Entries tagged with “Queen Victoria Hotel”.


Chenin Blanc Top 10 Huguenot Cheese Brulee Whale CottageIn the past week three further Top 20 Restaurant candidate chefs have announced their resignation, making the restaurants at which they work ineligible to be nominated for the 2014 Eat Out Top 20 Restaurant shortlist.  This year is the most volatile we have ever seen as far as top restaurant chef departures go, opening up the opportunity for a fresh 2014 Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards list.

The latest chef resignations are the following:

*   Chef Oliver Cattermole left Mondiall Kitchen & Bar two weeks ago, today joining the Leeu Collection as its Executive Chef for its five star Dassenberg Estate hotel and Leeu Restraurants Oliver CattermoleRusthof Country House in Franschhoek, both opening next year.  Chef Oliver has worked locally at Dash at the Queen Victoria Hotel, the Le Franschhoek hotel, and Mondiall, as well as internationally at Ivy Restaurant, La Gavroche, Novelli, and at Cannizaro House hotel.

*   Chef Brad Ball, who helped open Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg, leaves in two weeks to start up what sounds like a collective of three restaurants at Pedlars on the Bend in Constantia

*   Chef Christiaan Campbell leaves Delaire Graff Estate, after opening up the main restaurant more than (more…)

The sixth Taste of Cape Town, to be held at the Green Point Cricket Club from today until Sunday, promises to be a feast of food and beverages, prepared by some of the Cape’s leading chefs, and offered for tasting by top wine estates and beverage houses.

A pop-up restaurant will feature some of our region’s best chefs, hosted by a different chef each day:

*   Chef Luke Dale-Roberts, representing The Pot Luck Club, offering Miso-glazed short rib with kimchi, pork belly with XO and red cabbage slaw, and Thai-style prawns with Tom Yum butter on Friday.

*   Chef Bruce Robertson, past owner of award-winning The Showroom, and now running The Boathouse from his home in Scarborough, will dish up snot vis (photograph) and sea cucumber, ‘Viss ‘n Tjips’, and Lucky Star pie on Saturday.

*   Chef Scot Kirton of La Colombe will offer Lemon verbena cured trout, ostrich tataki, and rose and coconut pannacotta on Thursday.

*   Chef Tanja Kruger of Makaron Restaurant, and member of the SA Culinary team, will serve Nigiri sustainable fish, smoked lamb belly, and a rum, caramel and banana dessert on Sunday.

Eleven restaurant stands will offer food to taste, in exchange for crowns (R5 per crown, and dish prices range from 4 – 8 crowns each, as a means of payment:

*   Azure Restaurant at the Twelve Apostles hotel, with Chef Henrico Grobbelaar at the helm, serving duck liver cream, Chalmar beef fillet, and Bea Tollman’s rice pudding

*   96 Winery Road in Stellenbosch, led by Chef Natasha Wray, serving crispy pork belly strips, line fish Nobu style, and parmesan and chorizo risotto

*   De Grendel Restaurant, which opened a year ago, with Chef Ian Bergh, serving duck and risotto, braised beef, and quail.

*   Fyndraai Restaurant at Solms-Delta, with Chef Shaun Schoeman, offering Tiger prwan and calamari breyani, Karoo ‘lamsoutribbetjie‘, and venison wild rosemary pie

*   Signal Restaurant at the Cape Grace, with Chef Malika van Reenen, serving prawn salad, beef short rib, and pear dessert

*   Savour at 15 on Orange, headed by Chef Sanel Esterhuyse, offering Norwegian salmon and avocado tartare (photograph), quail curry, and seared scallops

*   Jewel of India, now located in Bo-Kaap, with Chef Dayanand Shankar Poojary, serving Chicken Tikka, Paneer Makhani, and Madras fish curry

*   Beefcakes Burger Bar, based in Green Point, with Chef Wonderful Ndhlovu offering poppers, gourmet ostrich burge, and chocolate brownie.

*   Dash Restaurant at the Queen Victoria Hotel in the V&A Waterfront, with Chef Craig Paterson, serving fish rillettes, braised lamb breast, and ‘Go Bananas’ dessert

*   The Brasserie (sister restaurant to Societi Bistro) with Chef Stefan Marais, offering West Coast mussels, Brasserie Scotch egg, and French onion soup

*   Il Leone Mastrantonio with Chef Daniel Toledo, serving Linguine ai Gamberetti (prawns), flash-fried calamari, and coffee-flavoured panacotta.

Top chefs will do demonstrations in the Pick ‘n Pay Chef’s Theatre, while the Pick ‘n Pay Wine and Canapé Experience will teach Festival goers how to pair wines and canapés. Lindt’s Master Chocolatiers will demonstrate making Lindor truffles and pralines and chocolate sculpturing, with their Excellence and Creation ranges available for sale.   A special focus on Thai foods will be offered via cooking demonstrations by Thai chefs, organised by the Royal Thai Embassy.  A Food Market will not only offer artisanal foods for sale, but also beverages such as the new award-winning Bains Cape Mountain whisky from Wellington, the best single grain whisky in the world, as well as Fairtrade wines.

The Taste of Cape Town is one of 18 Taste festivals hosted around the world.  Taste of Durban will be held in July and Taste of Joburg in September.  Taste of Cape Town is environmentally friendly, with Interwaste recycling at the festival, and biodegradable eating utensils and bowls made by Green Home Products will be used.

POSTSCRIPT 12/4: Parking is in short supply, and traffic cops are all around the venue, to frighten anyone off parking anywhere else except inside the Cape Town Stadium, at a reasonable charge of R20.  The evening was wonderful, mild weather wise, lots of attendees but it never felt crowded.  The pop-up restaurant (Pot Luck Club this evening, but without Luke Dale-Roberts, as advertised on the program) had the longest queue, so one should go there first.  Tweeting is difficult, almost impossible from the festival, given the network overload.  Signal Restaurant of the Cape Grace hotel was the ‘best dressed’ restaurant, in giving one a feel of its real counterpart.  It is difficult to present one’s dishes under such trying conditions, and there can be little talk of ‘plating’ on a small recycled plate, but the best looking dish was Savour’s Norwegian salmon and avocado tartare with parmesan galette, Ikura caviar, soy-lime broth (this detracted from the dish) and micro-herbs (right).  The best tasting dish was the Twelve Apostles’ Azure starter of Duck liver cream, pickled red apple, and lentil leek mignonette (left).  I enjoyed sitting at the tables spread around the grounds, just chatting about the dishes and the restaurants they came from.  There are a lot of Capetonians interested in our Cape Town restaurants.  I heard a lot of Afrikaans spoken, and the PR representative Errieda du Toit told me that Afrikaans media had covered the festival for the first time. Lindt impressed with its shop and demonstration area, the making of pralines and Lindor being demonstrated. One should go here at the beginning or end, as it became very full.

Taste of Cape Town, 11 and 12 April 18h30 – 22h30, 13 April 13h00 – 17h00 and 18h30 – 22h30, 14 April 12h00 – 17h00,  www.tasteofcapetown.com Twitter: @Taste  Taste Fest app available for free for Apple, Blackberry, and Android devices.  R80 entrance and tasting glass, R180 includes R100 tasting crowns.

