Wednesday, November 09, 2016

This Week's MENU. Restaurant Week at Raya Kitchen & Burger & Lobster, Lanzerac, Stark-Condé, Platter 2017, Sunset Beach Wines, Wine & Recipe of the week

Summer is flirting with us at the moment, we have warm days then it is chilly and a little cloudy. Drought is with us again and severe water restrictions in the Cape came into effect on the 1st of November, so we just wish it would rain
Later than we intended, again. There simply isn't enough time to attend functions, write notes, edit pictures, fix broken bits of house etc., etc. but we enjoy pretty well all the things we report on, and hope to entertain you with our stories
 Stark-Condé Vertical and Japanese lunch
Restaurant Week     Restaurant Week now happens nationally twice a year, April and October. Selected restaurants enter and often they are new venues needing exposure. For 10 days you can have a 2 course lunch starting from R150 and a three course dinner from R200. Better restaurants add stars and that means they can add R50 in increments or stars, according to how good they think they are. You can view the limited menu on offer on line and, if you register early as a VIP, you can book before others. One thing we don't like is when restaurants don't publish a menu and just say "We will surprise you". We won't go to those. What if they served only something we don't eat, we dislike or are allergic to? Try harder, it is all about attracting customers to your style of food; often we have no idea what you serve. You will get more guests.
Restaurant Week dinner at Raya Kitchen, Nelson Mandela Square     We are generally so busy doing media functions that we don't often get a chance to eat out at newer restaurants and as we had a bit of a window between events, we grabbed the chance to visit two that attracted us this time. Raya was originally an extension of Kitima, the very popular Thai/Asian Restaurant in Hout Bay, but is now independently owned. Now you can eat the same style of food in the centre of Cape Town, as they are in the Mandela Rhodes Building on Wale Street
A visit to Lanzerac, cellar tour, tasting, lunch and a look at the newly refurbished accommodation      Lanzerac has been making changes since we last visited in 2013 when Christo Wiese sold the farm. They invited us to come and see some of them and have some lunch last week. We were delighted to find that Barend Barnard, whom we know from L'Avenir, has just been appointed General manager. It was his first week. We had a great wine tasting with winemaker Wynand Lategan and lunch with Barend
Lunch at Burger & Lobster, Cape Town     Another Restaurant Week place to try was Burger and Lobster. It would be fair to say that crayfish or lobster is high on the list Lynne's favourite foods. And John is rather fond of good Hamburgers. So, when we saw this restaurant on the Restaurant Week list, it was almost a foregone conclusion that we would go to find out what was on offer. And it's a surprise, they offer only two dishes, a lobster roll and a hamburger
Stark-Condé Vertical and Japanese lunch     We received an invitation to Starke-Condé in the Jonkershoek Valley in Stellenbosch. It was an interesting invitation: The Japanese Ambassador to South Africa his Excellency Mr. Shigeyuki Hiroki was to present Mr Hans Peter Schröder, joint owner of Starke-Condé with a Certificate of Commendation, on behalf of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Japan, for his role in fostering cultural relations with Japan. And after the presentation we would be do a vertical tasting of Starke-Condés Three Pines Cabernet Sauvignon Jonkershoek Valley from 2000. A first for this farm. Then a Japanese themed luncheon. How could we refuse.
Launch of the 2017 John Platter Wine Guide      This is the quintessential guide of South African wine. It is not totally comprehensive, some wineries do not wish to be included but their names and contact details are included if not their wines. We use it daily as a reference book and many of you use it as a travel guide when you want to visit farms and as a purchase guide when choosing which wines to buy. The 37th edition was released on the 31st of October and this year the cover is Forest Green. We were at the launch and could taste all the five star wines (95 to 100 points). Well nearly all. OK, some. There are 95 wines and 13 Brandy/Husk spirits with five stars.
Sunset Beach Wines 6th birthday     Mark and Louise Herd, who own Sunset Beach Wines in Table View, invited us to join them when they held a party to celebrate their 6th birthday. Mark can be seen at every important tasting, keeping up with developments, to make sure that customers in the Blaauwberg area have an excellent choice
How NOT to     We don't want to sound too precious, but sometimes we have a restaurant experience we don't want to repeat. We suspect that it's a familiar experience for some of you too. At a recent visit to a Waterfront restaurant - not one we have written about in this issue, why would we? This is what they did wrong. The food was good, it usually is. They just got almost everything else wrong.
1. They now have outside seating and good views, both with ample seating but we were put right at the back, next to both the busy kitchen and toilet entrance. Not our favourite spot. Is this how they treat pensioners?
2. They didn't tell us about the Wednesday special, but we knew it existed, which was why we were there. So we asked for it. (We then told all the foreigners being seated next to us about it! and they were delighted).
3. The lighting - in a new space - was atrocious. Get this right please restaurants, we want to see our food
4. There was a large hair in on John's hamburger, we pointed it out, they ignored us
5. The portion of excellent ribs Lynne was served was enormous so we asked for a doggie bag. Refused point blank, said they don't do it on specials. Why? We know they do it normally. So she simply wrapped the food in a napkin and put it in her handbag. Why don't you offer a half portion on your menu, it would be popular
6. When the bill arrived, it was full charge for both dishes. We made them change it to the special
7. Service was very attentive, but only when we didn't need them. The bill took forever to come and we needed to be somewhere else
Will we be back? Ummmmmm

