Entries tagged with “Vista Bar”.


WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*  The confidence of consumers in their financial situation has reached the lowest level in 20 years, reveals the latest FNB/Bureau of Economic Consumer Confidence Index (of minus 15), reports the Cape Argus.   

*   South Africa’s Top 24 cocktail bars have been announced, and have been selected by Diageo WORLD CLASS to participate in a competition to select South Africa’s best bartender to represent our country at the Diageo Reserve WORLD CLASS Bartender of the Year 2014: Asoka, Bascule, Buena Vista, Café Caprice, Casa Del Sol, Dear Me (Tjing Tjing), HQ, Vista Bar at the One&Only Cape Town, Orphanage, Piano Bar, The Maslow Hotel, The Michelangelo, Signature Restaurant, OCD, Café Della Salute, Mark Anthony at Emperor’s Palace, Elevate,  the Elangeni & Maharani, Fairmont Hotel, Harvey’s Restaurant, Private, Havana Grill, Unity Bar, and the Oyster Box Hotel. (received by media release from Communication Services Africa)

*   The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art will open in the V&A Waterfront in 2016, in the new Silo building on the Clocktower side of the Waterfront.  It will be the largest gallery in the country, with 9500 m² of space.

*   Young American travelers are becoming less brand loyal, looking for (more…)

Wordsworth Cheese Book 2The Wordsworth launch lunch of Agri-Expo Dairy Manager Kobus Mulder’s book ‘Cheeses of South Africa’ at Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town yesterday was most enjoyable, with great company, good food and wine, a charming hotel ambassador, and entertaining author/speaker.

Gorry Bowes-Taylor has been organising book launch lunches for Wordsworth for years, and will be a comedian in a next life, not being the most diplomatic lunch hostess, but is loved for making her guests laugh, and for finding new venues at which to hold the book launches.   As I have written before, the lunches have a cult following by some of her regulars, who are not really interested in the subject of the book or the author, but who find value in the R225 three course launch lunch, excellent quality wines, the chance of making new friends at the table, the chance of winning a prize in the lucky draw, and for being entertained by Gorry and the author/speaker. She did not disappoint with her lunch organisation yesterday. Wordsworth sets up a table to sell the discounted launch book at such a function. (more…)

The country’s most glamorous brandy tasting festival ‘Fine Brandy Fusion‘ takes place at the Cape Town International Convention Centre tomorrow and on Friday, it being the first time that the event takes place in the Mother City.

The theme for the event is ‘Celebrate liquid gold’, and takes place a stone’s throw away from the Table Bay harbour, where the first brandy was distilled on a ship more than 300 years ago. Visitors can expect to participate in masterclass educational tastings, learn about barrel-making, drink trendy cocktails, enjoy burlesque dancers, and generally have a good time.  Top end brands such as Aston Martin and BMW Motorrad will also be on show.

Central to the Festival is the recently established Urban Brandy Cocktail Route, focused on the Cape Town city centre, and which includes Shimmy Beach Club, Knock Knock Club in De Waterkant, Hudson’s Burger Joint in Green Point, Societi Bistro, Mano a Mano in Park Street in Gardens, Tjing Tjing Bar, Vista Bar at the One&Only Cape Town, Jackal & Hide, Roxy’s Café on Dunkley Square, and the new Frères Bistro.  Each of the establishments serves a choice of eight cocktails made from premium South African brandies, including ‘The Skinny’, a low calorie option which is big on taste, the ‘Ama-lekkerlicious’, devised by master mixologist Kurt Schlechter, the ‘Collison’s Cosmo’, and the ‘Fynbos’.

Not only our country’s top brandies will be recognised in the Walk to Fame, honoring South African brandies’ world domination at the International Wine & Spirits Competitions, winning the Worldwide Best Brandy trophy every year over the past six years, but French cognacs will also be on show.

