Entries tagged with “Strijdom van der Merwe”.
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Mon 11 Mar 2013
Hermanus is synonymous with the annual Whale Festival. This year it is laying on a 10-day Hermanus FynArts festival, a feast of the visual arts, classical music, jazz, literature, wines, and gourmet food, a fusion of Art Festival and Winter School in a town that has long been known for being home to many leading artists. It will run from 7 - 16 June.
Over the ten days entertainment will be offered over the two weekends, while on weekdays one can attend courses and workshops on photography, ceramics, painting, drawing, writing, cooking, and viticulture. Top sculptor Dylan Lewis will exhibit his work outside the Marine Hotel and will host a talk about his work, interviewed by leading writer Christopher Hope, one of the co-founders of the Franschhoek Literary Festival. Land sculptor Strijdom van der Merwe, and co-owner of Stellenbosch restaurant Casparus, will host a photographic exhibition of his work, with a talk. Guy du Toit’s ‘Talking Hares’ will be on show at Sumaridge wine estate. Jewellery, ceramics, sculpture, photography and film will be exhibited. Ceramicists include Clementina van der Walt, Hennie Meyer, and Tania Babb, with Ardmore Ceramics exhibiting at the Marine Hotel. A National Art Competition will run alongside the festival, sponsored by the SA National Space Agency. A talk will focus on JH Pierneef, one of our country’s best artists ever.
Vintage South African movies will be screened, as well as classic Hollywood movies, in the Romantiques vintage shop.
A number of the wine farms on the impressive Hermanus Wine Route (including Hamilton Russell, Creation, Newton Johnson, Ataraxia, La Vierge, and Bouchard Finlayson), as well as the art galleries in the town will host an art exhibition, and will offer special events. During the festival, concerts will take place at lunchtimes in the Anglican Church; high teas will be available at the town’s coffee shops at 15h00 each day; wine tasting and food and wine pairing can be enjoyed on the wine farms and at the town’s restaurants, with Giggling Gourmet Jenny Morris and Eat Out Top 10 Chef Peter Tempelhoff cooking a dinner on 7 June; guided walks in Fernkloof nature reserve will be offered; and one can enjoy a ‘virtual tour‘ of South African wines.
The Cape Philharmonic Youth Orchestra will perform in the Hawston Hall in celebration of Youth Day, and UCT Head of the Opera School Professor Angelo Gobbato will talk about opera, and one of his talks will focus on ‘Celebrating Verdi’. There will be opera recitals too, including by Gobbato! Singer Zanne Stapelberg and Kathleen Tagg (South African pianist now based in New York) will perform ‘Soul of Fire’. Well-loved conductor Richard Cock will be in attendance, and the baroque Camerata Tinta Barocca will perform.
To allow a feast of ‘fine living’ without concern for drinking and driving, a hop-on hop-off bus will take festival goers to the wine estates as well as to the venues in the town. Booking opens today.
Hermanus FynArts 2013. Hermanus Tourism Bureau. www.hermanusfynarts.co.za
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Wed 10 Aug 2011
Cuvée Restaurant opened on Simonsig wine estate nearly three years ago, and its interior curation by Neil Stemmet put him on the map, with its unusual marriage of old and new. Cuvée Restaurant is a sparkling complement and compliment to the Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel, celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Simonsig is on the Kromme Rhee Road, one I had never previously driven, connecting the two roads to Stellenbosch via Klapmuts and Joostenberg. There is ample parking, and one sees the modern oddly shaped posters within red frames outside the tasting room and restaurant entrance. Dirk the waiter told me that Strijdom van der Merwe, co-owner of Casparus restaurant and nature artist, had prepared the curved large metal posters on the lawns outside to commemorate the 350th anniversary of winemaking in South Africa for Simonsig last year, a very modern statement for a long established wine estate owned by the Malan family. The late Frans Malan, with Spatz Sperling of Delheim and the late Neil Joubert of Spier, was one of the trio establishing the Stellenbosch Wine Route, which itself celebrates its 40th anniversary this year. The Simonsig 210 hectare farm has been farmed by the Malan family for ten generations, and the late Frans Malan was a pioneer in creating the first Méthode Cap Classique, being their Kaapse Vonkel. The Malan brothers Pieter (Marketing), Francois (CEO and Viticulturist), and Johan (Winemaker) run the farm. In addition to the Kaapse Vonkel, there is a Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rosé, Cuvée Royale, and Encore Vin Sec. Other wines in the Simonsig range include Vin de Liza noble late harvest, Chenin avec Chéne, Chardonnay, Sunbird Sauvignon Blanc, Gewürztraminer, Chenin Blanc, Tiara Bordeaux blend, Frans Malan Cape blend, Redhill Pinotage, Merindol Syrah, Labyrinth Cabernet Sauvignon, Mr Borio’s Shiraz, Pinotage, Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz, Shiraz Mouvèdre Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc Semillon, and Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot.
The tasting room and restaurant are design extremes, the tasting room being part of the historic building, with traditional sash windows, yet it has a modern crockery and sparkling wine glass chandelier made by Jacques Erasmus of Hemelhuijs, and Tord Boordje paper curtains, one of only three establishments to have these designer curtains in Stellenbosch! The restaurant appears to be a building addition, with more modern architecture but with classic interior touches added by Stemmet. The room is on two levels, the lower one having a very dominant thick black and white striped wallpaper, with black, brown and white striped curtains, modern crystal chandeliers, a riempiesbank hanging from the ceiling, a red painted wall, and glass doors facing the vineyard. A massive fireplace ‘divides’ the room into two. The higher level appears more modern, with a raw concrete ceiling, one wall painted in a deep grey, and another left in rough brick. At the back end, or entrance to the restaurant, is a modern black bar counter, behind which the wines are stored across the length of a wall. Above the bar counter are large ‘Fifties style black and silver round lights. One wall has seating as benches against the wall, and there is a small lounge area. The tables are black stained wood with glass tops. There is a large Persian carpet in each of the sections, adding a homely touch. Contrasting the more modern furniture is the traditional yellowood and stinkwood heritage furniture, such as a bakkis, and an amoire. Modern perspex lamps and shades are spread around the restaurant, and there are bold white leather pouffes near the fireplace. An interesting Ikebana tree, with coloured silk wrapped around it, is a ’small wishing tree’, Dirk explained. Classical music chosen by Stemmet rounded off the quality impression. I would have loved to walk through the restaurant with Stemmet, to hear the ’story’ about his curation.
