A truly exciting and important restaurant guide has just been published.

Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery is edited by Jill Dupleix and Giles Coren and is a guide to the truly good restaurants of the world. (Coren you may remember as co-presenter of the television series, Amazing Hotels).

One of the things that separates this guide from any other I have seen is its ethos: “Of all the qualities that distinguish a truly outstanding restaurant or food experience, perhaps truth love and care are the most important.”

“A passion for food that is so good that it will never be forgotten, an environment that makes that food taste even better, and a care for the ground or water from which that food is derived and the community in which it is served. These then are the true food heroes of the world.”

The book lists 400 restaurants from Asia, Australasia, Europe, Latin America & the Caribbean, Middle East, USA & Canada. Africa is not included this time, but a separate volume on our continent is in the pipeline, I believe.

The listings in Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery are well written and not over-wordy. Each entry includes a brief description of the kind of restaurant, who owns it or is its chef, when its open, its address and contact details and a price guide.

But the three sections in each listing: What they say; Signature dishes; and What we say, make for fascinating reading.

One needn’t be a global traveller to enjoy reading this restaurant guide, it is a great read on its own account. But if you are headed to foreign climes and subscribe to the ethical eating mantra (we all should), Truth, Love & Clean Cutlery will be an important and enjoyable companion to inform your dining choices.

It is a magnificent and highly commendable work.

Bon Appetit.




When my wife and I visited Benguela Cove in November 2016, its cellar and other buildings were under construction nearing completion. At the time, Winemaker Johann Fourie painted a picture of the Estate’s exciting plans and they certainly sounded impressive.


Fast forward to December 2018 when we paid our second visit. From the moment we turned off the R43, we were impressed by the Estate’s spectacular rolling vineyards and their sea-side location.
Our yellow, hard-hatted experience and hearing about the future has been replaced by the breath-taking site of the main buildings and the adjacent winery. On entering, we liked our first impression – modern and spacious with understated elegance. There are gorgeous works of art on display, thankfully not too many, but enough to beautifully enhance the interior ambience.


We sat in the wine tasting area and I tried the few of the Benguela Cove range of wines with which I was not already familiar. I particularly liked their 2016 Benguela Cove Semillon Sauvignon Blanc, melon and floral tones and a note of maritime influence befitting its location. Had I not needed to do some driving later, I would have happily had a couple of glasses of it then and there.


Instead I enjoyed a glass of it with the light lunch – battered fish – we had at the Moody Lagoon restaurant, which I would rename the Good Moody Lagoon! Sea view, fresh fish, good wine made for a delicious three way pairing indeed.



Now here’s a “must do”, highly recommended – after lunch we took an hour long Pontoon Cruise on the lagoon aboard the Estate’s Lady Bonnie. One has the option to buy some wine to drink on the cruise, I took mine along already consumed. The pontoon heads towards the sandbank that separates the lagoon from the sea……and beaches itself on it! Because I am of that age, when we jumped out into the shallow waters and onto the whiter than white sand, I imagined I was part of the Normandy landing of World War Two and careered along the sand…unarmed though and to gain a view of the sea. One is allowed one’s fantasies, isn’t one?


After the cruise we headed for Pirate Golf, which is a beautifully equipped outdoor kiddies play area, with Adventure Golf and an eatery for kids called Blackbeard’s Diner.

Johann Fourie, I challenge you to a pairing of adventure golf and wine tasting!


Afterwards, we peeped in at the, not yet opened when we visited but open now, Tea Terrace, overlooking the lagoon – what else! As per its name, teas are served, pastries and wine. The place is elegant and tastefully decorated. We’ll certainly try it on our next visit.

Benguela Cove certainly offers a diverse range of experiences, we had a blast there!


For years now, for me Sushi has fallen into that category of food that I am happy to eat, but would never order when dining out, until now.

What changed my mind was tasting the new sushi offering at The 12 Apostles Hotel and Spa in Camps Bay at their invitation.

From November 2018, SUSHI by 12A under Thai Chef Sarawut Sukkowplang promises to be a popular destination for those who like top end sushi. (Chef Sukkowplang previously worked at Nobu at the V&A Waterfront.)

