Quirky Jo’burg Street Food

Clever wordplay got me to visit Sumting Fresh, a diner-like restaurant that knows everything there is to know about street food. If I only knew what I was getting into…

When I first heard about Sumting Fresh, I thought: “Hey, another healthy eatery in town!” To my surprise, that was not exactly the case. The name rather suggests that its menu is fresh. New. Unique. Different. What it doesn’t suggest is that almost everything on the menu is deep-fried, which I suppose is what street food is all about.

What started out as street food trucks at local markets, evolved into a quirky, yellow-framed, diner-style eatery in Norwoord, Johannesburg. Sumting Fresh has been catering to people in Jo’burg’s streets for about 2 years now, with a menu that seems to be ever evolving as customers dine and comment.

Chef Andrew says things have changed a lot since they originally started. A menu that was initially launched with very similar items to that of other food trucks at local markets, evolved into a menu that features Sumting Fresh in comparison to the usual street food options available at markets, festivals and events.

Their jam jars are delightful with choices like Elderflower, Grinadella Passion and Kiwi Apple – all very refreshing and delicious. A popular newcomer to the menu is the Cheese Burger Springrolls and you’d be surprised at how many other things they have found to deep-fry. From deep-fried Mac and Cheese Balls drizzled with a tomato salsa and cheese to Gua Bao (two Taiwanese steamed buns with crumbed, deep-fried chicken) and much more.

I believe the word “fresh” has got a new meaning. At least at Sumting Fresh it has.

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A Homely Setting for a Hearty Meal

The Hussar Grill franchise has been around for many years and it suits Paarl’s streets perfectly.

Nestled between old trees and vines, The Hussar Grill in Paarl has much more to offer than good steak. I must admit, I wished it was winter while visiting, as the fireplace looked all too cozy and the warm ambiance was perfect for those wet winters of the Cape.

The Hussar Grill franchise is celebrating its 50th birthday this year and with it comes a lot of perks for diners, including a fine bottle of birthday wine. Couple this with a well prepared steak or even some of their other dishes like their Parmesan Chicken – a lovely meal for someone who would rather keep it light. It wasn’t in the cards to go for dessert too, but when the waitress (bless her) brought the menu and asked if we’d like dessert, I spotted it: Baked Cheese Cake. I’m a sucker, I know, but it was so worth it. It came with ice cream – the vanilla seeds clearly visible in those scoops of indulgence – and a small glass filled with a mixture of chocolate sauce, vodka and cream. I know, right?

It might be Paarl’s historic buildings and oak lined streets that add to the ambiance, but The Hussar Grill‘s interior creates an an old world charm with loads of books and antique artifacts that are perfectly positioned. The furniture and bottle green couches fit in well with this nostalgic setting and the wine bottles, stacked up against the walls, add that final touch. Dark wooden tables and homely fireplaces round off the overall ambiance of the restaurant – a homely setting for a hearty meal.

South Africa’s premier grill room, The Hussar Grill, will be sharing some of the expertise behind its successful 50-year legacy in a series of Steak Masterclasses. Aspirant cooks and foodies are welcome to attend these stand-alone evening events, which will be held in a professional kitchen at the prestigious Silwood School of Cookery in Cape Town, South Africa’s oldest cookery school.

To book your place, contact Azraa Bedford, the Academic Manager at Silwood Cookery School on +27 (0)21 686 4894 or visit http://www.silwood.co.za/.

Christmas is in the air with Nespresso

Okay, I’ll admit it. The fairy lights and Christmas carols around every corner are some of the things that brighten up my day this time of the year. Not the kitsch Santa toys, bright red and green decorations and one-line Christmas jingles – the more sophisticated kind of Christmas things. I mean, have you seen the beautiful decor items at @Home this year? Even Santa’s Warehouse has a few more sophisticated wooden Christmas items among all the brightly coloured and flickering lights.

And, have you seen what Nespresso has to offer for the Season? They’ve got a few options to choose from too:

Parisian-Inspired Coffee and Petit Fours

There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the Festive Season that tantalises our senses and heightens our expectations, so why not up the ante and treat your loved ones to Parisian-inspired coffee and petit fours? Nespresso has launched their annual Limited Edition Variations coffees, made with Parisian treats in mind. These coffees, inspired by the traditional French flavours of Parisian patisseries, including Macaron and Praliné, are the crème de la crème of decadent delight. These treats are perfect for any summer soiree.

