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Have you heard? We reveal the hot restaurant openings and closures of the season

The slow months of the winter season can often usher in changes in the restaurant industry. Closures, renovations, relocations and new openings are part and parcel of this time of year.

As our dynamic industry grows, newcomers are welcomed and old legends are celebrated. We’ve seen Chris Erasmus, former executive chef at 2013 Top 10 restaurant Pierneef à La Motte, move on to pursue his dream of opening his own spot. We really look forward to seeing what Chris has in store at forest-to-table-themed Foliage.

Another hot bit of gossip was around the opening of a new bistro in Cape Town’s Foreshore. With a chef who trained under Heston Blumenthal and worked at The Fat Duck and The Pot Luck Club, Borage is getting some worthy attention.

The movers and shakers in the culinary world tend to be a hot topic at dinner parties, sometimes leading to unfounded and off-the-mark rumours. To help you get your facts straight, we’ve rounded up a list of confirmed openings, closures and other changes at notable eateries around the country.

Rumour has it

  • Contrary to some unfounded rumours, Bistrot Bizerca is alive and well in its new spot on Heritage Square.
  • Borage, a new restaurant on the Cape Town’s foreshore, is not owned by Heston Blumenthal as talk would have it. Rather, head chef Frank Marks worked under Heston Blumenthal at The Fat Duck (former no. 1 restaurant in the world) and at The Pot Luck Club before opening Borage.

Movements and closures in Johannesburg

  • The Four Seasons Hotel will be opening at the end of 2014 in Johannesburg. There will be five new locally inspired restaurants, bars and lounges. The culinary team will be presided over by executive chef Dirk Gieselmann, a native of Germany and most recently of the three Michelin star L’Auberge de I’ll in Illhaeusern, France. Passionate about seasonality and local provenance, Dirk is currently foraging the farms and markets of the city and surrounding countryside and acquiring the best possible ingredients on which to base his menus.
Pierneef à La Motte

Pierneef à La Motte

Movements and closures in Cape Town

  • The Butcher Shop and Grill (Sandton) will open a branch in Mouille Point in the near future.
  • Caffe Milano in Kloof Street will close at the end of May. Chef Giorgio Nava is planning to reinvent this space as Carne Bistro. The change comes in order to meet the demand for lunches and to handle the dinner overflow from Carne SA, which is a smaller space. The new menu will include daily specials and the fare will be somewhat lighter than that of Carne SA.
  • The Greenhouse will say goodbye to head chef Gerald van der Walt, who is joining the team at The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français. Read the full story here.
  • Harbour House Group has welcomed Spanish chef Andres Condé as group executive chef from June 2014. Condé worked previously at elBulli, where he was second in command to Albert Adrià. More recently Condé was Head Chef at the Michelin-starred Tickets tapas restaurant and the adjoining 41° Bar in Barcelona, both owned by the Adrià brothers.
  • La Colombe will end its tenure at Constantia Uitsig at the end of June due to the estate being sold to new owners. La Colombe will move to new premises in Constantia and plans to be up and running again by September. Watch this space.
  • The Five Flies has closed down after unsuccessfully changing owners.
  • Mr Pickwicks has closed its doors in Green Market Square and opened in Kloof Street.
  • Newport Market and Deli in Mouille Point has closed down.
  • River Café on the Constantia Uitsig estate closed at the end of April. Neil Grant of Burrata has confirmed that he will be taking over, changing its name (still a secret) and opening the doors again in September or October.
  • The Tearoom at the Company’s Gardens will be closing at the end of July. It will be replaced by Haarlem & Hope, a new restaurant under the management of the Madame Zingara staff. (Also under the Madame Zingara helm are Café Paradiso, Café Mozart, Sidewalk Café and Bombay Bicycle Club.
  • Carl Penn (executive chef of Peddlars on the Bend) will be opening a new Portuguese restaurant in Woodstock in the old Don Pedro’s spot.
La Colombe in Cape Town

La Colombe in Cape Town

Movements in KwaZulu-Natal

Movements and closures in the Winelands

  • Barouche in Stellenbosch will be closing down on 31 May.  
  • No. 10 restaurant Pierneef à La Motte has appointed Michelle Theron as executive chef as from May 2014. (She takes over from Chris Erasmus, who resigned to open his own forest-to-plate restaurant called Foliage.)
  • At Overture, Adele Grewar, who was chef Bertus Basson’s sous chef at our no. 7 restaurant, has moved on from the restaurant to pursue a career in Australia.
Overture

