Jamie Who is a blog about everything. Except current affairs. And politics. Also science, sport, religion, celebrities, movies, media and marketing, technology, business and design. So...basically Jamie Who is a blog about food. All things food.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Eat Out Awards - And your nominations are...

It's finally here. Eat Out has announced their 20 nominations for the country's acclaimed 'top 10 restaurants' awards. 

Here they are:
  • 9th Avenue Bistro, Durban
  • Aubergine, Cape Town
  • Bizerca Bistro, Cape Town
  • Bread and Wine, Franschhoek
  • Carne, Cape Town
  • The Foodbarn, Cape Town
  • The Greenhouse at The Cellars Hohenort, Cape Town
  • Hartford House, KZN
  • Jardine, Cape Town
  • La Colombe, Cape Town
  • Mosaic, Pretoria
  • Overture, Stellenbosch
  • The Restaurant at Grande Provence, Franschhoek
  • Reuben's Restaurant, Franschhoek
  • Roots, JHB
  • The Roundhouse, Cape Town
  • Rust en Vrede, Stellenbosch
  • The Tasting Room, Le Quartier Francais, Franschhoek
  • Terroir, Stellenbosch
  • Zachary's, Knysna
So there it is. My immediate thoughts: 

1. Nice to see the return of The Foodbarn, Bread and Wine and Reuben's. The Foodbarn especially seems to have made a strong case for top 10 honours. 
2. No Bosman's? I personally agree and found it a bit overrated when I visited, but I'm sure they will be disappointed. 
3. Very pleased to see Bizerca and I still expect them to finish in the top 3. 
4. Interesting to see the amazing quality of restaurants situated on our beautiful wine routes. 
5. Only one restaurant from Jozi? Very interesting. 
6. Carne? This seems a touch premature to me. Having said that The Princess was blown away on our visit. 
7. Still no room for Ginja or Myoga? Will Mike Bassett ever regain his former glory? 
8. No room for Opal Lounge? I think they deserved a nomination. The food might be "over-cheffy" but the experience was memorable. 
9. Overall, Cape Town is the undisputed food capital of South Africa. 

To read my past reviews of featured restaurants click on the links below

The Foodbarn:

Bizerca Bistro:



The Roundhouse:

I would be interested to hear your thoughts on the 20 nominations...

Jamie Who

Roxanne Floquet - Seriously beautiful food

In my opinion, the line between art and food has become blurred. In a good way. Presentation has reached the point where sometimes you just want to hang a plate of food on a wall instead of eating it. Food photography and styling is so beautiful that cookbooks are the new coffee table books. The thought processes of people like Heston Blumenthal and Adria Ferran are nothing short of genius. (Google them...you will be fascinated). In fact, Adria Ferran was a speaker at this year's Design Indaba. A cook! Inspiring the most creative minds in the country. It's awesome.

I am telling you all of this because I want - no, I NEED - you to check out the following site:

I stumbled across her work looking for someone to make our wedding cake (yes ladies, I am getting married. Calm down, get yourself off the floor and back on your seat. Everything will be fine) and I was blown away. Honestly, her work is stunning. (too gay? stunning? Should I have gone with gorgeous? Not much better really...)

Anyyyyyway, after working in London and training under some HUGE names she has returned to SA and works from Cape Town. If you need a cake for a special occasion, or cupcakes, or petit-fours, biscuits, cookies etc. check her out. She's pretty good. Did I mention she made cupcakes for Elton John? Yeah, not bad.

I wonder... if Elton John was a blogger, would he write "This chick is making Jamie Who's wedding cake. She is brilliant." Probably.

Jamie Who

P.S. If you liked that, check out this site too: http://www.peggyporschen.com/ (yeah, it's pretty cool when Stella McCartney is your point-of-reference quote on your homepage)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Jack Black Interview

You should know by now how much we enjoy the little guy at Jamie Who. The true artisan. Well, I was lucky enough get some time with Ross McCulloch and Meghan MacCallum - the team behind Jack Black Beer - and I asked them a few questions about their awesome brand. Check it out.

Jamie Who: Let's get the boring stuff out of the way. Please introduce yourselves and let us know a bit about your backgrounds.

Jack Black: We are an entrepreneurial couple with a serious passion for beer, wine and food. We've spent significant time in Canada but came back to Cape Town with both business and lifestyle goals in mind. We couldn't imagine a more beautiful place to live.

JW: And you saw the chance to bring Capetonians a locally produced beer?

JB: Yeah, there's that too!

JW: Lovely. We seem to be experiencing a definite shift from pre-made convenience goods back to artisanal fare. Traditional, "old-school" beliefs seem to be gaining popularity. Did you guys identify this trend when you started and set out specifically with it in mind?

JB: Not really. We definitely considered the shift but our real goal was simple: to bring quality microbrewed beer to Cape Town. We have both travelled extensively and have seen the proliferation of small breweries in other parts of the world. We wanted to bring that experience to Cape Town.

JW: Tell us how you came up with the Jack Black brand. The name, design, packaging etc.

JB: The style of beer we make is known as pre-prohibition lager. John Jack Black was an actual brewer making beer in North America during the prohibition days. We were inspired by his maverick attitude towards beer and thought it was a cool name. The logo and design came from there.

JW: How important is that in the success of the brand?

JB: It helps, but to us it's really all about the beer.

JW: All about the beer. Nice. So can you tell us in layman's terms what makes yours different?

JB: Our beer is a bit more flavourful than regular beer. It is crisp and refreshing. What makes us special is the microbrewing process involved.

JW: Tell us more about microbrewing.

JB: Basically, microbrewing is brewing on a smaller scale. It involves brewers who hand craft their beers in small batches for five weeks at a time. This results in extremely high standards being set.

JW: And this then leaves you with a product that has less additives?

JB: Yip. Jack Black Beer has no additives or preserves and no adjuncts like rice or corn.

JW: So with a purer beer, I can drink more and hang less?

JB: We don't really make claims in this regard but we do believe any product without additives or preserves is benefiting the consumer.

JW: So...I can drink more and hang less?

JB: Umm...

JW:Moving on. What are the differences between creating a perfect bottled beer and a perfect pint?