Chef describes his classic, modern style as ‘Fusion Sushi’ – traditional and contemporary in perfect balance.   On the menu, you’ll find the Chef’s take on traditional dishes such as Nigiri, Sashimi and Tataki, but his Signature Rolls, with a wide selection of fillings such as Yellowfin Tuna, Norwegian Salmon, Trout and Beef fillet, and the Norwegian Salmon and Yellowfin Tuna Tacos.

“Using produce that is both local, as well as sustainable is key to our menu choices at The Twelve Apostles. Our Oysters (a twist on the Japanese version) and Sea Trout come from Saldanha Bay and the cold-caught Yellowfin Tuna from the Cape Atlantic area. The freshwater Trout is sourced from Fizantakraal in the Du Toitskloof Mountains.”

Chef Sukkowplang makes his own unique Dashi, with kelp foraged from the Atlantic Ocean right below the hotel. Every seaweed has its own flavour and character profile that makes it unique and once dried, it releases nutrients and intensifies in flavour (Kombu). Dashi is the base for many of Chef’s sauces and glazes.


SUSHI by 12A Japanese Style Saldanha Oysters

The SUSHI by 12A menu covers a variety of sushi, my personal preference is for Sashimi and my palate was sent to foodie paradise by Chef Sukkowplang’s offerings. What flavours and textures, wow!!! I particularly loved the Japanese Style Saldanha Oysters (with momji, spring onion and ponzu), I could literally taste the sea.



SUSHI by 12A Sushi rolls

There are no compromises on this menu, nothing but the best is served and I cannot imagine there could be a better sushi offering anywhere in South Africa. I will definitely be back and it will be the very first time I will order sushi.

Congratulations 12 Apostles and Chef Sarawut Sukkowplang – I loved every gorgeous mouthful on your sublime Sushi menu.

The setting is superb too.

Sushi By 12A is served daily in the Café Grill restaurant, from November 2018; 12h00 to 21h00.



Phone: 021 437 9000


Situated in suburban Stellenbosch, Majeka House & Spa is a luxury boutique hotel and its Makaron Restaurant is one of Eat Out magazine’s Top 30 Restaurants for 2017

I had long been aware of Makaron, but quite often in life, something that one has looked forward to for a long time disappoints in reality. My first visit was anything but a disappointment.


Makaron interior

My visit was for lunch at Makaron. At the restaurant’s helm is Chef Lucas Carstens, and Makaron offers a choice of between four and six small plates from its menu.

At my first visit to a fine dining restaurant, I try to get as broad a feel for the chef’s cuisine as is possible – and the Makaron small plates menu was an absolutely perfect opportunity.

Up front it offers as Compliments from the Kitchen: Caesar taco/ crispy chicken skin & truffle/ beetroot & trout cracker/”roosterkoek” & “bokkom” butter/ “mosbolletjie en korrel konfyt.”



Lovely palate openers all and I tried hard not to overdo them, knowing that four more courses lay ahead….I partially succeeded, although the roosterkoek kept on looking at me appealingly.

For starters, I tasted: Eggplant tartare, artichoke, turnip; and Poached oyster, peaches, pickled sea vegetables. Both dishes offered the palate a delicious freshness and textural variety.

Following these, I tried: Zucchini risotto, raw mushrooms, cured egg yolk shavings. Aware as I am of how difficult risotto can be to make, Chef Lucas ‘nailed’ this one! And then the House-smoked hake, celeriac, dill, whey soured onions.

From The Serious Choice section of the menu, I chose: Leipoldt’s springbok “rafeltjievleis”, stewed fruit, apricots, onion. Lovely contrast between the sweetness of the fruit and the onions and the spiciness of the springbok. One of the best meat dishes I have had in years! I also tasted the: Suckling pig, “suurvytjie” basting, sweet potato, nasturtium flower vinegar. Another very good meat dish with the acidity of the basting and the vinegar contrasting nicely with the pork.

My excitement-omoter always goes into overdrive faced with a good dessert menu. I could easily have tried all four on offer, but restrained myself and only savoured two of them: Banana carpaccio, roasted yeast caramel, sourdough ice cream. Wow,wow, wow! If it was proper to have a dessert as a main, this would be the one I’d choose. I also had the: Fermented blueberries, olives, olive oil.

