Hello autumn

The leaves are slowly turning yellow and the days are getting light later – good for early-morning writing. We are delighted with our writing win, having received the ‘Best Food Column’ award bestowed by Cape Town Experiences. How delightful to be in such esteemed company – our partners Dineplan won ‘Most Innovative Tech Solution in the FBI’ award.

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Talking of writing, March is a month that showcases exactly what I love doing – writing – after eating and interviewing. Grab the March editions of Country Life to read about Franschhoek’s Chefs of the Round Table, Food & Home to be tempted to the Oranjezicht City Farm Market and Woman & Home to find out how I feel about parenting a strong son!

This is the son who left for NYC this week, and I am seriously suffering from envy. New York is where I want to be, it’s where three-plated chef Luke Dale Roberts will be cooking on 10 March at Restaurant DANIEL. Luke, our winner of the SWISS Culinary Innovation Award in the 2019 guide, has been invited to collaborate this year with Chef Daniel Boulud of New York City’s famed Restaurant DANIEL. Now in its 22nd year, Chef Daniel will host “Citymeals on Wheels Sunday Supper”, on Sunday 10 March, which brings together leading chefs from around the globe for an evening of cooking, laughing and fundraising.

Since its founding in 1981, Citymeals on Wheels has delivered 56 million meals throughout New York City’s five boroughs. Each year, the organization prepares and delivers over 2 million weekend, holiday and emergency meals for more than 18,000 frail aged New Yorkers. 100% of the proceeds raised from the Sunday Supper go directly to the preparation and delivery of meals. Luke has created a new dish for the occasion featuring butter roasted langoustine, snoek brandade, lightly smoked snoek extraction, mushroom jam, black truffle and savoy cabbage.

MACAU ASIAN TAVERN

Macau in China is where this year’s international Gourmand World Cookbook Awards will take place, so the name of this restaurant, and the fact that this is where one can find the former chef of Kitima, Li Kuan Geo. We had a delightful early dinner there, intrigued by how the cuisines of China and Portugal can collide without hitting heads. My dishes of choice were the cream cheese and spinach bao, and the chicken pot stickers.

NOBU

A long-awaited career highlight was meeting Nobu Matsuhisa in Cape Town to celebrate the 10th anniversary of Nobu at the One&Only in the V&A Waterfront. What an honour. Ever the interviewer, I had quietly prepared a few leading questions on the way there, but was charmed into answering many of his questions about Cape Town, our restaurants and fresh produce. The omakase and sake pairing was out of this world, ably prepared by two-plated chef Harold Hurtada and his team. Each course, each nuance and each taste of sake were out of this world. The first sake, the Hokusetsu Sado No Jyunmai, is well suited to the uninitiated, and after a few courses and more sake, I realised that I may have found a new drink of choice. All dishes were sublime, but the Chilean sea bass with pomegranate miso really hit a high note for me, and the sushi, of course, too. Having mentioned that we were celebrating a family farewell and birthday, the sterling service team pulled out all the stops to make the celebration a memorable one. Our final sake was a fruit sake with litchi and cucumber, piquant and a fitting finale to a fantastic evening.

CONSTANTIA GLEN

The launch of the Constantia Glen coffee table book, produced by Quivertree and beautifully written by Clare O’Donoghue, was an intimate affair. The spectacular vineyard views were a fitting backdrop for some networking, and of course, glasses of Constantia Glen wines were raised to toast this chronicle that pays tribute to the where the land tells the time. The timeless vision of the family-owned estate makes for enlightening reading. Alexander Waibel, owner, paid tribute to the value of people. In the mid-90s there were a handful of people working on this estate, and now they employ a large team in the vineyards, the wine tasting room, cellar and restaurant.

Let’s travel together, home and away. Visit our autumn edition of the Gourmet Guide magazine to read all about the fabulous new restaurant FYN, Mauritius, Durban and Switzerland, the land of cheese and chocolate. www.gourmetguide.co.za

Hot-and-happening in October

October is set to be an exciting month in Cape Town. This weekend sees OZCF market opening on both Saturdays and Sundays, next weekend the Gun Run, and on 16 October two new restaurants opening.

