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WMBW Eats

final-review-book-camissaIt’s not every day you get invited for lunch at one of Cape Town’s landmark hotels. So when the Table Bay hotel told me they had a couple of bottles of GH Mumm on ice, for me and a couple of friends, I didn’t really give it a second thought. Truth be told, I barely gave it a first thought – they kinda had me at GH Mumm  🙂

The Table Bay hotel itself is nothing short of spectacular, having what is arguably the best address in Cape Town – slap bang on the V&A Harbour – this 5 star landmark often feels as though it’s reserved for those climbing off the super yachts anchored just outside. Today however, there was a table waiting for Elzaan and I together with 4 of our closest friends at the hotels official restaurant the Camissa Brasserie. This would be the perfect start to the year and great practice for the upcoming Sun Met of course.

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It was one of those perfect Cape Town summer days, and although we had an opportunity to dine outside it would have meant giving up the lavish leather and marble interior – besides, it was a hot day and we didn’t want our Champagne getting warm  😉

We were in no rush (luckily neither was the restaurant) so we took our time catching up over the home made bread basket, reading through the menu and of course raising a toast to anything we could think of. Sometimes, you don’t have a reason to celebrate so it’s best to make some up along the way.

We eventually settled on our starters and mains and headed straight back to our conversation, champagne and of course some more toasts. Neither of us are food critics so I wont even begin to tell you about mouth feel or crunch factor (is that a thing? It should be if it isn’t) all I know is that my west coast mussel starter was delicious as was my east rock lobster tagliatelle. Elzaan kept showing me how her lamb shank just slipped off the bone and basically all the plates went back empty which is always a great sign.

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When it came to dessert, no one could really decide, so we ended up settling on a classic ‘speed dessert’ to avoid any order envy. For those of you who don’t know, speed dessert involves ordering a dessert for everyone at the table, then having a spoon full and passing left till all the plates were empty. The chocolate fondant went pretty quickly, followed closely by the rainbow cheesecake (or Unicorn cake as we called it), the only thing to suffer was our chessboard, we were simply to full to get through it all.

Our biggest disappointment was turning our last bottle of GH Mumm over to join it’s empty friends in the ice bucket that had given us such a fun afternoon. There was of course one last toast…to the ice bucket of course.

If you’re looking for a special day or night out, I definitely suggest giving the Camissa Brasserie a try for a classic fine dining experience. If you do, don’t rush it, just sit back and take in the beauty its location has to offer, you wont regret a minute. They’re open for lunch (11:00 – 15:30) and dinner (18:00 – 22:30) Sunday to Saturday and you can get hold of them on +27 21 406 5988.

Okay. Stay Fancy.

 

 

final-review-book-hoghouseWe love us a bit of BBQ, so when the opportunity came up to attend the relaunch of the Hoghouse at Spier, Elzaan and I grabbed it with both sticky fingered hands!

We haven’t been to Spier since the terrible experience we had about a year ago, but Hoghouse isn’t just another tourist trap on a wine farm, this place would be my next ‘local’, if I was a local. It isn’t all about barbeque though, it covers the three major food groups, beer, bread AND barbeque so really, you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t go. They bake their own bread, brew there own beer and of course…smoke their own meat.

dscf9689dscf9654dscf9703dscf9692bwdscf9664When you arrive, you come face to face with “the hog” a massive smoker cooking up Texan-style BBQ all day son…ALL DAY!! And when I say ‘all day’ its not just a cool thing to say, I literally mean the meat is slow cooked all day. It’s a process they call ‘low and slow’ where the meat is smoked without sauce, allowing the natural flavours of the meat to blend with the smoke from the Rooikrans wood. This is a far cry from the way us South Africans like to BBQ (or braai) which is generally all about sauced up meat cooked over open flames, but hey, we were excited to try it!

