by Roxy Laker

Cape of Good Taste

Culinary festival returns to Mother City

A culinary treat awaits gourmets at the Taste of Cape Town
Taste Mood 2.jpg

Hardcore gourmands, trend hunters, enthused food lovers, serious foodies and dining enthusiasts will tick off indulgent experiences on their culinary bucket list, when Pick n Pay Taste of Cape Town, in association with Orbit Sugarfree Chewing Gum, comes to town for four days of food nirvana from 11 to 14 April 2013.


“Over the past six years, Taste of Cape Town has become a much-loved gathering place for Capetonians who adore food, swoon over chefs and can’t resist the hunt for new flavours,” says Justine Drake, festival director. “Award-winning chefs, Champagne, oysters, craft beer, exotic cocktails and a host of other foodie delights – Taste of Cape Town 2013 restaurant festival is the last word in all things delicious. 'Taste' is a celebration of the very best food and drink that Cape Town has to offer. Bring your friends and shop, eat, drink and mingle under the slopes of breathtaking Table Mountain.”


The event is an integral part of Cape Town’s international status as a food hub, and part of the growing collection of Taste festivals held across the globe. Drawing more than 325 000 visitors annually, Taste Festivals form the largest food event in the world, hosted in 18 international cities including Amsterdam, Auckland, Dublin, Dubai, London, Melbourne, Milan and Sydney. Locally, Cape Town Taste is followed by Taste of Durban (July) and Taste of Joburg (September). Taste of Christmas Joburg also joined the fold last year. 

The world of culinary influences on Cape Town’s food scene, from the most modern to heritage food, can be experienced through 11 of the most exciting restaurants on the local food scene, along with the chefs who make them great and the dishes that carry their mark. Invited by Taste of Cape Town to participate, these restaurants fashion special menus of starter-sized dishes.

Taste the seamless blend of international and indigenous food offered by Henrico Grobbelaar of The Twelve Apostle’s Azure Restaurant and the organic, seasonal and very South African flavours from Natasha Wray of 96 Winery Road. De Grendel Restaurant debuts at the festival with Ian Bergh and his modern rustic food unlocking the heritage of  the Graaff family farm, while Shaun Schoeman of Fyndraai Restaurant on Solms-Delta stands tall with ‘proudly hiervandaan’ food. Signal Restaurant at Cape Grace will reveal its innovative take on Cape Town’s colourful past, while Sanel Esterhuyse will serve up Savour at 15 on Orange’s take on world food and Jewel of India its spiced delicacies.


To show how much fun can be had with food, Beefcakes Burger Bar, represented by Wonderful Ndhlovu, brings its wacky 1950s diner vibe and sequined sensibility to the festival. Rich in flavour, culture and authentic Italian ingredients, Il Leone Mastrantonio and Chef Daniel Toledo share a passion for good eating. Dash Restaurant and Bar at the Queen Victoria Hotel, named after Queen Victoria’s favourite dog, puts a local touch on seasonal produce with Craig Paterson, while Stéfan Marais of The Brasserie brings his honest, slow-cooked and comfort dishes to the festival.

Interpreting the latest dining concepts and taste trends, Taste of Cape Town is “the restaurant equivalent to winning a golden ticket to Willy Wonka’s factory”. Says Drake, “The underground pop-up revolution with its imaginative ‘here today, gone tomorrow’ spirit and energetic buzz will make its presence felt at daily sessions in the Taste Pop-Up Restaurant.


Joining the pop-up line up for the first time is Bruce Robertson of The Boathouse, with his playful attitude and eclectic experimentation. It’s a second season for Luke Dale-Roberts of The Test Kitchen/The Pot Luck Club to express his culinary mantra ‘taste, taste, taste’ and limitless culinary imagination in true pop-up fashion. From La Colombe, Scot Kirton’s signature dish will mirror his passion for gastronomic innovation and seasonal produce. Chef Tanja Kruger of Makaron Restaurant at Majeka House brings her French passion and love of fresh ingredients to the festival.

“What people love about Taste of Cape Town is the fun, informal atmosphere and wonderful buzz of people having a great time, the personal contact with their food heroes and discovery of new chefs, interactive areas that are as educational as they are inspirational, beautifully designed lounge areas for chatting and chilling and, above all, a foodie playground dotted with delicious morsels.” 

Drake adds that everyone decides their own pace. “There’s so much to enjoy that many guests return another day to experience it all, first savouring it slowly on the opening night or diving right into the huge selection. Others return for second helpings over the weekend, or to taste the festival’s most talked about dishes they missed on the first go.”

Taste of Cape Town’s culinary smorgasbord also includes over 100 boutique exhibitors, handpicked artisan producers, premium drink brands and award-winning wineries in the laid-back atmosphere of a boutique food market. For those looking for a 2013 dinner party wow-factor, the Pick n Pay Chef’s Theatre will feature live demos by top chefs. For the hands-on visitors, the Pick n Pay Wine and Canapé Experience will reveal the secrets to creative pairings of canapés and wine in an interactive area. Thai chefs will demonstrate popular dishes at the Royal Thai Embassy over the four days.

Restaurants and special feature areas operate on the Festival Crown, the event’s official currency. Festival goers use these Crowns to purchase their pick of sample dishes and drinks from exhibitors and bars. Each Taste of Cape Town Crown is worth R5 and prices range from four to eight Crowns per dish.

Standard R80 tickets include entrance to the festival and tasting glass. Premium R180 tickets include entrance to the festival, a tasting glass and R100 in Festival Crowns .Taste Clubhouse experience by DStv R685 includes fast-track entrance to the festival, tasting glass, R180 in Festival Crowns and complimentary bar service (malt, wine and soft drinks) in a private clubhouse and a Taste of Cape Town gift. 

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