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!




The iconic main building at Dewetshof Estate in Robertson

I remember the first time I tasted chardonnay.

It was in the mid-1980s and at the time, I was living in Johannesburg. A visiting family member brought me a bottle up from Cape Town.

Of course, the chardonnay was from the pioneering Dewetshof Estate in Robertson-what else?

What are my memories of that first taste?

Unfortunately I can’t share with you my nose/palate memory of it, I remember downing so much of it, and enjoying very last drop, but 500ml is a lot of wine on an empty stomach………

Fast forward a few decades – I recently attended a luncheon to launch Dewetshof’s Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2017 held La Tệte Restaurant in Cape Town’s super-trendy Bree Street.

DWH Limestone Hill Chardonnay 2017


Now La Tệte has quickly earned a reputation for delivering its Head to Tail philosophy and also offering diners wondrous offal dishes…..

On arrival, my brain clicked in and the inappropriateness of pairing offal with chardonnay….so what dishes would we be served?

I tried a sip of the Limestone Hill before our first course was served. It is unwooded and offered some citrus and nuttiness.

Not being that knowledgeable on matters food and wine pairing, I found it amazing how different the wine tasted with each dish.

We started with a pork dish, which for me (apologies for my lack of sophisticated descriptive words) made the wine taste very very chardonnayish.

Our main was a gloriously crusty and juicy Hake Pie which made the Limestone Hill Chardonnay taste sweeter than it did on its own or with the pork.



A truly versatile wine from the pioneers of South African Chardonnay, one that works well on its own or with food.





Dear La Tệte, it won’t be offaly long before you see me again!



Over the past 20 years or so, our visits to Somerset West have largely been to take part in running races on the Lourensford and Vergelegen wine farms. To get there from Cape Town, one takes the Somerset-West turn-off from the N2, turn right onto the Main Road and then left into Lourensford Road.

But recently (and happily) my wife and I strayed off course. Instead of turning left into Lourensford, we turned right into Bright Street and headed for lunch at Imibala Restaurant.

Trying a restaurant “on the other side of the main road” appeals to my inbred passion for things new, so when a colleague suggested giving Imibala a try….

Often one approaches a new restaurant experience with a fair degree of expectation and maybe even some apprehension…….

We were pleasantly surprised!

The first thing we noticed on entering the restaurant was its homely but elegant decor and we had a corner table which afforded us a view of the whole room. Although it was mid-week, the place was busy, which immediately said something positive.




Imibala’s Daytime Menu at first glance seems quite large. Chatting to the Executive Chef Nicola Dupper afterwards, she agreed but said she had an excellent team in the kitchen and that they coped well with the size of the menu.

Let me break the Lunch options down into manageable portion size for you: Under Tapas there are 10 items ranging from Gnocchi to Baked Camembert to Braised beef short ribs.

Then there’s a selection of 10 Mains including Oxtail risotto, Karoo lamb cutlets, and a Pork sausage, fennel and bean cassoulet.

You’ll also be able to choose from the Daily Roast: which could either be beef, chicken, lamb or pork, each with a selection of vegetables or salad.

But for me, Imibala’s Harvest Table is the section I’d suggest you head for. The array is impressive, one selects  from a wide variety of freshly prepared dishes including soup, pies, tray bakes, curry, salads, vegetables and freshly baked breads. The day we were there, the salads included a tabbouleh, which is one of all-time my favourites.

So, with that plethora of palate pleasers, what did we eat?

I started with a dish from the Tapas selection: Duck 3 Ways – poached egg with crispy duck crackling; duck liver with cherries; and crispy duck croquette with roasted garlic aioli. A duck feast with a range of textures and flavours to delight. A yummy yummy yummy duck duck duck dish!

To follow that, from the Harvest Table, I tried a beautifully seasoned plate of lamb ribs.

My wife had the Beer battered kingklip, the fish was perfectly cooked and the batter light and tasty.

We then hit the salad table, my wife diversely, while I tabboulehed like there was no tomorrow and was reminded of my Lebanese neighbours of yore.

The service was efficient and friendly and the menu pricing reasonable. The food is beautifully seasoned and cooked, the variety is extraordinary, and the portion sizes very decent.

We will definitely make a good turn again soon.



18 Bright Street


Tel: 021 851 2364

Hours: 08:00 – 22:00

Any profits from the Imibala Restaurant support the Imibala Trust.

The Imibala Trust works with school-age children deeply affected by impoverished circumstances, and offers programmes that make a substantial and measurable difference to the children’s present and future lives.