This place is massive, but I mean ‘get lost’ massive. It’s smart though, split up into loads of tiny rooms, so you never short on atmosphere. It has a giant outside terrace on both sides and the attention to detail in the decor is amazing. I’m gonna call it farmhouse chic, cause it kinda feels like you’re at a friends house – but it’s a friend who used to be a graphic designer and decided to give it all up to live on a farm. I really hope that makes sense to someone.

dscf9734dscf9762dscf9741dscf9804dscf9756We were there for the inaugural Beats and BBQ dinner, which pretty much involved us, beer, bread and barbeque and a band we had never heard of. All the makings of a great night really.

As I mentioned earlier, these guys brew their own beer so I decided to give the Hogtale APA a try, I’ve never been a big fan of IPA’s but maybe this African Pale Ale would do the trick. It did, it was good, a lot less hoppy than an IPA and the perfect way to start. Naturally my next step was trying ALL THE beers, but of course, just tasters. Besides, the starters were arriving and I needed something to wash it down with.

Luckily, the night was all about trying, they laid out a table with pretty much everything on the menu, and well, we dug into it all. Sometimes I had to try something once or twice, just to make sure it was as good as I remembered it the first time. It was. My biggest culinary surprise was the pigs tail, yeah, you read me right, pigs tail, deep fried and delicious! It could possibly be the worlds best bar snack, crispy, salty, crunch and too rich to eat a whole bowl of them in one swoop! You could literally have made a meal of the starters, and they were all good, weirdly enough (for a BBQ joint), the arincini balls seamed to be everyone favourite!

dscf9858dscf9930dscf9951dscf9882dscf9889dscf9901dscf9934dscf9903dscf9990The stone jets ended up being incredible, the perfect mix of original tracks and cover songs played with their own unique twist! At some point the entire restaurant was standing up dancing and wouldn’t let the band leave! Ahhh…beer & wine, what good dancers you are!

The food kept coming and by the time the main dishes arrived we were all just full enough to give everything a try. The dry barbecue is something i’m gonna have to get used to, I mean the qulaity and flavour of the meat was outstanding, but I’m used to licking sauce off my elbows when I get stuck into a set of ribs. The buttermilk fried chicken on the other hand, was an absolute winner, especially when eaten between bites of Mac and Cheese! I’ve never been down south in the States, but I’m pretty sure this is where my stomach is most at home.

dscf9972dscf9960dscf9963dscf9966Conclusion, if you’re a local, this place is a no brainer. When you leave the office on Friday, just go straight there. Every Friday from 17:00 they whip out one free keg of beer to get things started, so I suggest get there early and get yourself a bowl of pigs tails! (follow #FreeKegFriday to see what’s up!)

If you’re from out of town, or town town (for Capetonians) it’s definitely the perfect spot after a couple of wine tasting in the area. The hoghouse at Spier is open Wednesday to Monday (closed Tuesday) for breakfast (9-11:30) and lunch (12:00 – 15:00). The BBQ kitchen is open for dinner from 18:00 to 21:00 on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and you can call them on +27 (21) 881 3174 or mail them at howdy@hhbc.co.za

 

Oh, one last thing. If you have a hankering for beer and meat the guys at hoghouse are hosting there very own “hogtoberfest’ on Saturday 8 October, in the grand tradition of Oktoberfests worldwide. It all starts at 11:00 and there will be a line up of three bands, including a traditional oompah-band and the Stone Jets (you definitely wanna catch these guys) for those worried about missing the big game, New Zealand and South Africa will be screened at 17:00. Tickets are R150 and include a glass and free beer tasting of Hoghouse beer and five other local breweries – Each brewery is producing a special festival beer.

Okay.Stay fancy!

Final-review-book-(Charango)This review is so fresh I think I still have a piece of quinoa stuck in my teeth.

Yes. Quinoa! That amazing South American super-grain filled with so many delicious nutrients you cant help but eat like a 1000 of them. It’s also an absolute staple in Peruvian cuisine!

Boom!

Yes people, much to my surprise, the humble people of Peru not only have a cuisine, but if Charango is anything to go by, it’s a freaking delicious one! Having never been to Peru myself I can neither confirm or deny the authenticity of such a claim, but even if the menu at Charango is simply inspired by Peru, then some one please take me to Peru!