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

I became a fan of Chef Oliver Cattermole when he was at Dash restaurant at the Queen Victoria hotel last year.  The opportunity to try some of the dishes on his new menu at Dish restaurant at the Le Franschhoek hotel reflected the creative cuisine skills of the Michelin two-star La Gavroche trained chef.

Seeking clarification on a winter menu special, I Tweeted Chef Oliver, and he invited me to try his new winter menu last month, the first menu containing only his dishes since he started at the hotel nine months ago. I had not been impressed with the restaurant on previous visits, but a number of changes, including the menu, made the meal one of my highlights in Franschhoek this year.

When I arrived, I saw a special table with new high back chairs and a tall silver candelabra prepared for me. I was happy to see that the Eetrite cutlery had been set out for a number of courses, eliminating the problem of stretching.  On the table was a vase with the most beautiful Blushing Brides, and coarse Atlantic sea salt and pepper grinders.  The beautiful table setting alone made me feel like a queen. The table was closest to the pass, which is open to the restaurant, so I could chat to Chef Oliver and ask him questions about his delicious dishes.  I was delighted to see that the piano had been moved to the side of the dining room, and was not played, as I have experienced before. Despite it being a freezing cold evening, it was cosy and warm inside, with a modern mobile gas heater in the centre of the room.

Chef Oliver started his career on a part-time basis whilst still at school, cutting his teeth with Chef George Jardine, then at the Cellars Hohenhort hotel. After school he started at Haute Cabriere, working for Chef Matthew Gordon, before leaving for London, where he worked in Chef Michel Roux Jnr’s La Gavroche kitchen in London for a year, describing ‘him as generally a nice guy’. The kitchen had a staff complement of about 20, all French speaking. He learnt the discipline of cooking at La Gavroche.  Chef Michel Jnr did a Masterclass on MasterChef SA, and impressed with his way of dealing with the Finalists, firm but friendly. Chef Oliver also did a two day stage in Alain Ducasse’s kitchen at the Dorchester Hotel, just for the opportunity to learn from this esteemed chef. He also worked at top London restaurants The Ivy and Cannizaro House, before missing sunny South Africa, and returning to Cape Town.

Phillip is a Zimbabwean Hospitality Management intern from the International Hotel School, doing his training at the Le Franschhoek hotel, and he was very proactive in looking after me in serving the food as well as pouring the wine.  He told me that he is studying in South Africa, due to the better quality hospitality training offered locally, and the excellent wine estates in the Cape, having visited almost all of those in Franschhoek already. The dishes were served paired with wines especially selected by Chef Oliver from the special wine collection of the hotel.

The first dish was a Forest mushroom soup served with a semi-dried tomato and mushroom soil, which came to the table with home-made brown bread, and was paired with Hoopenburg Pinot Noir 2008.  It was one of the highlights of the meal, being thick and creamy, and a perfect antidote to the cold outside. The mushrooms are foraged by a supplier in Stellenbosch.  On the starter menu the dish costs R 65.

One of the most beautiful Autumn-inspired dishes was the vegetarian ‘A Taste and Textures from the garden’, costing R100 on the main course section of the menu, and consists of a purée of beetroot, parsnip, sheets of beetroot, dried red onion, cavioli (cauliflower), baby marrow, a beetroot crisp, butternut purée, spinach purée, baby turnips, served with beetroot soil, and red and green caviar drops. This dish was paired with a Mont Rochelle Unwooded Chardonnay 2010.  Chef Oliver told me that he sources his vegetables and herbs from Daniel Kruger, who grows special produce to chefs’ specification outside Franschhoek. He brings seeds for unusual sized and coloured vegetables (e.g. purple potatoes, black radishes, yellow and green-striped aubergines the size of golf balls) from the USA and Holland.

The Duck Bon-Bon starter with parsley root pureé and hot pickled vegetables costs R65, and was paired with a Terra del Capo Sangiovese 2008 from Antonij Rupert Wines in Franschhoek.  The duck is shredded, parsley is added, and rolled in Japanese breadcrumbs, served with spinach purée, and a piccalilli relish made from courgette, cauliflower, peppers, onions and vinegar.  The parsley root comes from the hotel’s own garden. The fourth course was a starter of pan-seared scallops served with a celeriac triangle and Ras El Hanout (honey-infused Moroccan spice mix, which has 21 spices such as hibiscus, rose petals, cardamom, cumin, fennel, ginger, chilli peppers, nutmeg, tumeric, pepper, cinnamon, pollen, curry powder, and coriander), as well as a golden cauliflower, coloured with tea and saffron, at R75.  This dish was served with a French wine, which Oliver had found in the hotel cellar, a Louis Satour Ardèche 2008 Chardonnay.  Chef Oliver sources the scallops from French importer Socomaf.

Compressed pork was served with a medley of apple pureé, toffee apple, and apple caviar, a fruit mustard, as well as a haricot bean purée, a dish which is also on their starter menu, and costs R60.  This dish was paired with Thelema Rhine Riesling 2008.  Other starters on the Dish menu are oak-smoked salmon (R75), and roasted beetroot with whipped goats’ cheese (R60).

The Roast rump of Karoo lamb with minted mash and young white and orange and red carrots was a filling main course, with three slices of lamb served, at R160.  This course was paired with Haut Espoir Cabernet Sauvignon 2004. Other main courses include Chicken Bourguignon, line fish of the day, dry-aged beef fillet, and thyme-roasted venison, ranging in price from R125 – R160.

To complete the more than generous dinner Chef Oliver served Carrot Cake as a dessert, with a medley of carrot pureé, mousse, jelly, and paper, to which he had added walnut candy and raisin pureé, costing R60.  Other desserts have a similar cost, and include apple and sultana crumble, goats’ milk pannacotta, barrel-smoked chocolate fondant, and brioche treacle tart pain.

Every one of Chef Oliver’s dishes is a work of art, created by his team of thirteen, who not only prepare these lovely dinner dishes, but also look after the breakfast requirements of the hotel guests, prepare lunch and dinners at their Le Verger restaurant in the glass ‘hothouse’, and banqueting requirements for conferences, weddings, and other events. Chef Oliver is in the right place in Franschhoek, in the village which positions itself as the gourmet centre of the country, to present his creative cuisine.

Dish Restaurant, Le Franschhoek Hotel, Franschhoek.  Tel ()21) 876-8900.  www.lefranschhoek.co.za Monday – Sunday dinner, Sunday buffet.  Twitter @Le_Franschhoek

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

The V&A Waterfront is running a spicy winter restaurant promotion to encourage locals and tourists to try out 27 of its restaurants, and to vote for the restaurant with the best ‘fusion, winter-style dish’ that is affordable too.  The promotion runs until 22 August, and reflects the Cape’s culinary roots over the past 360 years, including Indian, Malay, Chinese, French, British, Dutch, Portuguese, and French, the port of Cape Town being the melting pot of the flavours of the Cape.