JB: The beer in both is exactly the same. However, the benefits of draught include drinking from a better vessel (the beer glass) therefore improving the experience. Also, draught is often fresher than bottled beer owing to regular replacement of kegs. Having said this, we do still pride ourselves on our bottled beer always being fresh and adopt a just-in-time philosophy.

JW: What makes a good beer. Without getting too poetic. Let's keep it to three words.

JB: Fresh, balanced, head-retaining.

JW: Technically four words but I'll give it to you. Where can people get Jack Black?

JB: There is a list on our website http://www.jackblackbeer.com/. It's a good time to bring up your acronym J-BOT (Jack Black On Tap). You thought you were pretty clever with this one hey?

JW: I did but let's stick to me asking the questions. I have plenty of jealous friends up in Jozi asking me what all the fuss is about? Any plans to get up there?

JB: For now we just want to be Cape Town's local beer. Get your friends down here! Summer is going to be amazing!

JW: I will see what I can do. Thanks so much for your time. One last question: what wuld you do if you caught someone slipping a shot of lime into a Jack Black pint?

JB: Knock their socks off! No, seriously, if that's what you want then go for it. Just don't tell our brewers about it!

So there it is gang. The very first Jamie Who interview. You liked that hey? I think you did. I think you liked it very much. If there are any other areas of interest or specific people you think would be cool to talk to drop me a line and I will see if they are as accommodating as the peeps from Jack Black were. Nice one.

Jamie Who

Monday, September 28, 2009

Massimo's Pizza Club - Good luck beating it

I recently wrote an entry boldly declaring Carlyle's the best pizza in Cape Town. http://jamiewhatshisname.blogspot.com/2009/09/carlyles-best-pizza-in-cape-town.html

Read it, read the comments, enjoy my charismatic writing and hear me out. I was wrong. Now...it's not often I admit a mistake but I come to you tail-between-the-legs to ask forgiveness. I appeal especially to the person called "L" who suggested Massimo's Pizza Club in Hout Bay had Cape Town's best pizza. Turns out, she was spot on.

I went there last night with The Rentals and was blown away. Take everything you think you know about pizza and throw it out the window. These creations are paper-thin, spread with a delicious tomato sauce (the hero of the pizza) and topped sparingly with only a few ingredients. The philosophy here is that a real pizza should not be over-complicated.
Last night the quality of ingredients was critical and the flavour combinations were traditional and unique at the same time. (Coppa ham and rucola, pancetta and mushrooms, pear and gorgonzola, anchovies and capers, mozzarella and pesto etc.) There was even a boerewors pizza and a white pizza with no tomatoes, but instead smoked cheese and garlic. All were sensational. You can order off the normal menu but the true concept is to settle in for a pizza feast, whereby Massimo brings the pizzas to the table and everyone helps themselves. This encourages everyone to try as many flavour varieties as possible. For R98 you can eat as many as you like and even enjoy the house salad for the evening. (When I went it was cannellini bean and tuna).

Decor. Ummm...this is going to be a very short paragraph. No style awards here. Brown paper tablecloths with the winelist (good by the way) scribbled in black pen. That said, it kind-of adds to the appeal of the place. Rustic and laid-back. No hang-ups.

Service was outstanding and to top things off we sampled some AMAZING Limoncello which is for sale. We also had Bicerin which is a chocolate liqueur. Both hand-made, both phenomenal. I could not leave without a bottle.

In terms of X-Factor, Massimo's is flooding with the stuff. Hospitality from a husband and wife team, quality food and real passion. Hard to beat. As I said, my idea of Cape Town's best pizza has shifted very quickly. With hindsight, my trainer and I can count ourselves lucky that this place is not closer to home.
Call them on 073 390 1373 or check out their website www.pizzaclub.co.za They are open from Wednesdays to Sundays from 17h30.

Jamie Who

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red Espresso - The healthy coffee alternative

Do you know what an ORAC is? If you do, bra-bloody-vo. If you're part of the 99% who don't, let me enlighten you. ORAC is the measurement used to measure antioxidants in food and drinks. Obviously the more ORACs you have per 100ml the healthier the item is. Why am I telling you all of this? Because I'm not at the office today and am instead chilling at home sipping a Red Espresso. A Red Espresso you ask? Indeed. Let's get straight into it...

Red Espresso is a tea espresso. The world's first actually. Made from ground rooibos, the espresso is caffeine-free and has a ridiculously high ORAC count. 5 times more than green tea. 6 times more than beetroot juice. 20 times more than carrot juice. Pretty impressive stuff. And you use it as you would normal espresso. (So you can make normal espresso, americano, macchiato, cappuccino, latte, etc). In summer you can even make iced-tea and frappes. I like to add some honey and/or cinnamon to mine, depending on what I'm making. They work well together. 

Red Espresso has done so well that it even won 'Best new product' in the specialty beverage category at the American Specialty Coffee Awards. It was also a top 10 product at the World Tea Expo. 

According to their website, other health benefits of Red Espresso include soothing headaches, hypertension and insomnia, relieving nausea, relaxing stomach ulcers and increasing your IQ by 50 points. (Not really, I made that last one up). It also promises you will have a six-pack in 3 days. (Nope, I made that up too.) But, in a nutshell, it's gooooood for you. It can be made at home with an espresso maker or instead of filter coffee so - really - there's no excuse. Otherwise, look out for it next time you're at a cafe, health shop or deli. More places are definitely stocking it.   

Obviously true coffee-heads might not take to it straight away but even substituting one or two cups a day with this product is a good start. Personally, I love it and don't touch coffee at all anymore. Try it. 

Jamie Who

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Super Meats - proper meat

So, tomorrow is National Braai Day and something to do with our heritage too apparently. Far be it for me to tell you how to celebrate your heritage, (I didn't want to tell you what and how to cook) I thought instead I would think outside the briquette and point you in the direction of where to buy whatever it is you are going to cook. I buy my meats from a place in Kenilworth that The other guy who can cook told me about. called Super Meats, it is an authentic butchery. A place that actually smells of meat, but in a good way. 

The guys who work there are passionate about what's on offer and are always willing to help. If you can get past the fact that they call you sonny or bud and insist on telling you how to cook your meat the place is a winner. Expect stuff like lamb shanks, frozen duck, kudu biltong, venison fillets and man-sized ribeye. 