Fine Brandy Fusion:  9 and 10 May 2013, 17h30 – 21h30. Cape Town International Convention Centre. Entrance costs R175, and includes a tasting glass and coffee vouchers. No under 18-year olds allowed. www.brandyfusion.co.za Twitter: @BrandyFusion  Tickets at www.computicket.com

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

I had been to Nobu just after it opened two years ago, and was not very impressed by it, due to a service issue, but a return visit on Saturday evening, at the invitation of the One&Only Cape Town and its PR Consultant Ian Manley, was a delight, with a noticeable menu and service evolution in the past two years, with unique Japanese, Peruvian and even South African elements in it.  Nobu serves the largest sushi and sashimi selection in South Africa, I was told, and with the most unusual ingredients, such as abalone, scallop, lobster and langoustine.

Hostess Delphine welcomed us, and said that she had left after the opening training, but had returned again, and did the traditional Nobu greeting of Irashamase, which is echoed by all her staff, meaning ‘welcome to our house’.   We were well looked after by waitress Nonte and sommelier Keith, and especially by manager Sebastian, who was most knowledgeable and sought information from the chef when  he could not answer a question.  He has been at Nobu since its opening.  I asked Sebastian why he and the staff were not wearing a name badge, and he told me that all the staff are part of the team, and no individual stands out.

The restaurant, like Reuben’s, is downstairs, with a very high ceiling which contains lighting that looks like Japanese paper lamps.  We asked about the circles which run along the walls, but could not find an explanation for them, as they are unique to Nobu.  Sebastian found out that American Adam D. Tihany was the interior designer.   Tables have black lacquer tops, and chairs are dark stained.  In general, the lighting is low.

Owner Nobuyuki Matsuhisa worked in Peru after he trained in Japan, and then opened a restaurant in Alaska.  It burnt down two months after opening.  He then opened Matuhisa in Los Angeles, and in 1992 he opened Nobu in New York, with actor Robert de Niro as a major backer.  There are now 28 Nobus around the world.  Sebastian told me which dishes are the classic trademark ones, which one is likely to find at any Nobu (we can attest to that, as a group of Americans sat next to us, and they immediately discussed these as well, clearly knowing them from past experience at another Nobu):

*   Yellowtail sashimi and jalapeno (R115)

*   New style sashimi, lightly seared (R75 – R210)

*   Tiradito (sashimi and chilli) (R105 – R210)

*   Tuna sashimi salad (R110)

*   Black Cod Den Miso is the best known dish of all, the cod being marinated in the Den Miso sauce for 3 days (R395)

*   Prawn Tempura in rock shrimp style, fried in cotton seed oil, and served with ponzu, creamy spicy and jalapeno sauces (R125)

*   Omakase, the chef’s recommendation, in which the chef prepares a 7-course meal based on what the patron likes to eat, consisting of two cold appetisers, a salad, one hot fish dish, one hot beef dish, soup and sushi (served after the main courses in Japanese style), and a dessert, at R 550.

The menu had a cardboard cover, with replaceable pages inside, allowing for regular menu changes.  Blanched soya beans sprinkled with sea salt were brought to the table while we were discussing the menu, and they became more-ish as I got the hang of eating them out of the pod.  If I eat Asian foods in Cape Town, I have gone to Haiku  in the past, and therefore I tried more Haiku-like dishes to start, to serve as a comparison.  I started with abalone (R16) and lobster (R28) sushi, its presentation very different to my past experience of what I can now call more ‘commercialised’ sushi.  The lobster sushi was soft and almost jelly-like, and it was explained that it was because it had not been cooked.  I could not recognise it from  the lobster I know.  The abalone had some tough sections to it, and I know that abalone generally needs a good beating and cooking in a pressure cooker because it is so tough.  After posting the photograph of this dish, there was some criticism of the serving of abalone, but Sebastian assured me that the restaurant has a licence to obtain and serve it.  The avocado (R18 for two slices), asparagus (R25 for two), and shitake mushroom (R20 for two) tempura was delicious, with a very light crispy batter.  The highlight however was a new dish recently created by chef Hideki Maeda, which he has included in his 7-course Chef’s Special Omakase tasting menu (R850), being a 100g portion of Wagyu beef imported from Australia, served with foie gras, fig jam, fig tempura and a balsamic reduction (R395) - it was heavenly, a perfect main course size, given the preceding starters and the dessert to follow!   What made it even better was the beautiful slim and elegant Elia cutlery that I ate it with, having used chopsticks for the starters. 

