WEEK 2 – Soccer Season Suppers – The Big Five
• It’s less than 40 days to go to the FIFA World Cup 2010.
• You need to make a restaurant booking now if you are going to beat the 250 000 tourists to a table.
• Last week we looked at where to eat in the smaller/ less well known food destination host cities. This week we are looking at CT, JHB, PTA, Soweto and Durban.
• The situation is less dire in the big five than in the smaller host cities in that there are more options if you miss out on your first choice.
• But only marginally so…
HOST CITY 1: Cape Town
• The thing about Cape Town is they behave as though the city is full of fabulous restaurants but when you take out the winelands and just look at the city itself it becomes clear that the emperor is standing out there starkers.
• What we think of as ‘the great Cape Town restaurants’ are mainly in Franschhoek, Stellenbosch, Paarl etc…
• Of course La Colombe is a given but your chances of getting a table are next to none so here are some other suggestions.
5 pages of bubblies says a win in anyone's language...
The Greenhouse, Cellars Hohenort Hotel, Constantia. 021 794 2137
What's not to love about a wine list with five pages of bubblies? Chef Peter Tempelhof is pretty good too. Lovely martini bar if the urge to celebrate moves you towards the hard tack...
The next big thing?
Wild Woods Restaurant; Main Road Hout Bay (NB. They have no street number they are next to the Chapmans Peak Hotel) 021 791 1166
• Opened in the last 3 months.
• Cape culinary icon Pete Goffe-Wood is the man behind the apron and the food at Wild Woods Bistro.
• Situated at the foot of the majestic Chapmans Peak in Hout Bay the menu is simple but super special.
• Whether you favour fish soup with crunchy croutons or slow cooked lamb shoulder it is all comfort cuisine with a classy touch.
Being called darling really does help when you're sad
Biesmillah Cnr Wale and Pentz street, Cape Town. 021 423 0850
• In the event of a loss it’s good to know that Cape Town’s Green Point stadium is within 2km of Biesmillah restaurant in the Bo-Kaap.
• The Cape Malay-style curries are deeply consoling.
• As is the fact that the gap-toothed waitress calls everyone darling.
Poodles and semi naked ladies can help too...
At Vaudeville supper club you are met by a four metre tall poodle and then you eat your 3 course meal while acrobats and hula hoop girls in scimpy outfits dance about.
HOST CITY 2: Durban
For post Moses Mabhida stadium morose moments…
Spice; 362 Windemere/ Lillian Ngoyi Road, Morningside. 031 303 6375
• Want cheering up? Chef Linda Govender is the way to go.
• Not only is she the sweetest person imaginable but her food is both interesting and comforting – a hard combination to pull off.
• She combines the Natal Indian flavours of her upbringing with the classic French food of her training.
• One of the most interesting young chefs in South Africa.
Posh nosh for a win
Audacia Manor, 11 Sir Arthur Road, morningside, Durban 031 303 95 20 (nb. outside diners must book)
• This beautifully restored, listed building is a boutique hotel but they welcome bookings from outside diners.
• The menu changes regularly but currently features the likes of Midlands beef with proper tarragon-laden Béarnaise sauce and wild mushroom risotto with truffle oil.
This one isn't in Durban proper but when in doubt do as the Oppenheimers do
Oyster Box, 2 Lighthouse Road, Umhlanga Rocks, KwaZulu Natal 031 514 5000
• The newly revamped Oyster Box Hotel is the definition of delicious luxury.
• You can do posh nosh at the Grill Room but those in the know (including regular patron Bridget Oppenheimer) bi-pass the smart set in favour of the fabulous fish and chips at the bistro style Ocean Terrace.
HOST CITY 3: Johannesburg
The Ellis Park stadium has a capacity of 60 000 people – which makes for awfully long food queues.
If you have spent all the money on the tickets and now you need cheep and cheerful
Home of curries, shop 5 130 11th Street, Parkmore, Sandton. 011 8832534/ 084 494 4208
• Perfect bunny chow.
• Seriously fabulous chicken and prawn breyani.
• If you are feeling brave call ahead and they will serve up the likes of trotter curry, fish roe chutney, lamb head curry.
