Thursday, January 25, 2018

This Week’s MENU. Dining with Friends, Indian supper, Cape Point Vineyards lunch, Beau Constantia, Broccoli with ginger, Avondale Syrah

Sea Point sunset with boats


Our year is slowly waking up and, in between working on more water-saving strategies, we are doing interesting things. Water, of course, is the biggest topic of conversation, even trumping the chickens coming home to roost with politicians and parastatal directors having to answer for their corrupt activities. Our regional government is trying to get the central government to see that we have a problem and take steps to help us and our local politicians are indulging in in-fighting and blame games while they should be planning how they should avert a catastrophe. We had a practice run at life with minimal water this week when mains collapsed in High Level Road and we were cut off for two days without any warning. This is going to need quite a lot of planning. Life goes on….
We were invited last week to dinner at Suzette and Peter James's wonderful Japanese House in Claremont. Peter James, who was the Director of Communications, was Lynne's boss when she worked in Safmarine’s PR department and Suzette is a renowned cook. They regularly entertain travellers from aboard at their house and this time it was four interesting Americans


We have been coming to Indian restaurants at this address for years and they have varied in ownership, decor, food and service. It is at 91 Main Road, Sea Point, just around the corner from Firmount Road, where we used to live. Some of the best ones lasted a while and we lament their departure, the bad ones disappeared quite quickly, for which we were thankful. The sign above the entrance still has the original Kabab Mahal sign. Sea Point is fussy when it comes to authentic Indian food - and we don't mean local or Durban Indian. Many locals have lived and travelled overseas and experienced authentic Indian or Pakistani food from the subcontinent. We had not even been aware that this latest iteration had opened, so when our friend Terry suggested we go, we went. Terry (British) lives in an area of Greece where there are no Indian restaurants, so he was keen to go and sample the food


To Beau Constantia      
We have lots of overseas and local friends visiting at this time of the year and took our friend Terry on a trip to Constantia last Saturday. We also took local friends along. with whom we wanted to visit a couple of nursery and garden pot shops on the way. Beau Constantia is a wine farm at the very top of Constantia Nek with amazing views. We were there for a wine tasting and to check out the Chefs Warehouse restaurant, which is in the stable of Liam Tomlin, SA's top chef this year, as we want to eat there soon. We know and like his food and have heard such good things about this particular restaurant. The chef running this restaurant is Ivor Jones and it has a sophisticated tapas menu for one price and several courses that change regularly. www.beauconstantia.com/eat/


We thought we would have an informal lunch on the terrace but, having not been there for a while, we hadn't realised that the restaurant has turned into something much more formal. We didn't have a booking and they were very full, but luckily they do have lots of space and a table on the terrace was found for us. NO-ONE wanted to eat inside on a day like this. You can, of course, still do the picnics on the lawn. We didn't have a wine tasting on this visit. http://cpv.co.za/restaurant-noordhoek/Spectacular views, good wines....

What’s on the MENU this week. BROCCOLI WITH GINGER AND GARLIC     We know we need to eat more broccoli, but it can get a bit boring.  This is a version you may like, with a lot of added flavour.  We are braaiing steak tonight and this will be one of our accompanying vegetables

400G Broccoli – 1 T light soya sauce – 1 t chopped garlic – 1 t chopped or grated fresh peeled ginger

Break up the broccoli into bite sized pieces then wash it. Put it into a microwave container, add the soy, the garlic and the ginger and stir. Microwave at the last minute for 2 to 3 minutes on full power (depends on your microwave) then serve.

If you don't have fresh ginger use about a tablespoon of pink sushi ginger, chopped.  It works very well. 

MENU’s Wine of the Week: Avondale Samsara Syrah 2009     
Warm and spicy on the nose at first, then incense wood and minerality appear. Full of red plums and mulberries, soft chalky tannins and long flavours with white pepper, cumin and a little clove. A wine of quality, aging well and drinking well now but years to go. We had this with Sirloin steak char-grilled on the braai 
Lynne likes the meat rare but the fat well-done, hence the separation

25th January 2018

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
PS If a word or name is in bold type and underlined, click on it for more information
Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
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.

What’s on the MENU this week. BROCCOLI WITH GINGER AND GARLIC

We know we need to eat more broccoli, but it can get a bit boring.  This is a version you may like, with a lot of added flavour.  We are braaiing steak tonight and this will be one of our accompanying vegetables

400G Broccoli – 1 T light soya sauce – 1 t chopped garlic – 1 t chopped or grated fresh peeled ginger
Break up the broccoli into bite sized pieces then wash it. Put it into a microwave container, add the soy, the garlic and the ginger and stir. Microwave at the last minute for 2 to 3 minutes on full power (depends on your microwave) then serve
If you don't have fresh ginger use about a tablespoon of pink sushi ginger, chopped.  It works very well

MENU's Wine of the Week. Avondale Samsara Syrah 2009

Warm and spicy on the nose at first, then incense wood and minerality appear. Full of red plums and mulberries, soft chalky tannins and long flavours with white pepper, cumin and a little clove
A wine of quality, aging well and drinking well now but years to go. We had this with Sirloin steak char-grilled on the braai.

Wine tasting at Beau Constantia

We have lots of overseas and local friends visiting at this time of the year and took our friend Terry on a trip to Constantia last Saturday. We also took local friends along. with whom we wanted to visit a couple of nursery and garden pot shops on the way. Beau Constantia is a wine farm at the very top of Constantia Nek with amazing views. We were there for a wine tasting and to check out the Chefs Warehouse restaurant, which is in the stable of Liam Tomlin, SA's top chef this year, as we want to eat there soon. We know and like his food and have heard such good things about this particular restaurant. The chef running this restaurant is Ivor Jones and it has a sophisticated tapas menu for one price and several courses that change regularly. www.beauconstantia.com/eat/
Those views. You can see Constantia Glen and Eagles Nest wineries on the hill to the right
Helpful staff in the tasting room. We were a bit alarmed when we arrived to be asked if we had made a booking, as never before have we had to book at a wine tasting centre on a wine farm. However, they did find us an inside table quickly. It was a bit windy outside. Tastings cost R50 per person for 4 of their wines. The staff are enthusistic but still need abit of training, e.g. when asked if the MCC was a Blanc de blanc, the reply was, "No. it's made from Chardonnay"
It is views all round in the glass box
The wines are made by Justin van Wyk, who is also the winemaker at Constantia Glen next door. We began with the entry level Pas de Nom White blend of 97% Sauvignon Blanc and 3% Viognier. R99 a bottle. The little Viognier certainly shows itself large, as the wine is full of ripe peaches and limes with a full round mouth feel
Next wine was the Pas de Nom entry level Red wine, a blend of Cab Franc, Malbec and Shiraz which is what we were told. On checking their website they have only the 2015 which contains Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Sauvignon so we are a little confused. It began soft and juicy with the Malbec showing well and has a nice kick of acid on the marmite end. R125. This was followed by the just released 2014 Lucca a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Violets on the nose and palate its soft and silky with lovely cherries and berries, layers of savoury and sweet. Needs time and is a bit tinny on the end from the tannins
Lots of young people meet there. The final wine was the 2014 Aiden, a blend of Shiraz, Malbec, Petit Verdot, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon Full of spice, cinnamon, black pepper with some green leaves, dark berries and plums R245. And then, as a small surprise, they gave us a taste of their Pas de Nom MCC Blanc de Blanc. R195. Nice and crisp and dry with typical chardonnay characteristics of limes and lemons and minerality. Will sell
LIKE the sign below!
And the friendly reception at the entrance to Chefs Warehouse below the wine tasting centre. It was very busy and weekends seem to be the busiest at the moment, so we may come back during the week. You can order some of the food to be served upstairs in the Tasting room

Lunch at Cape Point Vineyards

We thought we would have an informal lunch on the terrace but, having not been there for a while, we hadn't realised that the restaurant has turned into something much more formal. We didn't have a booking and they were very full, but luckily they do have lots of space and a table on the terrace was found for us. NO-ONE wanted to eat inside on a day like this. You can, of course, still do the picnics on the lawn. We didn't have a wine tasting on this visit. http://cpv.co.za/restaurant-noordhoek/
Ethereal foam flowers on each table. We drank two bottles of Splattered Toad Sauvignon blanc and were charged for three! Lynne noticed when she was paying the bill and was refunded. We had coffees and 2 bottles of mineral water. The bill came to R1 220 with service, less the R80 refund.
The shade was necessary ....
.... and the views are superb, looking over their dam to the long Noordhoek beach and Kommetjie
Being served, but oh wait, those shoestring chips are actually someone else's order! Actually all the food, although most dishes were the same as ours, was for another table. Ooops, we had to wait a bit longer.
Darn those looked good. Not an option to order though, they go with the Seafood Platter
The menu is quite comprehensive, if a little shy on vegetarian dishes; only one starter and one main. The prices are high, averaging R205 for main courses. This was our friend Ronnie's main course of a Baked Provençal vegetable tart with herbed cream cheese and Romesco sauce and toasted almonds. R95. Nice pastry, and good variety, he enjoyed it
Terry and Lynne (who was feeling a bit off colour after Friday’s Indian) wanted something light and simple, so went for the Pan fried Norwegian Salmon, spiced Thai vegetable and rice noodle salad, ginger, garlic, lemon grass and chilli sauce, shaved coconut and fresh lime. R195. The fish was perfectly cooked, flaky and moist within and the glaze was hot, sweet and savoury & nicely sticky. Sadly, the noodles and coleslaw were completely tasteless; they also need a dressing or some soy. You had to spread the glaze a bit
The line fish of the day, seared Yellowtail, was described on the menu as Lemon ash Cape sea line fish, lemon and chive risotto, charred leeks, spring onion and lemon crème fraiche. R195.
Lorraine ordered this starter of Roast butternut, feta, pumpkin seed and onion marmalade, mesclun salad and a verjuice honey dressing R65 as her main course

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Indian supper at Kabab Mahal, Sea Point

Dinner at Ninety One, an Indian Restaurant
We have been coming to Indian restaurants at this address for years and they have varied in ownership, decor, food and service. It is at 91 Main Road, Sea Point, just around the corner from Firmount Road, where we used to live. Some of the best ones lasted a while and we lament their departure, the bad ones disappeared quite quickly, for which we were thankful. The sign above the entrance still has the original Kabab Mahal sign. Sea Point is fussy when it comes to authentic Indian food - and we don't mean local or Durban Indian. Many locals have lived and travelled overseas and experienced authentic Indian or Pakistani food from the subcontinent. We had not even been aware that this latest iteration had opened, so when our friend Terry suggested we go, we went. Terry (British) lives in an area of Greece where there are no Indian restaurants, so he was keen to go and sample the food
It was not crowded at 7 pm and we like the modern decor and clean look. So much better than the flocked wall paper, chairs and tables made from logs, brass lamps and cliché pictures of the Taj Mahal, which it had in its previous existence
We had brought along a bottle of a great Gewürztraminer from our Cellar, the Paul Cluver Ferricrete 2015, which goes very well with this style of food, being robust enough to stand up to the heat and yet delicate and perfumed enough to compliment it. The corkage charge is R50 a bottle
We did not spot pappadums on the menu, but on request they brought two servings with an accompanying green coconut chutney, sadly lacking in much favour. And the good pappadums spiced with cumin seeds seemed to have been briefly microwaved rather than deep fried, so were crisp but chalky
Lemon Rice and John's Beef Madras curry, good sauce, good meat and authentic flavours. Not too fiery either. The portion of rice is very large and was ample for the two men with a spoonful donated to Lynne
She prefers to order a Naan and the one on the right is her garlic Naan. Terry ordered a Keema Naan, which has mince meat incorporated into the dough
Lynne spotted the Lamb Methi on the menu. It is one of her favourites, made with fresh fenugreek leaves and not found very often in the Cape, so she ordered it and enjoyed it very much. Not sure if it was lamb or even mutton, it tasted much more like goat, but we are fine with that; it happens often in South Africa. The sauces on all the curries are plentiful and so is the meat. Sadly, next day, she did have a rather bad stomach. The others were not affected
Terry ordered the most popular dish in the UK, the Tandoori Butter Chicken which he enjoyed. Lynne found it had a bit too much tomato, but tastes differ. You will have to go and try the food for yourself
We also took a bottle of the De Grendel Rosé, a great palate cooler made from Pinotage and also robust enough to work with curry

