Monday, 17 November 2014

Ah, the Spa....

I'm not big on spa treatments. Who knows why...maybe I'm too antsy to lie having endless facials, massages and such, or maybe I just haven't had a really cool spa experience. My recent weekend at the Gingko Spa at the Steenberg Hotel in Constantia made me rethink the whole spa experience...I turned off my phone (yes, really), lay back and let my tiredness seep into soft fluffy towels while the therapist worked her magic.

 

 

 

 

 

www.steenbergfarm.com>

http://www.capetowndiva.blogspot.jp/2014/10/design-amazingness-in-cape-town.html

 

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Burritos for breakfast...

This was a fab experience, the El Burro Mexican style breakfast at The House of Machines, last Sunday. Burritos, tortillas, pulled pork in pita - thinking that's my next one to try. Check the HoM Facebook page re when the EB food truck will next be there. Even if it isn't, go get your caffeine fix at one of the best coffee spots in the Mother City (84 Shortmarket Street) and order an egg, cheese and bacon pie, or their famous sky high avo on rye or a vit packed smoothie.

Kick back in low slung deck chairs, sip a cup of Evil Twin nice and slow like, and relish the fact that's it's your day off, it's summer, it's Cape Town, and life is good, muchachos.

 

 

 

 

 

84 Shortmarket Street, Cape Town CBD*

 

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Gorgeous gardens & a swooping owl...

Before I wax lyrical about the glorious gardens of the Steenberg Farm, let me first share a bit of history about this marvellous establishment in the Constantia Valley that I was privileged to visit last weekend...
Steenberg Farm is as old as the stoney hills that surround it - in fact it's the oldest wine farm in the Cape Peninsula. In 1682, 30 years after Jan van Riebeeck alighted from the Drommedaris in his weird hat and buckled shoes, Simon van der Stel awarded this vast piece of prime land to one Catharina Ras, a determined German woman who braved the high seas, dressed as a man, to forge a new life for herself in the Cape of Good Hope. Today the Farm that she established comprises the 5 star Steenberg Hotel, the two restaurants Catharina's and Bistro 1682, and a top notch winery that produces one of my favourite wines as you know, the Nebbiolo red. But enough of the history lesson already - let me move swiftly on and tell you more about the greenery that envelops this exceptional establishment that oozes class and heritage.
Bettie, who has been tending to the Steenberg gardens for a decade and who takes guests on regular tours, led us around neat hedges, over manicured lawns and down paths through indigenous flower beds and herb gardens that have been created over time around the hotel's stately Cape Dutch buildings. Here and there, you come across Edoardo Villa iron sculptures, a stark contrast to the style of the surroundings. Feeling energetic? Then play a round of golf, or a game of boules outside Catharina's or pedal through the vineyards on one of the hotel's mountain bikes - it's well worth the effort as the view from the top extends across the Farm all the way to the sea and it's spectacular. And let me not forget the wildlife.....from bees burying themselves inside pincushion proteas to waddling Egyptian geese, hadedas, a peacock (that I heard but never saw), and even an owl that swooped silently past my face in broad daylight, and sat in a tree right above me...a rare and special moment. Amazing to think that all this is only 20 minutes from the Cape Town CBD.
Steenberg Farm is a haven from the frenetic pace of the city but if you're all natured out, there's always neighbouring Constantia, Kalk Bay or even further out towards Simon's Town if you feel you simply must get a hustle-and-bustle fix. Personally, I would check in, stay put, have a treatment at the Gingko Spa ,lie on the soft grass and soak up the tranquility. The city can wait while you absorb the peace and photograph the slow-blinking owl.

Meet Miss Bettie of green finger fame...



Unfurling vines...



Pin cushion proteas


Have a cycle...
Through the vineyards...
For this view...






Edoardo Villa sculptures...

Sit yourself down between the Cyprus trees and sneak a Tweet...

That owl...love...

And by the time your weekend is done, you'll be noticing things like this...

E.N.J.O.Y.
Steenberg Estate, Steenberg Road, Tokai, 7945, Cape Town | 021 7132211 | info@steenberghotel.com @SteenbergHotel | www.steenbergfarm.com
All pics copyright Allison Foat DIVA PR*


Monday, 29 September 2014

And Friday became Friyay at the Steenberg Farm...

I've just had one of my best weekends away ever. To do the experience justice, I'm going to upload more than one post so as not to bore anyone with a blog that goes on forever....all that amazingness needs the appropriate attention, so I'll launch with Friday, the start of the much anticipated bloggers weekend away.

With bags packed and loaded into my car, I headed for some downtime in vineyard territory, to a place where low lying stoney mountains (first clue right there) give way to acres of vines that taper off into a divine 5 star, 24 room hotel with olde worlde charm oozing class, comfort and simple elegance. You may be thinking that I'd escaped to one of the usual out of town spots like fabulous Franschhoek, Stellenbosch or even Greyton, but you'd be wrong. This glorious time was spent a mere 20 minutes away from the Cape Town CBD in Tokai, where you can find a gem of a destination called the Steenberg Farm that comprises the Steenberg Hotel, two restaurants called Bistro1682 and Catharina's, and a first class winery.

Invited by PR Clare Mack of Spill Communications, I had no idea what I was in for as on my previous visits to the estate I'd only been to the Bistro. My bad clearly, as Steenberg in all it's complete glory blew my hair back. Seriously, it way exceeded my expectations. From the minute I arrived at the hotel, I felt at home, welcomed by an amazing team of people at the reception.  From the attentive and friendly staff to the beautifully appointed suites, the top notch food, the spa, the surroundings and of course the bubbles and wine, the whole experience was outstanding. In one word, Steenberg is gorgeous.

