Entries tagged with “Winchester Mansions”.


WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The Earth’s magnetic pole is slowly shifting, from North to South, and vice versa, and may mean that the Northern Lights will no loner be seen in the Northern Hemisphere, and that mammals such as whales which navigate via the magnetic poles may change their migration pattern.

*   Western Cape Tourism Minister Alan Winde dived with gentle cow-sharks off Simonstown yesterday, to showcase a little known experience, and to create awareness for the province’s ‘Water Connects us’ theme for Tourism Month. The Minister said that the province’s water-themed experiences enhanced its position as one of the country’s most popular destinations, more than 1 million tourists having visited the Western Cape last year.  Provincial marketing agency Wesgro will showcase a variety of the province’s unique and family fun water-based experiences, including its 20 (out of a total (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…)

Four & 20 Cafe via The Pretty BlogNo significant events have been planned to attract visitors to Cape Town and the Winelands this winter, and it appears to be the worst winter ever experienced by the hospitality industry in the Cape.  A surprise is the number of restaurant changes, as well as the the movement of staff  between restaurants.   Given the poor winter business, many restaurants have taken/are taking generous winter breaks. This list of restaurant openings and closings is updated continuously, as we receive new information:

Restaurant Openings

*    Four & Twenty Café and Pantry has opened in Wynberg

*   The Crypt Jazz Restaurant has opened below St George’s Cathedral.

*   Orphanage Cocktail Emporium is opening Orphanage Club upstairs, with 1920’s style music by live performers, later this year.

*   Cavalli restaurant on the stud farm on the R44 must be opening shortly, as Carl Habel has left the Mount Nelson Hotel as Restaurant Manager and Sommelier to join the restaurant.

*   Shake your Honey is to open in the original Madame Zingara building on Loop Street next year, after renovations commence later this year, according to an iolTravel report.  The ‘vibrant spirit of India’ is to be reflected in the 5-storey building, with a theatre, markets, restaurants, and shops.

*   Burger King has opened its (second) Tygervalley branch. Branches at Cavendish and at Grandwest are to open soon. (more…)

The Sweet Service Award goes to Yacoob Yachts for their excellent service in allowing our family group to charter Tigresse, a superb catamaran, to scatter the ashes of our late father last Sunday.  We were allowed sole use of the yacht for an hour, and they motored to a spot opposite the Winchester Mansions in Sea Point, which was our first home (an apartment block then) when we arrived in Cape Town from Germany.  From here we could honour our father, to perfect weather, and accompanied by dolphins for a part of the trip. The yacht which we had originally booked had mechanical problems, so the charter company offered us the much larger and more luxury Tigresse at no extra charge.

The Sour Service Award goes to the Robben Island Museum (for the third time), for having two of its three ferries out of operation yet again, the Dias having stopped operation as long ago as January, while the Sikhululekile has not operated for six weeks, the Cape Times reported last week!  The company is using local boat suppliers, dependent on ticket sales. Robben Island is regularly in the news for the breakdown of its vessels, for its staff problems, and for its mismanagement of this World Heritage site!

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at whalecot@iafrica.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Winchester Mansions General Manager and Cape Town Tourism Director Nils Heckscher has told Southern African Tourism Update that ’2011 was the worst year for many in the industry‘, and that tourism performance is a long way away from the good performance levels last seen five years ago.

Given Mr Heckscher’s roles as FEDHASA Cape Chairman until 2010, and as a Director of Cape Town Tourism currently, as well as his position in running a 4-star hotel in Sea Point, he should have been able to make a difference to the fortunes of the tourism industry in encouraging the management of Cape Town Tourism in particular to come up with more creative marketing campaigns to address the downward slide in tourist performance in the Cape.  Sadly, this has not been seen to date.

The tourism newsletter’s survey about the state of the tourism nation reflected that 57% of tourism players said that they are experiencing a ‘quiet winter’, 29% said it was ‘average’, and only 14% said they were ‘busy’, leading the writer of the article to conclude that ‘recovery is still a long way off‘.

Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk’s regular positive spin on tourism numbers is regularly questioned by the tourism industry, in not reflecting its day-to-day experience.  Heckscher calls for better interrogation of tourism statistics, and cautions against putting all one’s eggs into the Europe basket, recommending diversification into the African continent. Seeing an increase in bookings relative to 2011, not difficult due to it having been a tough tourism year, he is uncertain whether the trend will continue: “Nobody knows and the landscape has changed for the long term. Nothing is like it was and forecasting has become increasingly difficult.”

Large tour operator Tourvest has seen an improvement in tourism from ‘Germanic Europe’, but describes tourism from the UK, the Netherlands, and the southern Mediterranean countries as continuing to be ‘under pressure’.  The poor summer in Europe and the UK makes the company optimistic about the prospect of better bookings for the summer lying ahead.

Cape Town and its environs have suffered a very wet winter, which has not encouraged Gautengers to come to Cape Town with forecasts of snow and wild storms, nor have Capetonians left their warm homes to stay in towns and villages outside of Cape Town, many cancelling their bookings because of the weather.  The usual Italian tourism influx is barely visible, with few Italians travelling in their holiday month this year.

With no visible marketing of the Western Cape by Wesgro since it took over Cape Town Routes Unlimited, questionable marketing by Cape Town Tourism of Cape Town, high airline ticket prices, and no end to the Eurozone crisis and the recession in the UK, the prospects for the tourism summer ahead look bleak. The tourism industry will be largely reliant on local tourists coming to Cape Town, yet there is little sign of domestic marketing by both Cape Town Tourism and Wesgro.

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

We are delighted that many restaurants in Cape Town and the Winelands have seen the benefit of offering specials, and have done so since last winter, many running through summer too.   The winter specials for Cape Town and Winelands restaurants follow below, and will be updated continuously:

*   Pure at Hout Bay Manor: 3-course dinner for R195, includes 2 glasses of Groote Post wine, 10 May – end June. Closed July.  Tel (021) 790-0116.

*   Pepenero in Mouille Point : sirloin and chips R79, seafood platter R 129, 1 kg prawn platter R99, oysters R9 each, sushi platter R109.  Half price sushi all day.  From 9 May. Tel (021) 439-9027

*   Sinn’s Restaurant at Wembley Square:  lunch (6 options) at R50.  3-course dinner with glass of wine R150.  Sunday Buffet – 2 courses plus coffee R120, 3 courses plus coffee R150.  Winter. Tel (021) 465-0967

*   Theo’s on Beach Road, Mouille Point: oysters R6 each, 1 kg prawns R99, line fish R79, for lunch and dinner.  300 gram sirloin steak, spatchcock chicken peri peri, 500 gram spare ribs all R79 for lunch only.  Full sushi platter R99, half platter R50. Winter. Tel (021) 439-3494.

*   Sevruga in the V&A Waterfront: half price sushi Monday – Saturday 12 - 6 pm; 25 % off sushi Sunday 12 – 2pm, 50 % off Sunday 2 – 6 pm, 3-course menu R160, daily, lunch and dinner; 2-course lunch R120. 3-course lunch and dinner R160. End September. Tel (021) 421-5134

*   Myoga at Vineyard Hotel, Newlands: 7 course dinner, with 5 choices per course, for R195, Mondays – Saturdays, throughout winter. Tel (021) 657-4545

*   Beluga, The Foundry, Green Point: 1 kg Prawns R99; 50 % off sushi and cocktails all day Sunday, and from 12h00 – 19h00 weekdays. 2-course lunch R120; 3-course lunch and dinner R160.  End September. Tel (021) 418-2948.

*   221 Waterfront:  3-course meal at R135 on Wednesdays.  Dine & Cruise package: 1,5 hour cruise, 2 glasses sparkling wine, 3-course meal R370; Lunch & Cruise package: 1 hour cruise and meal R210.  Winter. Tel (021) 418-3633

*  The Lookout Deck, Hout Bay:  Seafood Platter with line fish, mussels, calamari and prawns R65. Until 31 August. Tel (021) 790-0900

*   La Mouette, Regent Road, Sea Point (photograph above): Tasting Menu (items change monthly) 6 courses R240 for 2 persons, Tuesday – Sunday dinner, Friday and Saturday lunch.  Winter. Tel (021) 433-0856

*   Bertha’s in Simonstown: 1 kg Queen prawns cost R99 each, Calamari, mussel, chips, BBQ chicken and wing platter R99, 600g ribs plus 500ml Windhoek draught R99. Winter. Tel (021) 786-2138

*   Aubergine:  2-course lunch R184,  3-course lunch R235.  2-course dinner R200, 3-course dinner R275.   Wednesdays – Fridays except public holidays. Winter.  Tel (021) 465-4909

*   Ferryman’s Tavern, V&A Waterfront: Combo-specials R100 (linefish + calamari), R85 (sirloin + calamari), R99 (pork rib + chicken wings), Mussel hotpot R75.  Winter. Sunday Hot Pot Buffet Eat as much as you like R120, Sundays, until end August.  Tel (021) 419-7748

*   Hildebrand: 2 courses R99, 3 courses R130 if eat before 19h00;  Winter. Tel (021) 425-3385

