Laurent and Cyrillia Deslandes have moved Bizerca uptown to Heritage Square, where their premises include the wind-protected courtyard at the square’s heart, and the masterstroke is that, while settling into the new space and giving it their own understated style, they also added something akin to placing a striking centrepriece on a dinner table to provide a talking point: an entire wall of the restaurant interior has been turned into a vertical herb garden.
It was a “safari” because there were four young winemakers, each of whom had brought along a wine to show off, tell us about and share with us, all the while being matched to a particular dish by executive chef Roland Gorgosilich and his highly skilled team. In effect, we all stayed put at our tables, while four winemakers moved from table to table with each course.
It’s called Café Dijon, and you may know the Stellenbosch original. That one is gone, owners Johan (Dup) and Sarah du Plessis (Sarah being in the kitchen while Dup charms you front-of-house) having decided to move business, but not house. So, madly, insanely, they are still living in the Boland and commuting every day and night to their new premises in the (dare I say it) trendiest part of Cape Town.
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”.
The promise is made, and the promise is kept: at the Foodbarn, you can wear shorts and sandals or even walk in with bare, sandy feet, and nobody is going to frown, ask you to sit outside and bring you the burgers and chips menu. There isn’t one of those. Rather, you’ll still enjoy some of the finest fare at the Cape and a soupcon of France, sandy feet and all.
History repeats itself. La Colombe had a brilliant chef who grew an international reputation for the Constantia restaurant and earned it a slew of awards. Then he left and started his own, more modest, eatery. La Colombe found a brilliant replacement, who clawed back its international reputation and earned it a slew of awards. But now he too has left and opened his own, more modest, restaurant.
Peruse the annual awards lists of the last 10 years and you’ll find many examples of restaurants that were once just the place to get to, dahlings, their chefs’ names thrown about as if the Gods had come down to save our palates. Then they slip down the lists until, in a year or two, they drop out of the top 10 and are often never heard of again.
Eat Out’s 20 nominees for their annual restaurant awards are out, with the awards dinner to take place at the Westin Grand on the Foreshore in Cape Town on Sunday November 22.