This was in fact not our first visit to Charango. Our First visit was shortly after it had opened (a couple of months ago) to meet a friend for a drink, it was a sunny afternoon and we wanted somewhere with a lovely outside area that would allow us to soak in the start of the weekend. We did have a couple of tiny tacos while we were there, but to be honest, our priority on that day was checking if there was in fact truth in wine! I’m happy to report there was.

menu-from-abovemenumirrorsInteriormuralglass-and-boothskullThis wasn’t even our second time at Charango. No, that was another friday evening where on a whim we decided to change the venue of “Date Night” and once again soak in the weekend while sipping on champagne. When dinner rolled around we kinda picked a few things out the menu with no real expectations to be honest. I mean, the place was new and trendy, slap bang in the middle of the other trendy bars and eateries. So we had low expectations.

Strangely enough, the food was not the first thing to blow us away. Believe it or not, it was the service. Yeah, I know, when last has service been so good that it stood out!? Our waiter was absolutely incredible, just super friendly, super informative super helpful and really made the night for us – I would think we just got lucky if we hadn’t experienced the same service this last time round too.

When our food arrived (mostly recommendations from our waiter) we were blown away. Yeah, I know, sounds extreme again, but much like you, when you started reading this article, we didn’t quite know what to expect from Peruvian tapas, so when it arrived and we realised every dish was more tasty than the last it brought a whole new level of joy to our meal.

See, what we came to discover (in short) was that Peruvian cuisine was (like most South American cuisines) largely influenced by the Spanish. However it was the Chinese and Japanese influence on the food that made it all so different.

tacossteak-and-quinoarose-water-pisco-soursme-drinkingme-drinking-2salad-close-upsecond-course-from-aboveNow look. I’m not a real food critic, so, It would be cheeky to sit here and break down the meal for you, telling you that “the crunch of the asian slaw contrasted perfectly with the seared Tuna in the bite sized tacos” – all be it true. However, if you’re anything like me, you simply want food that you can enjoy without feeling like you should have studied before you sat down.

The food was good, all of it. Even the cucumber and courgette salad that we tried was amazing, just simple and fresh but full of flavour! When you have 2 meat eaters fighting over the last courgette piece you know you’ve nailed the salad!

Lets move on to drinks shall we!

Ok, so? What do you even know about Pisco? Probably as much as me before arriving at Charango. Turns out Pisco is a Peruvian brandy developed by the Spanish settlers in the 16th century as an alternative to their Spanish orujo. Our waiter however told us that it had been created as a way to beat the wine tax in Peru, and to be honest, I way prefer that story. We both started off with a rose water and cardamon Pisco sours as recommended by Alwyn the manager and I must say that despite trying our best to work our way down the list of Pisco sours the Rose water and Cardamon remained our favourite. We also gave one or 2 of the other cocktails a try and although they were very delicious we did find them a little sweet. Interestingly though Charango uses no sugar in their drinks but instead Xylitol as a lower carb sugar substitute! I thought that was quite novel!

As the afternoon started cooling down we moved outside and just sat watching the world go by as we sipped on another Pisco Sours – we loved it!

Pisco-barpinapple-drinkBC-with-drinkpisco-bar-wallus-and-cocktailsI think my view on Charango is pretty obvious. My mouth started watering and I got all excited again just writing this review. I cant even quite put my finger on what makes the place so amazing, sure the decor is great and so is the food, but it’s more than that. There’s something ‘extra’, something I cant explain, something I really think you should try for yourself.

If you’re in town and want to give Charango a try, you can call them on 021 422 0757, they’re open Monday to Saturday for lunch (12-3pm) and dinner (6pm till late) and you can find them at 144 Bree Street, Cape Town.

Okay. Stay Fancy.

 

Final-review-bookThis review has been a long time coming. In fact the better part of 4 months. Whoops!

After spending 2 weeks traveling Asia, Elzaan and I stopped over in Dubai to visit some friends. One of the things on my “things to do in Dubai” list was brunch. I’m not sure why, but someone once told me that brunch in Dubai was a pretty big thing, where the only thing that rivalled the amazing food was the bottomless champagne!