Overture

Temporary closures (for winter or renovations) in the Western Cape

  • Balducci’s at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town will be closed for renovations for a month from 29 June until end-July.
  • Barefoot Cook in Hermanus is closed until 2 September.
  • Bella Napoli in Onrus is closed until 13 June.
  • Bientang’s Cave is closed until 28 June.
  • Country Kitchen on the Mont Rochelle estate will be closed for refurbishment until August 2014. (The estate has been bought by Virgin and added to the brand’s Limited Edition collection of luxury hotels.)
  • The Bungalow at Clifton in Cape Town will be closed for winter until 1 September.
  • De Grendel Restaurant in Plattekloof, Cape Town, will close for renovations from 30 June to 14 July.
  • Dunes Beach Restaurant and Bar will be closed from 17 June to 27 June.
  • Harvest Restaurant at Laborie will close from 9 June to 24 June.
  • The Kitchen at Maison in Stellenbosch will be closed from 2 June to 4 August.
  • Makaron at Majeka House in Stellenbosch will close its doors from 26 June to 31 July.
  • Mange Tout on the Mont Rochelle estate will be closed for refurbishment until August 2014. (The estate has been bought by Virgin and added to the brand’s Limited Edition collection of luxury hotels.)
  • Marianas in Stanford will close for winter from 15 June.
  • Overture in Stellenbosch will be closed from 25 August to 10 September.
  • Pierneef à La Motte in Franschhoek will be closed from 17 June to 11 July.
  • The Red Table Restaurant at Nederburg outside Paarl will close from 18 June to 8 July.
  • The Restaurant at Newton Johnson in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley will be closed for winter from 2 June to 3 July.
  • Rust en Vrede in Stellenbosch will be losed from 8 June to 9 July.
  • Savoy Cabbage in Cape Town will be closed from 26 May to 18 June for their annual break and a major kitchen refurbishment. (The Offal Festival will run from the 23rd June until the 5th July.)
  • Springfontein Eats in Stanford will be closed for July and August months.
  • The Tasting Room will close from 9 June to 7 July.
  • Terroir will close from 30 June to 17 July.
  • The Test Kitchen by Luke Dale-Roberts (no. 1 restaurant in SA) will close from 1 July to 15 July.
  • Tokara in Stellenbosch will close its doors from 26 May to 9 June.
  • Wakame and Wafu in Mouille Point have closed for renovations until further notice.
Makaron in Stellenbosch

Makaron in Stellenbosch

New restaurants in Cape Town

  • Bocca, a new venture by Neil Grant of Burrata, will open in Bree Street in August.
  • Borruso’s Too in Plumstead is the new sibling of the popular Borruso’s Kenilworth.
  • Café Society in the city centre is a gourmet burger restaurant that also serves breakfast, flat breads and cold meat tapas.
  • Casa du Sol Grill House in Claremont is a Portuguese-themed restaurant boasting fresh, innovative cuisine in a relaxed atmosphere.
  • Charcoal Dining is an upmarket bistro located in Gardens with a comfortable and relaxed atmosphere.
  • The Depot in the heart of Woodstock is the new venture of the previous owners of Brewhoo. They serve coffee and light meals.
  • The Dining Room in Sir Lowry road is the new venture by Karen Dudley of The Kitchen.
  • Hard Pressed Café is a ‘vinyl café’ situated in the new Portside Tower in Bree Street. Stop by for a quick cup of coffee or hang out for a few hours listening to great tunes.
  • Isola, a new Italian Trattoria with a wood-fired oven, has opened in the city bowl.
  • The Local Grill (with branches in Parktown North and Boksburg) has opened a new branch in Woodstock.
  • The Lunch Depot is a new lunch spot with great coffee on the foreshore.
  • Street Food, developed by the creators of Chefs Warehouse and Canteen and situated in the same building, provides daily take-away meals. There is no set menu as the meal options change each day.
  • Thornton Whites Gastro Bar opened on Cape Town’s foreshore at the beginning of April.
  • Queen of Tarts has opened a little branch in the Absa Building on the Foreshore.
Charcoal Dining

Charcoal Dining

New restaurants in Johannesburg

  • 310 Sustainable Eatery in Paulshof strives to serve tasty meals using fresh ingredients from local farmers and suppliers in the area.
  • Cielo Lounge Bar on the banks of the lake in Benoni offers a tranquil setting with an eclectic atmosphere.
  • Well-known Parkhurst eatery Coobs has opened a bar next door. The Library at Coobs is an upmarket bar serving wine and tapas, and is also available for private dining.
  • Social on Main kitchen and cocktail bar opened in April. They serve platters, steaks, homemade burgers, salads, flatbreads and boards to share.
Coobs

Coobs

New restaurants in Pretoria

  • A new branch of the popular Asian fusion restaurant Beluga opened in Pretoria in April.
  • Black Bamboo in Ashlea Gardens celebrates the synergy between food, wine and art. Their carefully selected wine list boasts an interesting selection of wines from around the country.
  • The Burgh Bistro in Pretoria East offers hearty home-style meals and pride themselves on giving personal attention and outstanding service.
  • Countless Ours in Centurion offers a cosy atmosphere thanks to a built-in fireplace and hearty winter cuisine.
  • Harissa Bistro, located at The Club Centre in Hazelwood, has a comfy and casual atmosphere and serves dishes like tandoori kingklip with coconut dhal and apple chutney.

New restaurants in Durban

  • Crusts Café and Restaurant, a small, privately owned family restaurant, serves light meals such as pasta, pizza, steaks and burgers.
  • Thava Continental, the third branch of the Thava Group of Restaurants, specialises in Indian and continental cuisine.

New restaurants in the winelands

  • The Pop-up Bacon Bar has opened in Franschhoek: They are a pop-up project of The Bacon of the Month Club celebrating a menu of all things bacon. It will be open until the end of July.
  • Strandcafe in Strand: They serve specialties from German-speaking countries in combination with Illy coffee, pancakes and more.
Strandcafe

Strandcafe

Have we missed any openings or closures? Let us know in the comments.

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