If the heading confuses you, I’ll explain it at the end of this posting…

My daughter Clare and I, as we enjoy doing whenever we can, recently went on a daddy-daughter date. Clare and I are committed foodies, she with a chef’s training and a superb palate, me with years of experience and eating-out passion.

We both fulfilled a long-held ambition by choosing to have lunch at Reuben’s in Franschhoek. Not at the now-closed Reuben’s of old, but at the very recently opened, Reuben’s Restaurant &Bar.

Reuben’s Restaurant & Bar is in a prime location, it’s in Daniel Hugo Street, a few metres off Huguenot Street and parking shouldn’t be a problem on most days.


Reuben's interior

As you can see from the photograph, the décor is modern, elegant and understated. Centrally on the right is the bar counter and centrally on the left is a fireplace. It was a cold day when we visited, but the whole restaurant was comfortably warm.

I hate categorising but…I would label Reuben’s as ‘relaxed fine dining’. Happily, the menu is a small one with four Tasters, eight Starters, nine Mains and four desserts. There are also daily Specials advantaging the freshest of locally available ingredients.

I chose well, Reuben’s signature Starter, Tuna Tataki – yuzo (a Japanese citrus), pickled mustard, avocado, radish, lime mayo and roasted sesame. Refreshing, and a good palate opener. Clare ordered the Poke Bowl – ceviche, lemongrass, edamame and sesame. Lovely textures and Asian flavours, I tasted some and we both agreed it’s a starter we’d be happy to order again.

Choosing a main was a challenge, Clare chose one of the Specials of the day, Asian Braised Beef Cheek and I chose from the Menu, Peppered Chalmar Picanha. Two perfect meat dishes for a cold day and lovely contrasts to the light freshness of our starters.

Waistline conscientious, we dithered as to whether or not to order Desserts. Our server ended our agony by suggesting that we share a Warm Chocolate Fondant, and who were we to argue. The test of a good fondant is its ooze of liquid chocolate, and this one certainly did ooze. Clare and I don’t like overly sweet desserts, the Chocolate Fondant was just right for our palates.

All the portions of the dishes we ordered were of a very decent size. Not always that common these days

Now to the non-menu yardsticks of a good restaurant, plating and service. Not only is Reuben’s plating top-notch, but mention must also be made of his beautiful choice of plates as well. I like servers that are well-informed, warm and appropriately friendly, ours certainly was.

A faultless meal in every way – the boy from the ‘hood certainly knows how to cook up a storm.

Why did I refer to the Mona Lisa in my heading, I hear you reminding me? On my very first visit to Paris, a visit to the Louvre was top of my tourist must do list. We joined the queue, and went in. Looking at the layout guide, we headed straight for the Mona Lisa (what else?!), almost out of breath, we reached where she is hung…..except she wasn’t there!!!!! Removed for cleaning. Gasp, close to tears with huge disappointment, necessitated a three year wait before a (successful!) return visit.

Reuben was not at Reuben’s on the day we visited, so no Mona Lisa! But we definitely will not wait three years to return!

Not the Mona Lisa, but here’s Reuben:




Call 021 876 3772





One of the most prestigious wine competitions in South Africa, the Old Mutual Trophy Wine show, is always a class act.

From the privilege of listening to the Judges’ feedback to the excitement of the Awards lunch – its superbly organised all the way and the tone set is unpretentious and elegantly relaxed.

The 2017 awards climaxed yesterday at a lunch at the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town. The late May day delivered balmy warmth as we arrived to welcoming drinks and canapes.

It was tempting to over-indulge on the canapes – Marinated calamari on tapioca cracker; Seared springbok loin with crispy beef tendon and pickled cucumber; Mushroom and baby marrow terrine; and Crispy fried potato skin with salmon mousse and watercress – but in anticipation of the lunch, I bravely held back……a bit!

Lunch was at the Nellie’s famous Planet Restaurant and without going into the menu in detail, we enjoyed a superb spread: Seabass ceviche, Roast beef fillet and slow-cooked beef short rib, and a waistline endangering dessert.

Michael Fridjhon with his charm and tongue-in-cheek delivery-style announced the Gold winners first and then the Trophy Winners. The geographic breadthof ht winners speaks volumes for how our quality wine industry has grown.

