SA’s best culinary wonders announced
Gourmet Magazine in association with Valpré proudly presented the winners of the first-ever Gourmet Restaurant Awards. Opulent Living had the honor of attending this exclusive cocktail party hosted at picturesque Klein Constantia Wine Estate on 6 December 2016.
The judges for the Gourmet Restaurant Awards included:
Bernadette Le Roux
Gourmet Editor has published two cookbooks, has worked in publishing for 15 years and is co-owner of Cafe Roux in Noordhoek.
The force behind Durban’s Freedom Cafe, Neil is also a cookbook author who travels the world as an avid food tourist.
Our Condé Nast House & Garden Editor and long-time foodista, who has reviewed restaurants for some of SA’s most renowned local guides.
Susan Greig is a contributor to Gourmet, a well-known food personality in Johannesburg and offers regular cooking classes at her studio in Hyde Park.
There were 7 categories,with 6 nominees per category from all provinces. Categories included the following: Best tasting menu, Best Hotel Restaurant, Décor & Design, Hidden Gem,Reader’s Choice Award, Best New Restaurant and of course an award to pay homage to the Head of the teams, The Gold Award for Consistency and Chef Excellence.
The winners of the Gourmet Restaurant Awards included:
BEST HOTEL RESTAURANT
Luke-Dale Roberts x The Saxon Hotel, Johannesburg
Hotel dining abroad has always been of the highest order and Luke Dale-Roberts has just upped the ante in Johannesburg. The menu, under the expert guidance of head chef Candice Philip, is as innovative as one would expect from Luke Dale-Roberts. Expect the likes of duck ‘ham’ with Jerusalem-artichoke sponge and coffee dressing or quail teriyaki with hazelnut dukkah and labneh yoghurt. Interiors are elegant and unaffected with a focus on the open kitchen. The best part is that the restaurant’s location in one of Johannesburg’s most prestigious hotels means that if you overindulge, you have the option of staying over.
Runner-Up: Greenhouse, The Cellars-Hohenort
DW Eleven-13, Johannesburg
Jozi locals flock here for chef Marthinus Ferreira’s modern menus, so it’s no surprise that this culinary gem, as picked by Gourmet readers, was crowned the winner. On the à la carte menu diners will find Wagyu beef cheeks with bone marrow and brisket croquettes; generous vegetarian options such as potato dumplings with deep-fried feta and charred aubergine; and spiced-grape crumble with crème anglaise and vanilla frozen yoghurt. A degustation menu, which changes daily, is also on offer with or without a wine pairing. The wine list is carefully selected without being intimidating.
Runner-Up Boiler Room Cafe, Durban
BEST TASTING MENU
Restaurant Mosaic, The Orient, Pretoria
Executive chef Chantel Dartnall’s eight-course Grande Degustation menu and most recently the Spring Celebrations menu, take the diner on a sensory journey. Showcasing strong botanical themes, on the menu you’ll find dishes with playful titles like ‘Birds of a Feather’, slow-cooked guinea fowl and quail tortellini, and the renowned dessert ‘Driftwood on Brook’s Bank’, a delicate branch made from the skin of a pear with a scoop of chocolate and a sprouting hazelnut enrobed in toffee. Chantel describes each dish to every table and such is her attention to detail that when she’s travelling or out of the kitchen, the restaurant is closed.
Runner-Up: Fermier Restaurant, Pretoria
GOLD AWARD FOR CONSISTENCY AND CHEF EXCELLENCE
George Jardine, The Restaurant at Jordan, Stellenbosch
When selecting the winner for this award, one of the factors which was carefully considered was consistency, and particularly from a chef who has stood the test of time. Going back to his days at Jardine on Bree Street (before anybody knew where Bree Street was) and now to The Restaurant at Jordan as well as, more recently, Jardine Restaurant in Stellenbosch, George Jardine has certainly ticked all the boxes for for this award. His signature style of elegantly plated fresh, seasonal produce is always of the highest quality and exceeds expectations.
Runner-Up: Scot Kirton, La Colombe
Blueberry Cafe, KZN Midlands
Situated on Nottingham Road on the Midlands Meander, visitors will find on-trend interiors by Andrea Kleinloog of Anatomy Design in Johannesburg and food that lives up to its looks. The beef medallions, served with rich chocolate jus, and an apple-and-Brie salad, is melt-in-the-mouth delicious and the baked blueberry cheesecake is an all-time favourite drawing visitors from near and far.
Runner-Up: Cleopatra Mountain Farmhouse, Drakensberg
BEST NEW RESTAURANT
The Shortmarket Club, Cape Town
Headed up by chef Wesley Randles and manager Simon Widdison under the watchful eye of Luke Dale-Roberts, The Shortmarket Club brings a new slant on dining to the City Bowl. Here, interiors are as important as the food. Plates bearing the likes of crispy octopus with green-mango atchar and sesame-tamarind dressing arrive from the kitchen through large Argentinian sliding doors that date back to the early 20th century. The wine list has something for everyone and a cheese ‘board’ arrives on a trolley reminiscent of a vintage bicycle.
Runner-Up: Marble, Rosebank, Johannesburg
DECOR AND DESIGN
Indochine, Delaire Graff, Stellenbosch
Honouring the work of the late David Collins, interiors at Indochine are a study in understated luxe, where rich blue leather and wood contrast with accents of copper and bold fabrics. The hero of the room is the chandelier, a whimsical art installation titled Swallows in Flight, imagined by Lionel Smit and created by Andre Stead, where over 1 300 Perspex swallows become part of the incredible views that stretch across to Table Mountain. Clever design ensures not to detract from the sweeping views over vineyards to the ocean beyond (on a good day).
Runner-Up: The Shortmarket Club, Cape Town