The promotion was designed by the V&A Waterfront’s advertising agency Jupiter Drawing Room, and its communication quality reflects the V&A’s leadership as the best shopping mall in the Cape.  The Culinary Challenge is communicated via a Sunday Times insert, the electronic boards and posters in the V&A, and a ‘Master of the Trade Routes’ display emblem resembling a plate at participating restaurants.  Dash at the Queen Victoria hotel, Signal at the Cape Grace, The Atlantic at the Table Bay hotel, Nobu and Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town, Willoughby’s, Wang Thai, Harbour House, San Marco, La Playa,  Quay 4, Balducci’s, Meloncino, OYO at the V&A Hotel, The Quarterdeck (Portswood Hotel), Primi Wharf, Clipper at the Commodore Hotel, Den Anker, City Grill Steakhouse, Krugmann’s Grill, Karibu, Jewel of India, Greek Fisherman, Hildebrand Ristorante, Sevruga, Tasca De Belem, and, interestingly, The Grand on the Beach, are the participating restaurants.  In addition, but not participating in the Culinary Challenge as such, are Emporio Leone, offering a trio of South African dessert classics (malva pudding, a milk tart macaroon, and peppermint crisp tart truffle) at R35, and Gelato Mania, offering a gelato flavoured with vanilla pods from Mauritius.

Each restaurant will offer a ‘signature dish‘, and other dishes may form part of a winter special for the Culinary Challenge.  Nobu’s Winter Bento Box costs R275, with a cold and a hot section of three dishes each and a dessert; Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town is offering a Steak & Guinness Pie at R125; Willoughby’s signature dish is ‘The Bomb’, a tempura prawn roll with spicy seared Tuna and Avocado wrapping, at R129; Harbour House is offering a free-range short rib at R120; The Atlantic has a 2 course offer, being Lamb Parpardelle, preceded by a cauliflower puree with smoked Franschhoek trout and poached quail egg for a good value price of R120; Hildebrand Ristorante charges R90 for its signature Chocolate and Ginger Venison; Quay 4 has Malay Kreef Curry as its signature dish for R90; and Dash is serving pan-seared magret duck breast on spiced pear purée with sage and quinoa, at R95.

Not having been to Signal restaurant since it changed from Bruce Robertson’s One.Waterfront, I chose the Cape Grace restaurant, which has painted wall murals reflecting the Cape’s historic origins, done when the restaurant changed its name, and these make Signal a forerunner for the V&A Culinary Challenge on its decor and interior design alone! There is no shortage of staff at Signal, and each one of them greets one as if one is there on daily basis.  The tables have tablecloths, with a mix of traditional wooden chairs, ghost chairs, and leather upholstered chairs. Each table has a vase with a protea, and throughout the hotel the national flower is used, suiting the ‘Proudly Cape’ promotion theme too. Cutlery is posh Hepp Exclusiv.  Three chandeliers have small copper pots with the crystals.  Seating sections in the restaurant are divided by what look like sash window frames, giving the room a Cape Dutch feel.  Its A la Carte menu states that it offers ‘Cape Cosmopolitan Cuisine’, being ‘global contemporary dishes with a unique Cape twist’. The menu introduction echoes the theme, stating that sailing boats braved the high seas to introduce the ‘world to the wonders of fragrant herbs and spices’. Using marine-inspired terminology, it continues about its approach to food: ‘Signal encourages the global traveller to plot a course over the Cape’s ancestral landscape. With ingredients encompassing responsible and sustainable food practices and dishes crossing worldwide borders, we welcome you and hope you enjoy your journey’. The black leather covered winelist contains an extensive collection of 40 wines by the glass, and 150 wines by the bottle, complementing the cuisine served. The wines are not inexpensive, but there is a wide price range offered.  For example, in the Shiraz category, the thirteen wines offered range from R72/R195 (Glenwood 2008) to R925 for Haskell Pillars 2008.

As the V&A had booked the table on my behalf, the staff handed me the beautifully designed Culinary Challenge menu automatically, but I did ask to see the A la Carte menu too.  The restaurant offers as its Culinary Challenge signature dish a ‘De-constructed Bobotie‘, being a very rare prepared bobotie-spiced Springbok loin, roasted parsnip, pickled mango purée, almond crumble, and a curried lentil jus, costing a mere R95.  One can also order 3 courses, at R195, very good value. As I am allergic to mussels, the Assistant Restaurant Manager Sean O’Brien kindly allowed me to substitute a starter from the A la Carte menu for the Aromatic coconut and ginger broth with steamed mussels and coriander foam.  The dessert was a typically South African Peppermint Crisp Tart, served with fresh peppermint ice cream, and Pastry Chef Lorraine Meaney had made gold-dusted Valrhona chocolate discs to place on top of each individual tart.  With the cappuccino friandises, being an apricot jelly slice, a beetroot chocolate blondie, and a caramel macaroon, were served.

Voting for the ‘Master of the Trade Routes’ is done by food bloggers, writers, and critics, as well as by the public, for the People’s Choice Award, in selecting the winning restaurant(s).  Food writers were spoilt with a most beautiful spice box, to encourage them to review a restaurant of their choice. A beautifully designed locked box collects the evaluation sheets diners have to complete for the voting.  Various aspects have to be rated, including presentation, taste, interpretation of the fusion theme, service, ambience, and value for money.  Clients eating at a participating restaurant stand a chance to win meal vouchers and attendance at the gala event aboard the SA Agulhas II, at which the winners out of the Top 8 restaurants will be announced.

The quality and value for money offer experienced at Signal restaurant for the ‘Master of the Trade Routes Culinary Challenge’ will make me try other restaurants that I have not been to in the V&A Waterfront in the next two months, not only for their good value, but also for the creative and spicy interpretation of the winter promotion theme.

POSTSCRIPT 3/8: The Top 8 restaurants in the V&A Waterfront’s Master of the Trade Routes Culinary Challenge have been announced in the Cape Times today: Signal at the Cape Grace hotel, Dash at the Queen Victoria hotel, Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town, Den Anker, The Grand on the Beach, Sevruga, Harbour House, and Willoughby’s.

POSTSCRIPT 31/8: Signal restaurant at Cape Grace won the Master of the Trade Routes Culinary Challenge, with Dash at the Queen Victoria Hotel coming second.  Sevruga won the People’s Choice Award, with its Miso-marinated kingklip dish.

V&A Waterfront ‘Master of the Trade Routes Culinary Challenge‘, see www.waterfront.co.za for the list and menus, and operating hours and days of the 27 participating restaurants. 1 June – 22 August.

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

A year ago we first conducted a survey of top-end hotel rates in Cape Town.  We repeated the survey in August 2011, and in November 2011, to track hotel pricing trends. Ellerman House has re-established itself as the most expensive Cape Town hotel, starting at R 4590 per room, and the Peninsula All Suite Hotel remains the least expensive 5-star hotel, at R1200 per room, the same rate as November 2011 and lower than a year ago.  The hotels in Cape Town appear more confident about the coming winter season, judging by their pricing policy, only half of them having decreased their rates relative to the past summer.

The survey found that the average rate of the sixteen 5-star Cape Town hotels surveyed is R 2780 per room, just under R1400 per person, an average decrease by 23% relative to the November 2011 rates.   Across all 29 hotels surveyed, the average rate per room is R 2297, or just over R 1100 per person, 21% lower on average than in November. The most expensive Presidential Suite is at the One & Only Cape Town, at R58541 per day, a rate which has not changed since November.  Interesting is that larger top-end suites seem to have seen rate increases, while the standard rooms are more likely to be discounted.