*   Leaf Restaurant and Bar: 50 % off sushi all day, Dimsum 30 % off, Burgers R50 – R65.  Winter. Tel (021) 418-4500

*   Blowfish in Blouberg: Breakfast specials: egg and bacon sandwich R19, Three Cheese and Mushroom omelette R25, Smoked salmon and scrambled eggs R25; Lunch specials of Surf ‘n Turf, Rack of Ribs, Thai Chicken Curry, and Mussel and Chorizo Chowder at R49 Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 17h00; Dinner specials: seafood platter, slow roasted lamb shank, oxtail stew, and seafood curry R99, Monday – Saturday 17h00 onwards. Winter. Tel (021) 556-5464

*   Vanilla, Cape Quarter:  1/2 price sushi 12h00 – 18h00,  half-price cocktails 4 – 6 pm. Winter. Tel (021) 421-1391

*   Knife restaurant, Century City:  Bagel R35; Salad R45; Rib, meatball, chicken wing and chip platter R60, all specials include a beer/glass of wine/colddrink and coffee.  Lunch special, 12h00 – 15h00, Mondays – Fridays. Winter. Tel (021) 551-5000

*   Saul’s Sushi @ Vegas, Sea Point: 30 piece sushi platter R99 – Wednesdays and Thursdays; two for the price of one – Sundays.  Winter. Tel 087 151 4595

*    Bhandaris Indian Restaurant: Buffet R99 Wednesday dinner and Sunday lunch and dinner. 30 % off for pensioners on Tuesdays. Lowest value meal for free if buy bottle of wine or two drinks for a pre-booked table of up to 10, on Monday evenings; Lamb R79, Chicken R69, Fish R85 – Tuesday – Sundays.  Winter. Tel (021) 702-2975/Tel (021) 782-1525.

*    Zorba’s, Lagoon Beach Hotel, Lagoon Beach Drive, Milnerton: Seafood and meat platter for two plus two glasses of Hartenberg wine R199  19 August – 19 September. Tel (021) 528-2093

*   Trees Restaurant, Townhouse Hotel, Cape Town:  Casserole or steak with starch of day and glass of wine R105.  Winter. Tel (021) 465-7050

*   Down South Food Bar, 267 Long Street: Rib & Prawn Platter including a side and sauces R75.  Winter. Tel (021) 422-1155.

*   Il Cappero, Barrack Street: Daily lunch main course special at R40.  Three month Winter Special Card, costs R 140 for 11 starters, 11 main courses and 11 desserts, at 50 % off the menu price.   Monday – Friday. May – July. Tel 461-3168

*   Cape Town Fish Market:  ”All you can eat Breakfast Buffet” R 60, Saturdays, Sundays, and public holidays; Seafood lunch buffet R125, Sundays and public holidays.  Winter. Tel (021) 418-5977

*   Trinity, Bennett Street:  “All you can eat” Dim Sum R135. Two-for-price-of-one burgers Wednesdays. Pizza R50 until 7 pm daily.   Seafood platter R100  on Thursday.  “All you can eat” ribs Mondays R99.  Two for the price of one sushi and Dim Sum Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 20h00.  Pizza R50 Monday – Saturday 12h00 – 19h00. Winter. Tel (021) 418-0624

*   French Toast, Bree Street: Bruschetta tapas free  Monday – Saturdays, 5 – 7 pm.  All wines costing R 400 or less half price on Mondays.  2-course lunch consisting of soup and choice of two tapas plus glass of wine or cup of coffee R89, Monday – Friday 12h00 – 16h00.  Winter. Tel (021) 422-3839.

*   Cru Café Restaurant & Wine Bar, Cape Quarter: Scrambled egg and salmon breakfast for 2 plus bottomless cup of coffee R 78, Weekdays; 2 gourmet burgers with onion rings, French fries and Stella Artois beer R120 weekday lunch; Comfort food (Bobotie or Bredie) for two for R119, including 2 glasses of wine, Wednesday and Thursday evenings. T-bone steak (350g) for two at R150, Friday and Saturday evenings. Until September. Tel (021) 418-6334

*   Krugmann’s Grill, V&A Waterfront: 250 g rump or sirloin R45, 19 – 21 August; 250g rump and starch R59, daily.  Winter. Tel (021) 418-9393

*   The Square, Vineyard Hotel, Newlands:  ‘Tastes of 2011′ focuses on different theme every month, from April – September.  British menu change weekly,  2 courses R140 or 3 courses R170.  Dinner only, Monday – Sunday.  Tel ()21) 657-4500

*   Dunes, Hout Bay : Sunday buffet with smoked salmon, oysters and cooked breakfast R100. Current. Tel (021) 790-1876

*   Arnold’s on Kloof, 60 Kloof Street, Gardens: Jack Black stew (type of stew changes throughout winter) for two plus bottle of Altydgedacht R99.  Tel (021) 424-4344. Throughout winter.

*   Five Flies, One free main course for every main course ordered.  Until end August. Tel (021) 424-4442

*   Balducci’s, V&A Waterfront: Alfresco Lunch specials – soup and salad R89, fish R89, calamari R89, seafood platter for two R245, Steak Roll and chips R85, Steak and chips R99, Burgers R55 – R75, Glass of wine R27, bottle R99.  daily 12h00 – 16h00. Tel (021) 421-6002

*   Harbour House, Kalk Bay: 2-courses R140, 3-courses R160. Excludes Sundays.  September. Tel (021)  788-4133

*   Live Bait, Kalk Bay: Seafood platter R65. Sunday – Thursday evenings, and Monday – Friday lunch. September. Tel (021) 788-5755

*  Polana, Kalk Bay: Mozambique-style prawns, Algarve salad and chips. R50, Sunday – Thursday dinner and Saturday lunch. September. Tel (021) 788-7162

*   Massimo’s Pizza Club, Hout Bay: “Order any 2 adult take away (pizza, pasta salad)” to a minimum value of R100, and get an &Union beer, Darling Brew beer or a 500ml bottle of Bob’s Your Uncle wine for free, all day Wednesdays and Thursdays, Fridays until 17h00.  Lunch offer – Free glass of house wine or beer when ordering main course, Wednesday – Friday, 12h00 – 16h00. Until August Tel (021) 790-5648.

*   Codfather, Camps Bay:  half-price sushi 12h00 – 18h00, daily.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-0782

*   Caffe Milano, Kloof Street: Lunch specials - Rump on a baguette R70; Pizza with pomodoro sauce, mozzarella and basil, R 70.  Winter. Tuesday – Sunday. Tel (021)426-5566.

*   Black Marlin, Simonstown:  2-course meal R115, 3-course R140 includes glass of wine.  Until July. Tel (021) 786-1621

*   Savoy Cabbage:  2-course R175, 3-course R195 includes glass of wine .  Until end August. Tel (021) 424-2626.

*   Bayside Café: for every main course, get another lesser-priced main course.  Lunch Monday – Friday,  Sunday – Thursday.  Until October. Tel (021) 438-2650.

*   Mamma Mia Restaurant,  Steenberg:   2-courses R150, 3-courses R175.  Until August. Tel (021)  701-8585

*   Café Chameleon,  Plattekloof: lunch pizza minus 10%, until August. Tel (021) 911-1025.

*   Cape Town Fish Market, ”All you can eat Breakfast Buffet” R60, Saturdays, Sundays and public holidays; Seafood buffet lunch R125, Sundays and public holidays. Winter. Tel (021) 554-5962.

*   Tobago Restaurant, Radisson Blu, Granger Bay: two main courses for price of one, Monday – Saturdays.  Until 30 September.  Tel (021) 441-3414

*   La Bruixa, Sea Point:  Seafood paella for two for R260, includes a salad.  Lunch 12h00 – 15h00.  Until June.  Tel (021) 434-8797

*   Sinatra’s, Pepper Club Hotel, Loop Street:  Glass of bubbly and 6 oysters for R 60.  Fridays from 16h00.  Until December.  Tel (021) 812-8826

*   Chai yo, Canal Walk: Buy two main meals and get lesser priced one free.  Winter. Monday – Sunday.   Tel (021) 555-0620.

*   La Boheme, Sea Point:   2-courses R95, 3-courses R115.  Throughout 2011. Tel (021) 434-8797.

*   Food Barn, Noordhoek:  3-courses with 2 glasses of Steenberg wine R165,  4-courses with 3 glasses of Steenberg wine R185,  5-courses with 4 glasses of Steenberg wine R215.  Lunch daily.  Wednesday – Saturday dinner, May – October. Tel (021) 789-1390

*   What’s On Eatery, Watson Str:  2 course dinner at R 99, includes a glass of wine. Breakfast weekdays R25.  Lunch R39, menu changes daily, on weekdays, R5 extra for glass of wine or milkshake, every 7th lunch is free with What’s On Loyalty Card. 11 May – October. Tel (021) 422-5652

*   Nobu, One&Only Cape Town, Cape Town:  5-course R299, May – August. Tel (021) 431-4511.

