My favourite restaurants in the Cape: Michael Olivier

Food and wine expert, writer, restaurateur and mentor to dozens of chefs now leading the pack at SA’s restaurants, Michael Olivier took home the Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award in Association with Paarl Media at last year’s restaurant awards. On the eve of this year’s awards, we chatted to the Michael to find out where he likes to dine when off duty in his neighbourhood.

Michael Olivier

Food and wine expert, writer and restaurateur, Michael Olivier

My favourite place for:

Take-away coffee before work
I work from home, so it’s down the passage!  When I am out, usually from the Woolworths Coffee Bar or Seattle in Constantia Village. Origin or Truth in the city.

A weekday breakfast
I am often in the winelands and my favourite place is Bistro 13 at Welmoed Winery. Not only is Nic van Wyk one of my favourite chefs, his brioche bacon butty with HP Sauce is about the most decadent plate in the country.  In the city, it has to be Hemelhuijs; Jacques Erasmus is a food genius.

A lazy weekend brunch
Got to be Bistro Sixteen82 at Steenberg.  Exciting news that Kerry Kilpin has moved there recently as chef, so I expect even greater things.  The Lime Tree in Dreyersdal Rd Bergvliet, with Graham Isaacson, at the helm is a busy buzzy joint.

A business lunch
The Conservatory at The Cellars Hohenort Hotel in Constantia.  It’s up the road, has beautiful beautiful gardens and quiet efficient service, and Delia Harbottle’s food is sublime.

Sunday lunch with the family
My children are real foodies, and I mean lip-smacking foodies, so The Pot Luck Club is the place for us: lots of fabulous little plates, exploding with flavour and the best source of conversation.

The Pot Luck Club interior

Food at The Pot Luck Club. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

A romantic dinner
A romantic dinner with my bride of some 37 years can take place anywhere, just the two of us. It often takes place sitting out back, coals in the Weber, a piece of rib-eye from the thin Udo at The Fat German Butchery aka The Dundee Butchery, in Meadowridge and something deeply, darkly delicious in the glass.

A blow-the-budget celebratory dinner
No contest: The Test Kitchen. Luke Dale-Roberts’s sublime inventive quirky dishes are filled with excitement.

A weekday dinner
The White Room at Dear Me. Vanessa Marx is a chef to watch, her ability to bring food to wine, matching aromas and flavours, is the best in town. Buchu to match a sauvignon was one of her finer moments.

Summer menu at the White Room at Dear Me

Food at The White Room. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Buying flowers
I recently bought a bunch of white roses from Woolworths that lasted 18 days in a vase.  Why buy anywhere else?

Buying bread
If I could drive to Ile de Pain in Knysna every day, that is where it would be.  George Jardine offers a great loaf at The Bakery at Jordan Winery, as does Jason at his eponymous bakery up the top end of Bree Street.

Ordering birthday cake

Doing market-style shopping (as in a deli or market)
The place I truly enjoy is the Wild Oats Community Farmers Market in Sedgefield.  Farm to fork stuff.  You talk to the people who grow or make the food.

For a pizza
Massimo’s in Hout Bay.  He’s the man.

For Asian
South China Dim Sum Bar on Long Street, with a bottle of chilled Newton Johnson Felicité pinot noir to go with Ed’s food.  Asian heaven.

For a great view
Gosh aren’t we just spoilt for fabulous food with a stunning view in the Cape?  Haute Cabrière, The Restaurant at Waterkloof, Harvest at Laborie and Gaaitjie in Paternoster amongst them.

Food at Harvest at Laborie. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

Food at Harvest at Laborie. Photo courtesy of the restaurant.

For takeaways
Street Food at Liam Tomlin’s The Chef’s Warehouse at 92 Bree Street.  Lee’s Chinese, just down the road from us for a retro sweet and sour pork. Nothing wrong with a Steers burger on occasion too!

The 2014 winner of the Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award in Association with Paarl Media will be announced at the 2014 Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards on the 16 November 2014. Tickets are on sale now.

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