Monday, November 23, 2009

Prudential Eat Out awards 2009

The list for 2009:

1. La Colombe, Cape Town
2. Mosaic Restaurant, Pretoria
3. Rust en Vrede Restaurant, Stellenbosch
4. Terroir, Stellenbosch
5. The Roundhouse, Cape Town
6. The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Franschhoek
7. The Greenhouse at The Cellars, Cape Town
8. Roots, Johannesburg
9. 9th Avenue Bistro, Durban
10. (In joint position) The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais, Fanschhoek & Overture, Stellenbosch

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Nominees for Eat Out 2009 top restaurants award

The 20 nominees are:

1. 9th Avenue Bistro, Durban
2. Aubergine, Cape Town
3. Bizerca Bistro, Cape Town (9th last year)
4. Bread and Wine, Franschhoek
5. Carne SA, Cape Town
6. The Foodbarn, Cape Town
7. The Greenhouse at The Cellars-Hohenort, Cape Town
8. Hartford House, Mooi River, KZN (10th last year)
9. Jardine, Cape Town (2nd last year)
10. La Colombe, Cape Town (1st last year)
11. Mosaic Restaurant, Pretoria (5th last year)
12. Overture, Stellenbosch(4th last year)
13. The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Franschhoek
14. Reuben's Restaurant & Bar, Franschhoek
15. Roots, Johannesburg (8th last year)
16. The Roundhouse, Cape Town
17. Rust en Vrede, Stellenbosch (6th last year)
18. Tasting Room at Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek (7th last year)
19. Terroir, Stellenbosch (3rd last year)
20. Zachary's, Knysna

So will La Colombe be able to hold on to their top spot? And how will the newcomers perform? Watch this space...

Thursday, September 17, 2009

New horizons

As a big fan of Jardine Restaurant I was pleasantly surprised to hear that George Jardine will be opening a new restaurant on the Jordan Wine Estate. This is a continuation of a recent trend in the Cape restaurant scene. Others that spring to mind include Cuv?e, Delaire, Overture, Rust en Vrede and Terroir.

I am not all that familiar with Jordan's wine other than having a recent bottle of Bradgate Syrah (one of Jordan's second labels) at Caveau which was very good value. I wish George and Jordan wines a fruitful (excuse the pun) future together!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Portofino (old Showroom)

Portofino Italian Restaurant has just opened where Showroom (Cape Town) used to be. They are currently offering a fantastic wine special as they are selling off the old Showroom wines to make way for their own new winelist.

The menu:


Bruschetta x 3 – fresh tomato and basil, griddled courgettes and mint, chicken livers R55
Antipasti plate (for 2) – chilli salt squid, marinated vegetable rolls, Parma ham, salami, olives R85
Beef carpaccio – watercress, parmesan shavings, olive oil and lemon R 60
Melanzane all parmigiana – layers of griddled aubergine, mozzarella tomato, basil R45
Tuscan minestrone soup R45
Orange, almond, parmesan and goats cheese salad with lemon dressing R 45
Seasonal salad R 40
Pumpkin, goats cheese and pumpkin seeds salad with honey mustard dressing R 45


Risotto of the day R75
Warm risone with pancetta, peas, asparagus, porcini mushrooms with truffle infusion R70
Fresh gnocchi of the day R60
Lasagna alla Bolognese R70
Spaghetti Carbonara R65
Broccoli and anchovy pasta R65
Penne Arrabbiata – fresh tomato and chilli R60
Butternut and ricotta ravioli with pine nut butter R55
Tagliatelle with fresh mussels R85


Veal parcel filled with pesto and buffalo mozzarella and ricotta and butternut stuffed ravioli R 105
Grilled fish of the day R105
Honey and mustard pork fillet – pumpkin and potato mash, green beans R 90
Lamb cutlets with rosemary jus – cannellini bean puree, vegetables R 105
Grilled baby chicken marinated in olive oil, garlic and chilli with baby pesto potatoes R 105


Pistachio and almond cake with yoghurt and honey sorbet and mint pannacotta
Homemade lemon tart with lemon ice cream
Ricotta and honey tart
Lindt Nemesis cake with honeycomb ice cream
Portofino Tiramisu
Selection of ice creams or sorbets

Will hopefully get there soon to try it out.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Magic Aroma

Things have been a bit quiet around here recently. After buying our first house, we have had some big changes in our routine to get used to. That along with a never ending stream of visitors and out of town family and a serious dent in our eating out budget has put on hold somewhat our dining out.