Celebrated too hard? Cheese helps with a hangover
The Cheese Café cnr 7th street and 3rd Avenue, Linden, Johannesburg 011 888 5384
• why not soak up alcohol the morning after the night before with a cheese platters. If you are feeling brave try the exotic platter with a fabulous fynbos Caephilly.
• If you can’t face cheese first thing in the morning there are breakfasts laden with home-cured bacons and Peter James Smith's excellent sausages.
How lazy are you?
The Flamingo; Troyeville Hotel, 25 Bezuidenhout Avenue, Troyeville, Johannesburg. 011 402 7709
• With 7 games at Ellis Park it’s good to know that this tacky-chic Afro-Lusitanean lunch spot is less than a km from the football stadium.
• It's a good idea to park here super early and have lunch and then wander down to the game.
• They have a great roof garden - so if you havent got tickets for the match but you want to hear the roar of the crowd this is the spot for you.
HOST CITY 4: Soweto
Soweto’s Soccer City stadium is shaped like a calabash which suggests promising culinary possibilities therein but the reality is that the in stadium food is all the same old same old official sponsor stuff that you will find else where.
Nothing says we won like a kliptini
Soweto Hotel on Freedom Square (011 527 7300)
• Cocktail waitress Thandi Nkosi serves a homebrewed Gemmer ginger beer and vodka Kliptini cocktail that is dangerously delicious.
How to recover from the Kliptinis
Bolo's Place, Kliptown 084 3300681
• The R14 sausage, atchaar and chip stuffed Kotas at Bolo’s Place are fabulous beyond words.
• The term Kota is derived from the word ‘quarter’ and refers to a township variation on a bunny chow which has just the right combination of fat, spice and carbohydrate to absorb excess alcohol from your blood stream.
• Once the Kota has worked its magic stick around to listen to Chef David Blom who has an encyclopaedic knowledge of the 107 year history of Kliptown area.
Want to drink more? Then do it in style
Morana boutique bottle store, Mofolo (011 982 2290/ 082 3365948)
• Mnikelo Mangciphu’s Morana boutique bottle store takes its name from the Tswana word for grapes.
• The by invitation only, on-site tasting room offers a heavenly melange of Brazilian music, leather couches and the most comprehensive selection of South African fine wines this side of Franschhoek.
HOST CITY 5: Pretoria
• Pretoria’s Loftus Versfeld Stadium is hosting five first round and one second round game - which is just as well because there are a range of good restaurants to try.
The Lazy Gourmand hot spot
Li-bel 012 343 8277 Cnr Jorison and Johnston Sunnyside.
• Inner city cafe chic doesn't come any cooler than this.
• Plus it's just on the edge of the exclusion zone (so 1km from the stadium) so you wont have to walk far to enjoy everything from funky breakfasts to 5 course tasting menus.
• So if you want to try out the likes of sweet potato soup with pistachio ice cream or mushroom cream, with salted pinenuts and truffle caramel Li-bel is for you.
For the Ghana v Serbia match eat wonderful west African (oh alright it's actually Central African but lets not quibble)…
Zemara; 933 Schoeman Street, Arcadia; 012 342 3080.
• Best Congolese food in South Africa.
• Plus this restaurant is right inside the exclusion zone so you can be even lazier than at Li-bel.
• A word to the wise, if you aren’t conversant with the food genre of Central Africa do ask chef Jackie Picard for help when ordering. I recently received an outraged letter from a diner who, having read a review of mine, had visited Zemara. He had ordered acheke and aloko and was then angered when no sauces or proteins were served to him. Since he had asked for cassava couscous and fried plantain bananas it is hard to know what proteins and sauces he expected.
Early birds catch so much more than worms in Pretoria
Pretoria Farmers Market, Pioneer Park, Silverton
• You really cannot say that you understand Pretoria food culture until you have eaten banana chutney-laden, sosatie-filled vetkoek at the 5am – 9am Pretoria boeremark.
• What's not to love about a pannekoek selling family who arrive each week with a nappy wearing vervet monkey as part of their party?
• Even in the dead of winter the car guard is bare-foot and wears a T-shirt stating that ‘Pretoria bly Pretoria’