Xiang Yuan, one finger if you’re single, two if married, dim sum in Sea Point

Until today I have been a pork dim sum ‘virgin’.  This was not for want of trying.  My quest for this most traditional of Cantonese snack breakfasts, with dumplings at its heart, sent me to Haiku for lunch but alas they are ‘halaal friendly’.  I have also perused the dim sum menu at Beluga but they too don’t do piggy.  I thought the only solution was to fork out for a flight to Hong Kong until wine writer spitorswallow alerted me to Xiang Yuan on the bit of Sea Point that remains steadfast in sleaze, immune to the gentrification all around it. Read the rest of this entry »


Societi Bistro, not another bloody public holiday, head here in the City Bowl

You’ve hidden, found and eaten a nest of Easter Eggs the size of the Ivory Coast.  Your children have given you tinnitus with their shrill sugar-fuelled screams.  You’ve kissed overly affectionate scratchy-whiskered aunts and seen enough of friends from near and far at braais and wine-fuelled sundowners in your home.  On May Day you celebrated the death of socialism.  Cabin fever is reaching a murderous level and the weather has eventually turned for the worse so there is no question of beach or mountain. Read the rest of this entry »


Maria’s, the Greek restaurant wars come to Cape Town’s City Bowl and Easter Lamb

In the space of three months a couple of Greek restaurants have opened in the City Bowl.  Last time I reviewed the relocated Marika’s (now on the border of Oranjezicht and Vredehoek).  Today it’s nearby Maria’s, which has re-opened after being closed for two years.  Maria’s flows out onto Dunkley Square, with tables outside under shady trees.  Yes it looks out onto a parking lot a la Joburg but the greenery and heritage buildings are a far cry from a strip mall restaurant in that city. Read the rest of this entry »


Marika’s, the Greek restaurant relocates to Vredehoek or is it Oranjezicht?

There is an oft repeated story in Europe that if you want to eat good Greek food – go to Lebanon.  Many consider Lebanese cuisine to be among the world’s best along with French, Italian, Japanese, Chinese and Peruvian.  The jibe at Greece is probably a bit unfair but reportedly the dedication of Beiruit’s residents and cooks to fine food is second to none (it certainly is a fair assessment of most Greek restaurants in South Africa). Read the rest of this entry »


Down South aint down south but in central Cape Town’s Long Street

I had thought Down South, the name of this ‘good ol southern cookin’ barbecue, a clever play on the Deep South nickname for the Southern Suburbs, which has its head quarters in one of the Access Park factory shop garages.  What people in retail euphemistically call a retail outlet mall. Read the rest of this entry »


Jimmy Killed the Prawns but what of Caffe Milano on Kloof Street

Whites.  Before my charming and dapper friend Jimmy Manyi introduces forced removals and relocates you to the dusty streets of Polokwane there is one thing you have to do.  (I’m not so stupid as to reveal that activity immediately but don’t worry I will after a couple of paragraphs of my usual drivel.) Read the rest of this entry »


The Lookout Deck, fried eggs and models in the Republic of Hout Bay

In my experience lovely Hout Bay has strangely been a bit of a Bermuda Triangle of food.  The calamari at Chapmans Peak Hotel was once legendary.  They rolled it through an old-fashioned wringer washing machine to tenderise, forsaking the common chemical approach, said friends who once disastrously waited tables there between glugs of vodka.  I’ve eaten a pretty good meal there with my family in the last couple of years and one very ordinary one. Read the rest of this entry »


After a tasting of French Burgundies will I ever drink Cape chardonnay again? Or how to look for scrumptious cow dung in a red

You may wonder why the hell you are getting a wine report from a food writer.  One that knows only the bare bones about Cape wine and even less about French.  A true vino ignoramus. Read the rest of this entry »


Hemelhuijs on the Fan Mile, if you want the restaurant review skip the intro

While the innocent and the sweet lunch here, the target of a dramatic hostile takeover is playing itself out in the Freeworld Coatings offices upstairs, where the executives have ended up with egg on their faces.  This after apparently failing in the fight of their lives to fend off the bid from Japanese hunter, paint maker Kansai (probably in order to hold on to their fat jobs). Read the rest of this entry »


Keenwa, is how you pronounce quinoa, the Cape’s first Peruvian restaurant

Almost everything about Peruvian cuisine is remarkable.  In 2006 the Fourth International Summit of Gastronomy Madrid Fusión, that included chefs Ferrán Adriá and Thomas Keller of French Laundry, voted Lima gourmet capital of the Americas. Sure New York has great restaurants but home-grown New York Cuisine is relatively limited. Read the rest of this entry »