Each table has a ceramic vase with a red protea, with cutlery by Arthur Krupp, and a most impressive serviette which has a crown logo and 1971 date embroidered on it, to attract attention to the October 40th anniversary celebrations of the Cap Classique at Simonsig. The bread knife is by WMF. Three types of bread, beautifully folded into a serviette, were brought to the table. Coarse salt and pepper were brought in small bowls, with a spoon. Stemmet dictated the crockery and cutlery, and it reflects class. Staff wear black T-shirts and trousers, with a black apron. Dirk showed me the Van Niekerk Room upstairs, a special events function room for about 20 guests, which also has strong elements of black and white stripes, with red leather chairs around a large table. Mr van Niekerk was the father-in-law of the late Frans Malan, whose family is now at the nearby Knorhoek, on which wine estate Stemmet did the interior curation for their Towerbosch restaurant.
I met the new chef Lucas Carstens, who had moved across from Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town at the begining of the month. He has introduced some of his own dishes on the new menu, and kept other favourites. He previously worked at Terroir restaurant and at the Kleine Zalze Lodge. Dirk Smit, ex-Tuscany Beach, is the new Restaurant Manager, but was not on duty on Saturday.
The menu is A3 size on white board and well-presented, each item having a Simonsig wine suggestion. The Black pepper-seared tuna (R85/R140), with a Kaapse Vonkel pairing recommendation, is printed in gold, with the logo for the 40th Cap Classique celebration on it in gold too. Starters and mains are not separated on the menu, as most dishes can be ordered as a starter or a main portion. Not listed on the menu, but offered was fresh oysters at R12,50 each. I chose a starter portion of pan-fried kingklip, a smallish but very juicy thick piece of fish, served with asparagus (not specified on the menu and offered as a replacement for artichoke, but was served with artichoke too), braised fennel, slices of naartjie, and a most unusual citrus butter sauce. With this was served an apple salad with a good dressing, not mentioned on the menu, making the R70 (R130 for full portion) charge good value. Other interesting starter/main course options are Wild mushroom soup (45), Warm green bean and tomato salad (R50/R90), Tomato tartlet (R50/R90), Kleinrivier Gruyère soufflé (R85), Cape Malay butter chicken with Basmati rice (the restaurant smelt of this lovely curry when I arrived, and will be my first choice for my next visit, at R100), Grilled Mocambique prawns (R70/R140), Bobotie (R90), Joostenberg pork neck (R60/R110), Lamb shank (R140), Venison and wild mushrooms (R80/R150), and Flame-grilled beef fillet with Café de Paris sauce (R85/R160). I had the Valrhona 66% chocolate fondant with vanilla ice cream (substituted for a red wine and cherry ripple ice cream), baked in a white dish, and thick and creamy inside (R60). Crème Brulée, pecan nut tart, malva pudding served with Amarula and rooibos ice cream, and White chocolate panna cotta cost between R45 - R55. A South African cheeseboard with preserves sounded expensive at R150, but I did not see it to judge the price.
The winelist is a folded A3 board, listing only Simonsig wines. Kaapse Vonkel, the Brut Rosé, and Encore Vin Sec cost R27/R135, a R45 surcharge on the bottle price in the Tasting Room. I had a glass of the Brut Rosé, and it was a good match to the kingklip. Cuvée Royale costs R54/R270. The Mr Borio Shiraz costs R18/R90, and the Merindol Syrah R66/R330. No vintages are listed for the wines, but the Platter star rating and awards won are denoted.
I almost felt sorry for Cuvée that such an excellent restaurant is so hidden away in the Winelands. It has a dramatic ‘Cape Dutch modernism’ interior, excellent food, and stands for quality in everything that it does, much like its excellent sparkling wines. I will go back, now that I know where it is.
Cuvée Restaurant, Simonsig, Kromme Rhee Rhee Road, between R44 and R304, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 888-4900. www.simonsig.co.za (The website contains the menu and winelist, but still has details of the previous chef. Few of the many photographs in the Image Gallery are of the food). Tuesday - Sunday lunch, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday dinner.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage
Mon 28 Mar 2011
It was a Tweet by Mike Ratcliffe of Warwick on Friday that ‘announced’ the long-awaited opening of Casparus on Dorp Street, the new restaurant of both renowned (for his sauce-based food) and infamous (for his temperament) Etienne Bonthuys, who had been at Tokara restaurant for 10 years, but had left last October to make space for Richard Carstens, another iconic chef.
Being in Stellenbosch, I had called the restaurant and tried to make a booking for dinner before the start of a concert at the Endler Hall, but the person answering the phone said their dinner only starts at 7.30 pm (information which turned out to be incorrect - they open for dinner at 7 pm), putting an end to that plan, and I went to Christophe’s instead. Not one to be put off easily, I decided to pop in after the concert, just at the 10 pm kitchen closing time, I had been told on the phone, even if it was just for a coffee. I was most surprised when I was greeted and seated with great friendliness, and offered a menu and winelist.
At this point I was in awe - I have never seen a restaurant interior quite like this, and one quite so large, one long open-ended area, made up of numerous ex-rooms, in part looking unfinished, but so by design, an open-ended construction that opens into the open air and eventually a garden and trees, with a Bauhaus look on one side mid-way in red and blue. Let me start at the beginning though. The exterior of the building on DorpStreet is a 1820 historical home, and there were very tight restrictions on renovations to that part of the restaurant, so it has been kept as it was, a generously-spaced open-plan room through which one walks to get to the huge restaurant part. A dispute with a neighbour about the approval for a window caused the long hold up in completing the building work and opening.