Find them at 274 Main Road, Kenilworth or call them on (021) 797-5595 to pre-order (which is a really good vibe by the way.)

Jamie Who

P.S. Because I love you I have included below a list of other butchers in South Africa. Courtesy of www.eat-in.co.za


Lindt with a touch of sea salt - Good luck friends

I had some Lindt morphineheroincrackcokepainkillersboozeuppersecstacyandeverythingelseaddictive last night but there was a typo on the package. It said Lindt with a touch of sea salt.

Honestly, good luck with this one. Good luck trying to control yourself. I felt like a fu*king animal tearing the packet and looking for more. Getting up this morning to go for a run I kept asking myself..."was that chocolate really worth it?" I'm afraid it was. I'm afraid there are a lot more extra runs in my near future.

Get it but don't say I didn't warn you.

Jamie Who

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Reuben's at The Robertson - There are worse places to go

Boutique is a word that gets me very excited. Especially when it is followed by the word hotel. Hey?!! How awesome are boutique hotels? They're always a bit quirky, a bit edgy, a little off-the-beaten-track and they are always...and I mean always boasting beauiful interior design. There is a definite trend towards small towns opening up some kick-ass places to stay and areas like Stanford, Greyton, Riebeek Kasteel, Wellington and Langebaan all spring to mind. So, when I heard about the new Robertson Small Hotel in...umm...ROBERTSON, I was more than a bit intrigued. That was before I even knew that Reuben Riffel (of Reuben's in Franschoek fame) was opening a second venue there. The plan is to serve up natural, seasonal produce with an emphasis on organic fare where possible. With a menu boasting items like sweetbreads, wing rib, and chorizo-crusted fish it is safe to say the expectations are high. The restaurant has sourced as much as possible from nearby suppliers - something that already earns massive points in my book. Breakfasts are placed on a pedestal too, so they clearly know how to play to my weaknesses. (Brioche with bacon, pomegranate syrup, clotted cream and rocket sound good to anyone else or is just me?)

The hotel itself has 10 rooms, 2 swimming pools, a stylish bar which I could definitely enjoy a few drinks in and a modern wine cellar. I can think of much worse ways to spend the weekend. To find out more check out their site at http://www.therobertsonsmallhotel.com/
Reuben has been relatively quiet lately in terms of accolades - is this perhaps a return to former glory?

Jamie Who

Whole wheat linguini with seared tuna and chilli

I've confessed that I get those days when I just really don't feel like cooking. The inspiration well has run dry, time is of the essence and that takeaway menu is starting to look tempting. Sound familiar? On Sunday I spent the day working (you didn't think this was my real job surely?) and when I got back I was exhausted, frustrated and ready for a pizza. Luckily for me, The Princess had a gorgeous - I don't use that word often, let's see how it fits - piece of tuna steak waiting for me. We started cooking and less than 10 minutes later we were eating. 

I've mentioned before the health differences between whole wheat pasta and normal (http://jamiewhatshisname.blogspot.com/2009/07/ill-break-it-down-for-you-100g-of.html) but basically with half the calories and a third of the carbs you want to switch immediately to whole wheat. With the tuna you've got a phenomenal source of protein and the cherry tomatoes are a nice source of anti-oxidants. It is a ridiculously easy dish. Don't be scared of the tuna and DO NOT OVERCOOK IT! It is supposed to be rare. 

Stuff you'll need to feed 2:
  •  250g fresh tuna steak
  • A decent amount of whole wheat linguini (about half a packet)
  • A handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 - 2 fresh chillies, finely chopped
  • A handful of parsley, chopped
  • 1 - 2 cloves of garlic, sliced
  • Good olive oil
Okay, what to do:

1. Begin cooking the pasta as per the instructions. Whole wheat pasta takes a bit longer so allow for that. 

2. Rub the fish with olive oil and cook in a dry, smoking hot pan for 2 minutes per side. NO MORE! 

3. Remove the fish and cut/tear into pieces. Set aside. 

4. Over a medium heat fry the garlic and chilli in olive oil until golden. Remove. 

5. When the pasta is cooked, drain and add the garlic, chillies, tuna, tomatoes and parsley. Toss to combine, add a drizzle of olive oil and serve. 

How easy was that? Clean, fresh flavours, super-healthy and ready in less than 10 minutes. Nothing wrong with that. Plus, you will love yourself for not getting that pizza. Trust me. 

Jamie Who

Monday, September 21, 2009

Cheyne's - The brightest hidden gem so far

I found myself in a little bit of a moral debate on Thursday afternoon. You see, every now and then I find a restaurant that is so awesome, so different and so undiscovered that I want to keep it to myself. Obviously that selfish feeling didn't last long though, and I am now happy to share with you the hidden gem that is Cheyne's.

With a background as a private chef, Cheyne Morrisby has cooked for some of the biggest celebrities around. Robbie Williams, Kate Moss, Eric Clapton, Jamie Who, Jamiroquai, Blur and more. The man can cook. In his latest venture, he has taken a tiny space in Heritage Square (it only seats 18 people) and opened a funky venue aimed at hosting private functions. With grafitti-art hanging on rough, white walls, a crystal chandelier and exposed wooden beams running down the one side and a modern, open-plan kitchen on the other it is a seriously sexy vibe. The concept is awesome and his success can already be measured by a packed schedule. Evenings are for events, and lunchtimes are often booked out for private functions too. When that is not the case Cheyne sticks three or four items on the menu and runs his space as a restaurant. With food like duck curry, crayfish burgers, a thai-chicken gourmet sandwich, the classic BLT, Moroccan-spiced soup and more he takes simple dishes and dresses them up with creative touches and amazing flavours. To cook such simple things and make them stand out is one of the hardest challenges for a chef. Cheyne has absolutely murdered it.

On my visit, it was a cold (no surprise) and wet (really???) day in Cape Town. I saw bangers and mash on the menu and did not hesitate for a second. Now, I'm all about eating healthy but quite frankly if you're a dude and the weather is what it was you HAVE TO order bangers and mash. If you don't you are not to be trusted. What arrived was perfection: juicy sausages and a creamy mash drizzled with some of the best olive oil I can remember. A lot of credit must be given to Cheyne's suppliers and to taste such simple, honest food was refreshing. The Princess - to her credit - kept it healthy with a sesame-seed chicken breast served with a pawpaw salad and Thai spices. Again, it was basic but executed brilliantly.