I lift my glass and salute:

Old Mutual Trophy for Most Successful Producer Overall


Makro Trophy for Best Shiraz, Old Mutual Trophy for Best Red Wine Overall

Leeuwenkuil Heritage Syrah 2014

Miele Trophy for Best Chardonnay, Old Mutual Trophy for Best White Wine Overall,

Old Mutual International Judges’ Trophy

DeMorgenzon Reserve Chardonnay 2016

Old Mutual Trophy for Discovery of the Show / Best Value Gold Medallist

Secret Cellar Merlot Malbec Cabernet Sauvignon No. 702 2015

American Express Trophy for Best Cabernet Sauvignon

Landzicht Winemaker’s Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Grande Roche Trophy for Best White Blend

Cavalli Cremello 2015

Old Mutual Trophy for Best Sparkling Wine

Constantia Uitsig Méthode Cap Classique Brut 2013

Old Mutual Trophy for Best Dessert Wine

Buitenverwachting ‘1769’ 2014

Riedel Trophy for Best Bordeaux-Style Red Blend

Buitenverwachting Meifort 2014

Harold Eedes Trophy for Best Chenin Blanc

Darling Cellars Old Bush Vines Chenin Blanc 2016

Nestlé Pure Life Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc

Stark-Condé Round Mountain Sauvignon Blanc 2016

Tony Mossop Trophy for Best Cape Port

Boplaas Cape Vintage Reserve 2015

Trophy for Best Red Blend – Non-Bordeaux Style

De Krans Tritonia 2015

Trophy for Best Sauvignon Blanc Semillon Blend

Tokara Director’s Reserve White 2015

Trophy for Best Pinotage

Bosman Family Vineyards Pinotage 2014

Trophy for Best Pinot Noir

Paul Wallace Brave Heart Pinot Noir 2015

Trophy for Best Semillon

Deetlefs Familie White 2014

Trophy for Best Niche Variety

Credo Limited Release Verdelho 2015 (Stellenbosch Vineyards)

Trophy for Best Museum Class Chenin Blanc

Kleine Zalze Family Reserve Chenin Blanc 2012

Trophy for Best Museum Class Chardonnay

Rustenberg Five Soldiers Chardonnay 2009

Trophy for Best Museum Class Unfortified Dessert Wine

Nederburg Private Bin Edelkeur Chenin Blanc Noble Late Harvest 2009


I not so modestly cconclude with this from my blog written in 2015: “Last, was my Shiraz 2013’s daddy, the truly splendid, fynbos-influenced Leeuwenkuil Heritage Series Syrah 2012. I am convinced much acclaim and recognition is coming this wine’s way. I shall certainly be following its track record.”






If you go down to the woods today

You’re sure of a big surprise.

If you go down to the woods today

You’d better go in disguise.

For every bear that ever there was

Will gather there for certain, because

Today’s the day the teddy bears have their picnic.


For many of us of a certain age, Teddy Bears Picnic was a song of our childhood. It came to mind when I recently paid a visit to Robertson.

It had been a few years since I last visited the town, so I was happy to be invited to visit the new home of Four Cousins Wines – it’s literally the gateway to the town and is the first building on your left you see as you enter Robertson driving from Worcester.

Now, knowing one is visiting a relatively small country town, one tends to temper one’s expectations. But what a wonderful surprise @Four Cousins is!



Entrance to @FourCousins, Robertson


From the moment one walks up the building’s front steps, one is struck by the chic yet unpretentious look of the place. The multi-spaced interior is modern industrial with clever touches of warm and softening colour. The layout is such that there is abundant space for all its leisure offerings.



Boet Beer Microbrewery

Inside there is a deli shop, a wine-tasting area, the @FourCousins restaurant and the Boet Beer Microbrewery.

Now, the Four Cousins range of wines is a diverse one and deservedly, they are a popular choice of everyday drinkers and they are very affordably priced too.

I particularly loved the innovative offering of wine and nibble pairings. I won’t detail them all, but there are eight tasting platter options. I found the Sparkling Wine Pairing a particularly fun one, it came with a triangle of Melrose Cheese, Camembert and green fig on Melba toast, strawberry meringue and pepper cheese.

The @4Cousins restaurant an asset to the area and is likely to become much sought out by locals and visitors alike. Its menu is comprehensive with a decent Breakfast Menu and a Lunch/Dinner offering inclduing flatbreads, starters, salads, steaks, burgers and pizzas. Of course, there is a wine and beer list as well. What else?

Not only is the food good, but the plating and service are as well.

For lunch I chose the Chef’s Choice River Red Rump which was char-grilled and topped with sautéed mushrooms and a red wine sauce. It was as good a steak as any I had enjoyed in Cape Town. Having tasted the Four Cousin wines earlier, I opted instead for a Boet Beer Weiss, it and the steak were very happy together.