One-plated chef Dylan Laity, featured in the 2017 and 2018 JHP Gourmet Guide™, joins the Harbour House Group to launch their first fine-dining restaurant at their landmark Constantia Nek site. The Restaurant @ The Nek is his new platform to show his culinary prowess, previously at The Roundhouse in Camps Bay, having fine-tuned his fine-dining skills at the consistently-impressive Aubergine.

“We’ll be serving modern South African cuisine with definite influences from my travels abroad. There will be a good mix of seafood, vegetarian, vegan and meat courses and I’m determined to use only the best and most seasonal produce I can source,” Dylan says. Watch out for this accomplished, humble chef. The exclusive launch of the 2019 JHP Gourmet Guide™ and plating of the 25 chefs, and the announcement of the SWISS Culinary Innovation Award winner, will take place at this new restaurant end-October.

The other exciting restaurant to watch out for is Salsify, the new sibling in the Dale Roberts family, in the historic Roundhouse property perched on the hill overlooking Camps Bay. Lauded chef Luke Dale Roberts and Chef Ryan Cole who have taken the world by storm together at The Test Kitchen, are opening on 16 October with an á la carte menu. Watch out for a focus on fish, a nose-to-tail approach and the freshest produce transformed into dishes that will have the culinary community clamouring for more. Salsify (Sal-suh-fee): A root vegetable with an oyster-like flavour, popular in old French and modern British cuisine.

“I love salsify, it’s the most unassuming of vegetables, with its ugly and rather unfortunate looking exterior, but it is absolutely amazing to work with, full of taste surprises and so versatile,” says Ryan, chef and operating partner. Sandalene Dale Roberts is paying homage to the heritage of the building, again waving her magic wand to ensure that the décor and backdrop are everything that the cuisine and talented team deserve.

Salsify at The Roundhouse - General Manager Markus Fiedler, Chef Ryan Cole and Luke Dale Roberts (HR) 1 photo Andy Lund

Don’t forget to join us daily on Instagram, jhp_gourmet_guide, as we reveal a hint for each of the 25 plated restaurants, one day at a time.  Here is the first two which started the campaign off with a bang.

 

 

Bonjour, put on your beret and book for Bastille Day

LE COIN FRANÇAIS

Don your French attire and join chef Darren Badenhorst and his team for a warm and cosy evening with fine cuisine and beautiful music to celebrate Bastille weekend in Franschhoek. This exclusive evening will cost R1250 per person and includes a French-inspired six-course tasting menu with wine pairing accompanied by renowned artist, Cat Simoni. The dinner-cabaret devised & directed by Paul Spence.

To book contact 074 126 0022 or reservations@lecoinfrancais.co.za.

GRANDE PROVENCE

This year the Grande Provence team will be joining the Bastille festivities at the Food & Wine Marquee in Franschhoek. Be sure to pop into their stand to enjoy their braised oxtail baguette with celeriac remoulade and Valrhona Chocolate eclairs.

LA TÊTE

Celebrate Bastille Day this Friday in Bree Street at La Tête to experience their special French menu for this historical event. Enjoy dishes such as their coq au vin and duck confit with a choice of eight iconic French wines.

For bookings contact them on 021 418 1299.

Bastille-Day-Image - La tete

FOURWAYS FARMERS MARKET

Fourways Farmers Market will be celebrating all things French on Saturday 14 July between 09h00 and 18h00 for Bastille Day. Relax with friends and enjoy a bottle of bubbly, wander around and see the French-inspired art and crafts and enjoy some French cuisine. Entrance is R30 per adult and children under the age of 12 and pensioners are free.

Farmers Market - Bastille Day

Grab your umbrella and go

With winter truly upon us, it is time to either cuddle up at home and cook, or to dress up warmly and enjoy what Cape Town has to offer in the way of more informal eateries. Allow me to get your taste buds thinking…

HEMELHUIJS

This stylish restaurant in Waterkant Street  is the perfect place to come in from the cold on a blustery day for breakfast or lunch. Elegance emanates from the captivating floral touches to the plated dishes brought to your table. If you love the table wear, you may buy it. We enjoyed breakfast – I devoured the home-baked grain bread with lemon hummus and baked cauliflower, smoked trout and tomato raisins, my men went for poached farm eggs with roasted artichoke hearts and hollandaise – with bacon on the side. The menus are a beautiful work of botanical art, large keepsakes that are for sale at R250. My eyes wandered to the lunch menu, and stayed captivated on the botanical plates – a selection of carpaccios – beef, squash, pineapple and tuna. Friendly, informative service topped a great meal.