I think the bottomless champagne sold me.

So, the only thing left to do, was to book a place for brunch right? Well, no. Dubai has no shortage of incredible world class restaurants, all of them doing Friday brunch (yeah, Friday is Dubai’s Sunday…or Saturday…I forget) so actually choosing a brunch place isn’t as easy as it seems.

In the end after trawling every list from “The best of Dubai brunches” to “Brunch on a budget” we all agreed on giving Asia Asia a bash, besides, we had an entertainer voucher.

budahsEntrancedetailsbathroomInterior demonYeah, I know right! Wow! It’s a pretty epic looking place.

The crazy mix of Asian details are inspired by the ancient spice route and takes you on a journey from Asia minor all the way through to the far east in a truly spectacular fashion. If you find yourself sitting in a dimly lit booth with a Japanese Noh mask staring straight at you while Chinese bird cages swing high above you, then you’re in the right place. Located on the 6th floor of Pier 7 in the Dubai Marina, the views outside of Asia Asia are as you would expect, amazing.

Taking a trip down the ancient spice route is all good and well for your eyes, but what happens when you take your tastebuds on the same journey? Deliciousness. Thats what happens!

So brunch works a little something like this: AED 449 including Prosecco, AED 395 including house beverages and AED 295 including soft drinks. Now for those of you who have visited Dubai before (or who currently live there now) you know that drinks in Dubai are on the top side of pricey! I mean, literally the most expensive drinks I’ve had in my life! So, if you enjoy a drink or two, you’re gonna wanna take the option with either Prosecco or House Drinks – House Drinks are basically spirits, wines and beers together with a selection of speciality cocktails. We took the house drinks option and while the girls hit the wine I dived straight in to the “Asian Negroni’s”. I’m not quite sure what made them asian other than the slice of cucumber garnish but they have been to this day the best negroni’s I have had in my life. I wont tell you how many I drank that day.

Let’s move on to the food shall we?

Brunch in Dubai is always served as a bottomless affair, but rather than set up a buffet where you walk up and help yourselves, Asia Asia brings the buffet to you. See you’re presented with a menu, but it’s not really for you to order off, it’s merely a reference for the barrage of food coming your way. They literally start at the top and work their way through the entire menu till they hit dessert, or you explode. Which ever comes first.

sushinegronifoodfood-2starters The flavours are very much Far East meets Middle Eats and you’ll quickly find yourself digging in to a plate of spinach,date and cashew nut dumplings right before tucking in to the Malaysian flavoured chicken tajine. And when I say tucking in, its not just a turn of phrase. I mean, the food is so delicious you literally cant get enough of it. At this point I almost feel as though I should call out a favourite “thing”, but the truth was, with everything being so good, nothing really stand out as amazing. Look, some things are better than others, or some flavours appeal more to different people, but as far as quality of ingredients go, everything was spectacular.

Now the bad.

By the time we hit our mains, we were done. We had all eaten so much that we literally couldn’t eat anymore and we had to start sending food back and turning food away. That’s not great. Your meal and experience goes from one of ecstasy to one of guilt and sloth very quickly. Now, to be fair, that’s not the restaurants fault, you can skip courses or order more of anything along the way, it’s entirely up to you. I guess we just went a little overboard and filled up on sushi and tapas, rookie mistake!

So? After all that, would I recommend brunch at Asia Asia? Given the hefty price tag and the fact that I didn’t manage to sample a large part of the menu? Yes, yes, yes! Despite having eaten ourselves into a comma everyone agreed that every bite and every drink was worth it.

If you’re in Dubai, and looking to brunch you can call Asia Asia on 04 276 5900 or mail them at info@asia-asia.com.

Okay. Stay Fancy.

PS: Special thanks to my talented photographer friend Natelee Cocks for helping me with some of the pictures above.

 

exteriorThis is the entrance to one of the most amazing places Ive ever been.

Pretty epic uh?