*   The Kove, Camps Bay: 2-courses R 120, 3-courses R150.  Rump steak R79, Fillet R99, Grilled Norwegian Salmon R99, Peri Peri baby chicken R90, Line fish R90, Seafood platter R165, Gourmet Burger R60.    Winter. Tel (021) 438-0004

*   The Greenhouse, Cellars-Hohenhort Hotel, Constantia: 6-course meal with wines from Klein Constantia R295. Tuesday – Friday.  Until September. Tel (021) 794-2137

* Dear Me,  Longmarket Street: 25 % off standard price of 3-course (R240) or 5-course (R350) dinner.  Thursdays.  From 19 May until July.  Tel (021) 422-4920

*   Zenzero, Camps Bay: 2-courses R150, 3-courses R180.  Parmesam lamb R99, Veal Saltimbocca R89, Beef & Reef R 120, Gnocchi Ragu R69, Pancetta and pea risotto R79, Canneloni R69, and Kingklip R99.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-0007

*   The Round House, Camps Bay: 7-course lunch and dinner R240, or R460 paired with wine.   Winter. Tel (021) 438-4347

*   Planet Restaurant,  Mount Nelson Hotel:  4-course Vegan Journey menu R300, 4-course The Journey menu R220, 6-course The Journey menu R300.  Winter. Tel (021) 483-1000.

*   Brio 1893: 3-course dinner R165.  Monday – Thursday.  Closing down 12 August. Tel (021) 422-0654

*   GOLD Restaurant: Winter special R200 + 10 % service fee.  June – September. Tel (021) 421-4653

*   Salt Restaurant, Ambassador Hotel:  2 courses R120 amd 3 courses R140.  Receive a voucher for a free bottle of Hartenberg wine for the next visit if order two 3-course meals.  Until 31 August. Tel (021) 439-7258

*   Tuscany Beach, Camps Bay: 50 % off partner’s main course, Dinner, daily; 25 % off Sushi, 12h00 – 18h00, daily.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-1213.

1800 Degrees, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel: Hot and cold Tapas and jazz, with a bottle of Diemersfontein wine per couple R195 per person, Sundays, 12h00 – 15h00. 100 gram sirloin, 100 gram rump and 100 gram rib eye steaks R99 plus one sauce and jacket potato.  Winter. Tel (021) 430-0511.

*   St Elmo’s: 2 large regular pizzas R99,90,  2 medium regular pizzas R69,90 Take-away, Daily.  2 Large pizzas R79,90 on Tuesdays;  1 Large pizza plus 400g rack of ribs and chips for R109,90, Take Away, daily; Small pizza plus 330ml Coke R24,90, Monday – Friday lunch. Winter. www.stelmos.co.za

*   Café Delicieux, Welgemoed: 2-course dinner R125, 3-courses R155.  Friday evenings.  Winter. Tel (021) 913-1053

*   Café Manhattan, 74 Waterkant Street and 247 Main Road, Three Anchor Bay: Burger and a glass of wine R45.  Winter. Tel (021) 421-6666/Tel (021) 439-9666.

*   Pigalle, Green Point: 3 course dinner and show R330 – R350, 8 June, 21 July, 10 August, 14 September.  Tel (021) 421-4848

*   Pepper Club on the Beach, Camps Bay: Seafood platter R149,95; Sirloin plus 3 prawns R 98,95; Prawn platter R98,95.  Until 31 December. Tel (021) 438-3174

*   Mint, Taj Hotel: 3 courses plus a glass of Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc or Merlot R185, Monday – Sundays, Until 30 September. Tel (021) 819-2000

*   News Café, Green Point: English Breakfast R19, 7h00 – 9h00 Monday – Friday, 7h30 – 9h00 Saturday and Sunday, until 1 February 2012

*   Long Street Café: Butter Chicken Curry and rice, R55, until 10 June, Monday – Sunday.  tel (021) 424-2464

*   Savour Restaurant, 15 on Orange: 3-course meal R180, Monday – Sunday, Until 31 August. Tel (021) 469-8037

*   La Colombe, Constantia: Lunch – 3-courses R240, 3-courses plus wine R280, Monday – Saturday, until 30 November.  Dinner – 5-courses R310, 5-courses plus wine R390, Monday – Saturday, until September. Closed 30 May – 20 June.

*   Catharina’s, Steenberg Hotel: 2-course lunch R165, 3-course lunch R195, 3-course dinner R215.  Until 1 September.  Tel (021) 713-2222

*   The Grand Café and Beach Granger Bay: 2-courses R 125, 3-courses R150, Tuesday – Sunday. Winter. Tel (021) 425-0551

*   Constantia Uitsig: 2-course lunch and dinner R190, 3-course lunch R220, 3-course dinner R250, Monday – Saturday. Until 30 September.  Closed 4 – 26 July.

*   Blues, Camps Bay: 2-courses R120, 3-courses R150, includes a glass of wine and cup of coffee. Monday – Sunday.  Until 1 September.

*   River Café, Constantia: 3-courses and carafe of wine R180, lunch, Monday – Saturday.  Until 30 September. Tel (021) 794-3010.  Closed 10 – 30 August.

*   La Cuccina, Hout Bay: Homemade meal for two plus bottle of wine R100. Monday – Saturday. Until 30 December.

Mugged on Roeland: All you can eat Pizza R80, Friday evenings. Until 30 December. Tel 084 5894 665

*   Chapman’s Peak Hotel, Hout Bay: Free bottle of Elements wine plus 2 Amarula Crème Brulee with two meat main courses ordered; 1 kg prawns R99; Soup R35; Malay Lamb Curry R89; Mussel Mexicana R69; Winter Platter R99.  Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner. Until 30 September. Tel (021) 790-1036

*   Rick’s Café Américain, Park Road: Tapas or Mezze Platter plus 1/2 litre house wine R105; 1/2 litre Paulaner, Erdinger and Valentins beer R 30, 5 – 7 pm; Lunch specials from R39; and more specials on drinks. Winter.  Tel (021) 424-1100

*   Barocca, Camps Bay Club: 2 for the price of one burgers Tuesday evenings; Pasta and a glass of wine R50 Thursday evenings.  From 5 pm.  Winter. Tel (021) 438-1992

*   Seaforth Restaurant, Simonstown: Deep fried prawns R90 Tuesdays; hake and chips R38 Wednesdays; Eat as much calamari as you like R49 Thursdays; Steak and calamari R78 Fridays; Eat as much as you like pork spare ribs R88 Saturdays. From 6 pm. June. Tel (021) 786-4810

*   Pizzeria Villagio, Howard Centre, Pinelands: Free glass of Teddy Hall wine with home-made pasta on Tuesdays.  Winter. Tel (021) 531-4473.

*   delish, Hout Bay: Cooked breakfast R35; Soup and ciabatta R30, Monday – Friday lunch; Tagines, ragouts and curries plus glass of wine or beer R75, from 12h00, daily.  Winter. Tel (021) 790-5324

*   Café Sofia, Sea Point, Kloof Street, Camps Bay and Green Point: Buy 2 main courses and get one free, from 17h00, daily.  Winter.

*   Saul’s Taverna, Sea Point: 2-course meal and cocktails for two R140.  Winter. Tel 087 151 4592

*   Adega, Sea Point: Lamb shank R69, Feijoada R89, 1kg King Prawns R95. Winter. Tel (021) 434-3029

*   La Grotto, Plumstead: 300g rump steak R89. Winter. Tel (021) 797-8420.

*   Wangthai, V&A Waterfront, Constantia, Lagoon Beach, Somerset West:  Free glass of Durbanville Hills wine with Curry Festival meal.  Winter. Tel (021) 421-8702/(021) 794-0022/(021) 551-9254/(021) 855-0112.

*   Addis in Cape Ethiopian Restaurant, 41 Church Street: 2-course set menu R130.  Tel (021) 424-5722. Winter

*   Ocean Basket, Western Cape: Oysters R8 each, until 15 July.

*   Azure Restaurant, Twelve Apostles Hotel, Camps Bay: 4-courses R370, 5-courses R495, wine flight prices R50 – R135, until October. Tel (021) 437-9000

*   Diva Pizza, Buitenkant Street: 2 large margherita pizzas with choice of two toppings R85 on Tuesday and Saturday evenings.  Until 31 August. Tel (021) 461-0013

*   Harveys, Winchester Mansions, Sea Point: 2-course lunch R130, 3-course lunch R160; 2-course dinner R150, 3-course dinner R 180.  Monday – Sunday. Winter. Tel (021) 434-2351.

*   Savour, 15 on Orange Hotel: Sunday Lunch Buffet plus ’never-ending supply of Methodé Cap Classique’ R265.  Winter. Tel (021) 469-8000

*   Karibu, V&A Waterfront: 220g rump, Malay chicken, calamari, and bobotie R49.  Monday – Sunday lunch, Sunday – Wednesday dinner.  Until 31 August. Tel (021) 421-7005.

*   Hussar Grill, Green Point and Camps Bay: 2-courses R99, no corkage.  Winter. Tel (021) 433-2081/(021) 438-0151

*   Tokyo Restaurant & Sushi Bar: Buy one get one free daily; Sushi Buffet Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday evenings R110.  Winter. Tel (021) 424-5108.