Once again it was interesting to hear how the calls were handled, most hotel reservation departments asking careful questions, to identify if the caller was a travel agent/tour operator or a corporate caller, the questioning being very specific in this regard. Holders of a Protea Hotel Prokard would have had different rates quoted.  Few hotels called had a rate sheet from which to quote immediately, having to access their computer for the ‘best available rate’ information, costing time, one hotel putting the call on hold to piped music while they did their rate calculations.  The poor quality of the call handling and quoting by the hotel Reservations departments must be a concern for their bosses, quoting odd rates (i.e. not rounded off) very quickly, making it difficult to understand and record them accurately; interrupting while one was still speaking; inability to understand and hear the request, having to repeat the dates, and the number of persons;  the question ‘group or individual’ is asked bluntly, without explanation; not all hotels quote rates with breakfast included, despite being asked for this rate (Protea Hotels quote room only, and seem surprised when asked to add the breakfast rate); The Protea Hotel group quotes day by day rates, and the reservations staff struggle to quote an average rate, making it tedious to obtain quotes from them, as they have to quote the average rate and then add the breakfast rate. The Portswood/Commodore Hotels, Bay Hotel/Village & Life, and Newmark Hotels group have the same switchboard for different hotels, and even if one dials the specific hotel selected, one is asked which hotel one wants to book at!  For hoteliers it must be frightening to hear that not one of the 29 hotels called had a call to action, in encouraging one to make a booking, given that Cape Town has the best hotels in Africa.

Half the hotels have decreased their rates since November 2011, now quoting winter rates.  However, Steenberg Hotel increased its rate from November 2011, by 4%.  Interesting is the 36 % rate increase in the past five months for the African Pride Hotels 15 on Orange and Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa.  The Ambassador Hotel has increased its rate by 27 % since November 2011.  The Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge has been known for its competitive rates, but has increased them by 24 % for winter, and is no longer the cheapest hotel of those surveyed.      The largest rate decreases since November 2011 were by the V&A Hotel (45%),  Dock House (37%), and the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel (35%).  The rate of the Protea Hotel Fire & Ice increased by a dramatic 107% relative to last winter!  The Commodore Hotel (61%) and Portswood Hotel (45%) also increased their winter rates strongly. Interesting is that the Steenberg Hotel, voted the best hotel in Africa by Conde Nast Traveler readers, ranks 4th on price now,  having ranked at 10th position a mere five months ago.  The Protea Hotel-operated properties generally are at the lower end of the price ranking, being more attractively priced to fill their beds.

The rates were checked telephonically yesterday for today, for the next three days, i.e. 3 – 6 May per room for 2 adults sharing and inclusive of Breakfast per day, so as to compare the rates fairly . We added breakfast to the rates where these were quoted separately.   We have ranked the hotel rates from most to least expensive, and reflect the rate change on the lowest priced room relative to our survey for May 2011 in brackets:

Ellerman House, 5 star, R4590 – R14680. (The 3-room villa was offered at R45441 and the 5-room villa at R68000). Tel (021) 430-3200 (8% rate decrease)

Cape Grace Hotel, 5 star, R4555.10 – R15388 for the penthouse, Tel (021) 410-7100 (1% increase)

Mount Nelson Hotel, 5 star, R3730 – R11290. Tel (021) 483-1000 (24% rate increase)

Steenberg Hotel, 5 star, R3580– R14580. Tel (021) 713-2222 (Not included in May 2011)

One & Only Cape Town, 5 star, R3490 – R58541 for the Presidential Suite.  The non-South African resident rate starts at R4856 Tel (021) 431-5888 (10% rate decrease)

15 on Orange Hotel, 5 star, R2750 – R5370 for the one-bedroom penthouse, Tel (021) 469-8000 (1 % rate decrease)

Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, 5 star, R2650 – R3750.  Tel (021) 525-3888 (25% rate increase)

Commodore Hotel, 4 star, R2580 – R8040.  Tel (021) 415-1000 (61% rate increase)

The Westin Cape Town, 5 star, R2410 – R40000 for Presidential Suite. Tel (021) 412-9999 (19 % rate decrease)

Dock House, 5 star, R 2396 – R3115. Tel (021) 421-9334 (37% rate decrease)

Table Bay Hotel, 5 star, R2360 – R4760 for South African residents, R2840 – R6050 for non-South Africans. Tel (021) 406-5000 (25% rate decrease)

Twelve Apostles Hotel, 5 star, R2325 – R4565 for Bed & Breakfast, 3-course dinner, movie and popcorn, only for South African residents.  Non-South Africans pay R4165 – R8845 per room and breakfast.  Tel (021) 437-9000 (19% rate decrease)

Portswood Hotel, 4 star, R 2320 – R 3960.  Tel (021) 415-1000 (45% rate increase)

Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, 5 star, R2300 – R10000 for the Presidential Suite.  Tel (021) 430-0500 (35% rate decrease)

The Taj Hotel, 5 star, R2300 – R40000 for Presidential Suite. Tel (021) 819-2000 (5% rate increase)

Queen Victoria Hotel, not graded yet but seeking 5 stars, R2028 – R15000, Tel (021) 418-1466 (8% rate increase)

Bay Hotel, 5 star, R2000- R2800.  Tel (021) 438-4444 (25% rate increase)

Protea Fire & Ice Hotel, 3 star,  R1860 – R2110, Tel (021) 488-2555 (107% rate increase!)

Cullinan Hotel, 5 star, R1850  – R5159.  Tel (021) 415-4000 (14% rate decrease)

Victoria Junction Hotel, 4 star, R 1850 – R 2150 Tel (021) 418-1234 (10% rate increase)

V & A Hotel, 4 star, R1720 – R2170 . Tel (021) 415-1000 (45% rate decrease)

Ambassador Hotel, 4 star, R1590 – R2020. Tel (021) 439-6176 (17% rate decrease)

Winchester Mansions Hotel, 4 star, R1550 – R3550.  Tel (021) 434-2351 (5 % rate increase)

Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, 4 star, R1550 – R3220. Tel (021) 409-4000 (11 % rate decrease).

Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, no star grading, R1445 standard room, R1690 business suite. Tel (021) 406-1911 (12% rate increase).

President Hotel, 4 star, R1306 – R1723. Tel (021) 434-8111 (11% rate decrease)

Peninsula All Suite Hotel, 5 star, R1200 – R3490.  Tel (021) 430-7777 (24% rate decrease)

Vineyard Hotel, 4 star, R1165 – R4270. Tel (021) 657-4500. (Not included in May 2011)

Cape Sun Hotel, 4 star, R1160 – R5920 for Presidential Suite.  Tel (021) 488-5100 (23% rate decrease).

POSTSCRIPT 4/5: Two Cape Town hotels, the Alphen Boutique Hotel (not yet included in this survey) and the Queen Victoria Hotel, are the only two South African hotels on the Conde Nast Traveler Hot List of Best New Hotels 2012.  Frommers.com has selected Steenberg Hotel in its Top 12 ‘Best Vineyards Inns & Hotels around the World’, the only South African hotel on the list.