NOURISH’D 

For smoothies, juices, shots and more substantial yet healthy options head to Nourish’d in Kloof Street. Having driven past it hundreds of times, alerted to the fact that there is a car wash in their car park, I finally met a friend there for a speedy meeting. Fast does not have to mean fast food. I grabbed a green goddess – juice of apple, cucumber, ginger and mint – and felt healthy and pious for choosing that over my regular cappuccino – whilst I had a pang of order envy as her breakfast bowl arrived.

WILLOUGHBY & CO 

A quick lunch sandwiched between meetings in the V&A Waterfront, and it’s off to Willoughby & Co for their delicious sushi. With the crowds bustling past I can shut off and give of myself entirely to their four-by-four, a delicious combination of four pieces of rainbow reloaded and four pieces of spicy creamy rock shrimp roll. Add their half a glass of complimentary wine that is offered, and your working afternoon is sure to improve.

RICK’S CAFÉ AMERICAIN

When my men are in town they choose where we eat out. Their choice for a casual wind-down-the-week supper was Rick’s Café Americain in Park Road, Gardens. This old favourite with Capetonians and visitors has a cosy ambience and friendly service. The menu is diverse and the wines really reasonably priced. Many a dish conjured up memories of last year’s trip to Morocco, but I side-stepped the tangines and followed my men with burgers. I chose the chermoula chicken burger, which was crammed full of taste. Having started with some tapas – chilli poppers, Wibo’s balls and scrumptious Moroccan cheese parcels, we filled up fast, so there was no space for dessert. I think this winter will be the time to revisit a lot of our old haunts. See you in the side streets!

PRIMAL EATERY 

A casual Saturday evening sent us to Primal Eatery when our other son was in town. Tucked away in New Church Street, a quick Uber ride and we were in from the cold. A starter of calamari wakened our taste buds before my men tucked into rib eye steaks, and I devoured the free range chipotle chicken with charred corn, roasted garlic aioli and sautéed greens. Their steaks were more cooked than their expectations of medium rare and rare, and our charming waiter whisked them away and replaced them immediately. This is real challenge for chefs and restaurants – what you believe is medium may not be their medium! This is a constant conundrum – well trained staff need to engage with a diner, and ask them what their interpretation of rare/medium or whatever they have requested, is. Staff were attentive, the wine flowed (reasonably priced too), and we finished off with a delicious dessert, the baked chocolate with salted caramel and banana ice cream, and dulce de leche.

Warm up this winter in the winelands

CHEF’S WAREHOUSE BEAU CONSTANTIA

When famous, fabulous friends visiting from the US ask for an incognito dinner with fine food in a relaxed atmosphere, Chef’s Warehouse Beau Constantia was the obvious choice. After dark the sweeping vineyard views too are incognito, but so what, as you will have all the visual splendour you desire on each plate. Your other senses will be equally entertained. Tapas for two, at R700, is an avalanche of flavours served in three swift waves. If you want it slowed down, you can ask to prolong the pleasure. Wines, from the estate and elsewhere, are at palatable prices. Choosing a favourite dish would be like choosing a favourite child…but let me say that the Korean fried chicken, piquantly flavoured, served with corn masa flat bread that you combine and eat with your hands, oh yum, would make me a bad parent. Or the Jerusalem artichoke risotto, which is topped with small, dark discs of artichokes that have been pickled in balsamic vinegar. Our friends could not stop raving about the skirt steak tataki with burnt butter and BBQ corn dressing, served with a salt and vinegar popcorn dust.  It was great to have a quick chat to chef Ivor Jones, who is not being given a moment’s rest after an extremely well-deserved, busy season.

Sister restaurant Chef’s Warehouse at Maison in Franschhoek has recently been voted as one of the nine Best New Restaurants in the world by Condé Nast Traveller UK…deservedly. Note that the stunning new Thali recipe book is available at all Chef’s Warehouse restaurants – if you are not a home cook, know that it will look glorious on any coffee table. I was too busy catching up with friends and savouring every mouthful to take photographs, so these photographs are compliments of talented Claire Gunn and Beau Constantia.