And to end it all off, the cherry on the bottom…….we finished off with dainty Toffee apples.



Chef Lucas Carstens’ menu was a gastro-adventure par excellence. Creative, beautiful plating, diverse and simply ”lekker”.

As the Terminator would have said: “I’ll be back!”



26-32 Houtkapper Street, Paradyskloof, Stellenbosch 7600

Tel: +27 21 880 1549


My lasting impression of my first visit to Glenelly Estate in Stellenbosch was surprise at the unimpressive way owner Madame May Lencquesaing’s extraordinary glass collection was displayed.

That was the Glenelly of yore – no more…..

I was recently invited for lunch and a wine tasting and to see the result of extensive renovations – the estate now boasts a Glass Museum, a bistro, and a new tasting room.

11 Glenelly - Tasting Room interior


The tasting room is on the top floor of the winery and has a spectacular view of the Simonsberg Mountain. One is able to taste current and older vintages of Glenelly’s Glass Collection, Estate Reserve and Lady May wines. I particularly enjoyed the Glenelly Estate Reserve Red and the Glenelly Glass Collection Unoaked Chardonnay (yes, I enjoyed a chardonnay!).


21 Glenelly - The Vine Bistro interior (8)


The Vine Bistro, also with “that view”, has cuisine that is French-inspired and which was deliciously evident in the dishes we tasted. Looking at the menu, I noticed that the prices of the Mains are at fine-dining level rather than bistro.

45 Glenelly - glass museum 001 - Copy


The display of glass has been majorly upgraded as befitting Madame May’s breath-taking collection and is now a Glass Museum with the wow factor! It is such a unique and captivating assembly of beauty that it is well worth a visit on its own. The Glass Museum is in the underground of the winery, and has 340 magnificent pieces on display.

Wow again!




Glenelly Estate

Lelie Street, Idas Valley, Stellenbosch


Visiting Franschhoek has always been a pleasure, but I recently enjoyed a taste of a different way of enjoying a visit – by tram!

Right from its start five years ago, Franschhoek Wine Tram has enhanced the Franschhoek visitor experience. That beginning was a short rail journey in a 32-seater open-sided tram that only visited two wine farms.

Now that pleasure has been enhanced and today spans the entire Franschhoek Wine Route, visiting 22 wine estates, with the opportunity to spend between half an hour to an hour on the new 80-seater double deck railway tram.

F'hoek Tram launch

I tried a brief ride in the new tram. It is superbly designed, with the aesthetic of yesteryear combined with the ‘ride” of today and (no double entendre intended) its seats “swing both ways”. Try the experience and you’ll find out to what I am alluding.

Wine Tram passengers aboard the hop-on hop-off tour on a combination of tram and tram-bus around a loop of stops allowing them to hop-off at each stop and experience the activities on offer, be it wine tasting, a cellar tour, lunch or simply a stroll through the vineyards and when they are ready, hop-on to continue the tour.

What a special, enchanting journey and a boon to a Franschhoek visit!

I cannot wait to return and enjoy the full Franschhoek Wine Tram journey and as is my won’t, I’ll share the “full monty” pleasure with you.



F'hoek Tram logo + 27 21 300 0338 Franschhoek South Africa


I recently paid a second visit to Bellevue Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, this time to taste their newly launched pinotage and also to experience their new tasting room and restaurant.

Now way back in the 1950s, Bellevue was one of the pioneers of pinotage and if they were launching another example, it had to be special…..


And, so it was…..the new wine, a limited release, is the Bellevue 1953 Pinotage 2016. and it gets its name from the year its vineyard was planted.

Sporting a really gorgeous front label, the 1953 Pinotage is medium-bodied, and its nose oozes dark fruits and a full fruity palate with a long aftertaste follows. I don’t know if it was the romance of the old vineyard talking, but I much prefer the 1953 Pinotage 2016 to the estate’s regular pinotage, and it will drink even better after a year or two in the bottle.

The new tasting room and restaurant are beautifully designed and tastefully blend a tribute to the past with some quiet modernity and offer restful, garden views. The restaurant’s menu has some glorious wood-fried pizzas, and a variety of starters, mains and desserts.