The entrance room has the feeling of an art gallery, and only in talking to Bonthuys’ wife Jane Moses did I understand that the new restaurant is jointly owned by Bonthuys and his friend Strijdom van der Merwe, a land artist I had to admit I had not heard of before, but whose work in tying red bows on oak trees on Dorp Street (not sure what symbolism was intended then) was well publicised in the local papers. Bonthuys and Van der Merwehave different creative strengths, and it is evident that they feed off each other, and will continue to challenge each other. In the entrance room, a modern artwork which has become the logo, reflecting the ‘unfinished’ wooden roof ‘planks’, fills one wall, another wall is filled with photographs of the red ribbon tree project, and a third wall has the original plan of the erf, dating back to 1820, printed onto the wall! Of course one does not appreciate any of these images until one sits down, and someone explains it all. The first owner of the erf was Dr Casparus Termytel, and he was allocated the land in 1791, being the “Burgergeneesheer” of the Dutch East India Company, and the restaurant has been named in his honour. The records do not show whether Dr Termytel actually erected a building at that time, having died in 1793. The first recorded plans for a building on the erf are dated 1820.
One walks through an in-between room, which is a smaller section containing the bar, and the cash register. It looked a little untidy, but one is so ‘distracted’ by all the artwork hanging on the left, being photographs of ‘naturescapes’ created by Van der Merwe, and presented as banners, to ‘hide’ the kitchen from view. Bonthuys must be suffering from ‘Platzangst’, having had a massive kitchen at Tokara, and he is far more constrained in space at his new ‘home’. Having only heard the worst about Bonthuys, and that he never ventures out of his kitchen, I asked Jane to photograph him for me. She sweetly took me to him, and I even got a smile out of Bonthuys, yet looking rather shy and bashful.
To continue the guided tour - beyond the kitchen the restaurant becomes very broad, and extends deeply towards the garden area, now totally modern, with a protective sheet over one of the sections, as if the building construction is not complete, and a set of planks criss-crossed above the seating area, also looking unfinished. Looking carefully, one can see the doors that can be locked at night, but the general effect is one of a massive open space with an unfinished look above it. On one of the walls inside the seating area a slide show runs continuously, showing lovely old historic homes of Stellenbosch, projected against one of the walls. The slide show is one of Van der Merwe’s ‘works’ too, and is the third slide show Van der Merwe has compiled since the opening of the restaurant, and is the one that has attracted the most positive feedback, Jane told me. The tables are all wooden, a mix of more old-fashioned ones as if coming from someone’s home, and others contemporary, and the chairs at almost every table are different, but that is probably also part of Van der Merwe’sdesign. There is no table cloth, but a good quality material serviette, trendy Fortis cutlery, and a little table light, as the back end of the restaurant is very dark. Jane told me that heaters and fires in drums are planned. I saw the guests at a table next door wrapped up in blankets, provided by the restaurant. I also saw these guests smoking, which could put other guests off - the open roof makes it difficult to draw the line about the smoking/non-smoking sections, if there is such a delineation. There is seating for 60, but they can expand to 80 should they make use of the garden at a later stage, Jane said. Bonthuys has retained most of his kitchen staff from Tokara, but most of the waiters are new, and therefore Jane was assisting.
The restaurant is a gallery too, and ideally needs a guide to explain its artworks, and the meaning of and rationale for the ‘unfinished’ construction look of the restaurant. Jane was a wonderful ‘tour guide’, and explained all the art and action at Casparus. I could not have wished for a better person to talk to, so as to find out more about the restaurant,its chef and the artist. Bonthuystrained in Belgium, and started his cuisine career with Rosenfontein in Paarl in 1997, and then owned Floris Smit Huis and then Bonthuys in Cape Town. He opened at Tokarain 2000, a massive restaurant space with a wonderful view, and a huge kitchen. Here too there were no table cloths, and the staff were allowed to dress how they wanted to, something that surprised me then, and does at Casparus as well, where the same staff policy has been introduced. Jane explained that Bonthuys wants the staff to look as if they are eating at the restaurant too! She also told me that Bonthuys likes anonymity, and that is why he likes to stay in the kitchen - do not expect him to come out of his kitchen enclave to greet his guests, but Jane more than makes up for this in charm and friendliness.
The menu and wine list look neat in black leather covers. However, the pages in the menu look heavily used already, while those in the wineliststill look fresh and new. A crispy bread roll was brought to the table, with a substantial slice of butter. When I expressed surprise about the unbelievably low prices, Jane explained that Bonthuys wants to serve a ‘bordkos’, which their customers can afford and enjoy to eat there regularly, and not be a ‘fine dining’ restaurant that customers only visit once a month or less often. He wants Casparus to become a ‘home’, a place one can pop in to, much like I did on Saturday evening. There are 13 starters to choose from, and Jane said that Bonthuys’ oyster starter served in a delicious sounding Cap Classique wine buttersauceis a signature dish, and is the most expensive starter at R80. A carrot soup, and an avocado soup with a prawn, cost R30 and R35, respectively, the least expensive starters. One can also order a Caprese salad or Salad Nicoise, hake souffle with shimejimushrooms, salmon tartare, and mushrooms in puff pastry. I wanted to have the grilled kingklip(R90) as a main course, but it was sold out by the time I arrived. I settled for a wonderful Norwegian salmon, served witha delicious light chive sauce witha taste of mushroom, as well as superb baby potatoes and asparagus (R100). The signature main course is beef fillet with bone marrow served in a red wine sauce, and has come to Casparus from Tokara, costing R140. Grilled springbok served with a lobster sauce is the most expensive dish, at R150, and all the other main courses cost less than R100. One can also order linguini with prawns, tagliolini with Thai chicken, baby calamari and oxtail in a saffron sauce, as well as rump or sirloin.
The dessert selection is smaller, but the prices are unbelievable, in ranging between R30 - R45. Most of them contain ice cream, Jane saying that Bonthuys is also known for his home-made ice creams. On her suggestion, I tried the Meringue Negresco, praline ice cream served on a meringue and topped with Advokaat, absolutely delicious and amazing value at R30. Other dessert options are Sabayon Surprise, a sorbet selection (raspberry and pineapple), frozen dark and white chocolate mousse with mandarin custard, a trio of ice cream (chocolate, praline and coffee), and fresh berries with mint ice cream. The cappuccino was foamy, and very strong.