Try this recipe:

Paris Praliné Indulgence

1 Capsule Variations Paris Praline, brewed as an espresso

100 ml Milk

1 tsp Hazelnut Crumbs

1 tsp Dark Chocolate Shavings

2 tsp Chocolate Spread

How to: 

Pour 2 tsp of chocolate spread into a cup. Extract the coffee over it. Froth your milk and pour on top of the coffee. Sprinkle some hazelnut crumbs and dark chocolate shavings on top.

Enjoy!

Picnic with Iced Coffee

A tip for your iced coffee: Infuse ice cubes with interesting flavoured syrups. As the day gets warmer and the ice melts, your drink will slowly, but surely change flavour.

Road Trip!

Appreciate what our country has to offer and take on the open road with a great playlist, good company and a couple of charged Nespresso travel mugs with your favourite brew.

Pool Plunger

Who said you can’t have coffee by the pool? A refreshing iced coffee cocktail sounds like the way to go. Here is a recipe to try:

Variations Paris Macaron with Almond Milk

1 capsule Variations Paris Macaron, brewed as Espresso

30 ml Almond Milk

10 ml Almond Syrup

4 Ice cubes

How to:

Pour the almond syrup into a cup. Place 4 big ice cubes in the glass. Pour in the almond milk. Extract the coffee over it. Add the remaining two ice cubes and mix.

There you have it. A coffee-filled Christmas – two of my favourites at once. Bam!

Buy these Variations at Nespresso Boutiques and Booths nationwide, from The Nespresso Club on 0800 637773 or online at https://www.buynespresso.com/ 

 

V&A Waterfront gets a stylish addition

One of Cape Town’s most glamorous shopping, socialising and dining destinations is getting a suitably stylish new addition this month.

The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront is one of the city’s most popular spots. It is a magnet for both local and international style mavens, thanks to the plethora of diverse offerings, its infectious buzz and of course the magnificent Table Bay harbour and Table Mountain views.

The Harbour House Group is well versed in responding to the diverse tastes of South Africa’s socialites and foodies alike and the news that La Parada V&A Waterfront is opening is perfectly timed for the summer months, when tourists pour into the city. Featuring two beautifully dressed floors of dining and cocktail spaces, La Parada V&A Waterfront is a polished destination that marries thoughtfully conceived and on-trend surrounds with their much loved contemporary tapas menu.

Traditionally served in Spanish wine bars, at La Parada V&A Waterfront the tapas concept has evolved from the traditional two-bite snack experience to a more modern shared-plated offering. La Parada V&A Waterfront Brand Chef, Roche Rossouw, says:

“We serve everything from smart, snack style choices like prawn croquettes to more robust offerings like our famous crispy Pork Belly or our grilled cheese with ham and truffle – we cater for every level of appetite. The La Parada offering works for any time of the day and suits the brand’s diverse mix of guests.” Whether people are popping in for a cheeky glass of wine and enjoying sharing plates or are planning to linger longer, there’s something on the menu that matches any food mood”.

La Parada V&A Waterfront joins its sister eateries at Constantia Nek and Bree Street and like its popular predecessors, there is no doubt this convivial dining concept will fill a niche.

“La Parada is a really stylish space but the style of food makes it unpretentious too – it’s the kind of spot that’s perfect for after work drinks or to host your birthday party”, says Harbour House Group Marketing Manager, Tahlia Bester.

A new addition to La Parada V&A Waterfront is the inclusion of an upstairs private area in the design. The lounge, dining and bar concept is tucked away from the main restaurant and is a discreet, thoughtfully conceived space for guests to meet, eat and drink. A dedicated hospitality team and additional whisky bar concept will add to the exclusive ambiance of this stylish space.

“It’s all part of the brand tapping into what people want – our research shows that guests want to be part of the main restaurant mix but they like the option of a more private space too,” says Tahlia.

An eye catching palette of wood, exposed brick, marble and tropical touches reveal a nod to current trends and the eatery’s Spanish influences while detailed patterning, lush greenery and touches of metallic are timeless additions that add more visual layers to the mix. Add the extraordinary views of the harbour and you have a winning combination that’s sure to lure a cosmopolitan, fun loving and food focused crowd.

La Parada V&A Waterfront opens early in November, situated at 1 Dock Road, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.

www.laparada.co.za

MSC Cruises brings a Cuban Experience

In just over a month from now MSC Cruises, the world’s largest privately-owned cruise line and leading cruise line in Europe and South America, will be introducing MSC Armonia to Miami for the first time.