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

Cape Town

*   Roberto’s Signature Restaurant, Long Street: 7-course dinner at R539 per couple (R269,50 per person), or R699 per couple (R349,50 per person) with a bottle of Pongracz Rosé.  Tel (021) 424-1195

*   Five Flies, Keerom Street:  3-course dinner and glass of sparkling wine R295.  Tel (021) 424-4442.

*   French Toast: 3-courses and 750ml carafe of strawberry sangria R400.  Tel (021)

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 4-course dinner R350.  Tel (021)433-0856

*   ACT Restaurant, Baxter Theatre: 2-courses and glass of sparkling wine R180.  Tel (021) 685-3888

*   Casa Labia Café, Muizenberg: 3-course meal R250. Tel (021) 788-6062

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel: Seafood platter R1700 for two; Gourmet Menu R850 without wine pairing/R1150 with wine pairing. Tel (021) 713-2222

*   Grand Daddy, Long Street: two picnic options with a movie – R250 or R375 (with bottle of Van Loveren). Tel (021) 424-7247

*   Nobu, One&Only Cape Town: cocktail and two 6-course meal options R665/R765.  Tel (021) 431-4511

*   Signal, Cape Grace Hotel: 3-course meal R 375. Tel (021) 410-7080

*   Tobago’s, Radisson Blu: welcome drink, flower, live music, and 5-course dinner R375.  Tel (021) 441-3414

*   Il Cappero, Barrack Street: ‘Vacanze Ronane’ with Audrey Hepburn and Gregory Peck screened during meal with a la carte menu, 11 – 19 February. Tel (021) 461- 3168

*   Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 5-course dinner R 495. Tel (021) 418-1466

*   Salt, Ambassador Hotel, Bantry Bay: 4-course dinner R450. Tel (021) 439-6170

*   1800 Degrees Grill, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, Green Point: 5-course dinner paired with wines R495, monies raised go to Newborn Groote Schuur Trust. MC is radio and TV personality Liezel van der Westhuizen. Tel (021) 430-0500.

*   Trees, Townhouse Hotel: 3-course dinner R250, 4-courses R295.  tel (021) 465-7050

*   Cape Point Vineyards: Crayfish picnic and glass of 2007 Cape Point Vineyards Blanc de Blanc MCC R500 for 2 persons (R250 per person), from 18h30. Tel (021) 789-0900

*   Addis in Cape Ethiopia: Valentine’s Day Buffet R190.  Tel (021) 424-5722

*   Five Rooms, Alphen Hotel: 5-course dinner R295; 6 oysters and a glass of bubbly R100.  Tel (021) 795-6300

*   Café Chic, Gardens:  3-course dinner R235.  Tel (021) 465-7218.

*   Buitenverwachting Restaurant: 3-course dinner R325 (with R125 extra for wine pairing), and 5-course dinner R495 (with R195 extra for wine pairing), includes glass of bubbly, rose and a slice of Sacher Schnitte to take home.  Also St Luke’s Hospice Valentine’s day picnic with band Spectrum and a bottle of Buitenverwachting, R475 per couple (R237,50 per person.  Tel (021) 794-3522.

*   Altydgedacht wine estate: 4-course Italian dinner R300. Tel (021) 975-7815

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: A la carte menu with complimentary glass of wine.  Tel (021) 434-3004

Stellenbosch

*   Jordan Winery: 2 glasses, ice bag, bottle of wine, red rose, and 2 chocolate mousses R200; 2 glasses, ice bag, bottle of wine, red rose, picnic basket with cold meats, cheese and bread, 2 chocolate mousses R300.  Tel (021) 881-3441

*   Waterkloof, Somerset West:  ’Valentines with a View’: 6-course dinner R450 per person, and paired with wines R 550 per person.  Tel (021) 858-1292

*   Warwick Winery: Moonlit picnic from 17h00, with jazz, picnic basket, personalised red velvet cupcakes, glass of sparkling wine with rose-petal syrup, R399 per couple (R199,50 per person).  Tel (021) 884-4410

*   Sofia’s, Morgenster, Somerset West: 3-course dinner plus canapés and glass of sparkling wine R260. Tel (021) 847-1993

*   Slaley’s: Dinner Dance, 3-course dinner and bottle of Rosé R550 per couple (R275 per person). Tel (021) 865-2123

*   Cuvée, Simonsig wine estate: 5-course Aphrodisiac Valentine’s dinner with glass of Simonsig Brut Rosé Cap Classique R350.  Tel (021 888-4932

*   Morgenhof: 3-courses plus glass of Morgenhof MCC R295.  Tel (021) 889-2032

*   Clos Malverne: 5-course dinner, each course paired with wine R295.  Tel (021) 802-2022

*  Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House: glass of bubbly and 3-course dinner R 325.  Tel (021) 880-1549

Franschhoek

*   Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz wine estate: 3-course dinner plus glass of sparkling wine R550 per couple (R275 per person).  Tel (021) 876-2729.

*   Pierneef à La Motte, La Motte: 3-course dinner R295, and with wine R395.  Tel (021) 876-8000

*   Allée Bleue: 3-courses plus glass of MCC Brut Rosé R295.  Tel (021) 874-1021

*   Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel: 3-courses R280, 14 – 19 February.  Tel (021) 876-2770

*   Country Kitchen, Mont Rochelle Hotel: 3-courses R180.  Tel (021) 876-2770

*   Grande Provence: 3-course dinner R320.  Tel (021) 876-8600

*   Salmon Bar: 2-courses R220, 3-courses R270, paired with Haute Cabriere wines and a welcome glass of bubbly or a cocktail.  Tel (021) 876-4591

*   Cosecha Restaurant, Noble Hill:  Picnic for two plus welcome drink R 295 (R147,50 per person) or a la carte menu.  Tel (021) 874-3844

*   Boschendal: Valentine’s Day picnic with glass of Boschendal Brut Rosé R190.  Tel (021) 870-4275

*   Fyndraai, Solms-Delta: 3-course lunch R210 Tel (021) 874-3937

*   Café BonBon, La Petite Dauphine: welcome drink, live entertainment and 3-course dinner R 375.  Tel (021) 876-3936

*   Leopard’s Leap and Liam Tomlin Food:  4-course dinner cooked ‘live’ by Liam Tomlin, with bubbly and wines R 650.  Tel (021) 876-8822

*   Haute Cabriere: 7-course dinner, each course paired with wine R 650.  Tel (021) 876-3688

Paarl

*   Harvest, Laborie: 3-course dinner R245.  Tel (021) 807-3095

*   Backsberg: Breakfast R250; picnic lunch R 250 per couple (R125 per person); dinner platter and Danièlle Pascal show R250.  Tel (021) 875-5952

Hermanus

*   Annie se Kombuis:  Platter for 2 plus dessert, live music, bottle of sparkling wine R290 (R145 per person). 10 – 14 February. Tel (021) 028 313 1350

*   La Vierge: 4-course dinner paired with wines R220.  Tel (028) 313-2007.