The wine list details the vintage of the wines, and simply lists the brand names and prices per variety. There are wines at low, medium and higher price points. No wine-by-the-glass is indicated. Sparkling wines are Pierre Jourdan Brut (R165) and its Cuvée Belle Rose (R200), as well as Steenberg Chardonnay Brut (R175). Sauvignon Blancs range from R85 (Kaapzicht) to R110 (Alluvia Ilka, Neil Ellis Groenkloof and Tokara Reserve). The cost of the eleven Shiraz wines start at R80 (Tokara Zondernaam), and Waterford Kevin Arnold is the most expensive, at R240. AA Badenhorst Family Wines’ white blend is the most expensive wine on the list, at R435.
The newness of the waitrons showed, especially with the waiter serving me - I asked him if it was his first night working at the restaurant, as he had no idea of the ingredients of the desserts, yet he was willing to ask the kitchen everything. His sweet yet smart reply was that “this is one of my first nights”! Jane will need to up the training of the waiters, not only their product knowledge, but also that of the artworks and of the meaning of Van der Merwe’s interior design. What is exciting is that Casparus will be an exciting palette, likely to be continuously changing. One hopes Bonthuys has left all his quirks and tantrums behind at Tokara, and that his six-month wait to open the new restaurant will have helped him to find himself. No doubt Casparus will become a talking point, for its excellent and value for money food and wine, its creative and unusual interior decor, and its art gallery. Casparus is a new star on the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route, in the new Gourmet Capital of South Africa. I predict that Casparus will feature on the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant list in 2012.
POSTSCRIPT 28/3: I was in Stellenbosch today, and returned to a (closed) Casparus to photograph the building exterior. It struck me how humble and low key the brand name is on the windows - one would never guess what an exciting restaurant is deeper inside the restaurant building, not visible from the street when closed. I spoke to the Manager of Detail Interior Design shop across the road, asking her if she had seen it, and she had no idea that it was a restaurant.
POSTSCRIPT 30/3: Emile Joubert has sent this background to Etienne Bonthuys, and his restaurant history: “Just a bit of Bonthuys history: Rosenfontein opened in the late 1970s, not 1997. I was 16 yrs old when I bit into a piece of venison he cooked at Rosenfontein and had a “did the earth move for you?” moment. The late Anton Rupert used to fly business associates from Jhb to Cape Town to dine at Rosenfontein. After Rosenfontein he had headed up the restaurant at Buitenverwachting where Bonthuys had a major impact on Cape Town’s culinary pedigree during the 1980s. Floris Smit followed, and in the early 90’s he opened up a restaurant in Belgium, returning to Cape Town in 1995 as owner/chef of Bonthuys in the CBD where Jinja used to be. Tokara followed. And I can’t wait to visit Casparus as like Elvis, Bonthuys will to me always be The King.”
POSTSCRIPT 9/4: I had to go back! The Oysters in Cap Classique butter (R80) beckoned, and were amazing. I asked for a spoon to have every last bit of the sauce! It is one of Bonthuys’ signature dishes he brought along from Tokara. They were delicious with a glass of Pierre Jourdan Brut at R40. I had a second starter, to allow the indulgence in one of Bonthuys’ fabulous desserts. It was mushrooms in puff pastry with bacon, sundriedtomatoes and butternut cream (R55). The puff pastry was very tough, even hard to cut with a knife, but its content was delicious. The Trio of ice cream (to-die-for coffee, praline and chocolate, all made by Bonthuys) in a chocolate cup (R35) tasted even better with the glass of 2003 Cabriere Pinot Noir, which Achim von Arnimbrought to my table. I ate the ice cream with a teaspoon, to make the enjoyment of it last even longer! The waitress, Katrien, is the daughter of Johan Slee, the architect of Casparus and a good friend of Bonthuys and Van der Merwe. Her service was excellent, and she was knowledgeable about the menu. Whilst there have been complaints about slow service, I did not experience this, despite the restaurant being full. Jane Moses came to say hello, and told me that they had their best night last night, with 78 covers. Strijdom van der Merwe launched a new slide show today, focused on his ‘naturescapes’, and how they are made. I have found such amazing energy at Casparus. I chatted to the Von Arnims, as well as to Louis Nel, winemaker of Hidden Valley, Jonathan Snashall of hunter gatherer vinter blog, and Georgie Prout of Glen Carlou, adding to the enjoyment of the evening. The question on everyone’s lips was what would happen in winter, with so much of the restaurant being open-ended, so to speak. A fire was lit, and was quite smoky initially. The architect comes to pop in regularly, and the thinking is that he will address protection against the Cape winter weather when it comes!
POSTSCRIPT 16/4:I am Casparus-addicted, and told Etienne Bonthuys so tonight - I cannot stay away. My third visit tonight, after another concert at the Endler Hall, and it was so nice to be recognised by two waiters Pierre and Katrien, who served me last Saturday. It was exceptionally busy at 9.45 pm when I arrived, but the waiting time for my amazing thick and creamy Avocado soup with cucumber and prawn (R35) was not long. My bill for R120 for the soup, another lovely ice cream dessert, a glass of Kaapzicht red wine and cappuccino came to R120 - one cannot beat Casparus for value.
POSTSCRIPT 21/4:It was my first lunchtime visit today, and I missed the magic that the dark brings to the restaurant. The slideshow by Strijdom van der Merwe cannot be projected, as it is too light. Given the first bite of winter, some of the tables have been moved to the ‘voorkamer’, the room one enters. The kingklip, served with the Cap Classique sauce from the Oyster starter instead of the balsamic sauce, was exceptional, and amazing value at R85. I did not like the frozen mousse as much as I love the ice creams.
POSTSCRIPT 30/4: I noticed the hand of Strijdom van der Merwe in the design of the sand outside the restaurant. It was lovely to be welcomed back to my 5th visit by three waiters who have served me previously. I also met Martin, the winemaker of Kaapzicht, the housewine at Casparus, as well as the marketing manager of Nederburg, sitting at the neighbouring table, and to chat to Delaire Graff chef Christiaan Campbell. The salmon in the Linguine (R85), with prawns, was the softest and tastiest I have ever eaten. Happy 60th birthday chef Etienne Bonthuys for tomorrow.