Together these have certainly added a welcome new attraction to the Bottelary area

But it is another of Bellevue Estate’s wines that has played a significant part of my wine drinking pleasure. I have a little story to tell…


Chatting to Dirkie Morkel about my Petit Verdot “moment”.

(Image © John Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus)

My first visit to Bellevue was to take part in a trail run on the farm. After the run I headed for the tasting room for my first taste of the Estate’s wines. Presiding was Bellevue viticulturist, Dirkie Morkel. I took a look at the price list and I noticed the PK Morkel 2010 Petit Verdot., I had never tasted Petit Verdot before and was curious.

Petit Verdot

I asked Dirkie if the Petit Verdot was available for tasting. He said that it was but suggested it would drink better with food rather than on its own. As the first sip hit my palate, I instantly fell in love with the grape variety and have sought it out ever since. Thank you Dirkie, thank you Bellevue!

My passion for Shiraz/Syrah now had company…Petit Verdot.




Bellevue Wine Estate


A bubbly lunch may sound to some that I am on the drinking man’s diet …..I most definitely am not.

The title refers to a lunch I recently enoyed at which each course was paired with a different bubbly from Simonsig – home of the original Méthode Cap Classique.


Our genial and effervescent hosts were Simonsig supremos Johan and Diane Malan.



Now by any criteria this was no ordinary lunch. Firstly Simonsig and in particular their Kaapse Vonkel, have led the way in South African bubblies for over 45 years. The lunch was held at one of this country’s leading restaurants, Harald Bresselschmidt’s Aubergine in Cape Town.


Now that the wine and restaurant credentials are on the table, there is another hugely significant element to join them – many rate Bresselschmidt supreme amongst South African chefs when it comes to pairing food with wine.

So upfront it was likely that a huge treat was I store, and boy did it deliver and then some!


Here’s the majestic Simonsig/Aubergine menu:

Ocean Kabeljou marinated and sous-vide nettle and green apple shoots

Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel 2015

Application: Marketing/ Catalogue
Category: Standard Packshot.

Calves Liver with fava beans, lemon balsamic-glazed white grapes

Simonsig Cuvée Royale 2012

Simonsig Cuvée Royale

Quail Breasts filled with mousseline, prawn reduction, pistachio, cherry-quinoa dressing

Simonsig Pinot Noir Brut Rosé 2015

Simonsig Pinot Noir Rose 2015 HR

Ivory Chocolate Dome with MCC soft centre, almond streusel and angelica ice cream, white flower espuma

Simonsig Demi Sec 2015

Image result for simonsig demi-sec

True confession. I am an avid wine drinker and food eater, but when it comes to doing both at the same time, I am severely handicapped. So enjoying food and wine pairings is usually somewhat of a challenge.

But I think a corner has been turned for me. Savouring the glorious range and different vintages of Simonsig bubblies before the lunch was pleasure enough. But then, my personal food and wine-pairing sea change…..

The superb Harald Bresselschmidt dishes and the Simonsig’s always excellent Cap Classiques were so magnificently complementary that my taste-buds finally got the food/wine pairing message. Food, wine, food, wine, food, wine , left right left right, whichever way I turned the balance and harmony were perfect.

Although Simonsig are the Cap Classique pioneers, they continue to strive for excellence and regularly receive industry accolades.

At the recent 2017 Amorim Méthode Cap Classique Challenge, they won: Best Rosé: Simonsig Woolworths Pinot Noir Rosé No Sulphur Added 2015: Best Blanc de Blanc and Best Overall: Simonsig Cuvée Royale Blanc de Blancs 2012 and Best Producer:
So seek out the Simonsig bubblies, dine at Aubergine, enjoy sensory excellence.

Long may they vonkel!



I recently made my third visit to La Motte in Franschhoek, this year. Each visit was more enjoyable than the one before and each offered something extra.

My first visit was to try the La Motte Food& Wine Pairing and then lunch; the second was to celebrate a new Pierneef Exhibition followed by a Pierneef inspired lunch.

The third visit was titled “The Splendour of Spring” and was for lunch in the form of a fynbos-inspired menu of modern Cape Winelands Cuisine at Pierneef a la Motte. With each meal I have become more and more a fan of Chef Michelle Theron’s cooking.

