The start of Spring

CHEFS WAREHOUSE & CANTEEN on Bree Street will always be a favourite. I love the casualness of sitting on stools next to strangers who fast become friends. Food is a conversation piece, and there is nowhere better to enjoy date night, tapas for two. We settled in early on a Friday evening, lucky to get seats at the counter. A glass of bubbles to start and then we were ready to wash away the woes of the working week and appreciate the array of plates to share. My dish of choice was the tuna and tomato gastrique with olives and ricotta, until I tasted the duck pot stickers with duck broth, pickled shiitake mushrooms and bean sprouts. My man definitely devoured more than his allocated half of the deep-fried squid with corn salsa, jalapeno dressing and avocado purée. We both raved about the mushroom risotto. A fabulous meal was completed with a cook’s tour of the shop which stocks high quality kitchen equipment and a vast array of awesome cookbooks.

DYLAN LEWIS is a globally acclaimed wildlife sculptor, top of my hit list when approaching artists in SA to support Art with Heart…for Hospice. Imagine my joy when he agreed to donate an artwork for the Hospice online art exhibition and auction going live on 14 October. I had the pleasure of collecting a framed line drawing, and touring his sculpture garden in Stellenbosch on the first day of Spring. Breathtaking and well worth a visit  ̶  booking is essential. We have collected art from established big names to butterfly artists. Over 60 pieces will be available for the public to bid on to show their support. Watch this space and the HPCA website. www.hpca.co.za The Hospice and Palliative Care Association of SA are celebrating 30 years of supporting hospices – you can be part of it.

Still in Stellenbosch, it was off to the KLEINE ZALZE WINE ESTATE for a wine tasting of the Kleine Zalze wines and then a relaxed lunch at Terrior, sitting outside in dappled shade. I chose the braised lamb with a celeriac gnocchi and asked for the chef, Michael Broughton, to suggest a suitable starter. The Stilton soufflé was out of this world, and my man thrilled that he had ordered the same. The winter special was great value and Michael food, as always, was exceptional. We left after booking a pre-Christmas lunch for our family in the fear of FOMO, as regulars are already flocking back after their winter break.

September was one of those months when I seemed to conduct many casual collaborations and business meetings over a plate of food. The Nellie is looking more beautiful than ever. I was delighted to have a drinks date in the Planet Bar and see it at night, after an afternoon meeting in the lounge a few days before. Be sure to pop into the BELMOND MOUNT NELSON to admire their renovations. Sundowners at The Silo gives one a breathtaking view of the Mother City, but the service sadly needs some attention now that the ZEITZ MOCAA is open and even more people are flocking to this precinct. Lunch in Bree Street with girlfriends at CLARKE’S BAR & DINING ROOM was delicious (their vegetarian burger is one of the best in town), and an early supper at Chai Yo in Mowbray gave us a good chance to reminisce with out-of-town friends who lived in Thailand for five years. Their food is still good value and authentic Thai. Next time? Off to Jozi again!

Last month’s book of the month:

From Genes to Plate has over 100 simple science-based recipes to fit your unique genotype. Having had my DNA tested I am now slowly working my way through this book, loving it and learning all the way. Try their butternut, quinoa and cranberry salad.

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Product of the month:

Many of the restaurants I have the privilege of dining at present their gourmet meals on Mervyn Gers Ceramics. A trip to his studio in Paarden Island gave us inspiration for inviting him to custom-design plates for our 21 top chefs featuring in the JHP Gourmet Guide™.

Earth White Gold Trim

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