Something new for Parktown North

After three years of serving up some of the best wild boar Mac ‘n Cheese in Parktown North, The National has closed its doors. But, not for long.

Chef James Diack is giving his Parktown North speakeasy a face lift, transforming it into a wine and food bar, which will be called Douglas + Hale. “I’m always keeping myself busy, and I am really excited about this new concept for the Johannesburg restaurant scene,” he says.

“I have always had a passion for wine and cocktails – having originally studied viticulture in Stellenbosch.”

The name pays homage to both Diack’s grandfathers – Douglas Diack and Mathew Hale. They’re also James and his brother Nick’s second names.

Douglas + Hale will serve an incredible range of fine wines – by the bottle, but mostly by the glass, all in Riedel Glassware,” says James.

“We’ll also have some absurdly good cocktails made by our in-house mixologist.”

For the food, James is keeping it simple and he’ll keep some of The National’s favourite dishes. “It’s a small, simple eating menu that will keep you interested through the evening,” he explains.

The rustic and relaxed atmosphere is set to become a local must for after work cocktails, pre-meal drinks, or a final night cap before you head home (in an Uber – no drinking and driving allowed!).

Douglas + Hale will open to the public on 25 September 2018. For bookings, contact them on 011 327 3030. Find them at 19 4th Avenue, Parktown North.

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The best food for the winter chills

Edith Sitwell said: “Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is time for home.”

Here are a couple of places where you will feel at home this winter:

Constantia Glen

Enhance your winter wine tasting experience at Constantia Glen and tuck into a trio of delicious homemade soups. These hearty treats, on offer until the end of August, are a good reason to visit this picturesque boutique wine estate.

Available as single servings or as a trio of smaller portions, visitors can indulge in Constantia Glen’s famous traditional Austrian Beef Goulash soup, French onion soup with croûte au fromage, or delicious roasted Butternut & Sage soup, all served with crispy, freshly baked bread.

Each of these soups can be partnered perfectly with Constantia Glen’s elegant cool climate wines. Add an additional mouth-watering platter of cheese and charcuterie to your experience and enjoy the wonderful winter vineyard views.

The soups are available at R95 per single serving, or R100 for the trio. Wines are available by the glass from R70 if you want to linger over lunch for a laidback afternoon.

The Turbine Boutique Hotel & Spa

During the chilly season from 18h30, the hotel’s Island Café is offering bottomless soup – a sensational selection of gourmet soups served with freshly baked artisan bread (gluten free and vegetarian options are available) that will fill and warm you up and get your cheeks glowing.

The cost is R95 per adult and R45 for children under the age of 11, making it an affordable and perfect option for families.

Bookings are essential.

The Shortmarket Club

Chef Wesley Randles continues his modern interpretations of classics created from ingredients with impeccable provenance. His menu boasts some exciting new dishes, such as a starter of Fig Leaf baked Ricotta with Creamy Gorgonzola, Wild Honey and Lemon, which he describes as “comfort food at its best”. Another starter of Raw Fig and Smoked Burnt Aubergine, Roasted Hazelnuts and Bitter Leaves hits all the right notes.

Winter also heralds the appearance of venison on the menu. The Springbok and Quince makes the most of seasonal ingredients and it’s complemented perfectly with a jus of locally produced Caperitif and intensely satisfying smoked bone marrow. Meanwhile, vegetarians and meat-eaters alike will approve of the spiced tandoori cauliflower served with a vibrant peanut and lemongrass sambal that will bring some warmth to the Cape’s cold winter months.

The three-course Prix Fixe Winter Lunch Menu at The Shortmarket Club is priced at R280 per person, or R380 per person including a carafe of wine. It is available at lunchtime only, Monday to Saturday, until the end of September 2018.

Waverley Hills

Matching the landscape, chef Francois du Toit has set his own inspiration aflame in the kitchen and produced an enticing food and wine pairing menu that will have you linger for longer this winter.

Guests can expect to see dishes like Wild Mushrooms served with Parmesan Custard Cream and a whisper of Truffle paired with the Waverley Hills Chardonnay and Prawns fried with Spiced Paprika, Garlic and Parsley served with Fresh Ciabatta, paired with the Waverley Hill Cabernet Sauvignon.

The five-course food and wine pairing menu is available until the end of Spring 2018 and is priced at R395.00 per person. Reservations are required a week in advance.

BOSJES Kombuis

This dreamy winter destination is now offering their very own “First Thursdays” special in the months of June and August, giving guests the chance to celebrate chilly evenings with BOSJES’ winter curry nights on the first Thursday of each month. This special allows diners to feast on a selection of three curries served with sambals, naan, rotis, rice and dessert at R280 per person.

Contact eat@bosjes.co.za to book or call 023 004 0496.

BOSJES will be closed in July.

The Pot Luck Club

This winter sees the return of The Pot Luck Club‘s Lucky Lunch menu. Presented bento-style, lunch is served in small handmade bowls and wooden boards, and provides a feast for the eyes and taste buds.

The menu is subject to change without notice, due to seasonal availability and chef’s inspiration and is available for lunch until 31 August 2018. The offering consists of 6 items and is priced at R295 per person.

Bookings are open one month in advance and they are open from Monday to Saturday with lunch between 12:30 – 14:30 and dinner between 18:00 – 22:30. They are open on Sundays from 11h00 – 15h00.

The Pot Luck Club’s annual winter break is from the 23rd July 2018 to 5th August 2018 and it re-opens for dinner from 6 August.

