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Myrna Robins

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Restaurants

Posted by on in Restaurants

The boutique Leeu House hotel is up and running, and the launch of this five-star Franschhoek hostelry is complemented with a feel-good announcement, in tune with the season.

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Nearly a decade ago the Kusasa Project took off in the Franschhoek valley, a charitable programme designed to help underprivileged schoolchildren with academic, sporting and life skills development. See www.thekusasaproject.org. They have been running daily, weekly and annual activities with volunteers and more recently acquired their own school, which offers an excellent standard of education to beginners: Foundation Phase children are benefitting from this, while older scholars have access to a bursary scholarship which supports 50 children with higher education.

Last week the project received a massive boost thanks to a very generous donation from Analjit Singh, chairman of the Leeu Collection, who has invested heavily in Franschhoek and elsewhere in the Cape winelands. Thanks to this gesture, Doug Gurr, Co-Founder & Trustee of The Kusasa Project has announced that the Early Learning Centre will be able to enrol children from grade 1 to grade 3 and the number of scholars can expand from 98 to 120.

BAS, as Mr Singh is known, regards education as an investment which contributes to global prosperity and he was inspired by the work being done by Kusasa.

As hungry children cannot be easily taught, he has also committed to make good any shortfall in the costs of the Isabelo feeding scheme which provides a meal to 1 300 needy children in Franschhoek valley every day. This worthy initiative is the brainchild of Margot Janse, executive chef at Le Quartier Francais, and has been operating since 2009. Le Quartier is one of the properties acquired by Mr Singh this year.

Caption to photo: Analjit Singh, Margot Janse and Doug Gurr.

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Posted by on in Restaurants
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The annual Cape Legends Inter-hotel Challenge Awards held their prize-giving event in the Cape Sun ballroom recently. This prestigious event is the brainchild of Annette Kesler of Showcook, and has blossomed into a major contest in the South African hospitality stakes.
In the Chef category, Charmainne Deacon of the Cape Grace hotel scooped the winning slot, which will see her spend a three-week working holiday at the Shangri-La hotel in Dubai. She also took home the SAPPO Purple Ribbon and the ScanPan Excellent Kitchen Practice Award. With her is Malika van Reenen Executive Chef of Cape Grace,
 
In the Wine Steward category Mpho Masiu, also  of the Cape Grace, paired with Lomond Wines, and was  awarded  the Cape Wine Academy top bursary, winning a travel experience with Tsogo Sun to the winelands and visiting various   Cape Legends' exquisite estates and  a blind tasting with the judges of the Platter Wine Guide.
 
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Tagged in: Events Food News Wine
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Posted by on in Restaurants

 

Here are the top 20 finalists in the Wolftrap Steakhouse championship contest for 2015.

The public vote identfied these anad now a team of judges is visiting each of them to find the winner. The 2015 champion will be announced on June 30 at The Local Grill in Parktown North, which was the 2013 and 2014 winner.

 

See below the 2015 Top 20 Steakhouses, first  grouped into colour-coded regions, then listed alphabetically:

  • Eastern Cape: 2x in East London
  • Free State: 1x in Bloemfontein
  • Gauteng: 6x steakhouses with 2x in Pretoria
  • KwaZulu Natal: 3x steakhouses: Durban, Pietermaritzburg and Umhlanga Rocks
  • Mpumalanga: 1x steakhouse
  • Southern Cape: 3x steakhouses
  • Western Cape: 4x steakhouses
  • Cattle Baron, Mossel Bay - Southern Cape
  • Cattle Baron, Tableview - Western Cape
  • Fahrenheit, Edenvale, Johannesburg (East) - GautengFinalist in 2014
  • Havana Grill, Durban - KwaZulu Natal
  • Hillside Tavern Grill, Lynwood, Pretoria - Gauteng
  • HQ, Cape Town - Western Cape - Finalist in 2014
  • Jayz Grill, Pietermaritzburg - KwaZulu Natal
  • Little Havana, Umhlanga Rocks - KwaZulu NatalFinalist in 2013
  • Longhorn Steakhouse, Bloemfontein - Free State
  • Milhaus, Kyalami, Johannesburg (North)- Gauteng
  • Pioneers Butcher & Grill, Hazyview - Mpumalanga
  • Sanook, East London - Eastern Cape
  • Texas Grill, George - Southern Cape
  • The Bull Run, Sandton, Johannesburg (North) - Gauteng
  • The Cricketer, East London - Eastern Cape
  • The Godfather, Centurion, Pretoria - GautengRunner-up in 2014
  • The Grumpy Griller, George - Southern Cape
  • The Local Grill, Parktown North, Johannesburg (North)- GautengChampion in 2013 and 2014
  • The Local Grill, Woodstock - Western Cape
  • Theo's, Mouille Point - Western CapeFinalist in 2014

 

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Tagged in: Events News Restaurants
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Posted by on in Restaurants

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IMIBALA Restaurant and Deli,

18 Bright Street Somerset West,. Tel: 021 851 2364

Caption to picture: Roasted baby beetroot and  goat cheese with toasted seeds and yellow pepper dressing salad 

Light, bright and inviting. The restaurant and adjoining art gallery face the Imibala Trust offices and retail store across the road, making for a compact Imibala complex.

The name means colour in Xhosa , reflected in a clever logo recording multi-coloured sound waves of a child’s laughter. This is pertinent, as the whole existence of this project and its distinctive facets, is to bring joy to children whose lives lack this essential element.

Nicole Dupper is the chef here, a name that will bring joy to legions of diners who have relished her delectable, consistently fine fare at places like Bushman’s kKoof and Bartholomeus Klip. She focuses on fresh and seasonal ingredients which she fashions into dishes both classic and trendy, all well balanced compositions where flavour and texture are paramount, and eye appeal follows – simply by stylishly presented on large white plates. There are no dribbles or foams, no ingredients fashioned to look like a lunar or Picasso landscape, but every mouthful offers convincing proof of dedicated talent at work.

The menu, simply divided into savoury dishes and desserts, is well constructed, ranging from upmarket sandwiches (chicken with fontina cheese and crème fraîche and sirloin with caramelised onion, roasted tomato, mozzarella and wild rocket) through appealing vegetarian items to a good selection of salads, seafood, chicken and red meat choices. Between four of us, we sampled two meatless dishes - caramelised onion,spinach and blue cheese tart and aubergine parmigiano – neither of which could be faulted. Those who chose layered smoked salmon and avo topped with trout caviar and grilled lamb loin salad with roasted eggplant, feta, mint and tzatsiki were equally happy . The weather was too hot for my choice of buttermilk panna cotta to set as it should have done, so I sampled the classic vanilla crème brulée instead, which was excellent. Roasted hazelnut and chocolate meringue galette proved rich and irresistible, and a dainty apple tart, topped with vanilla icecream, swam in a pool of satiny crème anglaise.

The winelist is substantial, and includes an impressive number of international labels, along with beer, cider and spirits. Cape wines are mostly limited to products from the Rupert cellars, with a couple of Elgin labels to round off choices. Wines by the glass are limited to a couple of bubblies and to the Protea range of still wines, which are affordable if forgettable. The brilliant Cape of Good Hope range of wines is also there, every one of which I would recommend with enthusiasm.

Part of the restaurant’s proceeds are channelled to the Imibala Trust, a philanthropic project which is a story in itself. Suffice it to say that an impressive number of needy children, from around 20 schools across the Helderberg basin, from Grade R upwards, are clothed in school uniforms, given their own personal belongings, and are monitored throughout their school lives. They also take part in a number of extramural activities.

Supporting charity has never been so delicious.

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Tagged in: Restaurants Review
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