Many followers are loving my first Moroccan chapter, and there are two more. But allow me to digress to share some local experiences too, good and bad. When I landed in Jozi I spent a day and night with my son. It allowed me a return visit to Coobs, having been there in week 6. This was week 14, again a superlative eating experience with exemplary service. It was poor service that landed us there. Not theirs. My son had tried to book for Brian Lara the week before, and was put on a waiting list. He followed up twice, and was told that they would call back. When they had not, a few hours before we were due there, I called, and the manager told me that we were top of the list, so should arrive and be seated at the bar. We would then be given first shot at a table. So we did, only to be told that the bar was full and that a new waiting list had been generated! I found that totally unacceptable. Staff here obviously need communication training. We called Coobs and they graciously gave us a table. Their de-constructed melanzane to start was phenomenal, and I was super-happy with the roast chicken, anything-but-average. Carnivore Gareth loved the pork (and a few cocktails too!).
The next morning I was woken early to be dragged off to Pablo Eggs-Go-Bar in Melville. Well worth getting out of bed early for – the eggs shakshuka were the best I have tasted. Vibey start to the day.
Back home we have had a few good meals – a great Monday night was spent with friends at the El Burro Taqueria in Kloof Street. Every mouthful had us ordering more after starting with the chicharrón (pork scratchings). Favourites included the chilorio pork twice-cooked pork chilli and garlic tacos, and the Baja-style smoked jalapeno and avo fish-fried tacos. The goat dish came out tops! Braised with cloves, walnuts, almonds, cumin, cinnamon and serrano chilli, that is what will get me back for more. They cater for vegans.
Pesce Azzurro is a charming Italian eatery in Roodebloem Road, Woodstock where they offer simple, authentic seafood and pasta dishes. Always have a good look at their specials, and if those don’t appeal, fall back onto the catch of the day with a Sicilian tomato sauce.
A lunch meeting in the gardens of the Vineyard Hotel in Newlands on a hot autumn day was improved by the salmon and camembert salad. The view of the mountain and beautiful gardens provides food for the soul. I’m watching out for Myoga’s winter specials.
Luke and Sandalene Dale-Roberts kindly hosted an eclectic group of media to say thanks for their support since opening six years ago. I am not allowed to have a favourite restaurant in my work, however, if I was, be sure that it would be The Pot Luck Club! Their new menu is even better than the last. In good company we devoured cocktails, champagne and a flow of tantalizing dishes that never stopped coming and delighting. Half of our table were pescatarians (the other half piscatarians?) and they were well catered for. When I close my eyes I can still taste some of those heavenly flavours. If I had to choose a favourite dish it would be the special Moroccan-inspired seafood tagine, of course. There were a few contenders for my dish of the day. Hmmmm….fish sliders, arancini, crispy calamari or confit duck leg? Maybe the miso-cured aubergine with goat’s cheese, carrot dressing, blueberry wine reduction and umami puree. Or was it the fish tacos? Not sure… shall have to return for more and a re-vote!
I have two special long-service friends with whom I celebrate my birthday. This year it took us six weeks to get a date – indicative of how busy this year has been. The first part of my treat was an aromatherapy session, which I found time for immediately! The second was for a gin tasting and lunch. We met at the Woodstock Brewery, which was informative and interesting. Four gins were enjoyed with a variety of accompaniments, the first with a wine base, the second beer, third white spirit and the fourth was a cask gin. We had time to quiz the brewmaster, and then headed off to Fat Cactus for a lazy, languid lunch in the courtyard, a perfect place to catch up on their news and regale tales of my recent trip to Mexico. The treat of travel for me is in sharing it.
Marigold Restaurant in Franschhoek was where I celebrated World Chaîne Day – with fellow members of the Chaîne du Cap – and Beau Constantia wines. Chef Vanie Padayachee is passionate about her food, and it shows. What the restaurant lacks in ambience it more than compensates with outstanding authentic cuisine and sterling service.
I spend a lot of time filling my stomach, but need to fill my heart too. The weekend climaxed with Last Night of the Proms at the City Hall, a musical extravaganza under the baton of Richard Cock. We are proud to have managed the publicity since our PR days, and having shed that sector of the business, we continue to support Wynberg Rotary in this fundraiser. Delighted that this year too was a sell-out on both nights, raising substantial funds for Learn to Earn, ELRU and Childline.
Due to popular demand, along with many requests for a Saturday we are having a repeat of the Moroccan demo which is filling up fast. Contact Natalie to book your place on firstname.lastname@example.org.