I didn’t quite know wether this post fell under travel, drinking or eating (so I tagged all 3) But I knew it was an experience definitely worth sharing.

During our recent trip to Bali (that post is on it’s way) we were told by more than a couple of friends to visit Potato Head for a sundowner or two. Now the name ‘Potato head’ really doesn’t conjure up visions of the coolest of the cool lounging around with nothing to do but soak in the sun and sip on cocktails does it? Strangely enough, it was exactly that.

entrancehalwaytiki-drinkswallPool-ViewThis place is more than impressive and it is definitely worth the trip out, depending where you’re staying in Bali of course. No, wait the sheer site of the “Colosseum” (A tower of mismatched wooden Balinese shutters surrounding the building) makes the trip worth it no matter where you’re staying.

It’s everything you expect from a beach club. Beautiful people and beautiful views all enjoyed to the combined sounds of chilled tunes and laughter – WOW! Did I just wright that? Shcmaltz alert right!? This place does have a way of making you feel pretty schmaltzy though I must be honest.

Now of course beautiful people aside, a beach bar is only as good as its drinks right? Well, this placed nailed those!

drinkssunsetme-sittingbedsunset-2e-sippingfinal-sunsetThe cocktail menu is vast, filled with everything from your classic Mai Tai to Tiki drinks and even some shareable jugs of punch. Elzaan and I decided we would get stuck into the Three Berry Margarita (for me) and the Matahari (for her) as we sat and watched the sun disappear behind the indian ocean. The drinks were strong and well made, and definitely the best cocktails we had in Bali, they’re not cheap but as we had quickly learnt in Asia, you definitely get what you pay for.

When the sun fell and we finally put away our camera we tucked into a chicken burger and the most delicious pulled pork I’ve ever had in my life! (Well, at least the best pulled pork I had on my trip) We switched to our staple of Bintang Beer and just sat back talking about what an epic day we had just had. There’s the schmaltz again!

As I said above, if you find yourself in Bali, definitely don’t give this place a miss!

Okay. Stay Fancy.

 

Final-review-B&BA little while back I did my first ever real travel review of the Rico Suter Country House, about 2 hours outside of Cape Town, great little place, go take a read if you haven’t. Anyway, on our way back home from our weekend away we decided to take a little turn at the Spice Route ‘wine farm’

Now I say ‘wine farm’ because there seems to be a new age of wine farms that are more wine theme parks than farms. Of course they don’t have any of the fun thrill seeking rides you’de expect at a theme park ( the corkscrew seems like a missed opportunity) but are rather culinary experiences to provide you with a full day of family fun. Assuming eating is fun for your family that is.

drivewayBarley-and-Biltong-signall-the-beersbrewing-roomWe arrived at a very full Barley and Biltong during lunch so the hostess recommended we do a quick beer tasting next door at the Cape Brewing Company while we wait for a table. I didn’t object.

They have 2 beer tasting options, R25 for 4 CBC beers or R35 for 6 beers 4 of them CBC and 2 Jack Black beers, reluctantly we went for the 4 beer tasting having spotted the burgers that awaited us at Barley and Biltong we wanted to get back and stuff our faces.

Not only are you in a working brewery, but they have a little beer tour you can take to find out all about the process.  We skipped the tour, because, well, we just wanted to drink the beer, not just look at it. Our “craft beer specialist’ talked us through every beers origin and flavour profile as she expertly poured us our tasters.

Mmmmm. Beeeeeer!

lightspouring-beermmmm...beertasting-beersber-tourThe lager was delicious, but the pilsner won us over, so we stuck to that when we returned to Biltong and Barley for lunch.

The menu isn’t huge, but its not really supposed to be I don’t think, its a craft burger joint, they do burgers, they do them well. Stick to what you know seems to be their philosophy.

We decided to give all the options a try, so ordered a bowl of biltong ( a form of beef jerkey for my american readers), the caraway salted Bretzel with butter and the ‘Tafelburger’ which draws it’s name from Cape Town’s famous Table Mountain landmark, though at R95.00 I thought I might be buying the actual mountain.

