The 2010 nominees

The clock is ticking. There are just three days to go until the Eat Out Restaurant Awards. We tracked down the very busy and rather frazzled judges to get the scoop on the 20 nominees.

Each one of the four judges has platefuls of experience in the culinary world: Abigail DonnellyisEat Out’s editor and food editor of Woolworths TASTE; Arnold Tanzer is the owner of food consultancy Food on the Move, vice-president of the SA Chefs Association (SACA) and continental director of the World Association of Chefs Societies; Anna Trapido qualified as a chef at Prue Leith College of Food and Wine, has edited a restaurant guide, and written a number of books; and Pete Goffe-Wood has been a chef for over 20 years and has worked at several award-winning restaurants. He is currently the chef patron of Wild Woods in Hout Bay, and owns PGW Eat (a food consultancy), and runs the Kitchen Cowboy cooking workshops.

Anna on Aubergine  

‘Chef Harald Bresselschmidt and his team are a gift from God. I could not think more highly of him and his restaurant. The composition of the plating is inspired, and the cookery requires high skill. I like how thoughtful and careful his work always is. I had a dessert there called a composition of quince that will stay with me with me forever.’

Pete on Bosman’s

‘What I love about this restaurant is the attention to detail and the very professional but friendly service; it’s balanced German service with soul. The dishes are meticulously prepared.’

Abigail on Restaurant Christophe

‘What I loved about Christophe’s food was that it showcased sincerity, simple, but perfectly executed dishes that use sublime ingredients.’

Abigail on DW Eleven-13

‘What blew me away was that it was very refreshing to see dining of this calibre in Joburg.  This restaurant has elevated fine dining in the capital city. The bordelaise sauce still lingers with me…’

Abigail on George Jardine at Jordan Restaurant

‘You can see George’s happiness on the plate. The restaurant is in a magnificent setting, and it’s led by a dynamic husband and wife team (Louise). I never understand how such a bloke has such a gentle touch to his plating, such finesse.

Annaon The Greenhouse

‘Dining at The Greenhouse is like a combination of going to the circus when you’re little and that feeling on Christmas morning; the meal is full of magic tricks. That approach can sometimes be irritating, but Peter (Peter TempelHoff, chef) pulled it off, I admired how skilled he was and how much thought and care he put into his food. He’s very clever with his puddings, the macaroons were the best I’ve had in SA, and so beautifully presented. They came on a little silver-plated tree, and the macaroons hung off it like apples.’

Anna on Hartford House

‘I like how terroir-specific the food is here – it tastes like the Natal Midlands. The food is so classy and understated, and for me that reflects both the environment and Jacqui Cameron (the chef) as a person. Jacqui is the type of girl whose lipstick always matches her handbag. Her food is a thoughtful expression of who she is; her plates say, “Here I am, this is me”. She is so present in her food.’

Abigail on Jardine

‘Head chef, Eric Bulpitt, who hasn’t been at the helm of kitchen for very long, blew me away. His dishes are simple by no means, but all the components live together on the plate harmoniously,  and his desserts are breathtaking.’

Arnold on La Colombe

‘This restaurant has represented top SA cuisine for years. It always pushes the boundaries of what’s conventional and will continue to do so. La Colombe is a global gastronomic destination.’

Anna on Linger Longer

‘An absolute institution, Linger Longer is 50 years old this year. Walter’s food makes my heart sing. People from outside Joburg struggle to understand just how iconic Walter is. I like everything on the menu, it’s retro-chic in the best sense of the term.’

Pete on Restaurant Mosaic

‘Chef Chantel Dartnall’s personality is represented on the plate. Her heart and soul goes into every dish she cooks. The entire restaurant is a labour of love. You can see that the entire team really enjoys what they do. All the details that go into the restaurant, from the crockery to the produce, are lovingly chosen.’

Arnold on Overture

‘Bertus Basson is a chef who competes at the very top level of both international and local culinary competitions. Bertus and his team are the new young Turks of cuisine in SA. The technical work that goes into the food preparation incorporates rather than alienates local produce, and manages to remain quite contemporary.’

Pete on The Restaurant at Waterkloof

‘This restaurant is quite dramatic in terms of size and scale. The food could have easily gotten lost, but it has held its own and stood up to the building quite impressively. Very well-considered cooking and beautiful plating without being fiddly.’

Abigail on Reuben’s in Franschhoek

‘The service this year at Reuben’s shone. I had the best ever veal cutlet, it was smothered in mushroom butter. I dream about it quite often. Reuben’s is the perfect destination for consistency, and his bistro-style menu always excites.’

Pete on Roots

‘This is a beautiful restaurant and a fantastic setting. The best time to go is just before the sun sets. There is always a set menu, and it’s very well put together. Roots is also a value-for-money destination, it’s unbelievable what you get. The wine matches are extraordinary. Chef Alistair focuses on French classics, where flavor and texture are prominent.’

Arnold on The Roundhouse

‘I think that when The Roundhouse came on the scene two or three years ago, it represented something quite refreshing in Cape Town. The team is highly service oriented, and the food is very technical in terms of execution. PJ Vadas is one of those chefs who thinks very cleverly about food. His dishes are cutting edge, but also accessible to the public. He demonstrates his enviable talent in a spectacular setting.’

Abigail on Rust en Vrede

‘This restaurant encompasses everything of what a fine dining establishment should be.  David Higgs celebrates impressive artistry and attention to detail in every plate with an expertly crafted wine list. And, the service is invisible, it happens without you realising that it’s happening.’

Abigail on The Tasting Room at Le Quartier Français

‘Margot Janse presents a dynamic multi-sensory food experience, highlighted in an establishment of world-class standards, which makes for a hugely memorable experience for the diner. Her culinary passion, dedication and high level of ambition is evident to love of the finer things in life.’

Arnold on Terroir

‘Great restaurant. Well-crafted food, combined with professional and knowledgeable service. An exciting menu with the finest of sauces and some classics revisited with a modern philosophy, which elevates and transforms the natural flavours of fine ingredients.

Anna on Zachary’s

‘Chef Geoff Murray’s dishes reflect terroir very well. I love how involved he is with the small producers and farmers in the Garden Route area. And I really like how hard he works at supporting small producers, especially in such a difficult economic climate. The food is just as classy as the service, which is faultless yet friendly.’

By Malu Lambert

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