The something extra this time was that Michelle collaborated with Sarah Graham, the food writer, cook and the host of two food TV programmes on the Menu and the execution of it.

Fybos-inspired luncheon (63)

Sarah Graham and Chef Michelle Theron collaborating

The Splendour of Spring menu and the pairing with the fine La Motte wines made for a very special four-course lunch indeed. For me, I was glad not to know the micro-detail of the partnership and be free to enjoy each dish on its own merits.

Here’s the menu and the wines that went with each item:


Mosbolletjies with farm butter, quince spread and buchu salt


Tomato, honey bush and goat’s cheese “roosterkoek”

2016 La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc, 2017 La Motte Pierneef Sauvignon Blanc


Fragrant Cape seafood curry with lavender, lightly smoked mussels and banana chutney

2016 La Motte Chardonnay

Fybos-inspired luncheon (83)

Cape Seafood Curry


Waterblommetjie and samp risotto, Karoo lamb “sout ribbetjie”, pulled lamb belly, bone marrow, red wine jus

2015 La Motte Cabernet Sauvignon


Poached citrus salad with rosemary salted caramel, brandy milk pinch blanc mange, milk tart semi-freddo

NV La Motte Straw Wine


Each course was a joy and the wine pairings were spot on, but one dish and one wine were my personal favourites: my Dish of 2017 – the Cape seafood curry and I really enjoyed the La Motte Straw Wine that ended the meal.

Congratulations and thanks Michelle and Sarah!

I wonder what my next La Motte visit will bring……


All photos were supplied by La Motte


Occasionally, the stars are aligned and something delectable is on offer and one is included in a select few.

The occasion was a visit to Jacobsdal a family-owned winery in Stellenbosch, to taste their range and for lunch. The privilege? Jacobsdal is not open to the general public…..

Jacobsdal Logo


Our gracious hosts, the Dumas family has been making wine on the estate for three generations with present owner Cornelis Dumas being helped by his son Hannes.

Cornelis and Hannes Dumas

Cornelis and Hannes Dumas eyeing their handcrafted wine

Jacobsdal only makes two wines, a Cabernet Sauvignon and (of course!) a Pinotage. They hand-make their wines and only use natural yeasts.

We tasted eight vintages of Jacobsdal Pinotage from their 1997 to the 2014, which is their current vintage in bottles, and six vintages of Jacobsdal Cabernet Sauvignon from 2001 to the 2014, its current bottled vintage.

It was rewarding to smell and taste the often subtle differences across the vintages and it would be easy to give detail impressions of each. But, as I am not sure that all the wines we tasted are still available for purchase, I’ll give a general impression of only two of them, if I may? To check on the availability of the Jacobsdal vintages, I suggest you visit:

Jacobsdal started out only making Pinotage before adding Cabernet Sauvignon, so let me start with the Jacobsdal Pinotage 2013.


Jacobsdal Pinotage PackShot

The Jacobsdal Pinotage 2013 offers dark berries and dark plums on the nose and a hint of spice. It comes across on the lightish side, but is well balanced and elegant. I tasted it on its own and could see it doing well with venison or a meaty stew.  A very drinkable and enjoyable Pinotage.

Jacobsdal Cabernet Sauvingon Packshot

The Jacobsdal Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 is full boded and generous with fruit flavours, it gives dark berries on the nose and a hint of vanilla from light oaking. It too would go well with a meaty stew.

Two really well made wines, generous on the palate with or without food.

We tasted the Jacobsdal range on its own and then paired with lunch.

Talking about lunch…..our invitation was to Jacobsdal Wine Estate, so the balance of this post must necessarily be the wine. But the lunch came to us from Executive Chef Jean Delport from Somerset-West restaurant Benguela on Main.

The plating, the food, the creativity and the pairing made for one of the best dining experiences I’ve ever had in this country.

If this is an example of what to expect from Chef Delport, I’ll definitely be adding a visit to Benguela on Main to my 2017 bucket list.

Too often one visits wine estates that exudes far too little of a sense of being a farm – the genuine warmth, passion and generosity that makes a farm visit so special. Jacobsdal did more than just tick those boxes!!

Baie dankie Dumas gesin!