The weather on our first day was a bit bleak so when rain disrupted our wine tasting in the indigenous garden on the hill above Bistro1682, marketing manager Caroline van Schalkwyk and brand communications officer Chanel, swiftly and effortlessly shifted to plan B, hoisting up the table, glasses, ice buckets and bottles, and led the way to the cellar to continue where we'd left off. That move turned out to be a win as I got to see, for the first time, racked sparkling wine in the remuage and degorgement phase..... the ins and outs of what goes down before that bubbly finds its way into your flute glass. Fascinating facts I tell you, and I have Ms. Sam Linsell to thank for shedding light on it all.

Dinner later at Bistro1682, hosted by the fab Nicolene, the sales and marketing manager (hospitality) was beyond. I left all restraint at the resin chandelier in the restaurant foyer and practically had to be rolled out the restaurant after our feasting session, but who could have resisted the beef tataki, those insanely delish truffled grilled taleggio focaccia, the zucchini fritters in smoked tomato butter, Asian sticky pork with salted Thai caramel, plus plus plus?

And then all that sublime bubbly and wine... I've made no secret of the fact that the Steenberg Nebbiolo is one of my fave wines and it flowed freely on Friyay.....yes, I did indulge, but don't judge me, you would have done the same. Needless to say I slept very well that first night.

The Steenberg Hotel as seen from the gardens...
Welcome to me...
My fabulous Pinotage suite...

This to-die-for focaccia...grilled telaggio and hot tomato oil...

Beef tataki with chilli, ginger, coriander soya and lime...
The delectable Nebbiolo wine...

The small plates menu at Bistro 1682 is available daily by the way, but only between 16:30 and 20:30 so don't go cruising in after 20:15 and expect a meal- you'll be too late to order and have to leave crying. Unlike me (@AllisonFoat_capetowndiva) and my fellow bloggers, Fiona Rossiter (@InspiredLivingSA) Natalie Roos (@NatalieRoos), Sam Linsell (@drizzleanddip) and Claire Gunn (@clairegunnphoto) ...

Bistro bookings: 0217132211/reservations@bistro1682.co.za
All pics taken on a Canon 600D by Allison Foat, copyright DIVA PR

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

Dining on the rocks, with killer views...

For the past 8 days we've been hosting a young man called Matteo from Venice who's been staying with us as part of a scholar exchange between my younger son Oscar's school, Camps Bay High, & 2 schools over in that stunning Italian city, the names of which I totally can't remember or spell.

Cape Town is a show-off kinda city so you'll believe me when I say there's been no shortage of where to take Matteo to see the most stunning beaches, mountains, wine farms, forests, hiking and walking trails, and way more. Cape Town literally has it all.

And when it comes to food the city has every type of cuisine available but as with everything, we tend to seek out the best so it made sense to take our guest somewhere superb to savour the finest of seafood, and where other than at Harbour House, one of the most outstanding restaurants situated right on the small fishing harbour in Kalk Bay, a quaint village along the False Bay coast. Matteo experienced excellent fresh fish, langoustines, the famous tian of prawns, and way more. It was a fine feast as the pics show....

People From Afar, if you plan on visiting our gorgeous city, be sure to make a turn at Harbour House in Kalk Bay (0217884133), or at the V&A Waterfront (0214184748)

Follow them @HarbourHouseZA @taste_kalkbay and Like their Facebook page.

*Most of the dishes pictured are part of the September winter special menu, only available at the Kalk Bay restaurant ~ such great value for your moolah at R160 for 2 courses & R180 for 3 courses (unavailable for Sunday lunches). Best to book ahead or you'll feel very bleak when you arrive and can't get a table ...

 

Kalk Bay...

 
Inside Harbour House- they've recently renovated & it looks & feels spacious & amazing...
Prime beef carpaccio with tomato concasse, parmesan & parsnip crisps, parsnip purée & micro arugula...
That famous tian of prawns...
Oscar made swift work of those langoustines ...
Baked strawberry cheesecake with mini meringues, earl grey frozen yoghurt & creme anglais...
Creme brûlée, say no more...
 
The beautiful view from our table towards Simonstown...

 

Coffee power in Cape Town

There are only a handful of places in Cape Town selling AMAZING coffee and The Power & the Glory is one of them. They stock Deluxe beans, very popular in this town. FYI other great coffee shops in the Mother City (that's what we fondly call Cape Town) are The House of Machines, Deluxe and Espressolab. Don't even think about getting your caffeine fix at Vida e Caffe, there I said it.
This little post of mine on this slightly grumpy-weather-Wednesday is just to show you, People From Afar, where to be sure to visit when in this hood when seeking out that excellent espresso / latte / whatever. Thando is probably one of the best baristas around so you're sure to get a smooth delivery,  in a stylish Le Creuset cup. For tea lovers- I'm also one of those- they serve Dilmah, such a fine leaf I must say. Oh, and the food is great as well. This is my go-to place for a breakfast of soft boiled eggs, with roasted sweet baby tomatoes and avo to replace the toast (yes, I'm busy Banting). And if you're love a spot to chill after work, P&G is also a bar, the Black Ram, doing the finest gourmet hotdogs, fabulous local and other craft beers, and some great vino...try the organic Waverley Hills cab sauv...it slips down ever so nicely.

13B Kloof Nek Rd, 0214222108, 08h00-23h30