paint and fabric colours, textures, and artwork, its room book commenting: ‘not your typical 5-star hotel, a modern and playful twist has been added to the décor and design while preserving traditional and exceptional, age old hospitality’. In their design, they looked at respecting the heritage framework, but also wanted to add ‘provocation, contemporary glamour and surreal fantasy’.
The hotel reception is in a small area, unlike the vast reception areas of many hotels, and here the classic and modern contrast is evident already, with gilded guest chairs and artwork frames, and modern artwork, and leather office chairs for the staff. The porter Green showed me the room, switching on the TV to find the soccer, and explaining that the mini bar was empty, and that one can order drinks from a list. It appears that guests have abused the ‘honesty bar’. Now the mini bar contents can be tailor-made to suit each guest, said Mr van Gent. The room opens onto a little courtyard, with big windows, a king size bed, a white leather couch, a red velvet upholstered chair, a historic writing desk, a modern-to-look-old unit containing the mini bar, a dressing table, a massive dress mirror, a large old wooden wardrobe, and large bedside units, with lots of gilded touches introduced in the feet of the couches, the frames of the artwork and mirror, the structure of the room lamp, and gold curtains. Modern touches are the underfloor heating (which kept the room comfortably warm on a chilly night, without the need for airconditioning, even though it is provided), a LavAzza coffee machine, the flat screen TV, a Samsung DVD player with speakers, and an iPod docking station. A ‘cheeky’ chair, resembling the shape of a women’s figure, is in most rooms, in red or white. The bathrooms are modern, with black wall tiling, white bathroom fittings, silver taps, white floor tiles, silver heated towel rails, and black and white bathroom amenities by Charlotte Rhys, with a massive old-fashioned style gilded mirror to link the bathroom to the bedroom decor. All rooms have his and her basins, and a bath and shower. Some of the larger rooms even have ‘his’ and ‘her’ bathrooms. Mr van Gent explained that they have renamed their room types, in keeping with their ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking. For the turn down a bath robe and slippers were laid out on the bed, with a massive brightly coloured macaroon from the hotel’s La Belle Café and Bakery.
The estate has different buildings, the original Manor House, now housing the 5Rooms restaurant, Reception, and conference rooms having been the home of the oldest Cloete son. Daughters and young children were housed in The Dower House, and some of the lower doorways reflect this. The Mill House has rooms too. The entry level room type is called ‘Cool Suite’, at the winter room rate of R2000. As the rooms get bigger, and if they open to the garden, their room type names and rates change to ‘Amazing Suite’, ‘Stunning Suite‘, and the honeymoon suite ‘Magic Suite’, which will have a private outside jacuzzi and daybed. Children 4 years and younger stay for free, and 5 – 16 year olds pay R500 per bed brought into the larger rooms.
Breakfast is served at La Belle Café and Bakery, and one can choose to have a health or English breakfast, Eggs Benedict, flapjacks, Churros, fresh fruit, and the Alphen Breakfast, with fruit, pastries and eggs, presented on branded wooden boards. Breakfast ends at 11h45, a treat for hard workers and late sleepers. Coffee is by LavAzza. One can buy delectable pastries, slices of cake, cupcake, and freshly-baked breads at La Belle too, and they are very busy for lunches and early dinners, closing at 21h00. They have become the taste of the Constantia and other Cape Town residents, making booking a necessity. Dinner is also served at 5Rooms restaurant. The hotel also sports the The Rose Bar, a popular meeting place with a gorgeous garden view, and is heat-protected in winter. A spa is being set up and a consultant has been appointed for it. Treatments can also be done in guest rooms. As it will open onto the lawn, they will offer their guests Pilates, Tai Chi, and yoga outside. Wi-Fi is complimentary, room service is 24 hour, and a safe is provided.
The Dovecot is a beautiful building in the far corner of the lawns, and in it is the power house, and the Cloete family ashes. There is a little family chapel behind it. The old Watermill is to be reinstated near the Rose Bar. Weddings are hosted on the lawns, and special marquees are erected. The brides come down the original steps of the Manor House, more than 200 years old, which are not allowed to be fixed and not even the grasses growing in them are allowed to be removed. Close by is the slave bell.
This area smells beautifully of the lavender planted there. The hotel sports its own herb garden, from which the two restaurant chefs pick their daily kitchen requirements. The original cellar is let out as offices, with auctioneer Stephan Welz using one of the buildings for storage. Robert proudly spoke about the ‘Little 15′ they have on the estate, and the squirrels jumping around in the old oak trees are definitely his favourite. At The Alphen one feels that one is far from the city, and cannot hear the motorway not too far away. Music is piped throughout the estate, and is light lounge music, adding a modern contrast to the historical structures on the estate.
Despite being in Cape Town, staying at The Alphen was a lovely break away, as good as a holiday. One does not need to leave the estate at all, there being more than enough to do and eat and drink, and entertain one’s friends.
Disclosure: I was a guest of The Alphen Hotel for one night. Service feedback was provided to the management.
The Alphen, The Alphen Estate, Alphen Drive, Constantia. Tel (021) 795-6300 www.alphen.co.za Twitter@TheAlphen. Monday – Sunday. La Belle Cafe and Bakery 7h00 – 21h00. 5Rooms dinners every day and Sunday lunch. The Rose Bar open from 16h00 – 23h00 on weekdays, and 12h00 – 23h00 on weekends.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage