I have been wanting to visit the Grand for ages. It is on a beach in pretty much downtown Cape Town and it is difficult to get a reservation as it is so busy.
Lounging on a couch at the Grand beach cafe
Finally managed to get a table for a gossipy lunch with a new Cape Town friend last week.
I have to say the setting is truly glorious. You can lounge on a parasol-shaded couches on the beach while sipping a cocktail or three on a lazy Saturday afternoon. Even better for sundowners!
But that is it… go there for cocktails and go somewhere else for food. We had an unbelievably chunky and bland waldorf salad (that was sent back) served with chicken that tasted like it had been in the fridge for a couple of days and grilled calamari, which was nicely cooked but well on the bland side. To compensate for the waldorf salad we had a toasted crayfish sandwich and some soggy chips. Lunch for two came up to well over R300.
THE GRAND CAFÉ & BEACH
Granger Bay Road, off Beach Road,
+27 (0)21 425 0551
Waldorf salad at the Grand
Courgette flowers are somewhat difficult to come by in shops, but they are something you have an overabundance of if you grow your own courgettes. This makes a great starter.
6 courgette flowers (remove yellow pistol)
4 chopped mini courgettes
1 shallot finely chopped
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
(splash of white wine)
1/2 dl of grated parmesan
handful of chopped basil
salt and black pepper
1/2 cup beer
1/2 cup rice flour
1 tsp salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
vegetable oil (for deep frying)
Whisk together the beer and rice flour and leave to sit for 10 minutes. Meanwhile fry the mini courgettes, shallot and garlic until soft but don’t let them turn brown. Add splash of white wine. Combine with grated parmesan and chopped basil and season. Season batter and dip stuffed flowers in it. Fry in 180 degree oil until brown. The batter works well for frying anything really : )
Since our honeymoon shopping sprees in Bangkok and Singapore we are seriously running low on Asian ingredients. I once did a google search on Asian supermarkets and there are three on the main road in Sea Point. This for me is the best out of the bunch. They offer fresh ingredients as well like fresh miso paste, pak choi, green papayas (will be posting a sum tam recipe soon!) and baby aubergines. Sadly for Cameron there was no torch ginger. The enthusiastic guy at the counter reckoned that if they don’t have it no one does… Don’t know where I will get that. New Asian Spice supermarket also has a decent selection of condiments and frozen dumplings.
186 Main Rd,
Having grown up in a country where wild mushrooms abound I love mushrooms. Foraging for amazing flavourful wild mushrooms with my parents are some of my fondest food memories.
Mushroom noodle soup
I was feeling cold and a bit grumpy the other day despite the sweltering 30 degree heat and I came up with this quick recipe.
1 red chill sliced finely
1 medium sized onion chopped
1 clove of garlic grated/ crushed
1 2cm piece of ginger finely grated
100g of shitake/ other oriental flavourful mushrooms sliced
1 liter chicken stock
200g udon noodles or other thick noodles
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp fish sauce
2 finely sliced spring onions
fresh roughly chopped coriander to garnish
Lightly fry the chilli, onion, garlic and ginger in some vegetable oil in the bottom of a pot. As they start to turn brown add the chopped mushrooms and continue frying for a couple of minutes. Cover with chicken stock and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Add the soy sauce and fish sauce and season to taste. Meanwhile boil the udon noodles in another pot according to package instructions and drain. Divide noodles into bowls and spoon soup over them. Sprinkle with fresh coriander and sliced spring onions.
Mushroom noodle soup
When I first read that the walls of Hemelhuijs (House of heaven for the non afrikaans speakers) are black, I couldn’t help
but think gothic and ugh how is food going to look appetizing in
poached eggs with trout and artichoke at the Hemelhuijs
that environment? Well, it did. Black actually works really well on the walls as the space is otherwise quite light with floor to ceiling windows. It is on the beginning of the so called fan walk, a pedestrian street surrounded by some cool home design stores. Hemelhuijs actually reminds me a bit of Manna Epicure, except that it is black where Manna is very white. Like Manna Epicure, Hemelhuijs has some interesting wall decorations including a deer head with broken plates in its antlers.
The menu is inspired with some interesting combinations like poached eggs with artichoke, which is what we both had as it was breakfast (Theo and I have a boring tendency to always pick the same thing which is great for countering menu envy but less great for reporting). My poached egg was perfectly cooked and the combination worked well. I loved the touch of serving fresh juices in carafes. A carafe of fresh juice cocktail at R35 is actually quite reasonable compared to the many spots in town that charge the same for just a glass.
Broken plates and antlers at the Hemelhuijs
I had a apple, cucumber and grape juice which was tasty and unusual. Apart from the tasty food, Hemelhuijs sells bowls and other nice design ware.
Will definitely be back for lunch.
71 Waterkant Street
tel. 021 418 2042
Stunning scenery at Jordan
Last Saturday came with much anticipation. We have been preparing for the visit of an influential guest for a couple of weeks now and given his high degree of foodieness, selecting the right restaurant was of utmost importance. I read reviews until my eyes dried out. I was looking for something in the winelands on a Sunday, spectacular food, stunning scenery and obviously great wines. I really didn’t want to risk stuffiness or mediocre food (yes, a recce would have been in order). Rust en Vrede was ruled out because of it not being open on Sundays (!). Apparently they also don’t do a proper lunch. La Colombe is in the wrong winelands. Overture was closed for a wedding. Terroir is fab but doesn’t have a stellar view. Waterkloof… well read the review. The view lead me to choose Jordan over
Lentils with ravioli and prawn
Jordan has an exquisite view of rugged mountains over a little reservoir and undulating vine-clad hills. The chef in charge is George Jardine who ran the much revered and soon to be missed Jardine bakery/restaurant in the city bowl.
The menu is focused and quite appetizing. Choosing from the starters was a real challenge with firm favorites like foie gras, ceviche, celeriac and pork belly. We had pretty much one of each. The trout ceviche was bland, lacking acidity to balance the sweetness of the fish. The foie gras wasn’t amazing. Maybe just a question of taste though as it was quite moussy and maybe I just prefer the denser version. The pork belly was missing a lovely crisp skin and our celeriac ravioli dishes
porkbelly at Jordan
were overwhelmed by earthy al dente lentils. Mains were all heavy for a warm summer’s day. Picking the lightest mains on offer, we had sole which was overpowered by a herby sauce with sago pearls (!) and overcooked kingklip with a slightly dull but perfectly cooked risotto. Jordan has a cheese room that you can pay a visit to for dessert. The selection is local which is great in principle but doesn’t quite bring tears to my eyes (La Cotte Inn cheese shop). Service was friendly and there was a great enthusiastic American sommelier who guided us through the limited winelist.
You know, I might even send a tourist or two their way to enjoy the setting as I am sure the quality of the food varies. However, I wouldn’t go there again with the owner of a michelin-starred restaurant.
Stellenbosch Kloof Road,
tel: 021 881 3441
Eclectic lampshades at the Woodlands Eatery
Woodlands Eatery is the type of restaurant that I would just love to write nothing but praise of. The decor is funky with mismatched chairs (a big softspot of mine) and an eclectic array of old lampshades (see pic). The owner is enthusiastic and always present giving you that lovely feeling of being hosted. A more practical reason is that it is just around the corner from our house and it is just the type of place that is great for a casual dinner with friends on short notice.
Anyway I have been there twice now and I am sure I will give it another try. Both times the food has been a bit too homemade. I know I know, it is not meant to be a fancy place but the thumb-sized chunks of raw onion on top of the prawn&calamari naan weren’t great. My slightly overcooked fish was swimming in some rather thin sauce and the hamburger was a bit dense and underseasoned. For desert we had a chocolate fondant which was tasty and we also tried the meringue pavlova. The meringues were overcooked that day and we got it for free (we were warned of this before hand). I am very keen to try the slow-cooked lamb pizza, which I have read great reviews of. So yes, I will be back.
2 Deer Park Ave West,
Linefish having a swim