After closely following JP Roussouws (Magica Roma is one of a handful of restaurants in CT given 3 Stars) recent eating escapades (and living though them vicariously) along with some strong recommendations from friends, Sash and I finally paid Magica Roma a visit. This however was not the first time we have had food from here (it is 5 minutes drive from home and the only place for takeaway pizza - recommend the Margherita with buffala mozarella and fresh basil).

Luckily for us we were able to make a last minute reservation and were soon seated eagerly awaiting our first course - Lumache alla Veneta (Snails in garlic, parsley, wine & tomato served with polenta). For a change is was wonderful to appreciate the delicate flavour of Snails which are normally overpowered by the excessive garlic and white sauce they are predominantly accompanied with. Here the subtle flavours were well balanced with the tomato and herbs, while the polenta provided a delectable accompaniment.

For mains we were somewhat undecided and so enlisted the help of our waiter. He soon called over one of the owners who was eager to assist. I was looking for something with porcini to which he recommended a rissoto. Sash felt for seafood and decided on a combination of Sole Meunier with a Con Moscardoni topping (calamari tentacles, chilli & garlic sauce). Both were very good and confirmed the many recommendations! We rounded off our meal with an ambrosial Panna Cotta.

Can't wait to go back and try more from here!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Love conquerors all

Everyone wants to make a quick buck! In our age of marketing this means that every commercial opportunity is exploited where vaguely possible. Valentines Day falls right in the middle of this arena, along with Christmas and New Year. On these festive occasions restaurants will place a minimum 20% mark up! Well at least the ones worth dining at… I guess it is fair though; after all they end up having to work and therefore can’t celebrate along with the rest of us?

Valentines Day has become particularly commercial (at least Christmas and New Year are public holidays and therefore overtime charge is justified). However, true love is something worth celebrating, and love does conqueror all, even the credit card! Or maybe it is just because I am a Pisces…

After a booking made at Jardine’s four months prior, our appetites were thoroughly whetted with the arrival of the Saint Valentines Day menu a few days beforehand. Scrolling down the page I was jolted out of my dreamy state by the price. Nonetheless, so enticing was the menu that any consideration of cancelling was soon dispelled. We just had to go! With all the hype and excitement, were we doomed to be left disappointed?

Right from the beginning the meal was a fantastic experience! Service was warm and efficient and we were soon seated and sipping on a glass of Drappier Brut Rosè champagne. The amuse bouche was served in an emptied boiled egg shell and comprising oyster foam on top and inside smoked salmon scrambled egg with a poached West Coast oyster.

For starters Sash had seared scallops with roasted candy striped beetroot, steamed scallop mousse and port reduction while I decided on the duck confit stuffed brioche with seared foie gras, preserved apricot and caramelized parsnip purée. Sash was left somewhat disappointed – the scallops were prepared to perfection but lacked seasoning. Later we heard similar complaints from other tables. I on the other hand was rapturous – this was possibly the best single dish I have ever had. The combination of confit duck, creamy foie gras and purée was astounding…

For mains Sash had baked cob with crayfish mousse, roasted baby fennel and bouibaisse, and I had aged chalmar fillet with celeriac tart titan, braised savoy cabbage with pancetta, bone marrow, wild truffle jus and cauliflower purée. To put it simply, both were incredible! In particular the slight charred taste of bone marrow infused with the truffle jus and coupled with the celeriac tart titan added an entirely new dimension to the fillet – carnivorous bliss!