POSTSCRIPT 13/5: A 6th visit to the restaurant followed a disappointing concert at the EndlerHall, and at 9 pm the restaurant was still full, so I was seated in the ‘lounge’ outside, withfires. I had a lovely light clear soup withshellfish (the mussels removed, and including salmon, scallops and prawns). Then I had sirloin steak with a delicious mushroom sauce. The steak was a little tough and fatty in sections. The bill arrived with a R90 charge for a bottle of wine, but I had not ordered any. The charge was quickly removed by Pierre when I pointed this out to him. An Irish coffee was well-made.
POSTSCRIPT 21/5: My seventh visit, and the most disappointing one - the kingklip I had before had noticeably shrunk in portion size, and the wine list had at least two wines advertised as 2007 vintages available only in 2009 - the waiter honestly told us that most of the wine vintages are out of date, unforgivable for a restaurant less than 2 months old. When I chatted to Chef Etienne about it afterwards, he just shrugged, and I had the sinking feeling that nothing will be done about it. The winelist is a collection of typed pages, and the vintage information can easily be rectified. Tried the Sabayon Surprise dessert for the first time - still love the home-made ice creams more.
POSTSCRIPT 17/6: Visit number 8! Nice to know that Jane and Etienne are reading this blog, and read my previous comment about the winelist. I was happy to see the winelist amended with the new vintages, on a return visit tonight. Also loved the staff saying yes, without hesitation, to my arrival at 22h30, for a cappuccino and Bonthuys’ wonderful ice cream.
POSTSCRIPT 4/2: I have lost count of the number of times that I have been to Casparus - it remains my favourite! The prices have increased slightly (by R5 a dessert, for example), and more main courses are over R100. New dishes have been added, including this delicious rump of lamb with lobster sauce!
POSTSCRIPT 15/6: A colourful addition to the menu is pork loin with citrus segments, prunes, and a mandarin sauce. Very poor service from the waitress unfortunately, bringing the credit card machine whilst we were still eating, unasked.
Casparus Restaurant, 59 Dorp Street, Stellenbosch. Tel (021) 882-8124. No website yet. firstname.lastname@example.org Tuesday - Saturday lunch and dinner.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter:@WhaleCottage
Sat 14 Aug 2010
We have been tracking recent restaurant opening, closure, and restaurant and chef change information in Cape Town and in the Winelands on our Winter Restaurant Specials blog post, but have decided to do an update for those not looking for specials necessarily.
* La Mouette has opened at 78 Regent Road in Sea Point.
* Brio is a new jazz restaurant, in half of the ex-Riboville in town (on the Adderley Street side)
* Van Hunks has opened at 1 Union Street, off Kloof Street in Gardens
* Cafe Nood has opened in Wilderness Road, Claremont
* Ryan’s Kitchen has opened at Rusthof guest house in Franschhoek - the chef Ryan Smith is ex-Mont Rochelle.
* The House of Meat has opened in the Pepper Club Hotel, corner Long and Bloem Streets, offering a full braai for R 295
* Spiros has opened in Hout Bay
* La Cantina has opened in the Alliance Francaise.
* The De Leuwen Jagt restaurant on the Seidelberg wine estate outside Paarl has opened The Fabulous Bakery.
* Gesellig has opened on the corner of Church and Regent Roads in Sea Point, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.
* Indochine has opened at the Delaire Graff wine estate in Stellenbosch.
* The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe has opened at Haskell Vineyards in Stellenbosch.
* The Wild Peacock Food Emporium has opened in Stellenbosch.
* De Oude Bank Bakkerij has opened in Stellenbosch.
* Knife Restaurant has opened in the Crystal Towers Hotel & Spa, a sister restaurant to Fork.
* Sommelier Restaurant has re-opened, after a two-year closure, at Sante Hotel & Wellness Centre
* Illyria coffee shop has opened in the Eikestad Mall in Stellenbosch
* Pierneef à la Motte has opened at La Motte in Franschhoek.
* The Artisan Cafe has opened inside Table Thirteen in Green Point, with a barista
* The Fish Shack has opened in The Paddocks, Milnerton
* Maison in Franschhoek is to open a restaurant
* Etienne Bonthuys (ex-Tokara) has opened his long-awaited restaurant on Dorp Street, Stellenbosch, called Casparus, in partnership with artist Strijdom van der Merwe.
* Luke Dale Roberts, award-winning chef whilst at La Colombe (reaching 12th place on Top 50 Restaurants in the World list), has opened The Test Kitchen at the Old Biscuit Mill in Woodstock.
* Sofia’s at Morgenster has opened.
* Down South has opened on Long Street
* Victoria Eatery has opened in Hermanus.
* French Toast has opened at 199 Bree Street, a wine and tapas bar
* DISH has opened at Inn on the Square, Greenmarket Square
* Babel has opened at Babylonstoren near Klapmuts/Simondium (next to Backsberg)
* Hemelhuijs has opened at 71 Waterkant Street, for breakfast and lunch
* Barracudas has opened with ’simply sumptious seafood’ served, in Fish Hoek.
* The Olive Shack at Allora in Franschhoek has opened as a deli, doing olive oil tastings, and serving Breakfast, Greek lunches and picnics
* Sotano by Caveau has opened in the La Splendida Hotel in Mouille Point
* Tables restaurant has opened at Nitida wine estate in Durbanville
* Mozarella Bar has opened on Kloof Street, Gardens
* Café Benedict has opened on the main road in Franschhoek.