*   Season:  4-course meal R170.  Tel (028) 316-2854

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

The Festive Season offers for Christmas and New Year follow below, and will be updated continuously as we receive new information:

Christmas Eve

*   Five Flies, Cape Town: 4-course dinner with ‘champagne and crackers’ R395. Tel (021) 424-4442

*   Rick’s Café, Cape Town: 3-course dinner R195.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 4-course dinner R720. Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: Dinner R300. Tel (021) 876-2738

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg: 4-course dinner R695.  Tel (021) 713-2222

*   The Kitchen, Woodstock: 3-courses R300, main course plus dessert R245, starter plus main course R268. Tel (021) 462-2201

*   Planet Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel: 5-course dinner R890. Tel (021) 483-1000

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course dinner R420.  Tel (021) 842-2020

*   Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House: 4-course dinner plus drink R 495 . Tel (021) 880-1549

Christmas Day

*   Haiku:  Set menu from R195.  Tel (021) 424-7000

*   Bukhara: Set menu from R195 per person.  Tel (021/ 4240000/(021) 882-9133/(021) 535-4444

*   1800, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel:  Lunch Buffet with welcome drink, R280 per adult and R120 for children under 12 years.  Tel (021) 430-0506

*   Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch:  4-course lunch R755.  Tel (021) 885-8160

*  Haute Cabriere Cellar Restaurant, Franschhoek: 3-course lunch  R400.  Tel (021) 876-3961

*   Monneaux, Franschhoek: 5-course lunch R 395.  Tel (021) 876-3380

*   Backsberg, Klapmuts: Buffet lunch and glass of John Martin Sauvignon Blanc R415. Tel (021) 875-5141

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 5-course lunch R350. Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Allée Bleue, Franschhoek:  3-course lunch in Bistro and Wine Tasting Courtyard R250. Christmas Lunch Buffet in Main House Courtyard R250.  Tel (021) 874-1021. FULLY BOOKED

*   Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay:  3-course lunch R395 + 10 % service charge.  Tel (021) 790-1036

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: Lunch buffet, eggnog, a gift, party hats, and crackers. R945.  Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Asara, Stellenbosch: Buffet Lunch R275; Christmas Lunch R450.  Tel (021) 888-8000

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: Lunch R350.  Tel (021) 876-9200

*   Rivendell Estate & Bistro, near Kleinmond: Sangria welcome drink plus Buffet, R300. Tel (028) 284-9185

*   Rickety Bridge, Franschhoek: 4-course dinner R325. Tel (021) 876-2120.

*   Charl’s, Blue Gum Country Estate, Stanford: 5-course lunch R395.  Tel (028) 341 0107

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 4-course lunch R 245.  Tel (021) 434-3004

*   Bistro Sixteen82, Steenberg: 4-course lunch, R 425.  Tel (021) 713-2222

*   The Kitchen, Maison, Franschhoek: 6-course lunch R 650.  Tel (021) 876-2116

*   La Belle Café & Bakery, The Alphen Hotel, Constantia: 4-course lunch R 350.  Tel (021) 795-6300

*   Ben’s on the Beach, Strand: 3-course lunch R 195,  11h00 and 13h30 sittings. Tel (021) 855-7977

*   La Colombe, Constantia: 4-course lunch R1100 + 12% tip.  Tel (021) 794-2390

*   Sofia’s @ Morgenster, Somerset West:  3-course lunch R400.  Tel (021) 847-1993

*   Two Oceans Restaurant, Cape Point: 3-courses R185.  Tel (021) 780-9200

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course lunch R420.  Tel (021) 842-2020

*   The Country Kitchen, Mont Rochelle, Franschhoek: 3-course lunch R320.  Tel (021) 876-2770

*   Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel, Franschhoek: 5-course lunch R 470. Tel (021) 876-876-2770

*   Cape Town Fish Market, V&A Waterfront, Tokai, GrandWest, Somerset West, Stellenbosch, Tyger Valley, Canal Walk:  4-course Christmas lunch R125. Tel (21) 418-5977

*   Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 5-course Christmas lunch R495. Tel (021) 418-1466

*   Ryan’s Kitchen in Franschhoek will be closed on 25 and 26 December.

New Year’s Eve

*   The Restaurant @ Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch:  Food & Wine Experience – eight latest vintages, each paired with a course.  R395.  Tel (021) 865-2022

*   Chic Café, Gardens: 5 course dinner R450.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch: 6-course dinner. R1200. Tel (021) 885-8160

*   Pepper Club on the Beach: 3-course dinner R850. Tel (021) 438-3174

*   Cocos, Hermanus: 3-course dinner R500.  Tel (028) 313-1178

*   Five Flies, Cape Town: 4-course dinner plus glass of Pierre Jourdan and music R795.  Tel (021) 424-4442

*   Rick’s Café, Cape Town:  Jazz, appetizer plate and glass of Pongracz R125.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   La Mouette, Sea Point: 4-course dinner with welcome drink and L’Avenir Brut Rosé 2009.  Tel (021) 433-0856.

*   Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay: 3-course dinner R395 + 10 % service charge.  Tel (021) 790-1036

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 5-course dinner plus glass of champagne R1650.  Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Asara, Stellenbosch:   Dinner Buffet R345; Dinner at Raphael’s R950.  Tel (021) 888-8000

*   Franschhoek Kitchen, Holden Manz, Franschhoek: Dinner R300.  Tel (021) 876-2738

*   Bertha’s, Simonstown: 3-course dinner, welcome glass of bubbly and jazz band R 350.  Tel (021) 786-2138

*   Black Marlin, Simonstown: 4-course crayfish platter, dinner and dance R 500.  Tel (021) 786-1621

*   Café Chic, Gardens, 5-course dinner R450.  Tel (021) 465-7218

*   The Conservatory, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, Constantia: 3-course dinner R1200.  Tel (021) 794-2137

*   Hildebrand, V&A Waterfront: 5-course meal, champagne on arrival, band R 1300.  Tel (021) 425-3385

*   Moyo, Bloubergstrand: African feats and music by CODA R595.  Tel (021) 554-9671

*   Oasis Restaurant, Mount Nelson Hotel: Buffet R650.  Tel (021) 483-1948

*   The Pepper Club on the Beach, Camps Bay:  3-course dinner and music R850.  Tel (021) 438-9551

*   Taste Restaurant, Somerset West: Dinner R385.  Tel (021) 855-3686

*   Ben’s on the Beach, Strand: 3-course dinner R245.  Tel (021) 853-7977

*   Bodega Restaurant, Dornier, Stellenbosch: 3-course meal, glass of Sterhuis Blanc de Blanc 2008 R380. Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Makaron Restaurant, Majeka House, Stellenbosch: 4-course dinner, pre-dinner drink, live music, glass of champagne R625.  Tel (021) 880-1549

*   Moyo, Spier, Stellenbosch: cocktail, snack, face paint, African feast, entertainment R495. Tel (021) 809-1138

*   Restaurant Mangiare, Capelands, Somerset West: 2-courses R190, 3-courses R240, 4-courses R 290.  Tel (021) 858-1477

*   Proviant Kaapse Tafel, Paarl: Spit braai, live music and bubbly R 195.  Tel (021) 863-0949

*   Pure, Hout Bay Manor: 6-course dinner R850. Tel (021) 791-9393

*   Lookout Deck, Hout Bay:  4-course dinner and live band R300.  Tel (021) 790-0900

*   Freedom Hill Restaurant, R301, Franschhoek:  Spit braai and music R 350. Tel (021) 867-0963

*   Rocca, Cape Quarter: 3-course dinner R 400.  Tel (021) 418-8000

*   Pepenero, Mouille Point: 3-course dinner, glass of ‘champagne’ on arrival R 700.  Tel 082 800 8542

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner R 950.  Tel 082 800 8542

*   The Kove, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner R 950 with glass of ‘champagne’ on arrival.  Tel 082 800 8542

*   Paranga, Camps Bay: 3-course dinner with glass of ‘champagne’ R 1200. Tel 082 800 8542

*   Rhapsody’s, Green Point: 4-course dinner with complimentary glass of MCC R 435.  Tel (021) 434-3004

*   French Toast, Bree Street: 3-course tapas dinner R 250.  Tel (021) 422-3839

*   5 Rooms, Alphen Hotel: 4-courses R850.  Tel (021) 795-6300

*    Dash, Queen Victoria Hotel, V&A Waterfront: 5-course dinner R750. Tel (021) 418-1466

*    Myoga, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7-course dinner R750.  Tel (021) 657-4545.