Dessert was a dark chocolate soufflé flambé which was delicious and very light thankfully given the preceding rich food. Finally to round off the meal, a selection of chocolate truffles, dark chocolate fudge and raspberry macaroons was served.

Well I can undoubtedly say that we did not leave disappointed. Barring the scallops each dish was carefully composed, with each ingredient perfectly complimenting the others. To say that it was worth every cent would be an understatement.

Friday, February 13, 2009

To market to market

A recent visit to the Saturday morning Neighbourgoods market in Salt River once again reminded me of how much I really enjoy a good market. The hustle and bustle along with the sheer variety of things on offer to eat then and there and to take home. However what has been brought to my attention is that we have very little in SA that compares to the food markets abroad, especially when it comes to fresh ingredients.

If you ever find yourself in Barcelona, do try the La Boqueria Market off La Ramblas. As foodies we were in utter awe of what was available – from the usual fresh fruit and vegetables all the way to the sublime and ridiculous for a South African (i.e. truffles and rabbits). If only we could have this back home…

The sheer vibrancy also astounded us. However our biggest disappointment was that as we were not at all conversant in either Catalan or Spanish it was difficult to negotiate or purchase anything and it was much to our relief that we eventually found a stall with someone who could understand us!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Grand Mugal Extravaganza

We have dined at Chandani on a number of occasions, including a wonderful evening to celebrate Diwali – the festival of lights. The ambience that this restored Woodstock house has is truly special, and coupled with the fantastic and friendly service and wide array of tasty dishes, we highly recommend trying it out.

As we were trying to show some visiting Brits an experience off the tourist beaten track, Chandani was an easy choice as it ticked most boxes. Just as a note, when eating curry, I recommend ordering an assortment of dishes for the table and sharing as this definitely adds to the overall experience, especially if you abandon Western customs and eat with your hands!

For the table we ordered:
Brinjal Masala (house specialty - rustic Indian dhaba (highway inn) style preparation of brinjal),
Murg Makhani (Tandoori chicken simmered in a rich tomato and butter curry accented with fenugreek/methi),
Jhinga Goan Curry (Prawns gently cooked in a creamy coconut curry tempered with curry leaves and mustard seeds)
Dal Makhani (Black lentils and kidney beans in a creamy base, tempered in ghee)
Palak Gosht (lamb cubes in spinach curry)
To accompany this we order some butter naan bread and basmati rice.

Our past experience has shown that some dishes are amazing, while others can disappoint. This is however to be expected given the wide variety of dishes available on the menu. However we must have chosen well on this occasion as everything was delicious, although particular favourites were the Jhinga Goan curry and the Brinjal Masala. To round the meal off we had Kulfi and Bombay Crush.

This is a great restaurant to try, especially if you have vegetarians, as there is a wide range of suitable options available. A warning however is that all meals appear to be prepared fresh so they do take a while to be served!

Friday, January 30, 2009

Something F!SHee

On recommendation from a friend, my brother and I recently feasted at F!sh in Rosebank. Outside the restaurant is very welcoming and inside very tastefully decorated. Although they offer a range of seafood, we were there for the sushi specifically and chose to sit at the sushi bar. Service was great and we were soon feasting away on tasty morsels from the conveyer belt well accompanied by a chilled bottle of Pierre Jordaan Tranquille (on my beer drinking brother’s request!).

The sushi menu has normal offerings, but also includes a few innovative options (i.e. Tina Tuna - Spicy tuna rolled with jalapenos, peppadew and citrus served with a sweet pepper sauce). Feeling a little daring we tried the tuna bomb which comprised spicy tuna, jalapeno chillies and mayonnaise. On ordering, the wicked grin from the chef should have been a warning to us. The tuna “atom” bombs arrived with normal green chilli substituting the jalapeno chillies. Manly bravado stepped in and we both duly ate our order, being very careful to chew slowly around the chilli seeds (and making a mental note to place a toilet roll in the freezer).

A point of concern was the sushi mayonnaise containers being refilled with Nola – I don’t mind Nola at all but it isn’t very authentic Japanese… I would still however recommend going, especially on Tuesdays for the half price special.