RUST EN VREDE 

Diners have high expectations from Rust en Vrede restaurant in Stellenbosch where there is a legacy left by culinary trailblazers like David Higgs. Chef Fabio Daniel, who worked with him, is digging deep into lessons learnt and his heritage – he grew up in Brazil “where lots of people are talking and eating at the same time,” he says. His Italian grandparents hail from Verona, and his wife (an integral member of the Rust en Vrede wine team) from Citrusdal – no surprise to see quinces, citrus, carrots, strawberries and tomatoes on the menu. He left Brazil at the age of 24 and has cooked all over the world, and is currently gathering inspiration in Spain, Portugal and France to bring back to SA. Fortunately Fabio believes South Africa is the best country in the world. He comes to the table to tell diners of a story or memory that has inspired his superlative dishes, which he starts planning with the vegetables, adds protein and then a dash of fun.

In spite of seamless white linen, dramatic red roses and romantic lighting, there is an air of playfulness at Rust en Vrede. Guests, after having a pre-dinner drink in the beautiful garden, are able to watch Fabio and his small, smiling team deftly at work. Our food and wine pairing started with baby lamb burgers served in a gleaming copper pan before being wowed by cured smoked seabass with cauliflower, lime and fennel.

Tuna with sesame crust, wild rice and coriander followed – both taste and textures were dynamic in this dish. My man relished the pan-seared Cob with chestnut, morel mushrooms and salsa verde and I the honey-glazed duck breast with butternut, pickled bok choy, sunflower seeds and baby corn. The beef fillet with Jerusalem artichoke, Madeira jelly, soy-glazed cashews and grilled asparagus was delightful, as was the transition course of a cheddar mousse with nut butter, apple and sultanas. Service was slick and seamless, informed and at times entertaining – like the tale behind the dessert called ‘movies and dinner’, complete with an edible movie ticket. Why, you may wonder? “Because chefs only have time for a quick movie,” claims Fabio. Popcorn, salted caramel and Coke float almost brought an unforgettable evening to a close. As a wooden box filled with home-made chocolates was presented, we must have looked astonished at the thought of eating another morsel, so were told to take them home. Here hospitality is genuine and generous – worth finding a hot date for. The wine pairings were carefully considered, with only one wine from the legendary Rust en Vrede estate – the only estate in SA to be named in both the International Top 100 Wines of the World and the Top 100 Restaurants of the World.

DELAIRE GRAFF ESTATE 

Checking into what must be one of the glorious estates in the world, with sweeping vineyard and mountain views, our weekday woes instantly dissipated. Delaire Graff Estate, from the first sight of the spectacular gardens (yes, even in winter) dotted with Dylan Lewis sculptures, takes you into another world. A world in which luxury knows no bounds, a jewel in the Relais & Châteaux crown.

A bottle of Delaire Graff wine was on ice to welcome us. I settled down into our large, beautifully decorated suite and found myself making a mental shopping list for updated décor at home. Every detail has been artfully combined, and in spite of being luxurious, feels like home, from the well-appointed and stocked kitchen (in case you get peckish) to good reading material. Tasty canapés arrived with a bottle of Delaire Graff Sunrise Brut MCC, to ‘awaken our taste buds’.

After a perfect night’s sleep we took an early, uphill stroll on one of the three walking routes, to admire the view and work up an appetite for breakfast and lunch at Indochine. But before that, a wine tasting and shopping spree, sadly only on wine – I was whisked past the beautiful gift shop and the Graff Diamonds’ flagship African boutique, but lingered to admire the art. The estate harmonises superior food, wine, art and nature, perfectly.

 

INDOCHINE

If dinner at Indochine by night is romantic and intimate, by day one is able to absorb and appreciate the magnificent setting.

Two-plated chef Virgil Kahn finds his inspiration for Asian cooking from looking, researching, always experimenting and books. This he told me prior to visiting Asia for the first time, setting off to get a feel of some top chefs’ creativity, planning to cook with some of his icons whilst there. He describes his cuisine as ‘a new style of Asian cuisine with a balance of Cape and Asian.’ His modern take is because he draws from SA having an Asian influence, seen in sweet, spicy and Cape Malay tones.

Before he brought us an array of dishes on the current menu and some that he is playing with for the future, “we play a lot”, he says, we chatted about spices, which he sources from small suppliers, and when he finds what he wants, he buys everything. His favourite ingredient is cardamom – black, white and green. Virgil does not drink, but tastes the wine and works closely with the sommelier so that they can learn from one another.

