DINERS CLUB Annual Winelist Awards Eastern Cape

Diners Club is celebrating its coveted Winelist Awards with events in the Western Cape, Gauteng, Kwa-Zulu-Natal and Eastern/Southern Cape this month: The Eastern and Southern Cape and Klein Karoo winners were announced at a function at Monet’s at Fancourt, George.

See list of winners below.

The Diners Club Winelist Awards have honoured the best wine lists in the country for over two decades and attract restaurants eager to gain recognition for the energy and attention they put into their wine lists. 2019 saw a year-on-year entry growth of over 10% – this reflects that an ever-growing number of establishments and patrons appreciate that the perfect meal is greatly enhanced by a fine wine to match.

This year, 205 restaurants from around the country submitted wine lists for judging by a select panel led by publisher of the Platter’s by Diners Club Wine Guide, Jean-Pierre Rossouw.

“It’s clear that dining establishments are giving their wine lists ever-more attention, and a trend that I’d really like to applaud is the growing number of wine stewards and sommeliers that curate and present the lists,” says Rossouw. “It’s also encouraging to note the number of establishments offering a wider choice of wines by the glass.”

The Diners Club Winelist Awards are a benchmark for excellence in the restaurant industry and it was encouraging to see as many as 47 restaurants countrywide achieving Diamond status this year.

Diners Club has a long history of supporting the wine industry. The response to this annual competition confirms the high standard of restaurants around the country and the significant choice our cardholders have when it comes to eating out.

In addition to Head Judge JP Rossouw, the judging panel comprised leading experts, Pete Goffe-Wood, Spencer Fondaumiere, Karin Visser and James Mukosi.

EASTERN CAPE, SOUTHERN CAPE AND KLEIN KAROO WINNERS

Platinum Awards

  • Pumba Private Game Reserve – Bush Lodge, Highlands, Makana Municipality
  • Pumba Private Game Reserve – Water Lodge, Highlands, Makana Municipality
  • Chatter’s Bistro, Knysna
  • De Viswijf Restaurant, Jeffrey’s Bay
  • Dune Ridge Country House, St Francis Bay
  • Gallery Café, Prince Albert (Klein Karoo)
  • Hacklewood Hill Country House, Port Elizabeth
  • Hopefield Country House, Sundays River Valley Addo
  • Hunter Hotel Group, Plettenberg Bay
  • Lairds Lodge Country Estate, Jeffrey’s Bay
  • Swartberg Country Manor, Oudtshoorn, Klein Karoo
  • The Fat Fish Restaurant, George
  • The Fat Fish Restaurant, Plettenberg Bay
  • The Hussar Grill Walmer, Port Elizabeth
  • The Hussar Grill, George
  • The Sands @ St Francis Bay
  • The Verandah Beach Hotel, Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth

Gold Awards

Col’Cacchio Pizzeria Boardwalk, Port Elizabeth

 

St Francis Tourism entities win awards

We left out a couple of awards when we congratulated some of the regional winners of Lilizela Regional Wards last week so here are all the Kouga winners as well as a Platinum Wine award for a local guest house.

The following accommodation establishments and activities in the greater Kouga / Tsitsikamma region were awarded for their efforts and are selected as the Eastern Cape finalists in the South African Lilizela Tourism Awards for 2019. The Lilizela Awards recognise and reward tourism players and businesses that work passionately and with pride to deliver a world-class product and service, and whose delivery grows South Africa’s global destination competitiveness.

Congratulations to all the finalists but especially our (St Francis) Dune Ridge Country House (4* Country House) – St Francis Bay, Beach Break (5* Self-catering shared vacation) – Cape St Francis, The Baviaans Camino (Action & Adventure) – which is run by Eric and Esti Stewart who also run the very successful Chokka Trail that was a winner in the Beach Experience category. Other winners in the region were – Tsitsikamma Backpackers (4* Backpackers & Hosteling) – Storms River, Thunzi Bush Lodge (4* Self-catering shared vacation) – Kouga, Untouched Adventures (Scenic Beauty) – Tsitsikamma National Park, Tsitsikamma.

All the finalist now progress to the national awards event that will be held in Johannesburg  in October so best of luck to all our finalists. Bring home the bacon.

And more good news for Dune Ridge who have just received a Platinum Award for their wine list from Diners Club international

And for food lovers, do not miss Dune Ridge’s superb Sunday Lunch menu offering this Sunday and a chance to order some of that wine from their Platinum Collection.

Some good news for Coffee and Pizza lovers

The Tenant Centre on St Francis Drive One has been a hive of activity with Legends bub being demolished along with changes to the paint and knitting shops both vacating for what will soon house Maritime Marine when it relocates.

Also undergoing some changes has been on of local coffee lovers favourite havens, Pedal & Spoke has been closed for the past few weeks undergoing a makeover. The refurb has takebn a little longer than it should have so with Rambling Rosa closed for the annual break, coffee lover have been limited in choice. Well all that will change this morning, or so we hear for Pedal & Spoke will open around about the time we send out this newsletter.

An offer you cannot refuse!

Still a very well-kept secret to many a St Franciscans is the multi-purpose accommodation / camping and caravan park / event & wedding venue and restaurant situated at the corner of the R330 and the Oyster Bay Road. We write of WaterberryPark set on a triangle of land stretching from the Oyster Bay road almost to the river running parallel to R330 until it meets the Kromme River bridge

Becoming increasingly popular as it is discovered by more and more locals is their Berries Cafe & Bar which serves up a delightful menu of light fare as well as having their own purpose built  Wood Fired Pizza Oven.  