The best surprise was still to come. The bill. R40 for the chicken and R45 for the bangers? Seriously? Shut the front door! He could easily have charged double that amount and there are plenty of restaurants that do.

Check out his webiste on www.cheynemorrisby.com or visit his spot at 108 St.Stephen's Church, Bree Street. (It's next to &Union but deserves to be known as Cheyne's, not "that place next to &Union"). Call him on (021) 422-3358. 

Jamie Who

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Jozi Food Market - I'm happy with their vibe

I always talk about how much I love food markets. What's not to like? Food? Gooooood. Booze? Gooooood. The outdoors? Gooooood. I'm obviously not the only one, as markets are sprouting up all over the place. One that stands out for me is the Jozi Food Market in the Parktown Quarter.

I know I'm always punting Cape Town and saying how beautiful the mountain is, the sea, the beaches, the winelands (there I go again) but one thing Joburg does have is weather. And that is what makes the JFM (see what I did there) so awesome. It has such a good vibe because everyone and everything is celebrating being outdoors. In terms of produce on offer they have killed it. Everything from gourmet boerie rolls to high-end kitchen appliances. The range of stuff available is ridiculous. There is a persian-themed stall, a halaal stall and a dude selling goat's cheese. What's so special about the goat's cheese? Well...the dude brings the goats. That's pretty cool. There is Polish food, Vietnamese food and Lebanese food. Bloody hell, the place is as cosmopolitan as it comes. What more do you want people???!!

As with all the good markets, its the people who make it and there are some real characters here. Grab a beer, take a stroll and interact with the vendors. I think you will be amazed at their willingness to talk. It's like they are itching for an excuse to tell you about what they are selling. You can't help but feed off that enthusiasm and passion. It's also worth mentioning that the owners have been supporting the African children's feeding scheme charity through the market and, while I'm not trying to make you feel guilty, let me just say this: if you don't go and buy something you're basically starving someone. I hope you're happy.

Aaanyway, the market turns 1 in October and they have a few events to celebrate. In fact, they seem to have something on the go all the time which I appreciate. With something like this it's so important to keep re-inventing yourself and the guys at JFM are well aware of this. You should check it out. If you don't....you're starving someone.

The market runs every Saturday from 08h30 to 13h30. Check out their site at http://www.jozifoodmarket.co.za/

Jamie Who

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Wild Organics - Upped their game nicely

I stumbled upon this crowd a while ago and used to get my fruit and vegetables from them weekly. Basically, the vibe at the time was every Thursday they would send me an e-mail with organic fruit and vegetables that were available for the week. I would order what I liked and collect them on the Wednesday. They were packaged in a rustic, farm-style crate. It was pretty awesome. After renovating my house and losing plenty of numbers that were scribbled on bits of paper I lost their details and sort-of forgot about them. So...I was absolutely stoked when I got an e-mail about 2 weeks ago saying they had set up a permanent shop in Woodstock, open on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturday morning. 

The have upped their game too. They now offer delivery, as well as several collection points around the city where you can pick up your box of goodness. They still have the same system of sending a weekly ingredients list, but also have a whole lot of items you can add to your box. Rye bread, sourdough, eggs, cheese, olive oil, nuts etc. Also, if the weekly box doesn't have what you feel like you can throw in anything from fennel bulbs to king oyster mushrooms. Just pick the ingredients out of a list and add them. It's a beautiful thing.

And if, like me, you like to touch and feel the produce you're buying you can visit their shop on a Saturday morning and sit down for breakfast after your shopping. As well as the fruit and veg on offer they also have free range pork, duck and beef. 

I'm an absolute food-nerd and maybe it's just me but butternut should not be in a plastic bag, cut into cubes. I love the fact that Wild Organics' tomatoes don't look identical. I love the fact that their sweet potatoes are weird and knobbly looking. It adds authenticity. And the difference in flavour is a joke. There is so much happening with these guys it's difficult to tell you about it all. Check it out for yourself on www.wildorganics.co.za. A box costs R130. 

Jamie Who

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Flour and water crusted chicken

So, you get those meals that have the WOW factor. Dishes that you bring out when people are over for dinner. I love them. They're always a bit 'different' and they always have a bit of a gimmick/novelty that gets people talking. It's basically cookery theatre and I must be honest I milk it by putting on a bit of a show. People will look at you verrrry skeptically when you pull this one out but jeez it's a show-stopper. The vibe here is that you create a cooking pocket by making an airtight crust. This then creates an awesome steaming process and the end result is a beautifully moist and tender chicken. When you take the chicken out the oven, take it to the table and break open the crust there. The steam will come rushing out, along with the aromas from the herbs and the lemon. Your guests will clap, you will smile, people will eat. 

Stuff you'll need to feed 4:
  •  1 whole organic chicken
  • 2 lemons
  • 2 handfuls of fresh oregano
  • 1 handful of fresh thyme
  • 8 cloves of garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Sea salt and black pepper
  • 1kg of flour
Okay, what to do:

1. Put your flour in a bowl and slowly mix in 500ml of water, creating a dough that is elastic and not too sticky. Cover and set aside. 

2. Remove the zest from the lemons. In a pestle and mortar (or a deep bowl and something heavy!) bash up the oregano, thyme, lemon zest, garlic and some olive oil. Add the oil as necessary to create a paste. Season well with salt and pepper. 

3. Rub the entire chicken inside and out with the marinade. Slice the lemons and stuff inside the bird. 

4. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius. Get your dough and roll out, judging it so the dough will cover the chicken. Fold up the edges and mold the dough around the chicken to create a parcel thingy. MAKE SURE IT IS AIRTIGHT. Leave for 5 minutes and then place in the oven. Cook for 2 hours and 15 minutes. This might seem long but it won't dry out and it would be a bummer if you took the bird to the table, cracked open the crust and the chicken was undercooked. Can anyone say anti-climax? 

5. Remove, and allow to rest for 15 minutes. The pastry will have hardened up. Do not eat the pastry. It will smell amazing but control yourself. You're not a wild animal so get a grip. 

6. To serve, take the entire pastry on a wooden board to the table. Crack it open. Glory. 

Did I mention how healthy this method of cooking is? No? Well, that's how we roll here. What's that? What is that awesome looking salad? That's just a little something The Princess knocked up to go with it. Roasted beetroot and butternut with rocket with corn. Not kak. 