From December 10th this year, MSC Armonia will offer unique 7-night Caribbean sailings departing from Miami, calling at Montego Bay, Jamaica; Georgetown, Cayman Islands and Cozumel, Mexico before arriving in Havana, the Cuban capital, staying overnight. MSC Cruises’ 7-night programme to Cuba will include two days in the bustling city of Havana over the weekend.

Guests can expect not only a brand new attractive itinerary, but also a variety of enhancements to make the MSC Armonia experience that much more memorable. On board, guests will delight in fresh entertainment and new gourmet culinary choices, while ashore, an overnight stay in Havana will allow guests the full experience of this culturally vibrant city.

Highlights of the Cuba cruise include a new, mouth-watering specialty restaurant, a Havana-inspired Mojito Bar, an enhanced pub menu and new complimentary treats to the cruise experience.

The cruise will also include some new entertainment concepts, including the addition of local Cuban music while in port in Cuba. Various musicians – straight from the city of Havana – will join guests on board to play the best local Cuban music during the Saturday evening of the ship’s overnight stay in Havana.

The overnight stay in the buzzing capital of Cuba, allows for MSC Armonia’s guests to fully enjoy all that the city has to offer. Cruisers will be able to immerse themselves in many aspects of Cuban culture, both during the day and in the evening, through a variety of unique excursions to choose from. Shore excursions will explore local highlights from music, art and architecture to classic cigar rolling, rum distilling and much more. You will be able to ride in vintage American cars, sip on local rum and classic Habanos cigars and dance at Havana’s largest nightclub.

The MSC Armonia has been tailored with a wide range of amenities and services for families, including a brand new splash park for children, varied dining offerings, all-hours entertainment, a broad choice of relaxation and wellness options and more.

New Summer Dishes at Grande Provence

Chef Guy Bennett of The Restaurant, a landmark Franschhoek eatery at Grande Provence, has tweaked his summer dishes with his signature modern South African flair by introducing a couple of new, seasonal flavours and lighter textures.

Unfettered by the notion of a fixed restaurant menu, Chef Guy champions an ever evolving and dynamic menu, allowing for new creations to make their appearance.

“We change our dishes constantly, incorporating new ingredients and produce that become available as the seasons change,” says Chef Guy.

His passion for local produce is evident in his new starter of Gin and Citrus cured Franschhoek Trout, adorned with a Fresh Salad of Pak Choi, Radish and Sour Cream. His new Yellow Fin Tuna starter has a flavourful oriental twist of Tataki, Daikon, barbecued Jalapeňo and Avocado Cream.

For his main course, Chef Guy has introduced a new Cured Duck Leg Confit served with Sweet Potato Dumplings, Saltana and Chinese Cabbage, and a refreshing Apple Chutney to lift the flavours.

His chosen addition to the summer dessert line-up is a dreamy, light Valrhona Éclair and Macadamia Crumble served with a dollop of Rooibos Ice Cream.

reservations@grandeprovence.co.za

 

Image credit: Supplied

Contemporary Dining at Idiom

With two years trading under its belt, the Idiom Restaurant & Tasting Centre has fast become a must-visit destination for those seeking a vineyard setting with 180 degree panoramic views of both sea and mountain with spectacular cuisine and a wide range of top wines to match.

Situated near Sir Lowry’s Pass, Idiom is one of the southern-most vineyards in the Stellenbosch appellation with a positioning on the upper slopes of the Helderberg Basin. The elevated vantage point offers a unique coastal perspective of the full profile of the Cape Peninsula across False Bay whilst having the green, windswept vineyards and rugged, fynbos-covered mountainside as a backdrop to this unique Cape Winelands’ destination.

The restaurant space acts as a space from where the beautiful landscape can be observed in its different moods. The interior design is reserved in its almost Scandinavian simplicity, offering a calming, sheltered place to taste Idiom’s superb range of wines and enjoy a leisurely afternoon with friends and family. The dining experience continues to ensure that clients get a wonderful balance of flavours, with visual presentation showcasing the impeccable technique and the young talent being developed in the kitchen.

“Our focus is on contemporary cuisine bringing to life a fusion of our family’s Italian heritage as well as modern flavours and textures of the­ Cape. We have seventeen different grapes varieties from all over the world planted at Idiom, giving us plenty of scope for inspiration”, notes Roberto Bottega, who has headed up the project of developing the signature Idiom Tasting Centre. “Over the last two years, we have been working to establish the identity and desired direction of our Restaurant and Tasting Centre. Our main trading window is lunch, to take advantage of the views. Our primary goal is to create a top class food offering to match the scenery and complement and showcase our Idiom wines. We offer a Contemporary Dining experience, which is a 2- and 3-course seasonal menu, with a recommended wine pairing for each dish. We want customers to have a memorable visit to Idiom.”