We settled down for an flurry of small dishes that were introduced and placed on our copper table, glistening in the winter sunshine. All were sublime, a perfect marriage of Asian and Cape flavours. It started with a few fresh vegetables picked out of the garden that morning (we had seen the chefs ‘harvesting’ on our walk) with the spinach dip making a robust impression, and the best poppadoms I have ever eaten.

The Tuna takaki with activated charcoal, green jalapeno, pickled shallots and fermented garlic were followed by ceviche with spinach chilli bites, giving a good nod to Cape flavours. His beef rendang – brisket with lemongrass, coconut and cinnamon curry, picked tapioca, a cucumber salad, coconut rice and raita, was memorable.

Here is my highlight – a Vindaloo of local seafood – langoustine, mussels, prawn, squid, line fish, Bombay potato, apple, celery and cardamom dressing. Virgil’s Thai green curry too was exceptional – a vegetarian delight with Asian mushrooms, lotus root, water chestnut and purée, purple basil, eggplant and a green peppercorn relish. By the time the Southern Muslim chicken with white cardamom, hanged yoghurt, lemon and ginger rice was served I was unable to find space for dessert. Once Virgil had explained how he bleeds the caramel out of the pear to produce a new dessert of pear and tonka bean, my interest had been piqued sufficiently to declare that my dessert compartment is operated separately, and I would find space! The burnt pear came with a tonka bean panna cotta, chai granola, salted caramel and honey comb. With it, the smart, well informed staff brought Szechuan chocolate and berries – a white Szechuan sorbet with strawberry crisp, meringue, chocolate marquise and a berry gel. Another treat of the day was the Delaire Graff Indopop, served only in Indochine, not for sale.

It would be a struggle to describe Virgil’s cuisine in one word. He likes guests to leave feeling full. Oh yes, Virgil, that we did. Full of fabulous food and good wine and indelible memories provided by a team that is proud to be there, showing it with genuine care.

The Shortmarket Club

After discovering this hideaway Chef Wes Randles, general manager Simon Widdison, Luke and Sandalene Dale Roberts teamed up to transform the dark space, an old nightclub with no windows, tucked away in a side street off Bree Street. The décor is impressive and unique, and the New York clubby feel comforting, however, it’s not all about how it looks.

Wesley grew up in Durban, then the culinary focus of Cape Town beckoned. In his second year of his studying he worked at The Pot Luck Club – 10 years ago. His transition has included leaving behind freezers and foie gras, with his focus on the here and now. Don’t be surprised if as service starts there are still dedicated suppliers delivering their bounty – like beautiful porcini mushrooms. These, an hour later, shine as a hero in a dish that delights with simple plating and ample flavour. When figs are in season expect unpretentious yet remarkable dishes like fresh fig with aubergine purée or baked ricotta in a fig leaf with Gorgonzola sauce.

The menu continually evolves as Wesley lets go easily. His favourite part of the day is mise en place, when he sets his mind to it, sees the produce and checks procedures and then manages people to make sure every aspect of an experience at the club will be fantastic. Finishing dishes table-side from elegant trolleys adds to the ‘theatre’ of the occasion, elevating simple to spectacular, giving value for money in experience.

Here impressive, sophisticated simplicity reflects a confident chef.

WINTER SPECIAL

Experience The Shortmarket Club’s lunchtime three-course Prix Fixe Winter Lunch Menu for R280 per person, or R380 per person with a carafe of wine. Available from Monday to Saturday and ends on 30 September 2018. Book via their website www.theshortmarketclub.co.za or call (021) 447 2874.

RECIPE

13Rusty's Diner

Tea for two

One of the ultimate joys of my job is attending cookery courses around the world, and then sharing the experience with readers. I’ve completed a story for Sawubona that tells the tales of Tuscany, Peru, Mexico, Raymond Blanc in Oxfordshire and Morocco. Whilst we wait to see it in print in July, allow me tell you of one more.

The ‘Thelma and Louise’ trip to Sri Lanka simply had to include a cookery experience. Contacts connected and before we knew it, we had been invited to cook with the chef of Relais & Châteaux’s Cape Weligama resort, perched with enviable views of Weligama Bay below. We took an uphill ride in a tuk-tuk, grateful for the breeze in searing midday heat, to their iconic property, part of the trio of Resplendent Ceylon. We were welcomed with a guava sorbet on a stick wrapped in a banana leaf, and iced tea, no surprise as the property is owned by the Dilmah tea family.