The only way this could be more impressive is to do it on the Weber. Now that would be killer...

Jamie Who

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Bizerca Bistro (again) - Yip, it's that good

I have reviewed Bizerca Bistro before (http://jamiewhatshisname.blogspot.com/2009/06/bizerca-bistro-my-new-favourite.html) but after taking So-So there for dinner recently, and again being blown away with my meal, I felt compelled to write about it again...

We kicked things off with a bottle of Tamboerskloof Shiraz and began working our way through the menu. Bizerca offers a combination of signature dishes from a running menu, as well as daily specials. What strikes you is the distinctive personality of the food: traditional French, dressed up and tweaked with other influences. The focus is on real stocks and sauces, slow-cooking, a passion for seasonal ingredients and unpretentious flavours. The end result is - for me - some of the best food in the country.

Having written about this place before I will keep this quick but highlights of the meal included a starter of pig's trotter with seared scallops and green beans (the best dish I have had this year), yellowtail tartare, slow-cooked veal shoulder, springbok prepared in three ways and a white bean cassoulet with pork belly, duck and sausage. And, of course, the famous apple tarte fine which you order in advance, ensuring that what arrives is absolutely fresh. Yeah look, this is a place where you stop counting calories and just give in. You can always work a bit harder in the gym the next day.

I had the pleasure of briefly meeting Cyrillia and Laurant (the husband-and-wife team behind the restaurant's success) and was struck by their warmth and humility. With the Eatout Top 10 awards coming up soon, look for Bizerca to be at least in the top 5.

Do yourself a favour and book now for your next meal out. Call them on (021) 418-0001.

Jamie Who

Monday, September 14, 2009

Carlyle's - The best pizza in Cape Town?

Nothing sparks a heated debate in the food circles quite like the question "where makes the best pizza?" Don't get me wrong, I love talking about the skills and effort that go into high-end dining. I love talking about the intricate presentation of places like Jardine and La Colombe, and every real foodie will have their say on what makes a particular chef/restaurant their favourite. But it's the simple pizza that gets people really animated. People get defensive and quite bleak when you tell them their pizza place can't compare to yours. It's all pretty funny actually. Now, in my opinion, Carlyle's in Vredehoek makes Cape Town's best pizza. I used to go there often when I stayed in the area but since moving I have been looking for an excuse to go back. On Saturday night we met Vin D, Pocket Rocket, Shmici and Justice to see if it was as good as I remembered. It was even better.

What you want to do at Carlyle's is reserve one of the tables in the lounge area with the couches. Set up camp there, open a few bottles of red wine and get involved. The second thing you absolutely must do is to order half-half pizzas. It's the only way. I went with half prawn, chicken, coriander and cherry toatoes and the other half parma ham, rocket and parmesan. They killed it. Thin, crispy bases, the perfect amount of toppings with plenty of fresh herbs and not too much cheese. This is a big deal for me. Too many places put way too much cheese on and what arrives is a pizza dripping with grease. Not cool. 

We all went with pizza but it is worth noting that they serve a mean lamb-shank and excellent salds if you are strong-willed enough. The bar is usually quite vibey too and is a good place to kill some time if you are waiting for a takeaway or have arrived without a booking. Service is really good considering how busy the place gets and is worth a mention. Kerryn was looking after our table and did a really good job, even joining us for a coffee Patrone. *lifts eyebrows while nodding slowly

For the best pizza in Cape Town give them a call on (021) 461-8787 or visit them at 17 Derry Street.

Jamie Who

Friday, September 11, 2009

Loading Bay - Restoring my faith in the gourmet burger

We had a strange night last night. The Princess and I joined Godmother E and Hotspur for the launch of Portofino restaurant in town. (The old Showroom premises). I was expecting to sample a few signature dishes and blog about the experience today. Instead, I had a Peroni and left after an hour. The event - organised by The Little Black Book - was slick and they had definitely invited the right crowd but I was hungry and needed something more substantial. So...in the meantime the Portofino review is on ice.

Luckily for me, I had been invited to (and turned down) Loading Bay's Burger Night which runs every Thursday. You guys do know Loading Bay don't you? No? Don't worry pumpkin, that's why I'm here. Loading Bay is like the punchline of a joke that would start with: an interior decorator, a fashion designer and a food editor walk into a club. It is sexy as hell and filled with beautiful people. During the day half the shop sells boutique designer clothes and the other half runs as a Lebanese-inspired restaurant/coffee bar. The burger night is a new concept and I was keen to see what was on offer.

Let's start with the staff. Funky, well-spoken dudes with just the right amount of attitude. Think Vida e. We were welcomed, even without my booking, and shown to our table. The menu was the definition of simplicity with two options: a 100% veal burger with cheddar and a beetroot and apple salsa or a vegetarian patty made of brussel sprouts, carrots, and onion. The veggie was served with cream cheese. There is also a simple winelist and Brewers & Union Lager if you're keen for artisan beer. Get this, the burger is served with truffle flavoured chips/potato wedges or a side salad. Seriously.

I had trained like a maniac pre-empting the food I was expecting to eat at Portofino so I did not hold back. The waitor asked me if I would like to add avo or bacon to my burger so I went with both. What arrived in front of me was so beautiful I didn't know whether to adopt it or eat it. A thick patty, crispy onion rings, a delicious kitka roll lightly toasted. Perfection. The wine (Simonsig Cab Sav) went down well and the truffle wedges were...interesting. Maybe a touch too much truffle oil but when have you ever experienced TOO MUCH of such an expensive ingredient? I'll give them the benefit of the doubt for at least doing something different.

There were also Lindt milkshakes (are you getting all of this???!!!) but I was honestly too full.

The burgers were R75 but worth every cent. I have it on good authority that the meat changes and can include a short-rib/brisket mixture and even a free-range chicken option. I have no doubt they will be as impressive.

I love it when something so unexpected is so good. I went out expecting a mediterranean feast and got a gourmet burger instead. Fate dealt me in nicely there. Loading Bay's slogan is "Today is a good day." Last night I could not have agreed more.

Give them a call on (021) 425-6320 or visit them at 30 Hudson Street.