“Each Idiom wine has its own unique character and flavour profile and we actively try and express those characters in the culinary offering, often using the colour spectrum as a guide,” adds Bottega. “Our current team in the kitchen, under the leadership of Calum Anderson, has a good understanding of this concept. The cured trout starter paired with Idiom Viognier and the lamb ragu paccheri paired with Idiom Zinfandel are two of my current favourites on our chef’s new menu.”

Guests can also request older vintages from Idiom’s library and enjoy wines at close to cellar door prices – an added benefit compared to dining at other top end establishments.

The owners

The Idiom project is run by the Bottega Family. Family patriarch, Alberto, was born in Italy and immigrated to the Cape in the 1950s. After a successful career upcountry in computer programming, banking and finance, he returned to Cape Town to retire to the Cape Winelands. In 1999 the first vines were planted from scratch on his Da Capo Vineyards farm and the first commercial vintage of Idiom was made in 2004.

Alberto’ son, Roberto, joined Idiom after 12 years of trading financial markets in London and Johannesburg. He has spearheaded the development of the Tasting Centre and manages global sales for Bottega Family Wines. He has developed a passion for Italian wines and is also the co-founder of a specialist wine import and distribution project called Vinotria, which he manages together with Pedro Estrada Belli. Vinotria’s portfolio includes wines from internationally acclaimed wineries such as Donnafugata in Sicily, Ornellaia in Tuscany, and Livio Felluga in Friuli, to name a few.

The Chef

Calum Anderson is an established head chef with 17 years’ experience of working in top-end restaurants, hotels and game lodges in South Africa, England and Australia. He has worked at leading hotels including The Cape Grace and Singita. During his career he has worked under some extremely gifted chefs including Gareth Collins, Giles Thompson, Chris Galvin, Peter Gordan, Bruce Robertson, Charles Le Febvre and Reuben Riffel. As a chef, Anderson has cooked for celebrities including Ellen DeGeneres, the British royal family, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Bill Clinton, Sheikha Al Mayassa of Qatar, Brad Pitt, Andrea Bocelli, Michel Roux Snr, Fran Drescher and William Shatner.

Anderson’s food philosophy is to ensure the integrity of the elements is upheld, that dishes are full of flavour, interesting and unusual.

“Visually, dishes should be natural and beautiful to the eye but not overly complicated as I believe this is my expression of how I see and feel about food.”

He is assisted at Idiom by talented sous chefs Donovan Christian and Bronwyn Solomon, who also heads up the pastry section.

Explore Italy at Idiom

Besides the contemporary dining offering at Idiom, there are other simpler Italian-inspired options to enjoy. Antipasto platters, with a selection of freshly sliced Italian cold meats such as prosciutto and salami, as well as cheese boards, with Italian and local soft and hard cheeses, are popular choices. The regional Italian pizza menu combines light thin crust bases with carefully chosen toppings using ingredients that transmit the tastes of the different regions of Italy.

“The regional pizzas are the first step to creating a dedicated Italian food offering, which in time, may require its own separate space,” says Bottega. “Regional Italian pastas are also being added to complement the pizzas. We are planning a rotating regional Italian degustation menu in order to showcase the fantastic regional wines we import with appropriate food. Italian wines are designed for food, and we hope to have this concept ready for the end of the year.”

Idiom is one of the leading producers of Italian varietal wines in South Africa, so it makes perfect sense for us to expand and take ownership of the Italian wine space in the country,” continues Bottega. “Visitors can taste Idiom’s locally produced Pinot Grigio, Sangiovese, Barbera, Nebbiolo and Primitivo (Zinfandel) wines at the wine bar or in the restaurant. We supply a number of leading Italian restaurants with both our locally made Idiom and imported Vinotria portfolio of Italian wines. Having access to the imported wines as reference points has been very important. Firstly, we have learnt a tremendous amount about the wines of Italy, and it has allowed us to monitor the progress, quality and style of the Italian varietal wines we produce locally, and to better understand the potential of our Cape terroir,” adds Bottega.

Did you know?

Idiom – currently the VIP Winelands Lunch Choice of local operator, Cape Town Helicopters – is now accessible by helicopter for those who want to take a spectacular trip to the Cape Winelands along the coast. The 4-hour VIP aerial adventure and Winelands Culinary experience departs from the Waterfront and takes in parts of the Cape Peninsula before arriving at Idiom.

http://idiom.co.za/