Gourmet celebrations


“When a Nobu opens, the city changes.” The first day of autumn ended with a beautiful balmy evening. Arriving at the One&Only Cape Town in the V&A Waterfront, we were warmly welcomed by Resort Manager Roberto Garrone. Guests then lined up to meet iconic chef Nobu Matsuhisa, in Cape Town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of his restaurant, Nobu. Quick photo opportunities with the guru followed, before sipping sake served by his sake master, and devouring exceptional canapes created by chef Harold Hurtada and his team. After an inspiring evening of rubbing shoulders with chefs and fellow food passionistas, guests were given a signed copy of Nobu’s recipe book to devour page by page, at their leisure. The memories linger on…


March is my month. I celebrate not being another year older, but (as I fool myself), another year better! My birthday kicked off with an early morning mountain walk around Lions Head, followed by a delicious breakfast at Liquorice and Lime.


I share a birthday with my friend Wendy, our mothers having met when in neighbouring labour wards. We re-ignited our association in junior school and again when studying food and nutrition. Every year on or as near to our birthdays as possible, we celebrate over lunch. This year it was at gorgeous Hemelhuijs. Here even the menus look edible, true works of art. We ordered and shared the seared tuna and crispy calamari dishes, both excellent. Then it was back home to haul the gin trolley onto the deck to enjoy the setting sun with snacks and more good friends.


As the hordes hit the Mother City for the cycle tour and the winds picked up, we packed our bags and headed out of the chaos, bound for Botswana. A quick detour in Jozi – two-plated restaurants are deemed worthy of a detour – made lunch at dweleven-13 a worthy sidestep. Their lunch special is excellent value at R365 per person. Attentive and efficient service ensures that it provides the perfect platform for a business lunch. A glass of bubbles was offered as a welcome drink. Breads are lovingly baked on site, like the walnut and cranberry bread that chef Marthinus Ferreira declares still needs work, but I declared perfect. They fill the gaps before the amuse bouche. The jar of breadsticks for dipping, and an assortment of tasty bites that included a titbit of sardines in, not on, toast, a delicate morsel gently cased in breadcrumbs.

My companion allowed me to choose for him, so he started with the almond, tomato, melon, chorizo and balsamic combination. I decided to create my own seaside route – first up the

hake ceviche with curry, mint, buttermilk, cucumber and jalapeno – a piquant medley of flavours. My ‘date’ devoured the exquisitely-plated gnocchi with spinach, seeds, raisin and a karoo crumble. I tucked into the langoustine with corn and my favourite flavours of garlic, ginger, lemongrass, peanut and coconut, appreciatively. The linefish (usually sea bass) with squid, mushroom, peas and jus gras (chicken and fish can work well together) was as perfect as the beef with kohlrabi, onion, broccoli and carrot.

An artistic rendition of Gorgonzola with celery, walnuts, grapes that was ‘melted’ with a warm sauce was heavenly. The dessert crafted with 55% Valhrona chocolate lightened by blackcurrant, peanuts, raspberry, butterscotch was also ideal to share. We recorded smiling faces with a photo opp – Marthinus and his beautiful Mervyn Gers Ceramics plate and unique wine cooler, given to plated chefs in the 2019 JHP Gourmet Guide™.


As our followers know, we love books. We also love plates (we award our top restaurants and chefs with plates for their prowess). The Norval Foundation is a worthy setting for a book launch, an artistic backdrop that beckons to all those who love art, style and sophistication. The retail store is breathtaking, the merchandise carefully curated to entice visitors to shop for a vast spectrum of art. One of the most appealing museum shops I have experienced.

We digress. Back to books. It was a relaxed Liam Tomlin who welcomed guests and then fired a few questions at renowned chef and author Marlene van der Westhuizen. Many of her ardent fans were present, and it was in an informative and engaging manner that she shared the background to the book with them. She gave insights into her gourmet tour of Charroux, where she and her husband have a second home. These tours are not all about cooking, one is exposed to the lifestyle of this quaint village, the locals and their produce, and there is a lot of fun too! She regaled the tale, pointing to the lady in blue, of how one woman arrived on tour clutching a mystery bag that was not to be opened. A few days later, on the day of the royal wedding, I (the lady in blue), handed everyone a tiara as we set off for a local pub in which we were to move the local lads out of the way and change the channel from sport. Here we watched the Royal wedding, entranced, sipping Champagne, in our tiaras! Next day, back to shopping at local markets and cooking up a storm in Marlene’s kitchen. This cookery experience for me was life-changing, and it re-ignited my love affair with food.

IMG-20190314-WA0004Marlene’s first three books, Delectable, Sumptuous and Abundance, works of art, overflow with inspiration and wonderful recipes. PLATE is her latest collection of simple, fuss-free main courses. The recipes are divided into three sections of meat, seafood and poultry. There are all the classics, brought to life with her inimitable flair, and incredible photography by Rogger Koene. It is also available in Afrikaans (Bord), at a cost of R375, it is a must-have for any food-lover. Mervyn Gers Ceramics produced the beautiful blue and white plate on the cover of Plate, part of the M Collection designed with Marlene in mind.


Thank you to everyone who entered the competitions and for all the positive feedback. Our special thanks to Sexy Socks, NOMU, Pierre Jordan and Belgian Beer Company for their prizes, and congratulations to the winners:

Hampers from Sexy Socks:

  1. Marc McDonald
  2. Nyaniso Morlock

NOMU winners:

  1. Veronica Calina De Waal – a 16-piece Cook’s Collection spice rack
  2. Yölika Muscat – a ‘breakfast-in-bed’ hamper

Mixed case of Pierre Jordan Brut and Belle Rose:

  1. Michelle Edwards
  2. Jamie De Wet

A hamper of Cherry Chouffe products including a picnic basket, blanket, glasses and beer:

  1. Dave Starley


If you haven’t set your eyes on the autumn issue yet, visit www.gourmetguide.co.za/gourmetguide/ to view, read, download or print your free copy. Don’t forget to sign up to the magazine to keep up to date and be the first to be informed when the next issue gets released.



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