2011 Eat Out Restaurant Awards
At a glittering awards ceremony held a few days ago at the Rotunda at the Bay Hotel, the winners of the 2011 Eat Out DStv Food Network Restaurant Awards were announced. Restaurants are judged on food, service and ambience, as well as other aspects that make or break the eating out experience. Road Travel Africa likes to be in the know and we are always up to date with what’s hot and what’s not. These were the worthy winners.
Chef of the year: Luke Dale-Roberts
Food lovers and followers of award-winning Cape Town chef Luke Dale-Roberts can expect to be thrilled with the opening of The Test Kitchen this summer, an exciting new concept in fine dining in the city’s revitalized Woodstock. Located amid the buzz of the Old Biscuit Mill on Albert Road, Dale-Roberts’s latest project sees the chef cooking his distinctive style of cuisine in an intimate space that is also set to delight design aficionados. As its name implies, The Test Kitchen, though primarily a restaurant, affords Dale-Roberts the opportunity for maximum innovation as a chef, as well as being a space to use as ‘the creative hub’ for a variety of different projects, including regular cooking demonstrations. ‘It symbolizes a stage in a creative process,‘ he explains. He chose The Old Biscuit Mill as the venue ‘because it is an inspirational area with a great community feeling‘.
Restaurant of the year: The Greenhouse
The Cellars-Hohenort’s Grand Chef award-winning gastronomic restaurant, The Greenhouse, expertly showcases Peter Tempelhoff’s talent and extraordinary culinary skill. Here the tasting menu is inspired by the imagination, a place where anything is possible. The cuisine deconstructs and reinvents past classics, resulting in dishes that surprise and leave a lasting impression. With emphasis placed on local produce and flavors, the tasting menu, paired with superb wines from the surrounding wine regions, will impress even the most seasoned diners. Limited seating, for just 45 people, ensures that each guest experiences the most intimate dining affair. This experience coupled with the unforgettable cuisine, where guests find themselves lingering over every bite of the extraordinary, creates a culinary story unique to The Greenhouse.
Service Excellence Award: The Roundhouse
This historic building used to be Lord Charles Somerset’s hunting lodge, the atmosphere of which has been carefully updated with tasteful renovations and superb views of the wooded slopes and the distant Camps Bay beach. French Provencal cooking at its best with a nod to South African roots, with dishes like eland carpaccio with braised ox tongue and pickled cranberry puree to temper all that richness. Try the roasted cob with black mussels, chorizo and gnocchi; the roasted rack of lamb with roasted shallots; or the Peking duck breast with confit leg and hazelnuts. Finish with apricot soufflé and Amaretto ice cream. A sommelier is on hand to help you choose from the extensive wine list.
Best Bistro: Bizerca Bistro
The main attraction here is food. What the bistro lacks in coziness it makes up for with the brilliant cooking of Laurent Deslandes. Food is always delicious and never boring. The signature dish of raw Norwegian salad with goat’s cheese and ginger is a heavenly melange of textures and flavors. Try the inventive pig’s trotters, braised and served with seared scallops, but the less adventurous will be saved by the lightest butternut gnocchi known to man, served with fresh tomato coulis and parmesan. The Karoo lamb stew with fragrant gremolata and sautéed veggies is just the thing for carnivores. Finish with the apple tart with crème fraiche, ice-cream and honey – a knockout. The menu changes seasonally.
Best Steakhouse: The Local Grill in Boksburg, Parktown North and Sandton
The Local Grill is the brainchild of Steven Maresch – whose passion has always been ‘deliver an unforgettable, simple and slick package deal’ – superior product, top class service and hands-on approach. The concept of The Local Grill is reminiscent of ‘the local butcher’ – in an era when service was a personal pleasure, and not a “job”; knowing your customer’s preference was a privilege; meat was cut to order, and the atmosphere was relaxed and an unpretentious around-the-corner ‘pop in’. In keeping with the food concept, the décor of The Local Grill outlets is clean and simple lines, black and white mosaics, wooden floors and a school blackboard displaying the menu of the day, and wine list.
Best Country Style Restaurant: The Table at De Meye
The Table at De Meye is a small eatery in the Stellenbosch wine region, owned and run by chef Camilla Comins and food photographer Russel Wasserfall: “The Table is the expression of our love of good food, fantastic produce and wonderful company. We serve a set menu brought to the table in dishes and platters where our guests serve themselves. Our idea is to encourage people to enjoy once more the simple pleasures of sitting down to a beautifully cooked meal with family or friends. A new menu each week is inspired by Camilla’s classical training, eclectic palate and her international wanderings, as well as by locally sourced, seasonal ingredients”
Best Asian Restaurant: Kitima
Kitima at Kronendal is where oriental elegance and hospitality meet the unpretentious grace and charm of Africa. The authentic Asian cuisine, prepared by 5-star Thai chefs, will carry your senses to an exotic world of spices, perfumes and all that’s precious – here, in the original, centuries old Cape-Dutch homestead. Thai cuisine is known for its enthusiastic use of fresh herbs and spices and is considered by many to be among the best in the world. It is a blend of Asian and European influences created through centuries of trade between continents harmoniously combined into something uniquely Thai.
Best Italian Restaurant: 95 Keerom
95 Keerom Street, circa 1682, originally housed the stables and slave quarters of the Company Gardens. Many of the original elements, including the façade and brick walls, have been saved in the restoration process. These fascinating features, combined with the elegant, modern lines of the décor, contribute to the eclectic atmosphere of the restaurant. Taking its origins from authentic Milanese cuisine, 95 strives to provide guests with a glimpse of genuine Italian food, through the use of the highest quality local and imported ingredients. The secret of the fresh-tasting meals is a result of doing as little as possible to the raw ingredients, allowing the customer to taste exactly what they are looking at on the plate – unpretentious and delicious. From serving only the freshest seafood, to baking bread twice daily, 95 promises to deliver only the finest fare. The menu contains firm favorites like seasonal salads, a full list of raw and cooked carpaccios, fresh fish and ample classic Italian meat creations. Desserts like the liquid centre white and dark chocolate foundante are not to be missed.
The City Press ViP Sunday Breakfast Award: Salvation Café
Salvation Cafe is a celebration of our particularly South African kitsch, an eclectic mix of devices and products in the Seventies – mismatched chairs, candelabra etc – where there is a lot of humor and fun to the menu. The food is organic wherever possible and all of the meats are free-range – they use only free-range chicken, eggs and organic milk. Meat is free of any growth hormones and the wines also boast organic and biodynamic products.
The Boschendal Style Award: Makaron
Majeka House boutique hotel in Stellenbosch is home of French-themed Makaron restaurant. Grass-fed, free-range beef and organic chicken are sourced from Angus McIntosh at nearby Spier, summer berries come from Hillcrest Berry Orchards on the Helshoogte Pass, and olive oil is supplied by the Olive Shed at Tokara. Under the guidance of Kruger, Majeka’s traditional French kitchen garden has just been replanted with radishes, beetroot, carrots, celery, varieties of lettuce and herbs. Makaron features contemporary furniture, reworked antiques and other design details (such as the original, handmade David Walters tableware) to set the tone for French-based classics with a modern twist.