Let me start of by saying, “WELL DONE, EAT OUT AND MERCEDES-BENZ!”
I can honestly say that I was absolutely blown away by the amazing Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards that took place last night, and completely in awe at the level of attention to detail that played out in front of the eyes of 800 guests!
The best way to illustrate the absolute brilliance, is to take you step-by-step through the evening…
But before I do that, I just want to punt the new Eat Out 2015 magazine (cover above) that hits the shelves today! I always refer to it as my Restaurant Bible (240 pages this year!), as it doesn’t only include the best of the best for fine dining, but also the best in different categories like Asian, Country-Style and Italian, and a massive directory of 500 restaurants all across South Africa! For a foodie like myself, this is definitely a big highlight in my magazine collection every year!
So let the step-by-step guide to the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards begin!
Guests arrived in one of dozens of swanky Mercedes-Benz cars, taking them from the parking area, to the Thunder City venue which was just next to the Cape Town International Airport.
Plotted around the massive airplane hanger, were hanging-snacks like Truffle and Porcini Popcorn!
The tables were all really done beautifully, and simply stylish with a silver balloon indicating the table numbers, and an LED light running in the middle of the table (in reference to an airports runway…).
Menus (which converted into placemats!)
This is one of the elements that I found extremely creative, thinking out of the box, and really well executed. Everyone received a “menu” on their table, which indicated the order of events and the Top 20 nominees. But then also a page for each of the 5 dishes created during the evening, with a description of the dish, the “Tasting Notes” for the beer/wine paired with it, and then… wait for it… a little block/circle indicating where your plate will be placed (see below), with the exact size and shape of the specific item!
With 800 service staff behind the scenes and on the floor, it’s really amazing to have seen how everything came together, almost like a Theatre Production!
I have to also congratulate all the waiters, as their service was really impeccable! And the fact that one of our waiters was also really nice on the eye, was just an extra bonus! I definitely think #GrantFromEatOutAwards can take the place of #AlexFromTarget 🙂
The 5 Courses
The 1st dish arrived in true Theatre Style, with them pushing a meat-cutter onto stage and cutting meat live on stage, with the some waiters walking past and collecting it. Overall, the food was quite unique and some absolutely brilliant, but with the portions being quite big, I struggled to finish some of the dishes… The winner for me? Definitely the Caciotta Panna Cotta dessert by Vanessa Marx from The White Room at Dear Me! Everything from tables having to break Honeycomb with a hammer, to sprinkling over our own freeze-dried raspberries and roasted pumpkin seeds, and drizzle over honey. Everyone on our table kept going back for more Honeycomb, and I even dipped my finger into the bowl to get the last bit of Caciotta Panna Cotta out!
STARTER by Neil Jewell from Bread & Wine: Bread and Charcuterie
1st COURSE by David Higgs from Five Hundred: Urban Garden
2nd COURSE by George Jardine from Jordan Restaurant: Jelly Fish
MAIN COURSE by PJ Vadas & Bertus Basson from The Hog House and Overture: Street-Style food
DESSERT by Vanessa Marx from The White Room at Dear Me: Caciotta Panna Cotta
The highlight of the evening, for many, is of course the announcement of the TOP 10 restaurants in South Africa! But other awards on the evening include Chef of the Year and Service Excellence Award. You can view the full winners’ list below:
- Eat Out S. Pellegrino Chef of the Year: Chantel Dartnall of Restaurant Mosaic
- Restaurant of the Year: The Test Kitchen
Top 10 Restaurants:
- The Test Kitchen
- Five Hundred
- The Tasting Room
- Restaurant Mosaic
- Jordan Restaurant
- Rust en Vrede
- DW Eleven-13
- The Restaurant at Newton Johnson
- Grolsch Service Excellence Award: The Tasting Room
- Nederburg Rising Star: Kobus van der Merwe of Oep ve Koep
- Tsogo Sun Wine Service Award: Patson Mathonsi of DW Eleven-13
- Lannice Snyman Lifetime Achievement Award (in association with Paarl Media): Eduan Naudé and the late Brian Shalkoff
- Best Asian Restaurant: Kyoto Garden Sushi
- Best Italian Restaurant: La Sosta
- Best Steakhouse: The Local Grill (Parktown North)
- Best Country-style Restaurant: Café Bloom
- Best Everyday Eatery: Chefs Warehouse & Canteen
- Boschendal Style Award: Equus Dine at Cavalli
- Woolworths Taste Eat Out Bursary: Thozamile Mgumane
And as a massive surprise (I’m sure to Luke Dale-Roberts as well!), The Test Kitchen won the following Mercedes-Benz car, which they (he?) can use for a full year!
The Ride Back
As with the arrival, guests were taken back to their cars in strings and strings of Mercedes-Benz cars! When I stepped out earlier the evening, it was quite a site to see strings of these beautiful
cars art-pieces parked outside Thunder City, with striker jets right behind them!
As you can see, it was a massive event, in a massive location, for a massive amount of people, and the whole Eat Out team and everyone involves, deserves a MASSIVE round of applause!
I just don’t know how they’ll improve it next year 🙂
Now, let me go and plan out my eating schedule for next year…