If you haven’t yet visited Waterberry Park you are in for a surprise for co-owners David and Gary have transformed this piece of real estate on the border of St Francis into a garden, dare we day it. Eden. The restaurant is situated in the main building facing onto gardens both to the east and to the west. Now all those living in St Francis know our prevailing winds are east and west and when they blow the wind can make outdoor life, unless you surfing, quite miserable. Well clever architectural design allow diners to enjoy dining outdoors no matter the wind direction. There is of course indoor dining in the cosy restaurant for the chilly days and evenings.

Well here is a great offer at Berries Cafe for the month of June but starting yesterday.

Order two pizza’s but only pay for one.

And there pizza’s are great, SFT has eaten at Berries several times and never been disappointed with the quality.

Bucatini to open six days a week

A little reminiscent of a pavement café’s one finds on the pedestrian filled streets of many European cities but Bucatini is neither on a busy street pavement, nor in Europe but in the village of St Francis Bay. In fact unless you have reason to climb the steps to visit the physio, the Studio or Get-a-Fix you are unlikely to have ever seen it.

Being on the upper level of the Rhapsody Centre seems to have left Bucatini somewhat out of sight for many and poor signage has not really done them any favours. That it was seldom ever open also didn’t do its reputation any good and it is little wonder that some locals have never heard of it in spite of being regular visitors to the Rhapsody centre.

Well all that is about to change.

Situated next to the gym on the landing leading up to Fouche Swart’s Physio rooms, the Studio and Get-a-Fix, Bucatini occupies a section of the verandah of what would have been the kitchen of the popular old Tratoria in years gone by.

Cosy and comfortable with a brick motive wall covering that appears at first glance to be wallpaper until informed that in fact the entire interior was designed and painstakingly hand painted by talented Port Elizabeth artist and photographer, Sharon Welman.

Because of the rather small space it occupies tables are quite close together but it doesn’t feel crowded and there is a sense of coziness and intimacy. Maybe on a busy night this comment would need to be reviewed but it certainly felt comfortable.

The cuisine…. Pizza and Pasta and a few other dishes for those looking beyond pasta and pizza for a choice of ‘chicken or beef’ or maybe a little fish dish.

Arriving at Bucatini you receive a very warm welcome from Maitre’D / Barista / all round nice guy Raymond. The menu that is not too long to be confusing and best of all easy to read without one’s reading glasses. What is it with some restaurants the design their menu to be virtually unreadable in poor light. Personally I prefer menus with fewer choices, less confusing and easier to make a decision.

I chose the Bucatini alla Matriciana and delightful it was. A delightful, tasty choice made up with bacon, chili, tomato and onion with just enough chili so as not to burn but enough to raise a little perspiration on the brow. A rather cute touch was the a side dish of garlic, red and green chili and parmesan arranged in the colours of the Italian flag.

Pasta prices are reasonable but considering pizza prices at competing ‘pizzeria’s’ Bucatini’s pizza’s cost a tad more and are cooked in a gas oven rather than being cooked in a wood fired kiln.

The restaurant is fully licensed and considering its central location could become a popular spot for an after work glass of wine and pizza / pasta on a Friday afternoon.

Good news for those looking for somewhere to eat on a Monday for Bucatini is open for dinner on Monday, Wednesday and Thursday and for lunch and dinner on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. To make a reservation you can call 071 381 9512

Would I return? Absolutely! There are a still a few pasta’s I would like to try and I will certainly return for a Bucatini all Matriciana.

Maitre Raymond, Manager Alison and Chef Allie

Weekend dining ideas

Now that you have probably choked on the President’s promises made in his SONA speech, here are some more pleasant ideas to chew on,

Friday sees fish specials on the menu at both Joe Fish at the Resort with hake and chips at R69.00 and hake or calamari and chips on menu at The Links for just R79.00.

Wood Fired Pizza’s and burgers are on the menu at both the two new kids on the block, Full Stop in Cape St Francis and at Waterberry Park on the corner R330 and Oyster Bay road. Burgers are also on offer at both places but if you want something different and really tasty, try Full Stop’s Lamb Burger. Had one last night and ….Wow!!

Want a choice of some fine Greek cuisine with a beautiful view over the harbor, George has moved from Dionysus and is operating out of the Port St Francis Ski Boat & Yacht Club. This spacious venue undoubtedly has one of the finest views in ST Francis and diners can choose to eat outdoors or, if the weather isn’t too good, indoors. George also offers scrumptious local calamari and fresh fish.

St Francis Brewing Company is having one of their famous Sunday lunches. This Sunday it is the traditional Roast Beef & Yorkshire Pud.

And of course Joe Fish at the Resort has its ever popular lunch around pool on Sub=nday with their unbeatable Calamari and Ribs platter for four. Finger licking good!

Aircraft lands on beach

Light aircraft makes emergency landing on the beach at van Stadens

NSRI Station 37 Jeffreys Bay duty crew were activated shortly after lunch following a request by Kouga Fire and Rescue Services to respond to the Van Stadens River Mouth for a light aircraft reported to have landed on the beach in an emergency landing.

The Jeffreys Bay NSRI rescue vehicle with crew responded and joined SA Police Services, Kouga Fire and Rescue Services and EC Government Health EMS who had already been activated by ARCC (Aeronautical Rescue Coordination Centre).

It was reported that there were no injuries and on arrival on the scene a Plettenberg Bay pilot and his wife were found safe on the beach and uninjured.  The pilot had landed on the beach in an emergency landing during a flight from Port Elizabeth to George following suspected motor failure.

Douglas Aviation aircraft technicians were activated and assisted on the scene.

The incident is being investigated by CAA (Civil Aviation Authority).

Following consultation with CAA investigators the aircraft was moved to safety nearby to be recovered.

No further assistance was required.