WINELANDS

Franschhoek

*   Allee Bleue, outside Franschhoek: choice of three 250g steaks at R115, including a glass of estate wine, current. 3-course lunch R 100, and R150 with wines paired.  Chicken and Prawn Potjie with Roti and glass of Allee Bleue Isabeau or Shiraz R85.  Lunch, Wednesday – Sunday. Until end September. Chicnic picnics daily (weather depending), R145 per person. Summer Tel (021) 874-1021

*   Ryan’s Kitchen at Rusthof, Franschhoek: 3-course dinner R195; 6 course Taste of Africa dinner R295.  Winter. Closed 27 June – 14 July.  Tel (021) 876-4598.

*   Reuben’s, Franschhoek: 2-course lunch and dinner R 220, 3-courses R268, 4-courses R315.  Current. Tel (021) 876-3772

*   Allora in Franschhoek: 3-course Sunday lunch R100.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-4375.

*   L’ermitage, Franschhoek: 1-course R93, 2-courses R125, 3-courses R175, and glass of wine with each option. Lunch. Winter. Tel (021) 876-9200

*   French Connection, Franschhoek: 2-courses R95, 3-courses R125.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-4056

*   Grande Provence Jonkershuis, Franschhoek: 4-course lunch and dinner, minimum 8 guests, R200.  Monday – Saturday dinner, Monday – Sunday lunch.  Closed 18 – 31 July.  Until 30 September. Tel (021) 876-8600

*   Mon Plaisir @Chamonix, Franschhoek: 2-courses R 170, 3-courses R199.  Winter. Tuesday – Sunday lunch, Wednesday – Saturday dinner.  Tel (021) 876-2393.

*   Monneaux Restaurant, Franschhoek Country House: Cape Malay Curry R95, Wednesday evenings; Firecracker Menu - 2 courses R145, 3 courses R175, all nights.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-3386

*   Salmon Bar, Franschhoek: 3-course dinner plus glass of Porcupine Ridge R150, Fridays and Saturdays.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-4591.

*   Mange Tout, Mont Rochelle Hotel, Franschhoek:  2-courses plus glass of wine R150, 3-courses plus glass of wine R190, Winter Brunch Buffet plus glass of bubbly R150.  Winter. Tel (021) 876-3000.

*   Fyndraai, Solms Delta, Franschoek.  2-course Sunday Lunch Buffet R125. Tel (021) 874-3937.

Paarl

*   Laborie Restaurant in Paarl: 5 food portions each paired with wine R395.  Winter. Tel (021) 807-3095

*   Freedom Hill: 10 % off discount with Loyalty Card.  Closed July and August.  Winter. Tel (021) 867-0963

*   Bosman’s, Grande Roche, Paarl: 2-courses R120, 3-courses R155.  Monday – Sunday lunch.  Until April (except 20 December – 10 January). Tel (021) 863-5100.

Stellenbosch

*   Olivello, Klapmuts, outside Stellenbosch: 2-course meal R115, 3-course meal R135 plus glass of wine.  Winter. Tel (021) 875-5443

*   96 Winery Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course lunch and dinner from a la carte menu (with a few surcharges), with glass of Ken Forrester Chenin Blanc or Petit Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot, R180, Winter; 4-course Chocolate dinner in conjunction with Lindt Chocolate Studio.  R300. 15 June. Tel (021) 842-2020

*   Warwick, Stellenbosch:  Tapas menu range R15 – R45 per dish. Winter. Tel (021) 884-4410

*   Dornier Bodega, Stellenbosch: Meat-free Mondays, Comfort Tuesdays, Pasta Wednesdays, Soup Thursdays, Fish Fridays, all R79, lunch, May – September, Tel (021) 880-0557

*   Towerbosch Restaurant, Knorhoek Wine Estate, Stellenbosch:  Soup & Bredie Menu with soup and bredie R90, Wednesdays – Saturdays; Asado Argentian-style braai on Sundays R165.  May – August. Tel (021) 865-2958

*   Tokara Restaurant, Stellenbosch: Chef’s Menu - 3 courses and amuse bouche and palate cleanser R225.  From 10 May, during winter. Tel (021) 885-2550

*   Jordan Restaurant with George Jardine, Stellenbosch: 1-course meal with glass of wine R95; 4-course meal with 2 glasses of wine R 225. Tuesday – Saturday lunch, Thursday and Friday dinners.  From 10 May in winter.  Tel (021) 881-3612

*   Terroir, Kleine Zalze estate:  2-courses R170, 3-courses R195.  Includes glass of Kleine Zalze wine.   May – September. Monday – Saturday lunch and dinner,  Sunday lunch.  Closed 1 – 11 July. Tel (021) 880-8167

*   Restaurant Christophe, Stellenbosch:  4-course dinner R150 Tuesday – Saturday.  Inexpensive Bistro lunches Tuesday – Friday.  Closed down 24 June. Tel (021) 886-8763

*   Overture, Stellenbosch: 2-course meal R 160.   Winter, but closed in July.  Tel (021) 880-2721

*   Wild Peacock Food Emporium, 32 Piet Retief Str, Stellenbosch: 3-course dinner and glass of wine R140.  Wednesday evenings. Winter. Tel (021) 887-7585

*   Delaire Graff, Helshoogte Pass, Stellenbosch : 3-course Organic Tasting Menu with 2 glasses of wine R295, Monday – Friday lunch, Wednesday – Friday dinner.  Winter. Tel (021) 886-8160

*   Johan’s at Longridge, Stellenbosch: 2-course lunch plus glass of wine R150.  Friday – Tuesday lunch (closed Wednesdays and Thursdays).  Winter. Tel (021) 855-2004.

*   Delheim, Knorhoek Road, Stellenbosch: 3-course Mushroom Week mushroom menu R120 for 3 courses and 3 glasses of Delheim wine.  Until 10 July.  Tel (021) 888-4607

Somerset West

*   Waterkloof, Somerset West: Receive a R100 voucher off for a meal in June, for meals in May.  Tel (021) 858-1491

Hermanus

*   Season in Hermanus: Sunday lunch roast from R65; Afval plus soup and glass of wine R65 on Wednesday for lunch or dinner; Lowest priced of two steaks ordered on Friday evenings is free.  August. Tel (028) 316-2854

*   The Class Room, Hermanus: 3-course Sunday lunch R130.  Winter. Tel (028) 316-3582

*   Rossi’s Italian Restaurant, Hermanus: Half price pizza and pasta Mondays;  free bottle of house wine for table of 2 or more on Wednesdays; Children under 4 eat free on Thursdays. Winter.  Tel (028) 312-2848

*   Mediterrea, Hermanus: 50 % off all main courses, Sunday – Thursdays.  Until 31 August. Tel (028) 313-1685

*   Joe’s Restaurant, Stanford: Abalone Buffet (abalone fritters, sausage, scotch eggs, burgers, curry, samoosas, and lasagne) R95, daily lunch. Winter. Tel (028) 3410 662

Plettenberg Bay

*   Nguni - Friday dinner special R50.  Every Friday.  Winter. Tel (044) 533-6710

POSTSCRIPT 5/5: TV presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen has praised her Restaurant Special meal at Blowfish as follows: “Thank you for your HotWinter specials on your site, tried out the lunch special at BlowFish, it was good value for money xoxo”

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

Copyright: Whale Cottage Portfolio

One of the exciting things about winter is that a number of restaurants are offering excellent value Gourmet evenings, with top wine makers presenting their wines, paired with special dishes prepared by the chefs of the restaurants.  It is a shame that some of the dates clash.

The Pavilion at The Marine Hotel, Hermanus

6 May:   Bouchard Finlayson Winery

3 June:   Paul Cluver Wines

1 July:   Klein Constantia Wine Estate

5 August:   Creation Wines

2 September:   Hamilton Russell Vineyards & Southern Right

The 5-course dinners, paired with wines, cost R 320 per person.  Tel (028) 313-1000

The Grand Café Camps Bay

11 May:   Peter Falke Wines

15 June:   Stellekaya

13 July:   Haute Cabriere

The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300.  Tel (021) 438-4253 NOTE THAT THE RESTAURANT IS CLOSED UNTIL END JULY, CONTRADICTING THE NOTICE ABOUT THE PAIRINGS THEY SENT

The Grand on the Beach

18 May:   Antonij Rupert Wines

22 June:   Ernst Gouws & Co

20 July:   Peter Falke

The 3-course food and wine pairing dinner costs R300.  Tel (021) 425-0551

Bosman’s, Grande Roche Hotel, Paarl

27 May:   AA Badenhorst Family Wines with winemaker Adi Badenhorst

10 June:   The House of Krone with winemaker Matthew Krone

22 July:   Glen Carlou with winemaker Arco Laarman

26 August:   Backsberg with winemaker Guillaume Nell

3 September:   Nederburg Auction Pre-dinner with cellarmaster Razvan Macici

28 October:   Raats Family Wines with winemaker Bruwer Raats

The 5-course meal with wine, coffee, canapés and petit fours costs R690.  Tel (021) 863-5100