For dessert I ordered Suntory whisky cappuccino, a delicious cappuccino look-alike served in a coffee cup, with four layers inside, and one is encouraged to scoop deep inside the cup to have a taste of all four the layers of coffee brûlée, cocoa crumble (adding a wonderful crunch), milk ice cream and the Suntory infused froth on top – an absolute treat.   I was surprised to see a selection of desserts, all costing around R60 – R75, that were largely ‘Westernised’, including a local malva pudding.  The winter menu special is a 5-course meal with one appetiser, the Rock shrimp tempura, Beef Toban Yaki, soup and sushi, and a dessert, at R299, and is a good way to try some of the classic international Nobu dishes.

The winelist has a brown leather cover, and contained a selection of cocktails and Sake (R150 - R590 for 150 ml), as well as of mainly local and some French wines.  It is not as extensive as that at Reuben’s by any means.   Sommelier Keith is Let’s Sell Lobster trained, and worked at The Round House after his training.  It showed in that the wines-by-the-glass we ordered were brought to the table poured and untasted by ourselves, Keith saying that this is how he had been taught.  He did oblige by pouring the subsequent wines at the table, and allowing us to taste them.  Wines served by the glass include Pommery Brut Royale (R175/R850), Billecart Salmon Brut Reserve (R200/R975), Billecart Brut Rosé (R295/R1550), Graham Beck Brut (R49/R240), Villiera Tradition Brut (R44/R210), and Graham Beck Brut Rosé (R98/475).  White wines range from R34 for 150 ml of Ken Forrester Sauvignon Blanc to R74 for Rustenberg Chardonnay.  Red wines start at R54 for 150 ml of Springfield Whole Berry Cabernet Sauvignon to R118 for Bouchard Finlayson Galpin Peak Pinot Noir 2009.  About five options are offered per variety, and the Shiraz selection started at R 280 for La Motte 2008, up to R560 for Luddite 2005.

Nobu has something and more for everyone that appreciates excellent Asian style cuisine, and Haiku won’t be seeing me in a great hurry again, as there is much more variety, friendlier service, and no star order minimum at Nobu.  The professional service by Sebastian was a large part of the enjoyment of our dinner at Nobu. 

Nobu, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront. Tel (021) 431-5888. www.oneandonlycapetown.com. (The hotel website contains a page for Nobu, with a menu and winelist, but the photographs are in a general Image Gallery, unmarked, and mixed with those of Reuben’s and the Vista Bar).  Monday – Sunday, dinner only.

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

I have been writing about Afternoon/High Teas, and have previously visited  the One&Only Cape Town for its Afternoon Tea.  It was a week-day visit, and at that time they served the High Tea on a cake stand on week days, and a buffet on weekends.   On reading our review, the hotel immediately altered the Afternoon Tea offering to a buffet one on all days of the week, and comparing it to the Mount Nelson Afternoon Tea, that which is served at the One&Only Cape Town now is by far the best of those that I have tried (Grande Provence, Bosman’s at Grande Roche, Mount Nelson Hotel, the Le Franschhoek Hotel, and the Cape Grace Hotel).

The opportunity to re-try the Afternoon Tea came from an invitation from the One&Only Cape Town via Ian Manley, the PR consultant to the hotel.  Our visit yesterday was the second to the hotel, having stayed over two years ago just after the hotel opened.  I have the highest regard for One&Only owner Sol Kerzner, and even travelled to Mauritius, to try out Le Touesrok (which had just been sold by Kerzner) and St Geran.  We were accommodated on The Island, and felt as if we were right back in Mauritius, surrounded by water and palm trees.  The 73 sq m room was massive, and my son and I each had a queen-size bed.  The bathroom was open-plan to the bedroom, and the shower room has two shower options.   There is no shortage of space.  Lauren was very efficient in welcoming us back, her clever computer ‘remembering’ our previous stay, and even Gerhard Erasmus, the Executive Assistant Manager, and the Food & Beverage Manager, welcomed us back, a very nice touch.   Lauren gave us a heated welcome cloth on arrival, and showed us all the facilities in the room, and told us that the internet service is free of charge, a commendable facility not offered by most hotels (Taj Cape Town charges R230 per 24 hour usage, for example!).  The room offers a pillow and scent menu, which one’s room butler will organise.  A massage by Rochelle at the Spa was a special treat.

