Always on the lookout for delicious indulgences? Check out these different dining experiences.
The revolving restaurant at the top of The Ritz is in motion once again, much to the delight of Capetonians and visitors to the city. The Seapoint landmark has been extensively renovated by its new owners, the Shimmy Luxury Collection (SLC). The top-floor restaurant is now the domain of chef Bertus Basson and operates under the name Bertus Basson at The Ritz.
“Dinner is an eight-course menu, which naturally has to feature a spin on the quintessential dish, the Avocado Ritz,” says Philma Gomes of SLC. Basson is proudly South African and the menu reflects that.
Picnic at the Top of the Carlton
Bheki Dube of Main Street Walks and Curiocity Backpackers fame, has come up with another inner-city tour innovation – a picnic in the sky. Tour participants gather at Market on Main in Maboneng at 11h00 on a Sunday, where they receive their empty picnic basket, eating utensils, a picnic blanket and water. They can then spend a half-hour purchasing meal items to fill the basket, before hopping on a 14-seater shuttle to the Carlton Centre, and the observation deck at the Top of the Carlton, 50 floors up. Here they can spread out their blankets and enjoy their lunch, while viewing the City of Gold from 223m above the ground. While they tuck in, a guest speaker narrates the history of Johannesburg.
At 13h00, guests are shuttled back to Maboneng to browse its shops, galleries and museums, or while the afternoon away at a rooftop bar. Once a month, a midnight market is held at Market on Main, usually at full moon (dates are announced through social media channels). Dube runs a night tour at the same time, but instead of picnicking at the Carlton Centre, a Maboneng rooftop becomes the venue.
The Sky’s The Limit
Another above-the-ground dining experience in Johannesburg is the Sky Table, hosted on a platform suspended 50m above ground. It is located at the Higher Ground Restaurant in the grounds of St Stithians College in Bryanston, and operates on Saturdays. A total of 22 guests can be seated around the Sky Table, surrounding three chefs who prepare the meal, which can be breakfast, lunch, an afternoon snack or dinner. The organisers advise that two principles are paramount in their operation, safety and exclusivity. The Belgian-constructed equipment is built to certified safety standards, and diners are strapped into their seats before ‘take-off’.
Private Home Hosting
Dare to Explore has been including meals in private homes on itineraries for some time and finds them to be an effective means of introducing visitors to South Africans. Travellers get to interact with locals on their home turf, learning about their lifestyles. Says Louise Dreyer, co-owner of the company: “It is always a winner and we are regularly told it had been one of the highlights of the trip.” Dare to Explore has identified hosts in Hermanus, Cape Town and Johannesburg. “The hostess is always someone known for her excellent cooking skills and someone we know well ourselves. She invites a few friends to the lunch or dinner, and serves classic South African dishes, paired with specially selected wines from the Cape. Our guests then have the opportunity of experiencing a really great meal in a South African home, in the presence of other South Africans, thereby getting a glimpse of who we are and how we live.”
Wine Tasting With A Twist
Welcome Tourism Services offers a wine-tasting tour with a difference, giving participants the chance to get their hands ‘dirty’. The journey through the Winelands begins in Cape Town and heads of Franschhoek and the Môreson Wine Estate. Located here is Bread & Wine Vineyard Restaurant, a character-filled, rustic restaurant that has won numerous accolades for its honest food. Chef Neil Jewell is the inspiration behind the eatery and, under his guidance, tour participants can take a turn at making the bread for their lunch. While waiting for the bread to bake, they enjoy a wine tasting, before sitting down to a light lunch accompanied by their just-out-of-the-oven loaves.