The Garden Room, Mount Nelson Hotel

29 April:   Vergelegen with winemaker Andre van Rensburg

27 May:   Bouchard Finlayson with winemaker and owner Peter Finlayson

24 June:   Neil Ellis Wines with owner Neil Ellis

29 July:   Groote Post with winemaker Lukas Wentzel

26 August:   Rust en Vrede with winemaker Coenie Snyman

30 September:   Deetlefs with winemaker Willie Stofberg

28 October:   Boschendal with winemaker Lizelle Gerber

15 November:   Moreson with winemaker Clayton Reabow

9 December:   Boekenhoutskloof with winemaker Marc Kent.

The 7-course dinner costs R 395 per person with matching wines.  Tel (021) 483-1000

Chenin Wine Bar and Restaurant

26 May:   Ernie Els Wines

Cost is R 100. Tel (021) 425-2200

Buitenverwachting

28 April: Buitenverwachting winemaker Brad Paton

Cost of the 5-course meal is R460.  Tel (021) 794-3522

Nobu at One&Only Cape Town

29 April:   Stark-Condé Wines

Cost of the 7-course meal is R R480.   Tel (021) 431-5111

What’s On, Watson Street

7 May:   Fleur du Cap winemaker Christoff de Wet

Cost of the 6-course dinner and wines is R300 per person or R500 per couple.  Tel (021) 422-5652

Marika’s, Gardens

9 May:   Mischa and Eventide

6 June:   Barton Wines winemaker JP Geyer

4 July:   Nabygelegen with winemaker James McKenzie

Cost of 5-course dinner and wines is R 200.  Tel (021) 465-2727

1800°C Grill Room, Cape Royale Luxury Hotel

7 May:   Hartenberg Estate

2 June:  Morgenhof

7 July:   Warwick wine estate

4 August: La Motte Wine Estate

Cost of 4-course dinner with welcome drink and wines R335.  Tel (021) 430-0506

Casa Nostra, Sea Point

28 May:   Fairview

2 July:   Klein Constantia

Cost of 4-course meal R230.  Tel (021) 433-0187

Bergkelder, Stellenbosch

30 June:   Fleur du Cap Unfiltered

Cost of 5-course meal, Wine and Flavoured Salt tasting by Craig Cormack of Sofia’s is R400.  Tel (021) 809-8025

French Toast

22 June: L’Avenir Vineyards

6 July:   Constantia Glen

3 August :  Diemersdal

7 September:   Creation Wines

5 October:   Rustenberg Wines

Cost of 3-course Tapas and wine pairing R 220 per person.  Tel (021) 422-3839.

24 August: Overgaauw vintage port pairing (with David van Velden) with food, R80.  Tel (021) 422-3839

Café BonBon, Franschhoek

8 June:  Jacoline Haasbroek from My Wyn

22 June:   Haut Espoir

4-course dinner and wine pairing R195 per person.  Tel (021) 876-3936

La Mouette, Sea Point

8 June:  Arco Laarman from Glen Carlou

4-course French theme dinner R240 per person. Tel (021) 433-0856

Swiss & Austrian Social Club, Sea Point

11 June:   Waverley Hills Organic Wines

5-course dinner paired with five wines R250.  Tel (021) 434-8405

Fork

19 July:   Joubert-Tradauw

9-course emal paired with wines R225.  Tel (021) 424-6334

15 on Orange

21 July:  Warwick wines

6-course meal paired with wines R295.  Tel (021) 469-8000

Knife Restaurant

27 July: Glenwood Wines

4-course meal paired with wines R220.  Tel (021) 551-5000

Warwick Wine Estate

22 and 29 July: 4-course dinner paired with Warwick wines, celebrating Stellenbosch Wine Festival.  R390. Tel (021) 884-4410

The Class Room, Hermanus

12 August: Rust en Vrede

3-course dinner paired with wines R195.  Tel (028) 316-3582

Harvey’s at Winchester Mansions

3 August: Avontuur Wine Estate

5-course dinner paired with 7 Avontuur wines R345. Tel (021) 434-2351

5 October: Luddite

5-course dinner paired with 6 Luddite wines at R345 per person Tel (021) 434-2351

Sinn’s, Wembley Square

25 August: Durbanville Hills with winemaker Wilhelm Coetzee

4-course dinner paired with 4 wines R225.  Tel (021) 465-0967

Pure Restaurant, Hout Bay Manor

24 September:   Groote Post wine estate

5-course dinner paired with wines R 260.  Tel (021) 791-9393

96 Winery Road

28 September:   Van Ryn’s

4-course dinner paired with Van Ryn’s brandy R320.  Tel (021) 842-2020

Cassia Restaurant, Nitida wine estate, Durbanville

30 September:  Nitida wines

4-course dinner paired with Nitida wines R 300.  Tel (021) 976-0640

Bayside Café, Camps Bay

30 September: Beyerskloof Wines

5-course dinner paired with Beyerskloof Wines R 175 per person.  Tel (021) 438-2650

Clos Malverne, Stellenbosch

28 October: Clos Malverne wines

5-course dinner paired with Clos Malverne wines R 445.  Tel (021) 865-2022

La Residence, Franschhoek

18 November: Waterford Wines with winemaker Francois Haasbroek

6-course Dinner paired with Waterford wines R 800.  Tel (021) 876-4100

The Vineyard Hotel

Friday 13 May

Schalk Burger & Sons

Friday 27 May

Warwick & Vilafonté

Friday 10 June

West Coast Wines with Tierhoek

Friday 24 June

Stellakaya with Ntsiki Biyela

Friday 1 July

La Motte

Friday 15 July

Solms Delta Wine Estate

Friday 5 August

Dombeya Wines with Rianie Strydom

Friday 19 August

Catherine Marshall Wines

Friday 2 September

Meerlust Wine Estate

Friday 16 September

Favourites from Wine Concepts

Friday 7 October

Hermanuspietersfontein

Friday 21 October

Wines from the Swartland (Kloovenburg, Babylon’s Peak)

Friday 28 October

Constantia Valley Wines

The dinner costs R 250 per person.  Tel (021) 657-4500.

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

For a mid-season break, I chose to spend a weekend at Grand Dédale Country House, on the Doolhof wine estate on the Bovlei Road in Wellington, about ten days ago.  I could not have chosen a more relaxing and grander place than this 5-star hotel and its excellent restaurant, which is on the Wellington Wine Route. 

Doolhof is part of a farm that was awarded to the first owner in 1709, and means ‘labyrinth’ in Afrikaans.  It probably was given this name because it was at the end of a cul de sac.  The current owners Dorothy and Dennis Kerrison bought the farm from the neighbouring Retief family.   The homestead was renovated by Mrs Kerrison, who is an interior designer in the United Kingdom, and her initial R7 million budget had doubled at the end of the project.   Money does not appear to be an object in the tasteful design of the very spacious rooms, and almost every detail has been thought of.   Angelo and Tina Casu rent the 6-bedroom homestead and cottage from the owners, having signed an eight year lease, and have called their establishment Grand Dédale, which means ‘large labyrinth’ in French.  The Casus have managed Grand Dédale for the past 17 months, and previously were with the Winchester Mansions in Sea Point and Palmiet Valley in Paarl. 

The house is an old Cape Dutch house, with new additions cleverly married into the Cape Dutch origin of the house.  Some aspects, notably the staircase to the upstairs loft rooms, are extremely modern. The high gloss marble tiles in the public rooms on the ground level have been criticised by some as not being suitable for a Cape Dutch house, but I felt that they looked perfectly clean and chic.  The star attraction for me was the 15 meter salt water pool.  Parking is away from the homestead, at the winery, a benefit in not seeing any cars, but a disadvantage in not being able to keep an eye on one’s vehicle.   The bedroom I stayed in had three sections, a very spacious bedroom, although a slanting ceiling does create space limitations too, with a more than king size bed, and excellent quality linen.   A second section has a basin, the safe and the hanging space.  The bathroom is in the third section, has a bath with shower over it, and a collection of Charlotte Rhys products.  The high gloss tiles are a bit scary to walk on with wet feet, but a very generously sized bathmat is made available.  Airconditioning is a great advantage to cool things down in the renowned Wellington heat.   There are more than enough towels provided, hung on two heated towel rails.  Towels are refreshed continuously.   A fruit platter is in the room, and there is a turn-down treat every night (tasted like fudge).  An iPod player is next to the bed, and one can request iPods to listen to.  

From the terrace and pool area one looks onto the side of Groenberg, and below is the most lucious looking field, on which cows graze.  Angelo laughed when he told me that they are the eco-friendly “lawnmowers” at Doolhof.  A paddock with ex-racehorses is adjacent to the field.

The Room Directory is one of the most comprehensive and best presented that I have seen, bound in a neat brown leather cover, and detailing information about the wine estate (380 ha, Kromme River runs through it, located between Groenberg, Limietberg and Sneeukop), suggestions for day trips, a description of the public areas in the house, the location of the TV lounge in the upstairs loft (there is no TV in the bedrooms, strange for 5-star), and the location of the Spa Room (which I had read about, but was not proactively informed about), the Breakfast serving time, that light lunch and snacks are available, that a complimentary high tea is served in the afternoons (a combination of cake, fresh fruit and a savoury item), and the invitation to enjoy canapes and a glass of Pierre Jourdan sparkling wine before dinner with the other guests (quite colonial in its nature, but a good way to meet the other guests, as one is separated when dining).  Three bar fridges stock beverages in various sections of the guest house, and are complimentary to guests.  The bar fridges are a great idea, as mini bar fridges in rooms are noisy.  The Doolhof winetasting is complimentary to the guests of Grand Dédale.