Steenberg Merlot for Cooler Climates

Winter is slowly, but surely, creeping up on us. One thing that excites me most about the cooler climate of winter, is red wine. Even better when it’s next to a cozy fireplace!

Steenberg‘s Merlot, with its concentrated berries, savoury notes of dried fynbos, lavender and fresh rosemary might be the ideal fireside comforter on chilly autumn or winter days. Crafted from vines on the cool Steenberg foothills, the fresh and vibrant 2015 vintage is richly rewarding with a mouthful of plum, dark chocolate and black olives.

Winemaker, JD Pretorius, says:

“With the change of seasons from summer into autumn, our food preferences change in turn to warmer, flavoursome and richer dishes. Our Steenberg Merlot is rich in generosity and warmth with a rounded texture which makes it a fantastic food-friendly wine.”

It is made for the long haul, with tannins and acidity in perfect balance and it has the potential to age beautifully for up to 15 years.

The wine is a slam dunk with red meat and Chef Kerry Kilpin of Steenberg’s popular Bistro Sixteen82 recommends a delicious grilled sirloin, drizzled with a whisky and black pepper jus and a green pea and tomato salsa. Get the recipe here…

Visit www.steenbergfarm.com or follow #LiveSteenberg on Twitter (@SteenbergWines) and Facebook (facebook.com/steenbergestate) for more information.

Early Bird catches the Worm

The initial registration period for The Business of Wine and Food Tourism Conference, taking place at Spier in Stellenbosch on 20 September, ends on Monday, 12 June.

Trainees and professionals working in the Cape’s wine, food and tourism industries are encouraged to register now to take advantage of the preferential ‘early bird’ rate of R2 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate. After 12 June, a standard fee of R3 950 (excl. VAT) per delegate will apply, up until 18 August.  Those registering after 18 August will need to pay R4 500 (excl. VAT) per head.

The annual conference, now in its second year, is convened by seasoned travel and tourism specialist, Margi Biggs. She says that this year’s edition of the forum would be presented by a selection of international and local tourism specialists, such as CEO of SA Tourism, Sisa Ntshona; Don Shindle, an expert in customer service and GM of the Westin Verasa Napa in California’s renowned wine tourism epicentre; world-renowned TV personality, Andrea Robinson, one of only 23 female master sommeliers in the world; as well as Dr. Robin Back, a South African-born, US-based academic who conducts wine tourism research in both South Africa and the US.

The overall focus of the conference would be on best practice and how to improve the customer experience to build customer loyalty. The programme will also cover topics like virtual reality, attracting new markets (even within South Africa), and PR trouble shooting.

Biggs contends that, if done right, travel and tourism can contribute even further to South Africa’s national GDP.  The World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC) has calculated that last year, the direct contribution of the travel and tourism sector to the South African economy was worth R127,9bn, accounting for 3% of the country’s GDP.

For more information on the conference, or to register online, visit www.wineandfood.co.za.

Gaining more guests

Many hotels, guesthouses and restaurants offer more than just food and accommodation to their guests these days. It not only gives them additional exposure, but also helps them gain more guests.

Customers tend to change frequently regarding their needs, expectations and even emotions. By experimenting with some additional offers, we might be able to identify some new expectations more easily and even gain competitive advantage.

Outdoor Movie Night

Outdoor Movie Night

(Image found on babble.com)

 
Have you noticed how expensive it has become to watch movies at the cinema? Not to mention the price of popcorn, slush puppies and other snacks. Why don’t more venues use this as an opportunity? People love to go back in time and to experience some nostalgia every now and again. Why not give them a venue where they can watch movies in the garden while enjoying a box of homemade popcorn?

 
Dinner Theatre is another thing that draws many guests’ attention nowadays. It might be a little more expensive than going to the cinema, but the value for money is just so much more worth it. Spoiling your guests with a dinner theatre every now and again will keep them excited about your establishment and curious about what’s happening next. Those guests who only came for the performance now also have a chance to experience your venue and mention it to their friends.

 
Internal and relationship marketing has become key in the tourism and hospitality industry. We need to find ways to impress current guests all over again in order for them to spread the word. We need to think out of the box. Surprise your guests with something creative and new every now and again, build relationships with them and see how they do your marketing for you!

Meet the owner

It’s always good to know who you are working with…so here I am. 🙂 Hi, my name is Renate and I love hospitality and tourism.

Renate de Villiers

Renate de Villiers

Former teacher, guesthouse owner, tourism and hospitality lecturer and hotel PR and marketing campaign manager, I am completely in love with the hospitality and tourism industry. I love how everything comes back to one thing: helping others. Problem is – you are all so busy helping guests and keeping them happy that there’s no time to train staff. And THAT’s where I come in. I help you to keep your staff in the game with great, customized workshops on customer service, social media and more. I’ve had the dream of opening this company for over nine years and now it has happened at last! I can’t wait to meet all you lovely people. It’s gonna be a blast working with you.

What do I do in my “off-time”? Well, weekends are filled with excitement – visiting friends, going camping with my boyfriend, visiting friends, exploring Jozi and the rest of SA…visiting friends…you know- It’s a hard life!

I LOVE meeting new people, listening to their stories and taking on new challenges. I have trouble ignoring Pinterest, I take photos of everything and anything and I don’t judge restaurants, accommodation or food in my off-time. 🙂

Follow me on Twitter: @Renate_DV

Follow me on Pinterest: Travelling Mystery Guest OR Renate