Jamie Who
UPDATE: One of the lovely ladies from Little Black Book read the post above and has just sent through the Portofino menu. It seems simple but classic flavours and is well-priced. Check it out...


Bruschetta x 3 – fresh tomato and basil, griddled courgettes and mint, chicken livers R55
Antipasti plate (for 2) – chilli salt squid, marinated vegetable rolls, Parma ham, salami, olives R85
Beef carpaccio – watercress, parmesan shavings, olive oil and lemon R 60
Melanzane all parmigiana – layers of griddled aubergine, mozzarella tomato, basil R45
Tuscan minestrone soup R45
Orange, almond, parmesan and goats cheese salad with lemon dressing R 45
Seasonal salad R 40
Pumpkin, goats cheese and pumpkin seeds salad with honey mustard dressing R 45


Risotto of the day R75
Warm risone with pancetta, peas, asparagus, porcini mushrooms with truffle infusion R70
Fresh gnocchi of the day R60
Lasagna alla Bolognese R80
Spaghetti Carbonara R65
Broccoli and anchovy pasta R65
Penne Arrabbiata – fresh tomato and chilli R60
Butternut and ricotta ravioli with pine nut butter R55
Tagliatelle with fresh mussels R85


Veal parcel filled with pesto and buffalo mozzarella and ricotta and butternut stuffed ravioli R 105
Grilled fish of the day R105
Honey and mustard pork fillet – pumpkin and potato mash, green beans R 90
Lamb cutlets with rosemary jus – cannellini bean puree, vegetables R 105
Grilled baby chicken marinated in olive oil, garlic and chilli with baby pesto potatoes R 105


Pistachio and almond cake with yoghurt and honey sorbet and mint pannacotta
Homemade lemon tart with lemon ice cream
Ricotta and honey tart
Lindt Nemesis cake with honeycomb ice cream
Portofino Tiramisu
Selection of home made ice creams or sorbets
Vanilla pannacotta

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Dalewood Fromage- Cheese or slice of rainbow?

Since I started this blog about 4 months ago I've been blown away by how many restaurants/bars/brand managers have contacted me basically looking for me to punt their venue or product. OBVIOUSLY it was all really tempting but that is the complete opposite of what I'm trying to do here. That would be like an anti-blog. Like a backwards blog. Like a golb.What I'm trying to do is to give you my honest opinion of all things food. What I like and what I don't. 

The reason I'm telling you this is because I want to tell you a story about a package of delicious food goodies that Eat-In magazine delivered to me. The reason I accepted it was because I understood they weren't punting themselves. They were punting the amazing people who work so hard to produce the foods that they feature. It is very important to make this differentiation.

Aaaaanyway, I felt I HAD to tell you about Dalewood Fromage and the cheese/slice of rainbow that they are responsible for. Holy monkey. I had some of their 6 month Huguenot and it was ri-dic-u-lous. I grated some onto a frittata but I could easily have just eaten it with chutney and a good glass of red. It was so, so, so, so, so, so good. 

They won an award at last year's Eat-In Awards ceremony and I can see why. You can check them out on www.dalewood.co.za.  

Jamie Who

Asian Salmon parcel with honey-and-cumin-roasted beetroot

Steaming your food is an awesome way to cook. It's super-healthy, easy and takes very little time. I got given a bamboo steamer by The Dragon a few years ago and I use it all the time. They aren't expensive and are well worth buying. If, for some reason (like you're cheap), you insist on not getting one just use a colander.

The recipe here involves cooking in a parcel which is made from baking paper. I love cooking this way as it allows you to pour liquid onto whatever is cooking and this then becomes your sauce when its done. Lovely. You can use tinfoil but it will prevent you from serving it straight from the steamer which I think looks amazing. 

Okay, stuff you'll need to feed 2:
  • 400g fresh salmon, filleted with skin on 
  • A punnet of tenderstem brocolli
  • A punnet of courgettes, cut diagonally
  • A handful of baby beetroots, washed
  • About three tablespoons of light soy sauce
  • Three teaspoons of honey
  • A teaspoon of chilli, chopped
  • A teaspoon of fish sauce
  • A few drops of sesame oil
  • A teaspoon of ginger, grated
  • A teaspoon of garlic, chopped
  • A pinch of cumin
  • Juice of one lime (if you can't find limes use lemon)
Okay, what to do:

1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius. In a large roasting tray place the beetroot and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle on sea salt, cumin and two teaspoons of honey. Shake to make sure everything is covered. Cook for about 40 minutes, checking them every now and again.  

2. In a shallow dish mix soy sauce, fish sauce, sesame oil, ginger, garlic, chilli, lime juice and one teaspoon of honey. Make three cuts in the skin of the fish and place in mixture. Marinade for 20 minutes. (No longer. You don't want the lime juice to start cooking the fish)

3. Tear off some sheets of baking paper and lay two down. Arrange vegetables in the middle, place fish on top and bring edges up to create a parcel. Pour in marinade mixture and reinforce parcel with more baking paper if needed.

4. Place parcel in steamer and cook for 15 - 20 minutes depending on the thickness of fish. (Salmon is best when it is still a bit pink in the middle so don't overcook it)

5. To serve, tear open paper and place steamer in the middle of the table alongside a bowl of the beetroots. 

You probably know that green vegetables are healthy (you did know that didn't you?) but what really packs the nutrition in here is the beets. They are PACKED with antioxidants and vitamins, they are used to cure bad skin, they aid with detox (I'm not pointing any fingers) and in some studies they have even been shown to help prevent cancer. What's not to like? 

Hope you enjoyed that. I did. I enjoy you. 

Jamie Who

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Women's Health - Coming soon

So, Women's Health have (finally) arrived in South Africa. The first edition is not yet on shelves (I've left a subtle clue somewhere in the picture above as to when it will be) but they have launched a killer website in the meantime to get the ladies in the vibe. They have a "Hot bloggers" section and would you believe it they have listed Jamie Who on there. Now, I have no idea how they knew how exactly how hot I was but let me tell you, I'm pretty stoked. What's that? You don't think they were talking about physical appearances when they said "hot". Whatever. 

The mag is going to be awesome and I'm chuffed to be a small part of it. Just doing my best to make sure you stay healthy ladies. Just doing my bit. Like a soldier. 