The Afternoon Tea buffet is laid out in the Vista Bar and lounge, and looked beautiful in its layout, around a very large bouquet of proteas.   The savoury items are on one table, and include white and brown bread egg mayonnaise, cucumber and salmon sandwiches, as well as heated small green pea, vegetable, mushroom, and salmon quiches.   The sweet treat range consists of 22 items, some duplicated on the table, and all beautifully presented.  Hayley, Demi Chef de Partie, and her Sous Chef colleague Garth, brought new items to the table continuously, so that one never got the feeling that it had all been eaten, or that something would run out, as one does at the Mount Nelson Hotel.  

The sweet treat presentation was designed by pastry Chef Rene Simatos, and I loved her cleverness in displaying some items in glass jars, on top of related items.  So, for example, pistachio nougat was presented on pistachio nuts, chocolate biscuits were presented on coffee beans, canelles were on dried apricots, fruit scones were on a mix of dried apricots and cranberries, the Lindt chocolate chip cookies on almonds, koeksisters looked interesting on cinnamon sticks, almond biscotti on blue and silver nicolleta, and amaretti were displayed on cranberries.   Other sweet items are baked vanilla cheesecake, fruit bretonne, caramel and gold leaf éclairs, dark chocolate cupcakes, marble cake, banana loaf, macaroons in two flavours, tiramisu and buttermilk pannacotta in glass containers, for which a spoon was brought immediately, dark chocolate savarin, opera slices, peanut cookies, French style marshmallow knots, cherry-flavoured Pavlova meringues, and One&Only cookies, an absolute feast.  A group of 24 celebrated a kitchen tea with the Afternoon Tea.  Bagged tea and coffee is included for free in the Afternoon Tea, which costs R145.   The Food & Beverage Manager Nick Patmore said that at the end of the month the hotel will add a Lindt chocolate fondue, at a surcharge to the Afternoon Tea price.

If one wants to order special teas, there is a selection of 36 loose-leaf teas from Nigiro, the Origin coffee company, and these were brought to the table by Terence in a box detailing each of the teas, which come from China, Taiwan, Brazil, India, Kenya, Japan, Middle East, and Sri Lanka.  South African teas offered are Rooibos, African Sun, Blood Orange, Orange and Spices, and Strawberry and Vanilla, ranging in cost from R16 – R50.  The tea is brought to the table in a Bodum tea pot, and an hour glass is brought to the table, to measure a 3-minute infusion, allowing for the perfect brewing of the tea.

The service by Thabisa was excellent, checking on us continuously, removing used plates, bringing spoons and water when required, and having a lovely smile throughout. Hayley too was most helpful in explaining all the Afternoon Tea buffet items, as these are not labelled on the table nor listed in the Vista Bar menu. 

The Afternoon Tea at the One&Only Cape Town is excellent, professionally managed, outstanding quality, with good service, and one feels that it is presented with pride and care.  It is vastly improved on what I experienced two months ago, and certainly is the best on Cape Town, and is cheaper than that at the Mount Nelson Hotel.

POSTSCRIPT 11/5:  The Lindt Chocolate Fondue commences on 4 June, and will only be served on weekends. It costs R145 for two. 

Vista Bar, One&Only Cape Town, V&A Waterfront.  Tel (021) 431-5888. www.oneandonlycapetown.com  Monday – Sunday, 14h30 – 17h30.

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

The SA Blog Awards is a good idea, and can be a good measurement of success and performance in a field that bloggers were never trained for, by raising the standard of blogging in Southern Africa.   It is a shame that the 2010 SA Blog Awards were so poorly organised, and that it has been dogged by controversy.  At the Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meeting earlier this week, long-standing blogger Dax Villanueva of Relax-with-Dax Blog said that the controversy surrounding the SA Blog Awards had devalued blogging, instead of enhancing it!

