Monday, September 29, 2014

Kleine Zalze Lodge Winter Special

On Thursday 25 September, I decided to treat Jacqui and myself to a very special lunch and a night away.

Some time ago a very good friend sent us a clipping from one of their local newspapers, advertising the Terroir Restaurant's Winter Special. I had watched the TV series on the restaurant earlier this year and was extremely keen to try them. But even at the special prices it was quite a bit more than we are used to paying for a meal out, so it was a case of leaving it till the last minute before taking advantage. When I finally decided to take the plunge, I discovered the Kleine Zalze night away special offer. This started off at R650 per person sharing in one of the Lodge's standard rooms (we upgraded to the luxury room, and that was at R775 per person sharing). Also included was a three course meal at the Restaurant (valued at R280 each, including a glass of Kleine Zalze wine), a free bottle of the Estate wine on arrival, a free wine-tasting at the Kleine Zalze Cellar Door, plus a full breakfast. Too good an offer to refuse!

So the booking was made, and we opted to have the meal as a lunch rather than a dinner. We arrived at the Lodge just after midday, booked in with Reception, and went off to spend a few minutes in the grounds, which are simply spectacular. While walking around we could hear an owl, and were lucky enough to spot it. I think it it a Spotted Eagle Owl, but could be mistaken. I went off to fetch my camera from the car and took a few images, which looked all right on the camera screen, though a bit small.So after lunch we went to check that the bird was still there, and I went and fetched my 300mm zoom lens, attached the flash, and this is the final result! You can click on the image for a larger version.

And so to the long-awaited lunch itself. After being seated, we were brought the blackboard menu for starters and mains. To be honest, both Jacqui and I were very disappointed to see that out of the large selection on offer, only two starters and two mains were available for the Special menu. I personally think that was not the best marketing move, as it came across as being a little unfriendly. But what can one do? We both ordered a glass of the Kleine Zalze Sauvignon Blanc, and then decided to order a bottle of the same as well (we were spending the night there, after all). Before the meal, we were brought their special bread board, with butter and olives. The rolls and bread were beautifully baked, fresh and very tasty. And then came the amuse bouche, a tasting of three different items, including a fish ball (our favourite), a cheese puff, and a spring roll. Heavenly! 

Jacqui decided on the stuffed chicken wing for her starter, while I chose the white asparagus. We both decided on the Sirloin for our mains, the alternative being the vegetarian option of their version of macaroni cheese. Needless to say, the food was exceptionally tasty and beautifully cooked and presented. I can't even begin to describe the many different flavours and textures on the plates, but they all contributed to what was a extraordinary and highly-recommended experience. 

And so to the room - beautifully appointed, centrally air-conditioned I think, and with this view from the balcony:

The wine tasting later in the afternoon was yet another highlight, and one could choose 5 wines for tasting. The lady who helped us, Anelda, was knowledgeable, friendly, and helpful.

So - all in all an extremely pleasant and worthwhile experience. All the people we dealt with, from the lady who took our booking (Siobahn), to the guard who let us out of the grounds when we left, all need to be complimented. It was a real pleasure dealing with them.

Possible improvements? Definitely a larger selection from the food menu (maybe 4 items from each course instead of two?), hopefully a better TV picture in the rooms (the aspect ratio of the decoder was incorrectly set, so the image was flat and distorted - we did mention that to reception and maintenance staff on leaving), and then the addition of some suitable plugs in the room that can take the two-pronged cell phone and tablet chargers - my phone battery had gone flat before we got home on the Friday.

Would love to go back again. We just have to hope that the Winter Special will be repeated.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Tygerberg Photographic Society - September 2014

The September set subject was 'Macro" and these were my two entries for the month. The photo of the gooseberries was taken way back in May after a very helpful neighbour let me forage in their garden for the gooseberries. The second image was of a Wild Iris from our front garden, and a baby snail from our back garden!

My other two images entered into the "Open" category can be seen by clicking on the "TPS Entries" link on the menu bar.

It's been a big month for me as my four "Gold" ratings moved me up from the 2-star to 3-star category! The requirements for a move to the next star rating are onerous to say the least, and it will take more than a year to get there. And at the 3-star level, the scoring and points needed for the ratings are the same as for the best photographers in the Society, so it makes it that much more difficult for images to achieve Gold status. 

As normal, just click on the images for the large versions.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Success story

To complete our short stay in Melkbos, we had lunch at Die Damhuis today.

I took some photos just to show how this place has evolved over the past few years. The main image is what the restaurant looks like now, and the other two images were taken in February 2009, when it was just an unloved and uncared-for building, and then in April 2010, a few months after they had opened for business.

It's an enterprise that is continually evolving. The food and service today is unrecognizable from when they started out, and that's a compliment to all involved. There were three of us there today, and we all thoroughly enjoyed our food.

Like most restaurants, there is still room for improvement. But I really do believe that with their drive an passion this will take place as simply part of the process. The folk in Melkbos and Cape Town generally have obviously taken a liking to Die Damhuis, and rightly so. On Friday, when we tried to make our booking for today's lunch, there were only two tables inside available!

As usual, just click on the photos for the large image.

Die Damhuis today

February 2009
April 2010

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Sunset with the fishermen - 4 September 2014

It's the first time in eight years that we have seen this many fishing boats out in our bay. Here are just three images to share. Click on them to see full-size.

Hope your evening was as beautiful.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Mariella's Restaurant - Capaia Estate (2)

We are back in Melkbosstrand for a few days. On the way here we made a short detour to the Capaia Estate again for the wonderful gourmet burgers served at their Mariella's Restaurant.

Here is a slightly different view, this time from their deck and with a touch of mist in the distance. Again, click on the photo for the large image.

2020 Holiday - Last days

Day 3 - Wednesday We woke to a very pleasant, though cold, morning. We again had breakfast outside on the patio, and were treated to the (we...