Menus2-beersbeer-moustacheBiltong-(whole)biltongThe biltong was delicious, though a little dry for my liking, then again, i should have asked for moist, or maybe have gone for something different like one of the game biltongs on offer.

The burger, I can honestly say was worth every cent. Thick, juicy, covered in mature cheddar and a home made tomato sauce, it really caught me off guard as I honestly wasn’t expecting that amount of awesome in my mouth! The chips were okay, they felt a little processed and certainly didn’t deserve to share the plate with the burger, either way, we left none behind.

The bretzel didn’t really feature to be honest. I mean, we ate it, but why did we even order that?

Burger-from-aboveburgertomato-sauceE&SConclusion?

Definitely go for the burgers. I know I’ll be back, I mean, look how happy I am in that photo!!!

After lunch we walked around a little, had a chocolate tasting and finished off with a very milky flatwhite (nothing worse). There’s quite a bit to still see and do at Spice Route, so we’ll definitely be back to try one of the other culinary rides.

Barley and Biltong is open everyday and you can contact them on 021 863 4539 or drop them a mail at info@barleyandbiltong.co.za for bookings and stuff.

 

Okay. Stay fancy.

Review-form---chalk-and-cork-(2)This post has been a long time coming. In fact, its close on 3 months now.

I’ve been trying to come up with a way to make my restaurant reviews different to those you get on foodie blogs, something simple that can maybe answer everything you might wanna know about a place in simple way. That’s what that form above is all about, or at least that’s what it’s supposed to be. A quick 5min overview of my experience. that way you can see wether it’s somewhere you might wanna go or not, before delving into the details of the article.

About those details, well, there wont be too many, see I’m not a massive foodie either, so you wont hear me talking about mouthfeel or unami – what even is unami? Does it give you a rash if incorrectly prepared? I’ll be giving you simple honest feedback, because this review isn’t for Mr Unami, but rather for the everyday gentleman who would like to take his lady out for a bite to eat.

So, lets begin shall we?

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I visited Chalk and Cork at the end of last year. My team and I were going out for our year end lunch and wanted somwhere we could sit outside and enjoy good food and wine on a relatively tight budget. I had heard some pretty good things about it and it seemed pretty festive every time I drove past – everyone sitting joyfully in a nice little courtyard under the shade of the tree’s. “Lets give it a bash” I thought.

There were about 10 of us all in all and so we decided we’d try and order a little bit of everything and eat family style. Good decision that. The charcuterie and cheese platters (served with toasted ciabata) were delicious enough, though pretty standard. The real tapas winner was the salt and pepper squid with lemon aioli, i know this because I only managed to taste it when we ordered it for the third time.

menumeat-platterwineHumuscalamari

The final trick was Pizza and I suspect this may just be what Chalk and Cork will become famous for. See, there are a lot of pizza restaurants in town, 5 on Kloof street alone that I can think of, but very few actually make great pizza.

We decided to order ALL THE PIZZA! Not much considering there are only 4 pizzas on the menu. Personally I think this is great, too much choice just leads to confusion and order envy anyway. After giving all 4 a try we decided to give the parma ham another try, twice. The pizza’s are good. I mean really good. A thin crispy base, quality ingredients and the perfect amount of toppings – by the perfect amount of topping I mean its not so overloaded with crap that you can’t pick up a slice. The pizza, much like the rest of the food is a real quality over quantity affair.

They apparently make a killer carb free pizza using a cauliflower base, but none of us were scared of carbs that day, so didn’t bother trying one. Soz.

pizza-doughpizza-prepsalami-pizzabeerveg-pizzaParma-pizza

I’ll be back sooner rather than later so I definitely suggest giving this place a try. You can find them at 51 Kloof Street (Cape Town) – just opposite the lifestyle centre. They’re open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and though they have plenty of seating upstairs I would suggest the courtyard on a nice day.

You can take a look at the menu on their website and call +27 (0)21 422 5822 or mail info@chalkandcork.co.za for bookings and queries.

Okay. Stay fancy