* Trinity has opened as a ’super club’ in Bennett Street in Green Point
* Il Cappero Italian Restaurant has opened in Barrack Street
* Sugar Hut Club has opened in the old Castle Hotel building on Canterbury Street, next door to Charly’s Bakery
* Caffé Milano has opened on Kloof Street, Gardens
* The Stone Kitchen has opened at Dunstone Winery in Wellington
* The Franschhoek Food Emporium has open in Place Vendome, and is owned by legendary Topsi’s daughter Danielle
* What’s On Eatery has opened in Watson Street, between Loop and Bree Street
* Haas Coffee Collective has opened on Rose Street in Bo-Kaap
* Crush coffee shop and bakery has opened in Paarl, owned by Gerard van Staden, previously chef at le Franschhoek Hotel, and later overseer of all restaurants owned by Robert Maingard in Franschhoek.
* Dear Me Brasserie and Tjing Tjing Bar has opened on Longmarket Street.
* Quilter & The Workmen is to open in Bree Street in May
* Act Restaurant and Play Bar have opened at the Baxter Theatre
* Le Coq has opened in Franschhoek
* Dash has opened in the Queen Victoria Hotel in the Waterfront
* Café Dijon has opened another branch at Zorgvliet wine estate
* Harbour House is to open a branch in the V & A Waterfront in September, in the Fisherman’s Choice site, near Sevruga
* KOS Coffee & Cuisine has opened in The Regency on Regent Road in Sea Point
* Café Extrablatt opens where shu used to be, next door to Doppio Zero in Green Point, in August
* Skinny Legs & All That has opened on Loop Street
* Leopard’s Leap opens its new picnic facility, tasting room and cookery school in October
* Josephine’s Patisserie on Loop Street
* Ginja on New Church Street
* maze at the One&Only Cape Town
* Panarotti’s and Shimmi’s Bar in Hermanus
* Bouillabaisse in Franschhoek.
* Yum in Vredehoek.
* Cape Town Fish Market in Camps Bay
* Vista Mare in Camps Bay
* La Table de France in Sea Point
* La Brasserie in Franschhoek
* shu on Main Road in Green Point
* Camil’s on Main Road in Green Point
* Madame Zingara has left Cape Town
* Fiesta in the Old Cape Quarter
* Jardine’s Restaurant has closed on Bree Str
* Liquorice and Lime has closed down on St George’s Mall
* Cheyne has closed on Bree Street
* The Kitchen Bar in the Quarters’ Hotel in Hermanus has closed
* The Bistro in Franschhoek has closed down
* The Sandbar in Camps Bay has closed down
* The Blonde building is up for sale, and does not appear to be re-opening in August, as was announced by The Caviar Group, owners of Blonde, two months ago.
* The Green Dolphin Jazz Club in the V & A Waterfront has closed down
* Mezzaluna in Loop Street has closed down
* Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant judge Pete Goffe-Wood’s Wild Woods Restaurant has closed down.
* Restaurant Christophe closes down in Stellenbosch on 25 June. Chef Christophe Dehosse will be back at Joostenberg from August.
* Nando’s in Camps Bay has closed down
* Haute Cabriere under the chef-manship of Matthew Gordon closes on 7 June at the wine tasting venue with the same name in Franschhoek.
Restaurant name-changes/take-overs/chef changes/address changes
* Leaf Restaurant and Bar has opened where The Showroom/Portofino used to be.
* Mason’s Cafe and Grill has opened where Cafe Gainsbourg used to be
* On Broadway has moved to the New Space Theatre building, and is using the ex-Anytime restaurant space as one of the restaurants its patrons can eat at before the show.
* Camil Haas, the co-owner of Camil’s in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, has left the restaurant (which has since closed down). He is working for Reuben Riffel at Reuben’s in Franschhoek and at the One&Only Cape Town.
* Tank in the old Cape Quarter has changed its name to Aqua.
* Luke Dale-Roberts is no longer the Executive Chef at La Colombe, but will consult to the restaurant.
* Cafe Rouge in Franschhoek has been renamed Chez d’Or.
* Richard Carstens has left Chez d’Or in Franschhoek, and is the Executive Chef and Wilhelm Kuehn the owner of Tokara Restaurant in Stellenbosch
* Buena Vista Social Club has moved to the top end of Portswood Road in the Waterfront.
* Reuben’s at One&Only Cape Town has opened, where maze used to be.
* Cafe Le Chocolatier has taken over from Cafe Vendome in Place Vendome in Franschhoek.
* Dutch East has taken over from Burgundy in Franschhoek
* Cafe des Arts has taken over Topsi’s in Franschhoek.
* Amazink, ex-Roots, in Khayamandi in Stellenbosch, has opened, with Bertus Basson from Overture an advisor.
* Chef School owner Kevin Warwick has taken over Kate’s Village in Hermanus, now called The Class Room
* Da Luigi has opened where Vista Mare was in The Promenade in Camps Bay
* Satay Bar has opened where Zucca was in Kloof Street
* Le Quartier Francais has closed its bistro iCi, and opened The Common Room
* Franko’s Kitchen in Plettenberg Bay has reopened as a sushi restaurant called Kitchen Café
* Fu.shi in Plettenberg Bay has closed down, and has a new owner and a new name The Terrace
* The Old Post House in Plettenberg Bay has closed down, but is set to re-open for three months with a new owner
* Blakes has opened on Buitengracht/New Church Street, where Relish/Ninja used to be, belonging to Rochelle Bushelle, owner of the Opal Lounge, and offering a lounge, bar and dining services
* Franschhoek Kitchen is the new name of Genot restaurant on the renamed Holden Manz Wine Estate in Franschhoek (previously Klein Genot)
* Chef Eric Bulpitt has moved to The Roundhouse, due to the closure of Jardine’s
* Woodlands Eatery is the new name of ex-Yum in Vredehoek, with chef Larry, previously with Emily Moon in Plettenberg Bay
* ZAR nightclub has opened in the Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, where Camil’s used to be
* Marika’s Greek Restaurant from Bakoven has moved to a new venue, at 176 Buitenkant Street, above 7Eleven.
* The Rhubarb Room moves to 227 Bree Street
* David Higgs is leaving Rust en Vrede on 18 June and is moving to Johannesburg. John Shuttleworth will step into his chef’s shoes.
* Vanessa Quellec is to leave Caffe Milano in July
* Restaurant winter break closures
* The Mount Nelson’s Cape Colony has re-opened, with a new name, Planet Restaurant, and menu.