Sadly at about 9.30 a busload of Indian tourists arrived for their supper, which was served to them as a buffet at the back of the restaurant. They were extremely noisy, wandering around and shouting loudly at each other across the restaurant, so we and other patrons fled quickly. So we recommend an early meal if you like peace and quiet while you dine. Or phone first to see if another bus is expected

Dinner with the James'

Dining with Friends. old and new
We were invited last week to dinner at Suzette and Peter James's wonderful Japanese House in Claremont. Peter James, who was the Director of Communications, was Lynne's boss when she worked in Safmarine’s PR department and Suzette is a renowned cook. They regularly entertain travellers from aboard at their house and this time it was four interesting Americans
This is Suzette at her beautifully laid dining table. The house is filled with magnificent Japanese furniture, art, pottery and other objets d'art that they collected during their years in Japan when Peter was Safmarine’s Head of Operations there. As Suzette announced to the guests, her task in life is shopping
Lynne and Peter in the comfortable lounge discussing our mutually disappearing Koi ponds and a solution as to what we do when they run out of water. We are not allowed to fill them up in the drought. We have both already lost about 5 large fish
Suzette is famous for her Japanese food, but tonight she did a South African menu and the food was a deliciously authentic representation of how good it can be. This was the starter of superb quality smoked Kudu carpaccio with avocado, peaches and tomato salad with leaves
We meet the other guests over a glass of bubbly. They were from New Jersey and Boston, with vacation homes in Miami, where they go to escape the harsh Northern winters
Homemade bread, moist with a good crust, made by our hostess as a smaller loaf; Suzette says everyone wants “just a little bread”. Of course it all disappeared
The next course was a Waterblommetjie soup made with good stock and no dairy, as one of the guests had an allergy. A new take on this edible water lily for us, one to copy definitely when they are in season
All served in beautiful Japanese chawanmushi egg custard cups
The main course was braised lamb with Cape Malay spices, but no chilli; wonderfully flavourful and tender, it was served with small pumpkin fritters


Dessert was a Malva pudding and, in the cup, a panna cotta topped with a loganberry and coulis. It was a really great evening and really good way to introduce affluent tourists to our country to some authentic cooking in a real home. And interesting personalities. Thank you both so much

Thursday, January 18, 2018

This Week’s MENU. De Vrije Burger; A relaxing time up the West Coast; Leeto Restaurant in Paternoster; Russell's on the Port; West Coast Fossil Park; A cold soup. Salmorejo; Quando Mourvèdre Rosé

Fishing on the beach near Velddrif
*      De Vrije Burger
*      A relaxing time up the West Coast
*      Leeto Restaurant in Paternoster
*      Russell's on the Port
*      Travelling back 5 million years at the West Coast Fossil Park
*      This week’s MENU recipe is a cold soup. SALMOREJO
*      MENU’s Wine of the Week. Quando Mourvèdre Rosé


This is our first edition of MENU for 2018, after enjoying the summer and taking a well earned holiday. Our last media function was on the 12th of December and then it was time to proverbially pack up the work desks and relax. Well that was the theory but, of course, working at the pace we do, lots of things at home get neglected, so we spent a couple of weeks before Christmas cleaning, tidying and fixing. It becomes quite satisfying, seeing things you have meant to do for a long time finally finished and you do feel more organised, but we were beginning to get a bit obsessive when Christmas arrived. We got our tree up, doused the three year old Christmas pudding with more brandy and we had a very happy festive season with friends and family.
We did go and visit one new restaurant before Christmas, Bertus Basson's burger house in Plein Street in central Stellenbosch. Die Vrije Burger - it's a play on words, it’s named after the original Free Burgers in the Cape in the 17th Century and fits nicely into Bertus' concept! (And no, these burgers are not free). It is already popular with the students and locals and tourists, offering just one thing, a very good burger, with accompaniments, chips and a soft serve ice cream cone to finish. We do like his witty logo. 
After New Year, it was time to get away from the house, tidying, fixing and bemoaning the death of the garden and escape to one of our favourite places to chill out, the West Coast, a couple of hours’ drive north of Cape Town. We hired a simple self-catering cottage at the St Helena Bay Hotel for 9 nights and took with us piles of books, quite a lot of wine and some food that didn't need much preparation. We discovered two new West Coast restaurants - see the reviews below - and came back really relaxed and ready to dive right in to the 2018 media season. Harvest has begun.