Ever since the SA Blog Awards were announced on Twitter about 2 months ago, they have been criticised for their change in procedure compared to previous years.  When the shortlist of 10 finalists for each of the 24 blog categories was announced on 1 September, there was even more criticism and very bitchy commenting by those that did not make the top 10 list in their category, and by those who disparaged others by questioning why some bloggers had made the Top 10 list in specific categories.  When the top two winners per category were announced, and most Top 10 short-listed bloggers were excluded from the Awards Dinner at the One&Only Cape Town last night, the knives really came out, and the organisation of the SA Blog Awards was severely criticised.

Guest of Honour Western Cape Premier Helen Zille spoke at the Awards evening about how “bloggers are the new voice of society” and how blogs “link the local with the big picture”.  The premier, no slouch herself on the social media scene with around 115 000 Facebook friends and one of country’s first verified Twitter accounts, said that digital communications were a “force for entrenching democracy”.  “Everything breaks immediately and is commented on and analysed before it hits the press… it’s a problem for newspapers and I wouldn’t want to be a newspaper editor in this day. It’s made it more difficult to control what information is transmitted”, reports Memeburn, one of the award-winning blogs.

So what were the complaints?:

1.  The announcement of the call for nominations of the SA Blog Awards was on Twitter only.   If one was not on Twitter, or did not follow SA Blog Awards on Twitter, one would not have known about the Awards, or may have been delayed in participating, in seeing Tweets by others about the call for nominations.

2.  The rules of the Awards seemed to have been made up as they went along – the fact that voting was encouraged at Nomination stage already was not clear, and irritated Twitterers, in that they were bombarded with Nomination vote requests.  The process of nomination was also not clear, with a message popping up, telling one that one could not nominate a blog more than twice on the same e-mail address. 

3.  The organisers of the SA Blog Awards were not identified on the SA Blog Awards website, and via Tweets one could put together the information that 2009 Blog winner in the Business category (Dave Duarte) and Chris Rawlinson, winner in the Marketing category, had got together with JP Naude (an infrequent blogger, by his own admission on his site: “Yes I don’t blog much… I’m a businessman and radio presenter” – prior to this mini-blog post earlier this month, JP had last blogged in May! He is a presenter on Good Hope FM) as Chairman of the SA Blog Awards. I met JP at the Vista Bar after the Blog Awards presentation, and he told me that his company organised the SA Blog Awards.  I was shocked when I saw a comment on the shortlisted Bangers and Nash blog, written by SA Blog Awards committee member Chris Rawlinson a few months ago, congratulating Dan Nash on his blog, and stating that a good blog should carry the f-word at least once a day!   So much for the quality of the judges!  (I did get to meet Dan Nash at the Vista Bar, having had dinner at Reubens at the One&Only Cape Town, and he was very generous in handing out tequila).

4.  When the top 10 shortlist was announced per category, the list was on the SA Blog Awards website, and top 10 finalists were only notified by e-mail the following day.  At no stage was an e-mail with the rules ever sent to all nominees.   One had to find information on the website, and this seemed to be amended as the SA Blog Awards progressed.

5.  Previous participants were shocked as to who made the top 10 shortlist, especially those that had won in previous years.  In the Food & Wine Blog category, for example, eight out of ten 2009 finalists did not make it in 2010.  The Relax-with-Dax, Scrumptious, Spit or Swallow, Rossouw’s Restaurants and Neil Pendock’s blogs all fell out of this category, with only the My Easy Cooking and Cooksister Blogs making the 2010 shortlist again.   Relax-with-Dax and Spit or Swallow did make the Microblogging/Twitter shortlist, however, a surprise to them too.

6.   As the SA Blog Awards developed, more and more sponsors were announced for the categories, but not all categories were sponsored (e.g. our Whale Cottage Blog made the shortlist in the Most Controversial Blog category, which did not attract a sponsor!)   In 2009, the ‘old hands’ and finalists tell me, they all went home with prizes.  It appears that despite sponsors coming on board, the category prizes were a little perspex obelisk with the SA Blog Awards logo on it.  This gives little incentive to enter the Awards competition in 2011.   Sponsors’ monies appear to have been used to pay for the dinner, and to compensate JP Naude’s company for organising the Awards.