Breakfast is served on the terrace, and is a generous buffet of different cereals (I loved the Chef’s mix of crunchy and healthy muesli ingredients), fresh fruit as well as a fruit salad (one morning I was intrigued to see a bowl with an unknown white fruit, which was made by the Chef from the inside peel of a watermelon) and different yoghurt flavours.   Cold breakfast treats are offered, and on one of the mornings it was salmon and créme fraîche served on rosti.  Cold meats and cheeses are available, as are home-made jams and breads.  A treat was that John organised frothy cappucinos for me each morning, and kept the ice water supply coming.  A beautiful vase with a rose and a bougainvillea was on each table.   At breakfast one is shown the dinner menu for that day, and one can say if one does not eat a particular ingredient.   I saw the menu changed for one dinner due to my couscous feedback, which reflects great flexibility.  There are no choices on the menu, and therefore the kitchen checks proactively on its guests’ tastes.

Dinner is served on the terrace, with the most wonderful view onto the greenery below.  John and Angelo are in attendance.   Canapés are served with the glass of bubbly.   Heila Basson is the Chef, and Angelo calls her a ‘boeremeisie’.   She previously worked at Grootbos and at Seasons at Diemersfontein.  She has been at the Taj, to train in their kitchen, and will soon join Luke Dale-Roberts at The Test Kitchen for a short session, before he comes to Grand Dédale to cater for a wedding with Chef Heila on the wine estate.  The table is beautifully set, with a silver underplate, professional folding of the serviette, and three sets of Italian Pinti cutlery, to prevent any stretching across clients.   The butterdish and salt and pepper containers are all in silver, making the woven bread basket out of place. However, its content was wonderful, being bread rolls with different toppings.  I love poppy seed rolls, and was amazed to find these in Wellington, of all places!   An amuse bouche is served, prior to the three course meal.  On the first night it was a spicy bobotie, served with mango chutney.  The bobotie was unusual, made from diced rather than minced meat, and with an unusual taste, colourfully presented.   The starter was a beef sirloin carpaccio served with feta crumble and a sesame dressing, adding a sweet taste.    The main course was Norwegian salmon served with sweet and sour balsamic beetroot, mash, a vodka créme fraîche sauce, and roasted pumpkin seeds, creating a good colour contrast on the plate.  I found the pumpkin seeds too hard relative to the soft textures of all the other ingredients.  Dessert was a nougat terrine with berries, moreish, and chewy in texture.  On the second day the amuse bouche was a courgette and brie cappuccino, served in a little coffee cup, an unusual combination and very tasty.  The oregano potato gnocchi starter served with a wild mushroom and gruyere sauce was absolutely delicious, but did not have any contrast in colour.  We were spoilt with a second starter when we discussed mozzarella, and Angelo proudly allowed all the dinner guests a taste of Wellington’s Buffalo Ridge mozzarella, in the form of a small Caprese salad.   The main course was lamb rump, served a little too rare and with too much fat.   The dessert was a pineapple tarte tatin served with homemade milktart ice cream, an unusual combination, but was delicious.   Dinner costs R335, for a three course meal, but includes an amuse bouche and a cheese platter as well, actually making it a generous 5-course meal.   One must book to eat dinner at Grand Dédale if one is not staying over.

The winelist offers Pierre Jourdan for R170 as a Cap Classique, and Champagnes offered are Dom Grossard and Brugnon Brut.   Wine by the glass is from Doolhof and costs R40, but is not mentioned on the winelist.   It is poured at the table from a bottle (I ordered a glass of Doolhof Shiraz 2007) in a silver basket.   The Doolhof wines are good value: Unoaked Chardonnay R 90; Oaked Chardonnay R 154; Cape Robin Rosé R 63; Merlot, Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon R116.  In the Legends of Labyrinth range, Dark Lady pinotage and Lady in Red each cost R117 and The Minotaur R250.  Wellington wines offered are Nabygelegen’s Lady Anna (R120), its Chenin Blanc (R130) and Snow Mountain Pinot Noir (R235).  Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Viognier and Chenin Blanc cost R190.  Each wine is described, and the vintage specified. 

There is little to suggest to improve at Grand Dédale: a desk lamp on the desk/make-up area; training staff to not move one’s belongings from a chair or a bed (this is a common problem in accommodation establishments and is an irritation); allowing one to park outside the house; any means of improving cellphone reception would be very welcome, and the limited reception should be mentioned in correspondence (I am on 24/7 duty for my business, even when away for a weekend, and I had not made arrangements to divert the company phone line to a colleague’s cellphone, until I arrived and realised the impact of the reception problem on my business); addressing the blocking of outgoing e-mails by the server (incoming e-mails arrived safely), which problem was solved by downloading e-mails at The Stone Kitchen/Dunstone winery, which has a free wireless service which works easily and perfectly, but is only open until 16h00; a TV in each room; instructions on how to switch off the lights in the various sections of the bedroom; a blind for the bathroom window, so that one is not woken up by the light coming through in the morning; a warning to guests that there is 4 km of dirt road, the first part being very bumpy, and therefore not suitable to drive for all motor vehicles.   What I did request while I was there was attended to immediately by Angelo.

It is not inexpensive to stay at Grand Dédale Country House, but I was lucky to benefit from a hospitality discount.  The accommodation cost includes a full breakfast, all drinks from the guest bars, a small high tea, canapés before dinner and a glass of Pierre Jourdan.    If one stays for two nights, dinner is free of charge on one of the two nights, as is a bottle of Doolhof wine.  One has little choice to eat out in Wellington, so one is almost ‘forced’ to eat there, but it is an absolute pleasure to do so, to not have to drive on the gravel road, or to drive all the way to Diemersfontein, or even to Paarl, to find a relatively acceptable restaurant.   If I can manage to leave the laptop and cellphone at home, I would be back for a next visit, to have a proper break! 

Grand Dédale Country House, Doolhof Wine Estate, Bovlei Road, Wellington.   Tel (021) 873-4089.  www.granddedale.com

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

The Sweet Service Award goes to La Residence in Franschhoek, who made a birthday lunch for my 95 year old father a special day to remember, spoiling the family with Pierre Jourdan Rosé on arrival, a lovely three course meal, excellent service, and a birthday cake, which was a gift from the hotel. 

 

 

The Sour Service Award goes to the Winchester Mansions Hotel.  I popped in for a quick cappuccino, on my way home, sitting outside on the terrace, and had to wait for 15 minutes before a waitress acknowledged my presence, despite a number of guests sitting outside.   I asked for the bill when I received the coffee, but it did not arrive, so I gave the waitress a R20 note to pay, expecting her to return with the change.  She never did – thinking that she had earned a 25 % tip!  

 

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com.   Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.

Over the weekend this blog was in the news, when it was taken to pieces by the (now ex) ‘friend’ who introduced me to blogging more than two years ago.   It raised a number of interesting issues about blogging in general, blogging ethics, and the censorship or not of comments on blogs and website.

Background

Carl Momberg wrote a tourism newsletter CapeInfo for many years, and it was a cutting edge, incisive and often biting overview of the tourism industry.  He has no direct tourism experience, to our knowledge.  He was like a wolf at the doors of premiers and ministers of the province and of the mayor of the city, criticising their every tourism move.   He was very well connected, and had the good journalistic practice in those days of requesting comment from the persons he wrote about. 

I started my WhaleTales tourism newsletter 9 years ago, and could never match Momberg for his sting.  We often debated issues, but presented different perspectives, and we were both passionate about the retention of the then-Cape Town Tourism, of which I was the Deputy Chairman.  As Momberg wrote, I even offered the then-CEO Sheryl Ozinsky money to pay the salaries of staff and other running costs to keep Cape Town Tourism alive, but the City of Cape Town was bent on bleeding the tourism body dry financially, until it capitulated and became part of the new regime, which resulted in a new Cape Town Tourism and Cape Town Routes Unlimited, costing Cape Town the loss of its best marketer ever, being Sheryl Ozinsky!  

Carl travelled with his pet wolf Akela, about which he blogged.   We continued writing the WhaleTales newsletter,  and have been told that it has become the definitive tourism newsletter, with 25000 readers.   Momberg’s newsletter is irregular in its publication, and has lost its bite.  

More than two years ago Momberg invited me to blog on his website, and not knowing better, I accepted.   He clearly was looking for increased traffic to his site via my blog contribution.  When he started interfering with my writing style and content, setting conditions about what I was allowed to write about or not (to protect his own financial interests and relationships with the tourism industry), I started my own Whale Cottage blog and paid Momberg for the hosting of the blog and for his assistance for the short time that he had done so.  It is the best thing I could have done to not work with Momberg any more, and many asked me why I had associated with Momberg in the first place.  I love blogging and my blog, and have never looked back in the 26 months of writing it.  Momberg invited other bloggers to blog on his site too, but they have all left him and gone on their own, probably for the same reasons.