One of our best chefs, but largely unrecognised and unsung, Garth Almazan, who was at Catharina's Restaurant at Steenberg for many years, had left and we heard that he was opening a restaurant in Paternoster at the Strandloper Boutique Hotel. We had this on our list of things to do when we were there on holiday and were absolutely delighted when their PR agent invited us to visit and sample the food. And we were not disappointed. Garth is a very good chef.

This is a small 15 room boutique hotel in Port Owen, owned by Russell Foster, a British restaurateur from Durham in Sutherland in England where he and his son-in-law own and run 12 restaurants. He told us he had come here to retire, found this place on auction, saw the potential, bought it and opened just 16 months ago. It has been a success. We had recommendations from people we know in Cape Town long before we decided to come up to this area for a holiday, so when Carmen Lerm of West Coast Way asked if we would like to visit it and write a review, we were very keen to oblige.


We have long wanted to visit this interesting place. Lynne studied Gemmology for the FGA in London and we are both fascinated by the environment, man. rocks, minerals and the earth's formation and history. We decided to go on our way back to Cape Town last Sunday and are so glad we did. It seems our delay played in our favour because just two months ago the brand new centre opened and it is almost as impressive as the fossils themselves. It is located on the R45 just off the R27 between Langebaan and Velddrif. And they are a National Heritage site, so they need funding.


This week’s MENU recipe is a cold soup. SALMOREJO 
We had a dinner for friends on their annual pilgrimage from Johannesburg last night. It is rather hot and muggy in the Cape at the moment, so a cold soup is not only easy to do, but is well appreciated
This is one of our best and easiest recipes, a cold fresh tomato soup, no cooking required. It is from the second Moro cookbook, Casa Moro.
Photo courtesy of Taste.com.au

2 garlic cloves – 1 kg ripe tomatoes (Roma or jam work well) – 5 tablespoons of olive oil - 100g white bread, no crusts, lightly crumbled - 1 or 2 tablespoons good quality sweet red wine vinegar or sherry vinegar – a pinch of caster sugar (optional) – sea salt and black pepper
Cut a small cross in the top of every tomato, this will help when peeling them Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for a couple of minutes then remove, dip in cold water briefly and allow to cool off. Then peel, remove the cores and halve them. Crush the garlic with a good pinch of salt until you have a paste. Using a food processor or an electric hand-held blender, purée the tomatoes and bread until smooth. If there are many pips, strain through a sieve. With the machine running, add the garlic and then the olive oil. (I have to confess that the original recipe says 10 tablespoons of olive oil. 5 worked for us. Use your own discretion). When the oil has combined, transfer to a large bowl and stir in the vinegar, salt and pepper to taste and a pinch of sugar if the tomatoes are not particularly sweet. Put into the fridge for 2 hours to chill. Just before serving, check the seasoning once more. Add some iced water if it seems too thick. Traditionally, you serve it with chopped egg and jamon Serrano (cured ham). You can also use a mild chorizo if you can't get jamon.
As they suggested in the recipe, we took all the peel, skin and pith off a large orange, sliced it and then cut it into small wedges and added three to the bottom of each bowl – it is magic and a lovely surprise. Or just open a tin of naartjies (clementines), drain and add them. Serve with crusty sour dough bread or rolls.
We enjoyed this wine with this week's MENU recipe at a dinner party last night. It is a wonderful accompaniment to any dish with a tomato base and is a perfect summer wine. Light in texture with a nice mineral edge and a hint of cranberry. We buy this wine by the case; we are always surprised how well it goes with food, whether it is vegetarian, fish or fowl or meat.








18th January 2018

© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2017
PS If a word or name is in bold type and underlined, click on it for more information
Phones: +27 21 439 3169 / 083 229 1172 / 083 656 4169
Postal address: 60 Arthurs Rd, Sea Point 8005
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.