* Vaudeville has reopened.
* Massimo’s Pizza Club in Hout Bay will re-open on 20 April, in their original venue in Hout Bay.
* The Salmon Bar in Franschhoek has moved into a new main road outlet in The Yard (part ex-Bouillabaisse and Pam Golding) and has re-opened.
* Miguel’s in Plettenberg Bay has re-opened in the same location.
* Rust en Vrede will close from 18 June - 18 July
* Tokara will clsoe between 2 - 9 May
* The Test Kitchen will clsoe between 7 - 23 May
NOTE: This information will be updated regularly, as we receive new information.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com
Mon 26 Jul 2010
Stellenbosch has always been top of the pops as far as its wine selection and quality goes (i.e. wines winning awards), but has played poor cousin to Franschhoek for many years when it comes to its restaurant status, that is until recently, when the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list included more Top 10 restaurants in Stellenbosch (Rust en Vrede, Overture and Terroir) than in Franschhoek (The Tasting Room and The Restaurant at Grande Provence). Stellenbosch has always been the best marketed collective wine region, and was the first to introduce the Wine Route concept, which has been adopted by most wine-growing regions now.
My visit to Stellenbosch last week, to experience recently opened restaurants, confirmed my view that Stellenbosch by rights now should be called the Gourmet Capital of South Africa, not only due to the Eat Out Top 10 listings, but also in terms of the newer restaurants bubbling under. I believe that the tourism authority should be ahead of the game, and introduce a Restaurant Route for Stellenbosch, given the wealth of its creative and gourmet talent. It is easy to see that opening good quality restaurants on wine estates is a growing trend in Stellenbosch, and is good for business, as Werner Els told me at Haskell Vineyards, its Long Table restaurant leading to wine sales from restaurant patrons.
My recommendation for the Stellenbosch Restaurant Route is the following, based on own experience and recommendations. It is not comprehensive. I have added links to the restaurant listings that I have reviewed, and reviews of the newer restaurants will be published shortly.
* Rust en Vrede - probably the best restaurant in the town currently, a slick operation, run by modest but talented chef David Higgs, on the Rust en Vrede wine estate. Featured on the Eat Out Top 10 list 2009 and 2010, number 74 on 50 Best Restaurants in the World 2010 list, and Top vineyard restaurant of 2010 Great Wine Capitals in the World - read the review here. Tel (021) 881-3881 CHEF DAVID HIGGS LEFT THE RESTAURANT ON 25 JUNE, NOW WORKING AT RADISSON’S BLU GAUTRAIN HOTEL IN JOHANNESBURG.
* Overture - Chef Bertus Basson is a hard-working re-inventor of his menu and operation, always looking to improve his complete package. On the Eat Out Top 10 restaurant list for 2009 and 2010. Fantastic views from the location on the Hidden Valley wine estate - read the review here. Tel (021) 880-2721
* Terroir does nothing for me, I must admit, and therefore I do not understand that it is a perennial on the Eat Out Top 10 list (2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010 - the Terroir website does not list the awards after 2006, so some awards may have been left out!). I have been there a number of times, and have not been excited about its menu, restaurant interior, and service. The outside seating on the De Kleine Zalze wine and golf estate is great for a warm day. Tel (021) 880-8167
* Restaurant Christophe - Die Skuinshuis is the setting for this exceptional restaurant, Chef Christophe Dehosse being the hands-on owner and chef, who talks to his customers in his charming French accent, a rare treat in restaurants. The foie gras, served with toasted brioche, is to die for - read the review here. Tel. (021) 886-8763. THE RESTAURANT CLOSED DOWN ON 24 JUNE.
* Delaire at Delaire Graff - no money was spared in building and decorating this restaurant and winery building, and it houses a most impressive art collection. Chef Christian Campbell is doing outstanding work, and his crayfish lasagne is exceptional. Turnover of staff has reduced the quality of service - read our latest review Tel (021) 885-8160
* Indochine at Delaire Graff - this is the newest Stellenbosch restaurant, and is relatively less opulent in its interior design compared to its sister restaurant. Young chef Jonathan Heath is a star to watch, and his Asian fusion menu is sure to attract the attention of the Eat Out Top 10 judges. He explains the menu, and the dishes when he serves them personally. The two course special at R225 sounds expensive, but it does not reflect the amuse bouche, sorbet and sweet treats (with cappuccino) one receives at no extra charge. The Tikka Duck Marsala starter is excellent - read our review. Tel (021) 885-8160
* Restaurant at Majeka House -the restaurant is overshadowed by the Boutique Hotel in terms of its branding, and is not known to most foodlovers, a hidden gem in Paradyskloof, a suburb opposite the Stellenbosch Golf Course. Its young Chef Anri Diener trained at Tokara and Delaire, and is a rising star, presenting exciting French cuisine. The Millefeuille of chocolate mousse served with coffee meringue bars is to die for - Read the review. Tel (021) 880-1512
* Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine - a mouthful of a brand name but also a mouthful in value and excellent quality, a far cry from Jardine, which he co-owns in Cape Town, but rarely still cooks at. It is set at the end of a long road, on the Jordan wine estate, overlooks a big pond and the beautiful Stellenbosch mountains in the far distance, teeming with birdlife. Interior functional, as in Cape Town. Most beautiful and unique ”bread” plate ever seen. Read the review. Tel (021) 881-3612
* The Long Table Restaurant and Cafe - set at the end of a long road up a hill, above Rust en Vrede, on the Haskell Vineyards (marketers of Haskell and Dombeya wines), the food of Chef Corli Els is a wonderful surprise. The restaurant interior and waiter service do not match the excellence of her food or the quality of the Haskell wines. The Papaya and Avo salad stands out as one of the special treats I enjoyed last week. Read the Review. Tel (021) 881-3746
* The Big Easy - set on Dorp Street with some parking, and owned by Ernie Els and Johan Rupert, the restaurant is large, but divided into different rooms, allowing private functions. Average food, below average service generally. Sweet Service Award. tel (021) 887-3462
* Warwick wine estate - owner Mike Ratcliffe is a good marketer, and his gourmet picnics, designed by Chef Bruce Robertson, and prepared by their chef Bruce, are a great hit in summer. Winter warmer foods available too - read the picnic review here. Tel (021) 884-3144
* Nook Eatery - has been operating for a year, and has developed a reputation for good value, healthy (organic where possible) and wholesome food. Restaurant location in ‘League of Glory’ TV series, and next door to Restaurant Christophe. Good value buffet lunch, Wednesday pizza evenings, and sweet treats throughout the day. Hands-on owners Luke and passionate Chef Jess do not open the Eatery if they are not there themselves. Read the review here. tel (021) 887-7703
* Tokara DeliCATessen - has a buffet lunch too, very large restaurant space combined with a deli, but service poor and food quality average - read the review here. Tel (021) 808-5950
* Eight at Spier - the menu was designed by Judy Badenhorst, ex-River Cafe, and now running the Casa Labia Cafe in Muizenberg. Have not read much about it, and not experienced yet. Tel (021) 809-1188
* Melissa’s on Dorp Street - a perennial favourite, with a limited menu and standardised across all the branches. Fresh and wholesome foods, service not always great. Sour Service Award Tel (021) 887-0000
* Wild Peacock Food Emporium on Piet Retief Street (ex Okasie) - this is the newest eatery to open, belongs to Sue Baker and is managed by ex-Rust en Vrede front of house manager and daughter Sarah, selling deli items, a range of cold meats, imported French and local cheese, fresh breads, and has a sit-down menu as well. Review to follow. Tel 082 697 0870
* Mila, The Cake Shop- this must be the tiniest eatery interior in Stellenbosch, next door to The Big Easy, but it is crammed full of the most delectable cakes and pastries. Service not great when sitting outside. Review to follow. Tel 074 354 2142.