Our eyes appreciated the attention to detail as we walked to the demonstration kitchen, perfectly positioned to encompass the view, where sous chef Vinnol told us what was in store for our taste buds – prawn and chicken curry, dhal curry, and bean curry. I was able to gently interrogate him about his culture, cuisine and ingredients. Vinnol Wickramasinghe, who honed his skills at the Hilton in Colombo, gladly shared his wealth of expertise with us as he chopped, stirred and set our mouths on fire. His father was in F&B as a career, and he demonstrated to his son how working in a hotel lets you see the best and worst of life, all under one roof.

“Sri Lankan food is indigenous and healthy. It is grown or picked or plucked from the sea,” he reminded us. The locals don’t ask if you have eaten today, they ask “have you eaten rice?”, giving an indication of how important rice is. You never hear the term ‘curry and rice’ – instead it is rice and curry! They eat with their fingers and their main meal is usually enjoyed at lunchtime. All dishes are served simultaneously, allowing for many flavours on a plate. He gave some good tips about working with chilli – wear gloves, keep your hands away from your eyes, freeze whole and add to a dish frozen. Add salt when cooking with chilli to prevent sneezing. Thelma and Louise looked on in awe as Vinnol fried his spices in very hot oil until smoke rose!

Curries are classified as either white (with coconut milk, mild with lots of liquid), red (few spices with lots of chilli) and black (typical, with roasted coriander, cumin and fennel). The essentials of the Sri Lankan kitchen are a wok, and pestle and mortar. Cooks seldom measure (my kinda cooks!). Tips included using coconut milk powder instead of the real deal, and that buffalo curd is healthier than our yoghurt. They use less lemons, more limes, and mustard cream is the secret ingredient in a curry. He introduced us to gorake, a very sour ingredient that I set off to source the next day.

The teardrop island, formerly known as Ceylon, is also known as the land without sorrows. I would call it the land without desserts – with a plethora of beautiful fresh tropical fruits there is no need to toil over a hot stove to create a sweet dessert. Vinnol thought otherwise, and quickly dashed off to bring us a portion of jaggery to bring our culinary feast to a close.

The private retreats, all 39 of them, are named after famous explorers who have passed on nautical journeys, like Marco Polo. A mere half-hour drive east of Galle, this luxury resort is on 12 acres 40 metres above the Indian Ocean. Sunsets are a drawcard, and the hotel has made the most of sunset points, one giving a good view of the famous stilt fishermen. As the sun set we made our way to the pool bar, and then off to the restaurant to experience more of Vinnol’s hospitality. Still feeling really full from our afternoon of cookery, I chose the spicy tuna starter (paired with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc), Thel the lemongrass chicken, with a glass of Cava. We shared Vinnol’s signature dish – barramundi with a cauliflower puree. Instead of dessert we finished our fabulous day with silver leaf tea.

The first of our Sri Lankan cookery classes was a huge success. If you are interested in getting your own group of food-lovers together to experience this wonderful cuisine in a half-day session, contact Natalie on rsvp@jhpr.co.za.

AND TALKING OF TEA

To celebrate mutual friend Irene’s milestone birthday, my friend Rose and I decided to treat her to high tea at the Belmond Mount Nelson, with a tea sommelier. We booked for a Friday, knowing that we could truly relax after the working week, and settled down for the 15h30 sitting on the patio in glorious sunshine. Oh we love autumn, and this oasis makes the most of the Mother City’s weather on a good day. We were welcomed by tea sommelier Daryl, who proved to be informative, obliging and at times, entertaining. My phone battery was flat, so I left it at reception on the way in. Daryl collected it when I wished to capture the beauty of our bounty, and even brought it to me on a tray with true Belmond aplomb!

We realized, as the savoury tier arrived laden with good-looking goodies, that we should have ordered gluten-free for Rose. Seamlessly and rapidly Daryl orchestrated a replacement for her, as delicious. She was given her own stand that combined sweet and savoury perfectly, whilst Irene and I wobbled our way to the table laden with an array of patisserie and cakes. Part of the treat was having Daryl talk us through the Belmond tea journey, explaining in detail the differences between the various loose leaf teas, and suggesting what we should order. I loved the lemon fruit infusion tea, the orange and berry green tea from China and the Nine Life spices blend (a harmonious blend of cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, cloves, aniseed, rosemary and thyme). I have always loved the Mount Nelson hotel blend, so ignored it to try something new.