The restaurant is open for Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner and its trading hours are:

Monday – Saturday              09h00-22h00

Sunday                                  09h00-17h00

Phone 023 615 1505 for more information


I really enjoyed my visit to @FourCousins and will definitely return to say “Howzit my cousin” soon.

Pity I didn’t see any Teddy Bears there on my first visit……





South African chef Bertus Basson is best known nationally from his television appearances as host and judge on The Ultimate Braai Master and on Brood en Botter.

As a chef he has enjoyed remarkable success with his Stellenbosch restaurant Overture, which he established in 2007. Over the past 10 years, the restaurant has regularly been awarded prestigious accolades from both the Eat Out and Rossouw’s Restaurant guides. Bertus has expanded his food interests to include his own range of condiments, and establishing more restaurants: Bertus Basson at Spice Route and Spek & Bone in Stellenbosch and the revolving restaurant, Bertus Basson at the Ritz Hotel in Sea Point, Cape Town.



Chef Bertus Basson’s first published cookbook

Constantly being asked when he was going to bring out a cookbook, Homegrown is that book. If you are expecting a cookbook bulging with challenging recipes, this is not it.

If you are lucky enough to have visited Overture, you will be familiar with the traditional South African inspiration that runs through its menu.

Homegrown is a largely about the many food memories that inspire Bertus and that have made him the chef he is today.

“It is about place and the past, capturing more than just a bunch of my recipes. It is about where my food journey began and how I draw on both my own memory and the strong cultural past of an Afrikaans kid to create the food in our restaurants. I do this because I love how we cook and how we eat as South Africans is such a rich fountain of inspiration.”

In it you will find some classic Overture recipes but also recipes that have stayed with Bertus wherever he has cooked.

From the ice-creams of childhood, pilchard salad, braaid snoek with apricot glaze. There are recipes for tongue, frikkadels, recipes inspired those from his mother and his aunt and even some from people in his ‘hood’. Some recipes that stand out include those for Beer Braised Pork Belly, Charred Octopus with Gnocchi and Nasturtium Paste and Milk Tart Soufflé and much more that is lekkerly local.

Along the way one gets to learn what makes Bertus tick, food wise and Homegrown. is more fine eating than fine dining. And there’s nothing at all wrong with that!

“It surprises friends to learn that I did not like food as a kid. My mother had to work hard to get me to eat anything that wasn’t sweet. That’s why my earliest memories are of sweet things and with Homegrown starts with dessert.”

The book’s food is genuinely South African and unpretentious and in it you’ll find some original twists on many familiar dishes and the gloriously delicious images taken by photographer, Claire Gunn.

Bertus Basson Homegrown, mooi so, Bertus!


Who doesn’t have nostalgic memories of the pleasure of enjoying breakfast in bed? My memories of this delight, alas, are from a distant childhood.

Recently I enjoyed a breakfast that gave me an experience, if not of “in bed” status, that came a very decent second place.

La Parada Del Mar is situated on the world famous Camps Bay strip, here in Cape Town – ocean, palm trees, beach facing, it is beautifully situated and boasts a modern interior décor that is tastefully appropriate to its seaside location.

Now I am a ‘been there many times’ fan of the La Parada Bree in central Cape Town and have revelled in the diverse delights of its tapas menu and special vibe. So a recent breakfast invitation to its sister on the beach was a very easy yes please

Weather-wise it was a glorious morning, clear sunny skies and comfortably warm and tranquil. We ate upstairs and this image provided us with the state of mind and pleasure on the visual senses to stimulate having a good time…..


 …..that view. Tranqulity Base, I have landed!!

The Breakfast Menu is very decently priced and its first-listed offering leapt off the page and became my choice:

Pan Breakfast (R69) – slow cooked tomato sauce, fried chorizo, blackened corn, two fried eggs and toasted bread.

It was absolutely delicious and resonated big time with my inner umami. Smile on my face and the look of contentment.

For those of you with a more sedate palate at breakfast time – the rest of the menu is for you.

‘Not in bed’ Breakfast at La Parada was good, very good and very ‘must do again’!

The La Parada Breakfast Menu is available at their three branches. If you want a tranquil setting, try the La Parada Constantia in its splendidly wooded environment atop Constantia Nek, or like me head to the Camps Bay seaside.




La Parada Del Mar

35 Victoria Road, Camps Bay

021 286 2106

Monday-Sunday 09h00 – 02h00