Check out the site on www.womenshealthsa.co.za

Jamie Who 

Tasha's (Melrose Arch) - Plans for Cape Town?

A recent trip up to Jozi allowed me to enjoy a light lunch in Melrose Arch's new piazza. Being a Saturday, the place was heaving and restaurants were filling up fast. One of them was already absolutely packed though, and even had a decent queue of customers waiting outside for tables. Now, with the golden rule of never trusting an empty restaurant in mind, I figured the opposite must be true and clearly the locals knew something I didn't. I put our names on the list. Surely this was the spot? Surely it was worth the wait? Indeed it was. 

Tasha's in Melrose Arch is the fourth restaurant in an already successful chain. (The others being in Atholl, Bedfordview and Morningside.) Each branch has its own design elements but the decor in each is noticeably better than your average coffee shop/deli experience. Melrose Arch has a breezy, neutral-coloured vibe offset by beautiful touches like vintage wood, stunning marble accents and feature chandeliers with hanging cutlery. The end result is a truly beautiful environment that is chic, but warm and inviting at the same time. 

The approach to food is also far more sophisticated than comparative restaurants. I was there for lunch but with my weakness for a killer breakfast I had to have a look. As well as the normal stuff there were things like an omelette with brie, avo and olive tapenade. There were rostis with various toppings like baby marrows, salmon and caviar. French toast with emmentaler, ham, mustard and tomato chutney. Croissants with bananas and Nutella. Get the picture? Well...I was impressed anyway. But back to the reason we were there: lunch. The girls had couscous salads with chicken breast, shaved fennel, brocolli and goats cheese (R76) while I went for the steak sandwich (R58). Superman went for a prego roll made with fillet (R68) and chips. Everything was excellent. I was blown away by the diversity of the menu and if anything that would be my only fault with the place. They are trying to do much: hot dogs, tuna tartare, grilled sole with prawn and lemon butter, seared salmon, quesidillas, prawn pasta, tramezzinis, shnitzels and more! That said, if everything they produce is as good as the lunch we had then good luck to them. I just think with their classy look they could finesse the menu a bit. There is a small but satisfactory winelist, and even some good "by the glass" options. 

Tasha's is a funky, well designed venue with good food. Absolutely perfect for sitting outside and doing some people-watching. I would welcome one to Cape Town with open arms and I'm pretty sure I wouldn't be the only one. 

You can find Tasha's in Melrose Arch, shop 14, the piazza. Or call them on (011) 684-1781.

Jamie Who

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Bistro Sixteen82 - Steenberg just keeps giving

I love Steenberg. There's something very "pleasantville" about it all. Golf carts everywhere, families going for walks, kids riding bikes, joggers doing their thing, dogs sniffing arses etc. The whole thing just works! I thoroughly enjoy it. And...with our own little slice of heaven on the 13th fairway, I am more than happy to go spend the odd weekend out there, playing golf and just chilling hard.

Besides the amazing vineyards, there is also a GORGEOUS five-star hotel. The clubhouse is a good place to have a beer and watch rugby and their restaurant - Catharina's - is a good display of fine dining. So, generally, I am very happy with Steenberg's vibe. Imagine my excitement then when Long Distance shot through an e-mail saying they were opening a new restaurant. He told me it was going to serve bistro food, which I absolutely love if it is done properly. I investigated a bit more (as I do...for you) and it seems he was right. The menu has 3 price options of R155, R185 or R220 per person and that gets you three courses. The price then obviously determines the complexity of the menu. SAMPLES of the MAIN COURSES for the three categories are: Gnocchi with pancetta, spring peas and parmesan, aged Ribeye with bearnaise sauce and scallops and crawfish with blood orange and fennel.

Set to open on the 13th of November, the restaurant is to be called Bistro Sixteen82. The man in charge is Brad Ball, previously at River Cafe and Olympia Cafe. When I called them, the woman I spoke to explained the food as simple and fresh and according to www.eatout.co.za there will also be a raw bar featuring oysters, sashimi, ceviche etc.

I can see myself there in Summer. Salmon tartar (you can make me one of those, right?) and a glass of Steenberg Sauvignon Blanc. Yes please.

Jamie Who

Monday, September 7, 2009

The Riebeek Valley - They dig a market out here

When you think of winelands and weekends away the usual places come to mind. Stellenbosch, Franschhoek, Paarl etc. Sometimes Wellington and Darling get a bit of airtime. Robertson could pop up in a conversation. But what hardly ever feaures is the Riebeek Valley. And I can't work out why...

With estates like Allesverloren and Kloovenburg it is obvious that the area can produce wines that can compete with the big boys but what I really love is the boutique farms. Farms with character and names you have never heard of. They're awesome. Olives are also a big deal in the valley. Like, a really big deal. Most estates have olive tastings and olive oils on sale and the quality is consistently good. There are plenty of cool places to stay too, ranging from rustic B&B's to hotels and luxury guesthouses.

And then there's the food culture. Riebeek Valley is packed with brilliant places to eat and if you ever make it out there for a weekend you would be a fool not to eat at Cafe Felix or Bar Bar Black Sheep, but preferably both. Cafe Felix is so awesome that Reuben (as in Reuben's restaurant) had his wedding there. Bar Bar Black Sheep is so awesome that...Jamie Who had dinner there.

And now I float seamlessly into the reason for this article...the Riebeek Valley Farmer's Market which runs on the first Saturday of every month. The market showcases the olives we chatted about earlier, the olive oils, preserves, herbs, cupcakes, cheeses, vruit and veg and general country produce. It is the perfect excuse to head out there. If you're keen, the next market day is on the 3rd of October from 09h00 to 12h00. You can call 084 601 3636 or visit http://www.riebeekvalley.info/ to find out more.
There is also a market on the last Saturday of every month. This one is in Short Street and includes wines and bubbly as well as the local produce. You can check this one out on the same site as above.
So...basically, they dig a market on a Saturday in the Riebeek Valley. The guys are doing their best to get you out there, you should stop making excuses and go .

Jamie Who

Friday, September 4, 2009

Taste Of Joburg - Thanks Justine

There have been some - how do we say this nicely - prickly e-mails arriving in my inbox saying I don't pay enough attention to Joburg and that I should get them involved more. Bloody hell guys, take a chillaxitive. I love Joburg. To show you how much I care I have organised a little food party for you. It is called the Taste of Joburg Festival. (I didn't really organise this guys. Come now.) Luckily for you though, Justine Drake did.