To create a stir, climb on a dubious bandwagon, and possibly to gain some new readers for his blog, Momberg has written a slanderous post about my alleged hand in closing down a tourism website.  He did not stop there – he has turned every word and action in our ‘friendship’ into a negative, and brought in other unrelated issues, to paint as dark a picture as possible.   He has forgotten the good journalistic practice of asking for my input and comment to his blog post before publishing it, and spewed forth malicious misinformation.  For the record, we have last spoken to each other more than two years ago!  My response to aspects of his blog post follows. 

Closure of Tourism website

I nor anyone else has any power to tell a server what to do or not to do.  As a website owner one usually deals with a webmaster, who has a relationship with the server, so that one cannot contact them directly.

Recently I spotted three defamatory comments made about me and Whale Cottage, by three persons whom I have never met and who have never stayed in my guest houses, in response to a comment I had written about my terrible stay at Sante Hotel and Spa.   The commenters wrote that Sante should ignore my comment, as I do not know anything about hospitality, it was claimed, and then made further defamatory comments.  As they were untrue and damaging, I followed the procedure of contacting the owner of the website, and requested the removal of the three comments.  He refused.  I then contacted the association of server companies in South Africa, and followed their procedure to request the removal of the three comments.  They contacted Hetzner, the server of the tourism website, and Hetzner in turn contacted the owner of the website, and gave him a specified period in which to remove the three comments, or face the closure of the website if he did not comply.   He refused to comply with the request from the Hetzner Abuse Department’s Gunther Breuninger, and the tourism website was closed down by Hetzner.   The owner has told Breuninger that he is moving to another server and reopening.   This website closure was laid at my door as an opening shot by Momberg, as if it was my doing.  He even implies that Breuninger is lying in his communication with him about this matter.

Fedhasa Board membership

I have written on this blog about the devious attempts made by then-FEDHASA Cape chairman Nils Heckscher to keep me off the Board of directors, when I had been nominated in the Small Accommodation category.  When I was elected to the Board, he made our Board meetings hell, constantly criticising my WhaleTales newsletters (prior to the days of blogging), and made me feel that we were having Whale Cottage instead of FEDHASA Cape Board meetings!   Heckscher was a very biased partial Chairman, and hand-picked his successor when his controversial reign was over to ensure that I did not get elected as Chairman!   From day one of being a  Board member I told my FEDHASA Cape Board colleagues that the MATCH terms and conditions were bad for small accommodation establishments.  I was ridiculed for this view, and was ultimately forced off the Board when the rest of the Board members cancelled my membership because of my anti-MATCH sentiments expressed in my newsletters.   

As they say in the classics, the rest is history – “MATCH” is the most hated word in the hospitality industry, and Hecksher got his karma returned, in that the hotel (Winchester Mansions) he is the GM of suffered one of the biggest cancellations of accommodation bookings by MATCH.

Momberg has been at odds with Fedhasa in the past, and therefore I am surprised that he included them in the post.  He was highly critical of the accommodation booking website for the World Cup, started by FEDHASA CEO Brett Dungan, and slanderously described our national “Minister of Tourism and his Department (DOT) as a bunch of blundering idiots”for dealing with Dungan!

Restaurant bannings

Grasping at straws, Momberg writes on the basis of hearsay about the fact that I am not allowed into some restaurants in Cape Town, mentioning Beluga specifically.

Restaurateurs in Cape Town are a sensitive lot, and luckily it is only a few that cannot stomach feedback and the reality of a review.   Let me list them:

1.   Le Quartier Francais in Franschhoek – long before my blogging and restaurant review days, whilst I was living in Franschhoek, I regularly went to then-bistro iCi.  A comment I made to a manager about declining value for money went to owner Susan Huxter, resulting in the barring from Le Quartier Francais and to Bread & Wine (the winefarm Moreson belongs to Huxter’s brother Richard Friedman).  Huxter tried to get other Franschhoek restaurants to follow suit, but while she has a strong influence over Franschhoek, none of her restaurant colleagues complied with her request.   I have tried to meet with her to discuss her heavy-handedness and discrimination against me, and she has refused all contact.  Twice in the past three months I have been invited to attend the opening of art exhibitions at Le Quartier Francais, only to be uninvited again on the instruction of Huxter, demonstrating the unprofessionalism and pettiness of this business owner!   

2.   Beluga/Sevruga/Blonde- I attended a Cape Times book launch at Sevruga last year, and gave the restaurant a Sour Service Award for its poor ability to handle a group of 150 women who were offered a very restricted “chicken or beef” type menu choice.  I received no response from owner Oskar Kotze or Marketing Manager Samantha Obery to it.  Six months later the Camps Bay accommodation association, which I head up, was invited to Beluga, to try out their Christmas and New Year menus, as a PR exercise, so that the guest houses should recommend the restaurant.  We were seated, and then Obery came to me, asking me to leave the restaurant, as owner Oskar Kotze did not want me there, due to the Sevruga Sour Service Award.  I said that I was happy to speak to him, as this was surely a mistake, but he was not there.  I gave her my cell number so that he could call me, but he refused.  I then called him on his cellphone, and he refused to take the call.   In the end Obery was instructed by Kotze to call the police, to escort me out of the restaurant.   Beluga received a Sour Service Award for this “PR exercise”, in full view of the guest houses that they were meant to be impressing.

3.   Sotano by Caveau -  a week ago I posted a review of the newly opened Sotano by Caveau in Mouille Point.  It was a fair review, and highlighted teething problems, with the full knowledge that they would be fixed.  I wrote about going back to finish writing about the winelist, as this was not yet available on the day that I was at the restaurant.  When I returned the following day, the Operations Manager Ross Stillford told me that the owners had asked me to not return to Caveau and to Sotano by Caveau, due to my Sotano by Caveau review.  To add insult to injury, one of the owners, Brendon Crew, tweeted about the barring and referred to me as a “bitch”.   This caused a furore, and more than 50 comments have been posted to this review, mainly scathing about Caveau and its owner’s behaviour, with 1253 readers (best read review ever)having read the review in the past week.

4.  Carne – our exposure about the dishonest claim by owner Giorgio Nava of only serving organic lamb, beef and game from his farm in the Karoo led him to remove this fraudulent claim.

We have written more than a hundred restaurant reviews, and all of them have fairly documented our experiences in those restaurants. It is a poor reflection on the handful of restaurant owners listed above, that they are so small-minded to not be able to take valid feedback. 

We have helped restaurants in Cape Town and in the Winelands who ran winter specials  and are currently running summer specials  in publicising these, and we know that our list is extensively consulted by those seeking good value.  Even though we have been barred from Beluga and Sevruga, their specials are on our list, demonstrating that we bear no grudges against these restaurants.  We tweet a link to the Specials page on this blog every day, as a community service.  We also tweet and blog Restaurant news and information about new specials being added.

Reviews of Crush!

We have written about Crush!1, 2 and 3, and Momberg questions my right to do so.  We note that it is Michael Olivier, editor of Crush!, who first posted the link to Momberg’s blogpost on Twitter.   The Crush! team of Olivier,  and his contributors Andy Fenner (JamieWho? blog, now ex-contributor) and David Cope of The Foodie blog, as well his designers who tweet as @Crush_Online, initiated the terrorising Twitter campaign against me at a Crush! dinner party at Sophia Lindop’s house on 16 October, which has run non-stop for five weeks, with added input by Clare McKeon and Eamon McLoughlin of Spill blog, and to which Cope has added an SMS stalking campaign.   

Censorship of Comments

Most blogs allow comments to blog posts.   Early in my social media experience I experienced the vitriol and abuse of commenters to comments made on leading blogs such as Relax-with-Dax, Food24 and Rossouw’s Restaurants.  As I was honest enough to reveal my name, the comments became personal attacks against me as the commenter and lost track of the actual restaurant that was being commented upon.  JP Rossouw agreed to remove these, on the basis of a promise I made to him to never comment on his site again.   This may be why he has changed his review website, and one cannot see the latest comments listed anymore.   Dax Villanueva too has removed derogatory comments over time, and allows criticism up to a point.  He is receiving a fair amount of abuse himself at the moment.  Clare McKeon of Spill blog told me that she too has received critical comments, and deletes them when they disparage her or cause her blog embarassment, given that she is wanting to gain as many advertisers as possible on her site, even if it is at the cost of losing her readers.

The vitriolic attacks by other commenters has led almost all commenters to comment anonymously, only the inexperienecd commenters using their own name.   This means that comments can be even more scathing than if the real name is used.  When we are uncertain about the credentials of the commenter, we send an e-mail to the address provided, and have often found the e-mail address to be a bogus one.