7.   The highlight for the 2009 finalists was the SA Blog Awards dinner, I have been told, even if the bloggers did not win.  It was a great networking platform, and an honour to have attended.  In pre-announcing the top 2 out of the top 10 of each category this year, the Awards dinner was reduced to about 50 finalists, and only those got to attend the dinner – in the last minute the rules were changed, in that the SA Blog Awards website announced that the dinner was ‘by invitation only’.  Initially the Awards dinner date was set for yesterday (over a long weekend!), leading one to assume that all top 10 finalists would be invited to attend it.

8.  The voting phase for each category spanned about two weeks, and one felt like an Idols’ finalist, begging for votes on one’s blog and on Twitter.   I think that the more the finalists begged, the fewer votes they received.  One was allowed to vote once a day per valid e-mail address one has.  So, for example, someone with 10 e-mail addresses could cast 10 votes daily!   The actual weighting of votes by ‘fans’ and the judges evaluation was only recently stated as being 30 % of the vote by the judges, and 70 % from the public.  The judges per category were also not all announced – on one specific day the judges of some of the 24 categories were named on Twitter, and some judges also proudly tweeted that they were judging blogs (e.g. Jo-Ann Strauss, Sam Wilson and her husband Andreas Späth).  We never got to hear the names of the judge(s) of the Most Controversial Blog category, for example.  Mention was also made that blog ranking statistics would be taken into consideration as well, being Afrigator specifically, a site that frequently goes down.  The question was raised as to the effect it would have on one’s standing if one was not registered on this ranking site.  Oddly, few of the top-ranked Afrigator blogs were in the finals.  It is clear that the larger the number of readers of one’s Blog, and the greater the Twitter following, the higher one’s votes would have been likely to be.   The top first and second winners per category were notified by e-mail that they had made it, and they were listed on the website too.  The remaining 8 finalists per category were not notified by the organisers, and were only told that if they did NOT receive an e-mail, they would know that they had not made it as number 1 or 2!   This was the rudest aspect of the SA Blog Awards organisation, in my opinion.  Many Blog finalists had put in a lot of effort to encourage voting, and thereby had publicised the Awards on behalf of the organisers, who had created little publicity for the event themselves!  No thanks was received for one’s participation.

Despite all of the above, we are proud that we made it to the Top 10 finalist stage in our category, and that we learnt from participation for the first time.  We trust that the organisers of the 2010 SA Blog Awards will accept this feedback and will improve the organisation and credibility of it, to ensure that they have quality participants in 2011!

The overall winner of the SA Blog Awards was a big surprise, being www.watkykjy.co.za, a provocative proudly-Afrikaans on-the-edge blog, that claims to receive 180000 ‘visits’ per month, and describes itself as “Die beste Afrikaanse blog en website in die heelal”!  In the past the Award has been won by www.2Oceansvibe.co.za every year that editor Seth Rotherham (Will Mellor) has entered the Awards.  Rotherham/Mellor did not even bother to attend, being in the Karoo over the weekend, and sent a message to the organisers that this was the last SA Blog Awards competition he had entered.   (Most non-Cape Town top 2 finalists per category did not attend, yet the writer of www.indieberries.blogspot.com travelled all the way from South Korea to pick up her two category wins).

The winners in the 24 categories, announced last night, are as follows (congratulations to them all):

Best Entertainment Blog:  www.2oceansvibe.co.za (ranks 3rd on Afrigator)

Best Media & Marketing Blog:  www.cherryflava.com

Best Post on a SA Blog: www.brainwavez.org/screen/film/features/2009/20091001001-01.html

Best Overseas Blog: www.pharside.co.uk

Best TV Radio Blog: www.ecr.co.za/kagiso/content/en/east-coast-radio/east-coast-radio-blogs-breakfast

Best Politics Blog: www.wonkie.com (ranks 10th on Afrigator)

Best Photographic Blog: www.guywithcamera.co.za (Andrew Brauteseth)

Best New Blog: www.simply-delicious.co.za

Best Food & Wine Blog: www.simply-delicious.co.za

Best Science and Technology Blog: www.shesthegeek.co.za

Best Music Blog: www.dontparty.co.za

Best Fashion Blog: www.kimgray.co.za

Best Design Blog: www.indieberries.blogspot.com

Best Podcast/Video Blog: www.zanews.co.za

Best Business Blog:  www.memeburn.com

Best Group Blog: www.rlabs.org

Best Sport Blog: www.paddlesweep.net

Best Green Blog:  www.sprig.co.za

Best Indigenous Language Blog: www.watkykjy.co.za (7th on Afrigator) 