My early readers...fans? Why not...my early fans will remember one of my very first entries which was about the amazing food festival here in Cape Town. http://jamiewhatshisname.blogspot.com/2009/04/so-this-weekend-sees-taste-of-cape-town.html. Well, it is now Jozi's turn. The vibe is exactly the same except they have cleverly changed the name. Instead of Taste of Cape Town it is to be known as Taste of Joburg. Aha! So there's the difference. What will be the same is the high quality of restaurants, chefs and booze on offer.

It is to be held at the Montecasino Outdoor events area from September 30th to October 4th and some of the participating restaurants include:
  • Restaurant Mosaic
  • The Attic
  • The Westcliff
  • Roots
  • Karma

If I was you and I lived in Jozi I would stop the hating. I would say, hey Jamie, you know what you DO love me. If I was you I would be STOKED. I would hug myself, I would hug the person next to me and I would mail Jamie Who and say THANK YOU JAMIE.

You know what? It's a pleasure.

Oh, If I were you I would also check out their website on http://www.tasteofjoburg.com/ to get some tickets.

Jamie Who

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Eat In Produce Awards 2010 - Vote now

I know you. You're like me. You also enjoy championing the true artisan. You and me love the extra effort that goes into Jack Black beer, we love the fact that the dude selling sourdough at the Woodstock market begins cooking on Thursday evening to get ready in time for Saturday. We appreciate every sip of the beer at &Union and don't bitch too much about the price (until we realise how many we've had - "how did that happen?" is a popular question). We stroll through markets and we linger a little bit too long at the counter at Jardine bakery or the deli section at Caveau. The reason for this, I tell myself, is because we appreciate quality. Once you've tasted the best, it is a difficult job convincing your tastebuds that standard fare will do. I try. I tell them things will be fine. But they never are. They end up resenting me and I just can't have that.

So, basically, that is why http://www.eat-in.co.za/ is such an important site to me. At the moment they are taking votes for their 2010 Produce Awards. There are categories for best new product, best small producer:bakery, best small producer:dairy, best organic producer, outstanding supplier etc. Nominations close on the 14th so best you get going.

Vote. It's the right thing to do.

Jamie Who

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Soupa - Duper

In Thibalt square, across the road from its more fancied competitor, there lurks a little gem of a restaurant that feeds those who are lucky enough to know about it. Because of me, you are now one of those people. You’re welcome.

Called Soupa, the place serves modern South African contemporary fusion cuisine. Really Jamie? No, not really. The place serves soups. It also does salads, wraps and fresh smoothies (real smoothies, not the powdered rubbish). The design won’t win any d├ęcor awards but somehow the combination of bright polka dot table cloths and a candy-striped counter where you order seems to work. It adds a bit of character. And that is exactly what I like about this place…character. The staff are worth a mention too. Service with a smile is taken to a whole new level here and I know of plenty of high-end restaurants that would do well to take note of how it should be done.

The food itself is simple and rustic but extremely tasty. With fresh ingredients, there is a definite focus on health with soups like beef and barley and “detox vegetable”. There are basic salads like chicken, tuna, Caprese and roasted vegetable. In fact, you can’t really go wrong health-wise as long as you stay away from the muffins. Commercially made muffins are often made with butter and sugar and you’d be better off having a fruit salad. I was there for lunch and went with an Asian beef noodle wrap. (I had a spinning class to psyche myself up for so the extra carbs were important.) It was nice to find proper pieces of medium rare meat as opposed to tough overcooked strips of minute steak. I also had a berry smoothie which was better than most. Lambert had a chicken noodle soup and was impressed. Packed with vegetables and with a nice amount of chicken, she seemed happy.

A really nice touch is the fact that you can get a drive-by take away meal if you are in a hurry. Just phone ahead and they will literally wait on the sidewalk and hand you your meal. Pretty cool.

As mentioned, you can find Soupa in Thibalt Square. Shop number 42. Or get hold of them on (021) 421-1506.

Jamie Who

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

The country's top 10 Pinotages - what do you make of it?

When it comes to wine I am a lot like our government officials - you expect me to know more than I actually do. Unlike a goverment official, however, I am trying to learn. So after my previous posting about the Pinotage on Tap Festival (http://jamiewhatshisname.blogspot.com/2009/08/pinotage-on-tap-wait-what-did-you-say.html) I was interested to read in today's Cape Times about an awards ceremony which celebrated SA's top 10 pinotages.

Originating in South Africa, Pinotage is a pretty controversial wine in the sense that until fairly recently it was shunned by the outside world and regarded basically as plonk. They are slowly coming round though and there are now definitely some recognised Pinotages that can hold their own against more famous varieties. If you are looking to bluff your way through a dinner, or impress your boss with a gift, the general rule seems to be that 2007 was the best year for Pinotage.

So, let's have a look at the top 10 (alphabetically):
  • Altydgedacht Pinotage 2008
  • Beyerskloof Diesel Pinotage 2007
  • Cathedral Cellar Pinotage 2006
  • Flagstone Writer's Block Pinotage 2007
  • Kanonkop Pinotage 2005
  • Longridge Pinotage 2007
  • Lyngrove Platinum Pinotage 2007
  • Onyx Pinotage 2006
  • Viljoensdrift River Grandeur 2008
  • Windmeul Reserve Pinotage 2008

The runners up were:

  • Cathedral Cellar Pinotage 2007
  • De Waal Top of The Hill Pinotage 2007
  • Diemersfontein Carpe Diem Pinotage 2007
  • Fort Simon Pinotage 2006
  • Kanonkop Pinotage 2006
  • Lesebo Pinotage 2007
  • Simonsig Redhill Pinotage 2007
  • Stellenzicht Cellarmaster's Release Pinotage 2007
  • The Bernard Series Bush Vine Pinotage 2007
  • Wildekrans Barrel Selection Pinotage 2007.

I have stuck the Kanonkop logo in there because it is my personal favourite but that's the great thing about wine - it's so subjective. As I mentioned, I am no expert at all when it comes to wine but I know what I like. Shouldn't that be all that matters?


Jamie Who