As a topic, comments and censorship thereof, has been receiving a fair amount of airtime in our Food & Wine Bloggers’ Club meetings.  General agreement has been that some comments are vitriolic and abusive towards the writer of the blog or to the commenters, not what one would want to have associated with one’s blog.  We have decided that it is perfectly in order to not accept abusive and disparaging comments on our blogs, and that we have the right to excise these from our blog.  No commenter has the right to expect to have such abusive comments published.   But having said that, we encourage debate – comments are good for web traffic, bring in new readers, and present different perspectives.  Such an example is Sotano by Caveau, where the action of the owner has led to a stream of mainly negative comments about the parent restaurant Caveau. 

We will be interested to see how Momberg copes with comments to his blogpost, and whether he will resort to censorship.  He has already censored a word used by a commenter and has refused to allow commenter “Dieter” to comment.   He has already received criticism from outspoken blogger Jane-Anne Hobbs about not posting her comment, and therefore she has written her intended comment on her own blog.  Momberg has just closed down comments and one must register to comment, a new form of censorship -  “Due to increasing violations of CapeInfo’s Terms of Use with fraudulent emails being provided, we have introduced the requirement that only logged in users may post comments. You need to register on CapeInfo before you can log in. That you do near the top of the page. For help, please click on Frequently Asked Questions under the “Help” navigation tab.  Where people hide behind fraudulent email addresses, one can assume that they have something to hide and cannot participate in open discussion and debate. We do not censor content although we reserve the right to edit.”  Could it be that Momberg does not like comments which may be written in support of this blog?   He has allowed two Caveau staff (Sabrina – SD and Kirstie) to post comments unrelated to his content to his blog post which I refused to my Sotano by Caveau review! 

While he sets himself up as the “judge” of the tourism industry, Momberg has no ethics when he presents a one-sided perspective containing dishonest information on his subject matter!

We deplore the backstabbing and bitching taking place in social media, and while we recognise its importance in the marketing mix, we cannot agree with the low levels of personal attack that are allowed by companies such as Twitter and in blogs in the interest of Freedom of Speech.  Given the amount of disinformation being put out into the cyberspace, I welcome any questions you may have or comments you wish to make: info@whalecottage.com.

POSTSCRIPT 22/11: Martin Hatchuel, the editor of the Tourism website that has been taken down by Hetzner, has written a newsletter which Carl Momberg has distributed for him today.  In it Hatchuel writes: “I responded by refusing to remove the ‘offending’ material because it is my reader’s right to say what they want (within reason, of course – and only the courts can really decide what that reason should be). As a publisher, I can choose to let comments ride, and as a reader, you can choose to take offence – but if you don’t like what’s there, you do have recourse to the courts.  I felt that if von Ulmenstein can say nasty stuff about others, why shouldn’t others be able to say what they wanted about her?”.   We are shocked that Hatchuel is so unprofessional that he would allow untruthful abuse and disparagement to be posted as comments, when he writes that he has the right to edit and refuse commments, exercising his own censorship, exactly the issue he is complaining about in respect of Hetzner’s actions!  He cannot have read our newsletters or blog posts if he describes my writing as “nasty stuff”.

POSTSCRIPT 22/11:  Reading the few comments to the Momberg blog post it is interesting to see that ex-Fedhasa Board colleagues and Cape Town Tourism Board members Nils Heckscher and Susanne Faussner-Ringer, and Cape Town Tourism PR Manager Skye Grove (recipient of a Sour Service Award for her unprofessional behaviour) have written disparaging comments – interesting in that Whale Cottage Camps Bay is a member of Cape Town Tourism! 

POSTSCRIPT 22/11:  Now Momberg is crying wolf in that he has turned to Hetzner to complain about this blog post, and I have had to remove part of a sentence about him!  Wasn’t his blog post about my complaint to Hetzner about the removal of comments on Hatchuel’s website, widely publicised by him?!  Double standards!  His website is hosted in London, disallowing us to have defamatory comments removed from his blogpost – makes you think, as Nedbank used to say!

POSTSCRIPT 22/11:  Skye Grove has also approached Hetzner, and has asked for the removal of our post about her Sour Service Award, awarded to her for retweeting a defamatory Tweet, motivating it as follows: “This has adversely affected my professional integrity”.  One wonders why she retweeted the Tweet, in the knowledge that it is defamatory, given her position as PR Manager of Cape Town Tourism.  She also has requested Hetzner to close down our blog.  She has not held back in her opinion about our blog in her comments on Momberg’s site, as well as on other sites, and retweets whatever negative she can find written about us – clearly a vendetta, and another case of double standards!   Our complaint about Ms Grove’s defamatory Tweet was rejected by her boss Mariette du Toit-Helmbold.  Ms Grove has no problem in disparaging Cape Town Tourism’s funder, the City of Cape Town, in terms of its supply of services to Cape Town residents.

POSTSCRIPT 22/11:  Hetzner appears to have realised that it was too heavy-handed in its dealings with the Tourism website, and has reinstated it.  We welcome this move.  Momberg has not updated his blogpost to announce this, and it basically removes the foundation of his blogpost!   We await his apology for the defamatory comments made. 

POSTSCRIPT 23/11:  Skye Grove has returned to Hetzner, after we made an amendment.   She has now called for the removal of all references to her name on our blog.  Yet she has disparaged us widely in comments on other blogs and by retweeting defamatory Tweets.   She incorrectly blames me for the “(unlawful) action” of Hetzner in closing down the Tourism site (it is clear that this was Hetzner’s doing, and that the site has been reinstated), refers to our blog in its “lack of journalistic quality and substance thereof”, and to my lack of “journalistic ethics or standards”!  Her boss Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold has written a long comment about Social Media and Freedom of Speech, which we have published in the Comments section to this blogpost.  She calls for “honesty, transparency, respect, privacy, relevance, and responsibility within the social media communications realm”, yet her PR Manager Skye Grove does not play by these rules.   Today I declined a request for donating accommodation to the Cape Town Tourism staff function, given Ms Grove’s behaviour.

POSTSCRIP 23/11:  David Cope has also turned to Hetzner, wanting any reference to his name removed, and the whole blog closed down.  It is ironic that Cope complains to Hetzner about…. “damaged my reputation, but has brought my business name into disrepute”.  Yet Cope has had no shame in sending 285 shockingly disparaging Tweets about me, terrorised me with an sms stalker campaign, and retweeted defamatory Tweets.

POSTSCRIPT 23/11:  Carl Momberg has also returned to Hetzner’s door, complaining that I have not removed more content about him.  He incorrectly makes the deduction that my partial removal signals that I “acknowledged” publishing incorrect content – no Mr Momberg, I am subject to the same threat by Hetzner to have my website closed down if I do not make amendments, as was your friend Mr Hatchuel!  He contests almost every reference to him in this blogpost, describing them to be “untrue” , “misleading” and “she cannot prove otherwise”!   He demands of Hetzner : “I demand the whole post be taken down.  If there are further snide and defamatory comments about me or CapeInfo, I will issue further taken down requests, pending legal action”!   Momberg has not apologised for his defamatory blogpost, nor made any amendments, yet expects me to remove the whole blogpost in response to his!

The double standards of Cope, Grove and Momberg is interesting, in that they are quite happy to disparage me and my blog, yet do not want me to write about their actions.  We will not remove any further material from this blogpost or blog.

POSTSCRIPT 24/11: Michael Olivier, editor of Crush!, is also crushed by our blog, and has requested that it be closed down, that all current content relating to Crush! be removed, and that any future writing about Crush! by me be disallowed!   Olivier writes a number of untruths, despite having to declare his information to be “true and correct”, to motivate the closure of my blog:  my reviews of Crush! are “full of incorrect information”; I did not consult him – we used e-mail, sms’s, phone calls and our blog to invite Olivier to respond and participate in each of our three reviews, all with no response; that I have created false comments about his magazines on my blog, which is devoid of all truth and is libellous; he claims that I have “affected the livelihoods of restaurants, publications (I have not written about any other than Crush!) and businesses”, a libellous claim once again; that I had This Tourism Weekly website taken down – we know that it is Hetzner that took down the site as Mr Hatchuel, its owner, refused to heed the Take-Down notice; that he is “missing out on important functions which I will not attend due to her presence”; and that he has lost clients for Crush! and his radio programme due to my writing.   Double standards once again, as Olivier was the first to Tweet the link to The Tourism Weekly disparaging blogpost by Momberg on Saturday.

POSTSCRIPT 28/11: We have decided to follow the example of Momberg and Hatchuel, in moving our website to an international server.   This ensures our freedom of speech, and that the likes of Momberg and his merry men (and woman) will not have any power to have any content removed from our blog, nor for them to have our blog closed down!  Predictably, Momberg is furious about our move.   Again, we deplore Momberg’s double standards in defaming and disparaging us, yet crying wolf when we write the truth about him. 

POSTSCRIPT 29/11:  We have had to edit our writing about David Cope and Carl Momberg above, under threat of closure of the site by our server Hetzner, and also a blackmail threat by David Cope in his abusive Twitter campaign.   The edits we have done in no way reflect acknowledgement by us of any error or defamation, as suggested by Carl Momberg in his complaint to Hetzner.

 

 

POSTSCRIPT 29/11:  We were forced by Hetzner to remove the content of this blogpost until we moved the website to an international server.   Talk about censorship! 

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