Tag Archives: Cape Town

Moving to Joburg

I dreamt about horses last night. According to the dream books this is indicative of a “highly stressful time of change”. Huh, it should have been a hundred wild stallions then. This moving to Joburg business is rather taxing and I’ve run out of single malt whisky. Fuck.

Bitching and whining aside, I’m pretty excited. A whole new city! New people! New restaurants! New bars! And, since it’s not Cape Town, nobody asking me where I went to school!

We’ve also found an incredibly beautiful, massive flat (three times the size of our Cape Town one) in an historic block we love, plus we have our friends as neighbours. Friends with a vastly manifold book collection and lots of single malt whisky. Sorted.

As for surfing, I’ve been assured of surf trips to Durban and Mozambique. For periods in between, I’m taking up tennis again. I have a mean forehand that’s served me well in advertising when client service needed a klap.

Ah yes, advertising. Eight years in the industry has been incredibly good to me, but it’s time for a change. Time to freelance, write more, read more, study more. To be the master of my own destiny and all that. Time to start something new… Or in the immortal words of retail copywriters – “Watch this space!”

See you in a few weeks Jozi. xx

Our new home in Joburg. Rather pretty, yes?

I think I love soccer

We’re exactly halfway through the World Cup 2010 and although the vuvuzelas aren’t blowing 24/7 anymore, I still Philip (and feel it).

I took my parents to the first match at Cape Town Stadium, which I found a little soulless, but the pre-match festivities along Somerset Road were fantastic. Dad, being an old school English footie supporter (Tottenham Hotspurs – yes, I know), had his ear plugs ready of course. Mom, being an avid acquirer of Chinese knick-knacks sold by Zimbabwean vendors, was kitted out in the SA Flag x 100. Earrings too.

We watched the SA-Mexico match at Cafe Sofia before heading to the stadium, as I didn’t want the old people to be too overwhelmed by bright lights and loud noises (hi Mom). It was a great day.

In the past two weeks I’ve met Norwegians, Americans, English, Australians and even an Icelander on the fan walk, in the city and at the CTICC fan fest. I’ve seen Fatboy Slim live again. People I don’t know have hugged me because we were wearing the same SA hat. I’ve had conversations with total strangers when stuck in traffic and food queues.

Everyone has said it a hundred times, but damn I’m proud of us. There will be a hangover, there have been issues, some fucktard from NZ called Joburg a dump (he’s probably from Auckland – aka Armpit). But in the end we have done what we set out to do and hosted a mind-blowing event. And we managed to pull it off while the rest of the world walllowed in a recessionary misery.

The last word: Never underestimate South Africa. We love proving you wrong. Failing that, we’ll blow a vuvuzela outside your window at 5am.

A passage to India

Alistair wrote this review of our splendid evening at Bombay Brasserie. I couldn’t have put it better myself.

When he said “Dining is and always was a great artistic opportunity” Frank Lloyd Wright was talking about more than just eating, he was talking about dining as a cultural experience.

And while he couldn’t have had an Indian restaurant at the tip of Africa in mind, his quote fits Bombay Brasserie as snugly as the elaborately brocaded gowns of the hostesses who greet you at its doors.

But the experience begins even before you reach the restaurant. Walking through the lobby of the newly opened Taj Cape Town, between fluted pink marble columns, you feel as though you have stepped into another time.

The building is indeed from another age. Built in 1932 to house the SA Reserve Bank, the building was apparently inspired by Florence’s Palazzo Pitti.

Bombay Brasserie itself nestles in another historic building adjoining the lobby – The Temple Chambers – a sunken, wood panelled lounge built at the turn of the century to accommodate the denizens of the nearby Supreme Court. Stepping down into its cosy interior you can imagine the whiskered barristers of old enjoying brandies and cigars.

The Brasserie experience is one of total immersion: from the moment you step through the doors and descend into the cosy lounge you are cosseted, fussed over, plied with delicious (if very sweet) cocktails and amuse-bouche and waited upon by no less than three separate staff.

In a wonderfully old fashioned touch, all the food is plated for you by either your waiter or the maître d’ who also recommends food and wine pairings with a refreshing candour and passion.

But the food itself remains the main event. Rather than blasting your palette with heat, the menu is redolent with subtler more aromatic spices.

Amanda and I shared Porchai Year (spicy grilled prawns) and Galouti Kebab (butter-soft minced lamb patties) to start, followed by Sunerhi Nalli (lamb shank in saffron curry) and Allepey (prawn coconut curry). We finished off with Masala Chai Custard (a delightful play on traditional crème brulee) and Malai Kulfi (cardamom ice cream).

All the dishes were delicious and immaculately presented, but the two prawn dishes were definitely the highlight of my evening. Amanda was tickled by the Galouti Kebab which was originally made for “the nobles that don’t chew”.

The portions are fairly generous, and the prices not unduly eye-watering. You’re unlikely to leave feeling either hungry or ripped off.

That said, Bombay Brasserie isn’t an everyday eating kind of place. With its carefully orchestrated pomp and ceremony and rich dishes, it’s not somewhere you can take the kids. This isn’t eating after all – this is dining.

Full disclosure: The kind fellows at the Taj picked up the tab. That doesn’t change how excellent the evening was, or the fact that I’ll be returning as a paying customer in the very near future.

The Jaws of Life

Some of us take to the sea like a duck to honey-glaze sauce. Some even profess that “hey, shoo, wow, I’m just so at one with the ocean man”.

Unfortunately this means we feel entitled to do whatever we like without being hindered by other creatures who live there. So what if they have fins, gills and a swim bladder, I can hold my breath for one minute and do breaststroke!

Every time I take my board out into the waves I know I might never touch dry land again, but I don’t let that stop me. Just like I know everytime I get in my car I might get hit by a truck with smooth tyres and dodgy brakes. Life is risky, that’s what makes it interesting.

It’s tragic that a man died in the water, but this overblown and melodramatic response to it is simply moronic. It creates unfounded hysteria and causes Terminator-style attacks on sharks, most of whom are never going to attack anyone. And when they (very very) rarely do, that’s the chance you take.

Remember the ocean belongs to them, not us.