Daryl brought Irene a birthday plate, an artfully plated assortment of sweet treats that included her favourite, Turkish delight. As the lightest of scones with butter, jam and cream were served the trio of girls were aghast at the thought of eating any more. We quickly handed them over to our men who joined us for Champagne to toast what had been an unforgettable birthday.

At R365 per person, truly a gift to remember.

An invitation to spoil your mom, or yourself

It’s the time of the year to spoil mom for Mothers’ Day on Sunday 13 May, or to spoil yourself with one of the many special menus on offer at some of our best-loved restaurants. Here is a whistle-stop round-up, with thanks to some super-efficient PR companies who keep us abreast of what is hot and happening.

FOUR SEASONS WESTCLIFF

The Four Seasons Westcliff are pulling out all the stops to celebrate Mother’s Day. Choose between a brunch, lunch or gourmet buffet dinner. For the latter, Arts on the Hill is hosting Swinging Classics with the Charl Du Plessis Trio for guests to enjoy.

Brunch: R795 pp

Lunch: R950 pp

Dinner: R795 pp

For more information visit www.fourseasonsevents.co.za/product-category/arts-on-the-hill or contact them on 011 481 6000.

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THE RESTAURANT AT GRANDE PROVENCE

Create your memorable moment with your mom and treat her to a delicious three-course lunch or dinner with a complimentary glass of bubbles and a special gift for mom, R400 per person.  All moms will also be treated to a complimentary Angels Tears Le Chocolat Pinotage and chocolate pairing.

There is also a week-day lunch special until end-August. Executive Chef Guy Bennett has created a special main course lunch paired with a glass of Angels Tears wine for just R200 per person. The 3-course dinner menu is available at R450 per person or 4-courses at R550. The menu offers pairing suggestions for every dish from the wide range of elegant Grande Provence wines. The winter chef’s special lunch at R200 including a glass of wine, is available during weekdays only.

Tel: (021) 876 8600    |  Email: reservations@grandeprovence.co.za

BISTRO SIXTEEN82

Chef Kerry Kilpin of Bistro Sixteen82 at the Steenberg Farm has a devoted following, and is offering some great winter specials. R205 for a two-course lunch, R235 for three and R265 for a four course meal, this is winter value at its best.  The Vintners Breakfast and Hearty & Homely lunch menu are available from Monday to Friday from May until the end of September. Breakfast is served daily from 09h00 to 11h00 and lunch at 12h00 to 15h00. The special tapas selection is available all week from 17h00 to 20h00 for tables of up to 10 people.

Tel: 021 713 2211    |   Email: reservations@bistro1682.co.za

CONSTANTIA GLEN

Enhance your winter wine tasting experience at Constantia Glen and tuck into a trio of delicious homemade soups. These hearty treats, on offer from 3 May till the end of August, are a good reason to visit this picturesque boutique wine estate to find comfort against the winter chill. Available as single servings or as a trio of smaller portions, visitors can indulge in Constantia Glen’s famous traditional Austrian beef goulash soup, French onion soup with croûte au fromage, or delicious roasted butternut and sage soup, all served with crispy, freshly baked bread. The soups are available at R95 per single serving, or R100 for the trio. Wines are available by the glass from R70.

Tel: 021 795 5639    |    Email: reservations@constantiaglen.com

THE KOVE COLLECTION

Keep the winter blues at bay with their enticing array of seasonal menu promotions available at all The Kove Collection restaurants from 1 May to 30 August. Join them for a two or three-course lunch or dinner at Blanko, Bilboa, Zenzero, Paranga, Umi, la Belle, Bungalow, Lily’s, Firefish and Dalliance.

Visit www.kovecollection.co.za to find out more.

HOSPICE WEEK

Find a place in your heart to give a thought to those providing and receiving palliative care at their local hospices. Hospice Week runs from Sunday 6 to 13 May, so perhaps a good time to give something back? Many of the 134 hospices and affiliated hospices have charity shops, and are looking for donations or willing hands. Visit www.hpca.co.za to find out more.