Sunday, 31 May 2015

Say cheese!

Cheese, fromage, queso, qveli, ostur, jibini, kase, caseum, 奶酪, kaas. I love it & oh joy, a new artisanal cheese shoppe has opened up on my fave road in Cape Town: Bree Street. Or shall we now call it Brie Street?
Owned & operated by Luke & his wife Jessica, Culture Club is described as a 'cheese, fermented foods & artisanal hot house' that sells cheese of course plus breads, milk, yoghurt, condiments, charcuterie, utensils & other irresistible  things like chocolate bombs.
No restaurant in the Mother City is worth its salt without great coffee & Culture Club does an excellent Deluxe Brew, prepared by G.
Luke hails from England and has worked in top cheesey establishments around the world & also spent a year at Fairview in Paarl. He's connected to many amazing local cheese makers in SA & stocks a variety of top brands as you'll notice... products are preservative free & ethically sourced; animal well~being & happiness at source is important- that alone makes me a fan.
Be sure to get your cheese fix at 215 Bree Street! Trading Tues~Fri 08h to 17h & on Sat 09h to 16h. Follow the CC on Twitter & Instagram @lukecultureclub
"Age is not important unless you're a cheese" ~ H.Hayes

Allison Foat
Specialist in Entertainment PR
@allisonfoat (CapeTownDiva)



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Thursday, 14 May 2015

Cafe de la Luz, Madrid...

I wouldn't typically write about a cafe unless it was something special and this one is. Cafe de la Luz, around the corner from our hotel (Room Mate Oscar) is a visually beautiful bar-cafe on the corner of Calle Barco and Puebla. Great for anything from breakfast, to coffee, light meals and drinks, it is a stunning place to sit quietly and sip a beer, read a book or work on your laptop. It really is a fabulous space full of amazing quirky elements and attention to detail which as you know, I love. Take a look at the varying styles of chairs and lamps, retro nostalgia to enjoy...


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Sunday, 10 May 2015

The Mani Hotel in Berlin, a perfect Diva getaway

I travel extensively and it’s rare for me to find a boutique hotel that goes far beyond it’s star rating. Such is the Mani in Mitte, Berlin. 3 stars officially but closer to 5 stars in my opinion. Recommended to me by a Parisian friend in Cape Town, this is a very chic establishment, part of the Amano Group, that clearly prides itself on providing a superior product to guests. From the decor, to the fittings, fixtures and excellent service of the front of house and restaurant managers and even our room cleaning duo, the all-seeing eyes watching over this group miss nothing and the result is a high standard of professionalism and a noticeable and refreshing attention to detail. 

Lateral Paul and I arrived in Berlin from Paris last week, stepped out of our Uber , walked into the Mani and immediately felt its atmosphere of style and class without any of the pretentiousness that usually accompanies such establishments. Our kind of place, no doubt about it. We were warmly welcomed and made to feel right at home.

The hotel, open since 2012, is situated in the vibrant area called Mitte, perfectly located for exploring the city, and surrounded by cool stores, restaurants and bars that make you want to hang about all day and night like a local. 

The Mani building, interior and rooms were designed by Ester Bruzkus who is also responsible for the beautiful Amano Hotel around the corner. Bruzkus clearly has great taste and I love her use of high quality materials like the real wood parquet flooring and leather wall coverings. Striking photographs by Oliver Rath cover the walls, and the ZooZoo animal art that's placed here, there and everywhere is a stunning decor addition. There’s Esmeralda the Alligator, who is afraid of ending up as a clutch; Estelle the Basset who loves shopping bags and the smell of fresh food; the yellow giraffe at the front desk window that made me homesick for Africa, and Parzival the baby lion lying sleeping on the foyer mat who is expected to become a superior hunter some day. All quirky and adorable. 

There are 63 luxuriously appointed rooms at the Mani, soundproofed so that nothing disturbs your beauty sleep. The hotel offers free wifi, something hardly anyone can do without these days. If you happen to have had a blonde moment and left a gadget behind (quelle horror, how could you?) fret not, because you can rent one from Reception, an iPad or a laptop. Very convenient and a thoughtful offering on the part of the management. 

And then there’s the Mani restaurant. Aside from a sumptuous feast offered at breakfast every morning, dinner is outstanding. Great appetisers, called chuzpeles that are served like tapas and are best shared, offer diners a bit of everything so the whole table can experience the multifaceted cuisine. The staff are also so good about recommending various dishes and wine. 

Oh, and being a big fan of bicycle touring, you can use one of the hotel's pretty aqua bikes and go on a jaunt complete with an iPod that not only gives you music but a guided tour too. Best. 

Torstasse 136 | +49 (0) 30 53028080 | @AMANOgroup on Instagram & Twitter. Close by there is a laundromat, post office, tram stop and the U Bahn. The hotel will even sell you tickets for the's all so simple and well organised. I'd expect nothing less than that from the Mani and Berlin.

Welcome to the Mani...

Estelle, the ZooZoo basset hound...

Parzival the little lion snoozes on the mat...Oliver Rath photograph overhead..

ZooZoo giraffe...I miss my Africa...

Rooms that are beautifully appointed..

Best hotel slippers ever...

Scrambled eggs anyone?

I'm addicted to the cream cheese, topped with jam on a fresh bread roll

And a spot of tea...

The Mani restaurant with Esmeralda the ZooZoo alligator...

Wonderful food... olives as big as little green apples, from Greece...

The best of asparagus...the creme brûlée was tres unusual...

Details like this delicate slice of crispy orange 

And after all that eating, perhaps a cycle is a good idea?

The building at night...

Until next time...Estelle and I bid you gute nacht!

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