* Cupcake - serves a range of cupcakes, but not as wide a variety as one would expect. Good sandwiches and cappuccino, pretty square with water feature in which to sit. No review written. Tel (021) 886-6376
* Umami - set in the Black Horse Centre on Dorp Street, this restaurant had not wowed me, but serves satisfactory lunches and dinners. No review written, and I rarely hear anyone talk about it. Tel (021) 887-5204
* Wijnhuis - located on Andringa Street, in the vicinity of tourism outlets. Given its name, it should be very popular in this town, and given the connection to its namesake in Newlands, and its parental link to La Perla, it should offer a lot better food quality and service than it does. Not reviewed, and would not recommend. Tel (021) 887-5844
* Pane E Vino - this food and wine bar is hidden to those who do not come to Bosman’s Crossing. Owned by Elena Dalla Cia, husband George and father-in-law Giorgio do wine and grappa tastings in the restaurant too. Good Italian fare. Not reviewed yet. Tel (021) 883-8312
* Cafe Dijon - French-style bistro on Plein Street. One experience not satisfactory due to owner not being there. Rated by JP Rossouw of Rossouw’s Restaurants. Tel (021) 886-7023
* Bodega @Dornier - I have not been to this restaurant on the Dornier wine estate, and have not read any reviews yet. Tel (021) 880-0557
* Cuvee Restaurant, Simonsig - Interesting Cape Dutch modernist interior curation by Neil Stemmet. Excellent quality food, Simonsig wines, napery, cutlery, tableware, stemware, and service. Read the Review Tel (021) 888-4932
* De Oude Bank Bakkerij, Church Street - newly opened, opposite Vida e Caffe, this artisan bakery and cafe allows one to order from a list of cold meats, cheese and preserves what one wants to eat with the breads they sell. Read the review. Tel (021) 883- 2188
* Tokara - Etienne Bonthuys has left Tokara, and Richard Carstens is said to be stepping in his shoes, when his contract with Chez d’Or in Franschhoek finishes in September (he left in July already). Tokara denied that Carstens is taking over the restaurant lease. It has now (30/7) been confirmed that Jardine’s Wilhelm Kuehn is taking over Tokara, and that Richard Carstens will be the Executive Chef. Opened on 19/10. Read the review. Tel (021) 808-5959.
* Towerbosch Earth Kitchen on the Knorhoek wine estate. Lovely fairy-like setting, fantastic Boerekos feast served in bowls rather than dishing up per plate. Read the review. Tel (021) 865-2114.
* Stellenbosch Slow Food Market, Oude Libertas - previously the Bosman’s Crossing Market, it moved to Oude Libertas late last year. Good quality and often organic foods, not quite as top level and exciting as in its previous location, only open on Saturdays
* Casparus is the name of Etienne Bonthuys’ new restaurant on Dorp Street, an amazing marriage between the cuisine creativity of Bonthuys and the interior design creativity of partner Strijdom van der Merwe. There is no restaurant like this in South Africa! Read the review. Tel (021) 882-8124.
* Johan’s at Longridge is a refreshing new restaurant on Longridge Winery, with a focus on fresh vegetables from its large vegetable garden alongside the restaurant. Co-owner Chef Johan comes from a Michelin two-star restaurant in Holland, as does Chef Marissa. Attentive service led by Chris Olivier, excellent food, great wines. Read the review. Tel (021) 855-2004
* de Huguenot, on De Huguenot Estate in Johannesdal, Pniel, is a superb fine-dining restaurant which opens in July, headed up by Chef Tanja Kruger, a member of the South African Culinary Olympic team. Beautiful view onto Groot Drakenstein mountains. Read the review.
POSTSCRIPT 17/10: The Top 20 finalists for the Eat Out Top 10 Restaurant Awards were announced at the end of last month, and the list contains five Stellenbosch restaurants (compared to only two from Franschhoek): Rust en Vrede, Overture, Terroir, Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, and Restaurant Christophe. The Top 10 winners will be announced on 28 November.
POSTSCRIPT 29/11: Stellenbosch now wears the Gourmet Capital crown, with four Eat Out Top 10 restaurants: Overture, Rust & Vrede (now South Africa’s number one restaurant and top chef David Higgs), Terroir, and Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine.
POSTSCRIPT 15/4: It has been announced that David Higgs has resigned, and will leave Rust en Vrede mid-June.
Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com