Restaurant beach bums


I’m all about the view, I won’t lie.  You just can’t beat a good view when you’re appreciating a Five Star John Platter rated Chardonnay with the Catch of the Day. Or can you? Can it be beaten with sloppy service and inedible food.  A beating so bad it leaves you totally miffed and vowing never to set foot there again? An awful restaurant can suck the goodness out of anything.

Back to the view. It’s not hard to find a spot with a spectacular view here in SA, lets be honest. So let’s open a restaurant ON the beach so everyone can enjoy it. Top plan.

It starts out so well: award-winning chefs are signed up, mouthwatering menus designed, pretty waitresses hired, choice winelists created… and THE VIEW. The place is rama-lama-ding-dong from day one.

Then things start slacking because you become reliant on the view. Well it’s not going anywhere, is it? So why kill yourself with extra effort: shining glasses before service, ordering that wine that’s been out of stock since May, sending your manager on that sommelier’s course. Why bother? Customers are still coming in droves and they will continue to do so, so where is the harm?

Well, there is no harm if you don’t mind what people think when they leave pissed-off, ripped-off and hungry. Another busload of tourists is just around the corner.

But is that really the attitude we want to have going into 2010 when South Africa is hosting the biggest sporting event on the planet? This is our chance to show off! Countries who host a World Cup historically enjoy a huge tourism boom and unprecedented global exposure. We can’t afford to bungle this one.

Name and shame

So if you visit a ‘ killer view’ restaurant and you are have a less than average experience – review it. Let us know who is letting the side down and they’ll have 6 months to pull themselves together to show the rest of world how high the standard of restaurants is in South Africa.  

Alternatively, there are many places out there who fly the flag proudly. The ones with the best of the best views - who make the most of it. Seriously impressing one guest after another. I went to one such place this past weekend. Guardian Peak Restaurant on the Guardian Peak Wine Estate in the Hidden Valley. Wow. A clever wine-pairing menu concept, sharp service, delicious food and not to mention the wine - I was having such fun I hardly had time to look out the window. So review those too. Let’s give them the accolades they deserve.

Also I would just like to mention here that local favourite Rust en Vrede has just scooped a top international award, as well as making the list of the recently voted top 10 restaurants in SA. And how many of the Top 10 has a view to write home about? I count at least 7. Well done guys.


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