This recipe makes 12 individual tarts . We bought the tart cases ready made, but you can make your own and prebake them. Use a short crust pastry. When they are cooked and turned out, you make these two fillings, fill, cool and serve, so the pastry does not get cooked again.
Salted Caramel: ½ cup (125ml) single (pouring) cream - 25g butter - 165g white sugar - ¼ cup water - sea salt flakes
Before you start have the butter and cream ready and waiting on the side of the stove. In a small pan, mix the sugar and the water and bring to a boil. Let it reach 150C and turn to a nice dark (but not burnt) caramel. Remove from the heat and immediate put in the butter and cream. It will bubble up alarmingly, stir well until it subsides. Do not touch at this stage, it is like lava and will burn you. When it has cooled somewhat and you can taste a drop of it, add the salt to your taste, a quarter teaspoon is probably enough. Fill each tart case with the caramel to 2/3rd full. Leave space for the chocolate. Set aside to cool. When it has done so, it is time to make the ganache
Chocolate Ganache
75 g of good 70% or 85% dark chocolate - 1/4 cup of cream - a little sugar if necessary
Break up the chocolate and begin to melt it over warm water. Heat the cream separately to just below boiling point - it must not boil. Add to the melting chocolate and stir well till it combines into a thick ganache. If you overheat it, it will not be shiny. Taste and add a little sugar if it is too bitter for you, a teaspoon or 2 should do it. But don't forget the caramel is very sweet. Pour on enough to fill the tarts. Decorate each one with something small, like gold leaf, gold dust or a tiny edible flower
Nitida CWG 2010 Decorous Sauvignon Blanc, made by Bernhard Veller. Lynne bid for and got this wine on the Silent Auction at the Cape Winemakers Guild Auction a couple of years ago. We drank it this week with dinner guests. It shows so well how Sauvignon Blanc can age if kept in suitable storage. It is full of green peppers and elderflowers, gooseberries and lemons, but deep and full rather than racy and crisp. It went so well with the fresh tomato soup we served, adding to the soup, rather than overwhelming it
9th November 2016
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Recommendations of products and outside events are not solicited or charged for, and are made at the authors’ pleasure. All photographs, recipes and text used in these newsletters and our blogs are © John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus. Our restaurant reviews are usually unsolicited. We prefer to pay for our meals and not be paid in any way by anyone. Whether we are invited or go independently, we don’t feel bad if we say we didn’t like it. Honesty is indeed our best policy. While every effort is made to avoid mistakes, we are human and they do creep in occasionally, for which we apologise. This electronic journal has been sent to you because you have personally subscribed to it or because someone you know has asked us to send it to you or forwarded it to you themselves. Addresses given to us will not be divulged to any person or organisation. We collect them only for our own promotional purposes. If you wish to be added to our mailing list, please click here to send us a message and if you wish to be removed from our mailing list, please click here to send us a message.
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