Most Controversial Blog: www.2oceansvibe.co.za

Best Travel Blog: www.getaway.co.za/page/blog

Best Personal Blog: www.indieberries.blogspot.com

Best Parenting Blog: www.reluctantmom.wordpress.com

Best Twitter Blog: www.twitter.com/mandyjwatson

Best Company Blog: www.rlabs.org

The SA Blog Awards website states that “integrity and credibility of the SA Blog Awards is our highest priority”.  It also states that the organisers would look for a ‘balance between the public voting system and the judge’s choice of winners’, to allow a free and fair selection of winners.  Many participants of this year’s Awards will agree that this was not the case!  

POSTSCRIPT 27/9:  The response to this blogpost has been phenomenal, with more than 850 readers in the first 21 hours of publishing it, and an incredible number of Twitter Retweets, many containing compliments, throughout the day yesterday.  Twitter is normally very quiet on a Sunday, especially over a long weekend.   The link to this post was sent to the organising committee of JP Naude, Chris Rawlinson and Dave Duarte, with no response to date. 

If one googles ‘SA Blog Awards’, one can read many blogposts written in the past two months, criticising various aspects of the SA Blog Awards.

The list of judges per category, with many typing errors, was recently added to the SA Blog Awards website, it would appear.  It is funny to see Randall Abrams listed as a judge for the Most Controversial Blog category – did I not write above that we felt like Idol’s finalists??!!  The other judge for the category was listed as ‘Ivor Vector’, but this name does not exist on a Google search.  However, Ivo Vegtor says he was invited to be a judge, but decided not to.  Randall Abrams has no blog, nor has Graham Howe, one of two judges in the Food & Wine Blog.  As far as judging goes, read the Comments section to this blogpost about what happened to Chris, the writer of iMod, the top ranked blog on Afrigator.  The list of judges for all the categories:  http://www.sablogawards.com/Judge3.aspx

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

The 2010 Eat Out magazine lists five pages of “10 of the best….” restaurants, many of these not being on the top 10 restaurant list.

The best restaurant sommelier list includes The Atlantic Grill, Azure, Catharina’s, Delaire Graff (interesting that the restaurant is included, only being 6 months old), Hartford House, Jardine, Ritrovo, Roots, Rust en Vrede and Signal.

The 10 best cheese platters are to be found, amongst others, at Caveau, Cotage Fromage, Hartford House, Mosaic, The Saxony and Zacharay’s.

The 10 best bathroom list includes Catharina’s, Grand Provence, maze, and Roots.  Missing from this list, it is believed, is the bathrooms of Delaire Graff, the cleanest and best smelling cloakrooms ever experienced.

Best value for money restaurants include Bellini’s, Sinn’s, Societi Bistro, and Pronto.

Some of the best bread boards are to be found at Cape Atlantic at the Table Bay Hotel, The Food Barn, Ile de Pain, Jardine, Manna, maze, Reuben’s, and The Saxon.

The top desserts are the Grand Marnier souffle at The Green House, the ginger and pistachio cake at La Petite Ferme, the chocolate mousse at Overture, and the strawberry vacherin at Terroir.

The best service comes from Rust en Vrede, Auberge Michel, Aubergine, Grande Provence, Cape Colony, Fyndraai, Mosaic, and Roots, amongst others.

The best tea and cake are served at the Mount Nelson, Cape Grace, Myatt, The Cellars Hohenhort, The Saxon, The Westcliff, The Twelve Apostles and the Vista Bar.

The restaurants with the best view include Buitenverwachting, Delaire Graff, Dieu Donne, Harbour House, La Vierge, Overture, Salt, and Tokara.

The best coffees are served at Doppio Zero, Miss K, and Ritrovo.   The best winelists and cellars include the following restaurants: Buitenverwachting, The Greenhouse, Linger Longer, maze, Mosaic, Ritrovo, Roots, Sands at The Plettenberg, and Zachary’s.

The “restaurants that buzz” include Caveau, Olympia Cafe’ and Pronto.  

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