RICHARD Carstens is looking very much as though he is on top of his game – on top of the world, in fact. The world’s view from his lair in the mountains above Stellenbosch stretches all the way to False Bay and Table Mountain, but his cuisine journeys far more widely than that, with influences that stretch as far afield as the eyries of culinary genuises like Ferran Adria and Heston Blenthal – who was so delightly misnamed by a contestant in an episode of Come Dine With me as ‘Blumen Heseltine”.
In that quiet that follows, there is the sound of a poor kid from the wrong side of the tracks badmouthing his girlfriend. On a pavement corner there is a trio of coloured boys singing in perfect harmony, with a hat at their feet, while bands of tourists march by unseeing, with their eyes on the next gourmet thrill.
How on earth is 9th Avenue Bistro, which has a nondescript al fresco area overlooking a plain-as-chips parking lot, better than the Tasting Room at le Quartier Francais or Overture with its world-beating view and Margot Janse’s fabulous cuisine? I don’t buy it.