*   Le Franschhoek Hotel: 7-course dinner R1150.  Tel (021) 876-8900

*   6 Spin Street, Spin Street, Cape Town: 5-course dinner buffet and dance with welcome drink R450;  cheese and dessert buffet R250.  Tel (021) 461-0666

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

Three months ago we conducted a survey of top-end hotel rates in Cape Town.  Given the tourism crisis in the Cape, I repeated the survey 10 days ago, calling the same hotels as well as two additional ones not included previously, asking them for their November rates.  The One & Only Cape Town has overtaken Ellerman House as the most expensive Cape Town hotel by far, starting at R6800 per room, and the Peninsula All Suite Hotel remains the least expensive 5-star hotel, at R1200 per room.  The survey found that the average rate of the sixteen 5-star Cape Town hotels surveyed is R 3630 per room, just over R1800 per person, an average increase by 34% relative to the August rates.   Across all 29 hotels surveyed, the average rate per room is R2908, or just over R1400 per person, 31% higher on average than in August. The most expensive Presidential Suite is at the Westin Grand, at R40000 per day.

Once again it was interesting to hear how the calls were handled, most hotel reservation departments asking careful questions, to identify if the caller was a travel agent/tour operator or a corporate caller, the questioning being very specific in this regard. Holders of a Protea Hotel Prokard would have had different rates quoted.  Few hotels called had a rate sheet from which to quote immediately, having to access their computer for the ‘best available rate’ information, costing time, one hotel putting the call on hold to piped music while they did their rate calculations.  I was shocked at the poor quality of the call handling and quoting by the hotel Reservations departments, quoting odd rates (i.e. not rounded off) very quickly, making it difficult to understand and record them accurately; interrupting while one was still speaking; surprising was the inability in many cases of the staff to understand and hear the request, asking me to repeat the dates, and the number of persons; for the first time, the question ‘group or individual’ was asked bluntly, without explanation; not all hotels quote rates with breakfast included, despite being asked for this rate (Protea Hotels quote room only, and seem surprised when asked to add the breakfast rate); and one hotel could not quote a rate as the system was down, and promised to call back … they never did!   The Protea Hotel group quotes day by day rates, and the reservations staff had to obtain permission to quote an average rate, making it tedious to obtain quotes from them, as they have to quote the average rate and then add the breakfast rate.  For hoteliers it must be frightening to hear that not one of the 29 hotels I called had a call to action, asking if I would like to book, given that Cape Town has the best hotels in Africa!

Most hotels have increased their rates since August, now quoting summer rates. However, 15 on Orange has decreased its rate by 23%, the Peninsula All Suite Hotel rate decreased by 20 %, and there was a small decrease in the Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge rate.   Interesting is that the Cape Grace Hotel rate has not changed, probably meaning that they did not drop their rates in winter, due to good demand – in fact they increased rates by 10 % in August. The largest rate increases since August were by the Bay Hotel (119%), One&Only Cape Town (95%), Twelve Apostles Hotel (87%), Winchester Mansions Hotel (80%), Commodore Hotel (79%), the Taj (65%), Table Bay Hotel (63%), and Portswood Hotel (61%). Interesting is that the Steenberg Hotel, just voted the best hotel in Africa by Conde Nast Traveler readers, ranks 10th on price.  The Protea Hotel-operated properties generally are at the lower end of the price ranking, being more attractively priced to fill their beds.

The rates were checked for 3 – 6 November per room for 2 adults sharing and inclusive of Breakfast per day, so as to compare the rates fairly (we did not realise that this period coincides with the Volvo Ocean Race, making a number of hotels fully booked. We chose rates for the dates closest to the dates we requested).  We added breakfast to the rates where these were quoted separately.   We have ranked the hotel rates from most to least expensive, and reflect the rate change on the lowest priced room relative to our survey for August 2011 in brackets:

One&Only Cape Town, 5 star, R6800 – R15300 Tel (021) 431-5888 (95 % rate increase) – only 5 – 10 rooms qualify for the special South African rate of R3299 daily – very detailed description of each room type provided telephonically

Ellerman House, 5 star, R5200 – R16400 (The new villa has 3 rooms offered at R48600 and 5-rooms at R60500), Tel (021) 430-3200 (4%  rate increase)

Table Bay Hotel, 5 star, R 5168, Tel (021) 406-5000 (63% rate increase) – very unfriendly, very hard to understand. Fully booked on 3 November.

Cape Grace Hotel, 5 star, R 4980 – R 14 530 for the penthouse, Tel (021) 410-7100 (Zero rate change)

Twelve Apostles Hotel, 5 star, R 4105 – R 6625.  Tel (021) 437-9000 (87% rate increase)

Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, 5 star, R 4086 – R20000 for the Presidential Suite.  Tel (021) 430-0500 (14% rate increase) – fully booked 6 November

Mount Nelson Hotel, 5 star, R 3800 – R 11000. Tel (021) 483-1000 (27 % rate increase)

The Taj Hotel, 5 star, R 3550 – R 34000 for Presidential Suite. Tel (021) 819-2000 (65% rate increase)

Bay Hotel, 5 star, R 3500 (stay for 3 nights, pay for 2).  Tel (021) 438-4444 (119% rate increase)

Steenberg Hotel, 5 star, R 3435 – R 14850. Tel (021) 713-2222 (first time inclusion)

Dock House, 5 star, R 3464. Tel (021) 421-9334 (43% rate increase) – drastic price decrease in August, rates now back to May level

Queen Victoria Hotel, not graded yet but seeking 5 stars, R 2996 – R 20000, Tel (021) 418-1466 (27 % rate increase)

Commodore Hotel, 4 star, R 2860 – R 12 720.  Tel (021) 415-1000 (79% rate increase). Fully booked 3 November.

Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays, 5 star, R 2730 – R 40000 for Presidential Suite. Tel (021) 412-9999 (26 % rate increase)

Winchester Mansions Hotel, 4 star, R 2640 – R4135.  Tel (021) 434-2351 (80 % rate increase)

Portswood Hotel, 4 star, R 2570 – R 3960.  Tel (021) 415-1000 (61% rate increase). Fully booked 3 November

V & A Hotel, 4 star, R 2320 – R 3124 . Tel (021) 415-1000 (41% rate increase)

15 on Orange Hotel, 5 star, R 2020 – R 2620, Tel (021) 469-8000 (23 % rate decrease)

Cullinan Hotel, 5 star, R 2095  – R 4451.  Tel (021) 415-4000 (38 % rate increase) – this hotel had a computer problem when I called, and promised to call me back, to give me a rate.  After waiting for two days, I called again!

Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, 5 star, R 1950 – R 3050.  Tel (021) 525-3888 (15% rate increase) – very loud volume of music and voice

Protea Hotel Fire & Ice Hotel, 3 star,  R 1940 – R 2040, Tel (021) 488-2555 (31% rate increase!)

Victoria Junction Hotel, 4 star, R 1900 – R2200 Tel (021) 418-1234 (5 % rate increase)

Vineyard Hotel, 4 star, R 1850 – R 3950. Tel (021) 657-4500. First time inclusion. Friendly and efficient.

President Hotel, 4 star, R 1780 – R 2830. Tel (021) 434-8111 (22% rate increase)

Southern Sun Waterfront Hotel, 4 star, R 1605 – R 3855. Tel (021) 409-4000 (11 % rate increase). Very poor ability to hear and understand the caller’s requirements.

Cape Sun Hotel, 4 star, R 1380 – R 3810.  Tel (021) 488-5100 (6% rate increase)

Ambassador Hotel, 4 star, R 1250 – R 1950. Tel (021) 439-6176 (Zero rate change)

Peninsula All Suite Hotel, 5 star, R 1200 – R 2170.  Tel (021) 430-7777 (20% rate decrease)

Protea Hotel Breakwater Lodge, no star grading, R 1170 standard, R 1595 business rooms. Tel (021) 406-1911 (4% rate decrease). Poor ability to comprehend the caller’s requirements.

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

The most exciting restaurant news in Cape Town must be the move of Chef Oliver Cattermole of Dash Restaurant at the new Queen Victoria Hotel, to What’s On Eatery at the end of this month, the ideal marriage of superb host Trevor Jordaan with a superb chef.  The restaurant will be serving food with ‘simplistic elegance’, in a homely and hearty environment, and is set to become even more popular than it already is.

Chef Oliver attracted my attention with his most beautiful ‘Alice in Wonderland’ vegetable garden he created with the beef fillet and mash dish at Dash.  Oliver is a quiet man who is passionate about what he creates, and told me about his plans for What’s On Eatery when we met with Trevor yesterday.  He wants to position What’s On as a small neighbourhood eatery, and is looking forward to lifting What’s On to new heights. He will serve simple food, cooked impeccably, and beautifully presented.  His menu is likely to change monthly, and some of the starters include Prawn cocktail, Roast beef salad, Caprese salad, Mussels with cider (his personal favorite), and Oysters with seaweed.  Mains are likely to include Linefish of the day, Monkfish Masala, Breast of lamb, and Pork belly with apple puree, crackling and black pudding soil.  On the Dessert menu could appear delectable items such as Lemon tart (using the Le Gavroche recipe but with an Oliver twist), Chocolate marquise, a Chocolate plate using chocolate by CocoaFair, and Elderflower berries and custard.  The lunch menu will be lighter, with platters of charcuterie, fish, and cheese, as well as soups and gourmet ciabattas.  Starters will range from R35 – R65, main courses from R95 – R165, and desserts around R40 – R45. Gorgeous sorbet palate cleansers will be served.

Chef Oliver grew up in Durbanville, and worked on weekends for George Jardine at the Cellars Hohenhort hotel whilst he was still at school.  He did a kitchen internship with Matthew Gordon at Haute Cabriére Cellar Restaurant for 2,5 years, and worked alongside Scott Kirton, the La Colombe chef.  Chef Oliver left for the UK, and worked at 2-Michelin star restaurant Le Gavroche, in which kitchen Michel Roux jnr reigned. He said it was tough working in a French kitchen, without being able to speak French, but it did give him a good grounding.  The rule of the chef was ‘my way or no way’!  This kitchen influenced Chef Oliver the most, and he owns ten Roux cookery books, and makes his jus and sauces the Roux way.  In this kitchen they do things the old-fashioned way, and here Oliver learnt discipline, punctuality, time-keeping, and being organised, in a kitchen that was run with ‘military precision’. Here he worked with Phil Carmichael, ex-Maze chef at the One&Only Cape Town.  He moved to The Ivy, one of London’s top restaurants with 400 covers, of which Giles Conran once said: “The most fashionable piece of furniture in London is a table at The Ivy”, and worked there for three years.  This restaurant sees VIP’s such as Tony Blair, Tom Cruise, Julia Roberts, the Beckhams, John Travolta, and Elton John eat good British food here regularly. It is one of the ultimate places to be seen, and serves the ‘best of British’ food, Chef Oliver said.  Even Gordon Ramsay used to eat at The Ivy every Friday evening, having beef tartar, and fish and chips. Oliver worked here as Chef de Partie, and was responsible for the vegetables, one of the hardest sections of this kitchen, the menu offering 37 side dishes.

Novelli’s at The London Capital Club, with Jean Christophe, for whom George Jardine worked, was Chef Oliver’s next employer.  This one-Michelin star restaurant serves refined food with clean and sharp lines in its presentation. Foraging was a trademark of this restaurant.  When most of his colleagues left, Chef Oliver left too, working on a Silverseas cruise liner for six months.  Then he spent 2,5 years at Cannizaro House, which was awarded three rosettes by the UK AA Guide, first as Sous Chef and then as Senior Sous Chef.  Foraging here too was important, and ’boutique’ ingredients were sourced in the preparation of modern British food.  A snowed-in Christmas last year made him decide to return to his home city, and he was offered a job by Newmark Hotels, first at their V&A Hotel, and then at the Queen Victoria Hotel, where he and the team of chefs designed the exciting Dash menu.  Chef Oliver says his job as Chef de Cuisine at Dash has broadened his horizons and pushed his culinary boundaries. Chef Oliver is the son of Nigel Cattermole, a co-founder and partner in Siris Vintners, owner of Wines @ the Mill, and lecturer at Varsity College.

Owner Trevor Jordaan is planning a number of changes to coincide with Chef Oliver’s arrival: the downstairs room will be set up as upstairs, with highback chairs, and some other decor upgrades; the counter will be set up as a bar, and bar snacks will be served, such as home-made biltong; a new awning and signage is planned; Chef Oliver will come out of the kitchen after the service;  the opening hours will change to 9h30 – late, without closing in the late afternoon, Monday – Friday, and on Saturday evenings.

POSTSCRIPT 4/10: I have not wanted to eat at What’s On Eatery until new Chef Oliver has settled in, but could not help ordering the new starter Durbanville Asparagus with coddled hen’s egg and soldiers this afternoon, when stopping by for a coffee, excellent value at R45, and beautifully presented.  I met the new sous chef Wesley, who also worked at Dash, and previously at Jardine.

POSTSCRIPT 31/10: Sadly and unexpectedly What’s On Eatery closed down today.

What’s On Eatery, 6 Watson Street, Cape Town.  Tel (021) 422-5652.  www.whatsoneatery.co.za.  Twitter: @Whatsoneatery

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