b-served – hudsons burger joint

In 2009, Café Caprice’s David Raad and chef Ross Collins joined forces to open a stylish burger restaurant in Kloof Street. Cape Town was obviously ready for great burgers, made in house every day, healthier options, sides like the double crunch fries, and by no means least, thick and creamy milkshakes, because three restaurants and nearly four years later, Hudsons is as popular as ever.

The menus have been expanded at the outlets in Somerset Road and Claremont to include, for example, pizzas, but as Cindy Taylor discovered, there is much more to Hudsons than just simply good food.

The last time I was at Hudsons I was pretty bleak to find that the Lagerita, a dangerously delicious match made in heaven of Jack Black and Margerita, had slipped off the menu. But Hudsons being what it is, a proverbial old faithful hound in more ways than one, there was no doubt that I was going to get my Lagerita and all it took was just asking for it…nicely. You see, there’s more to a burger joint than just the burger. In fact there are a number of crucial accompaniments that make or break a place that go beyond the brand of t-sauce they use – the other side-orders, the ones that you get without ordering, like kick-ass music and a cool vibe. But you’ve obviously been there before so you know all that already. If you haven’t, you know what to do.

We don’t guarantee that every personal request can and will be filled, but we do recommend February’s Beer and Burger of the month. “The Mexicana” is a grilled chicken breast topped with nacho tortilla chips, guacamole, tomato salsa, cream cheese and lettuce. It’s just R41 for a single and R55 for a double. The beer, Maisels Weiss, is described as “a filtered Hefeweizen, pale straw colour beer with clean character which is soft on the palate.” It sells for R32 (500ml).

That said, B-guided general manager, Alex, popped into the Claremont outlet last week and announced the Porky Poppers – chili poppers wrapped in bacon, battered and served with blue cheese dip – delicious! Isn’t everything better with bacon?

Another thing we love is that those of us who live low-carb and don’t eat bread need not miss out on the awesome burgers; we simply go “guido” and have the deliciousness wrapped in crisp, fresh lettuce instead. And if you like your bun but can’t do wheat, there are wheat free rolls available. Just another way that Hudsons makes eating out that much better.

P.S. None of the B-guided staff has tried them yet, but we’ve heard the ribs are amazing! Next time…

Hudsons is open every day from noon to 11pm.

021 426 5974
69A Kloof St, Gardens
021 433 1496
Cnr Somerset & Portswood, Green Point
021 674 5152
25 Protea Rd, Claremont


images: Hudsons Burger Joint

street, Cape Town. To book a table call 021 4265974 or mail info@theburgerjoint.co.za

specials and special celebrations at sotano

There’s nothing fishy about the news that Sotano will be offering sushi from the end of September, because the man behind the new Sotano offering is one of the most talented sushi chefs around: Failong Lain, aka Jacky, who some might remember from Caveau. We cannot wait for those perfect Cape Town summer evenings to enjoy sushi and great wine while watching the sun go down.

In the meantime, though, we have Sotano’s 2-for-1 lamb burger special: their renowned Lamb Burger, built from free-range mince, topped with a tower of homemade tzatziki, hummus, avocado, lettuce and tomato and served open-faced on a slice of rosemary focaccia. You get two of these beauties for a mere R90.00. This delicious burger madness happens every Wednesday from 5pm. Booking is advisable.

Plus, from Monday to Friday between 4pm and 7pm you can ease into the evening with a 2-for-1 special on Sotano’s signature Chilli Mojito and Peroni Draught.

This may seem a little premature at first, but if you think about how quickly 2013 is flying by, then it’s pretty timeous. As we mentioned, Sotano has a spectacular view. There’s also plenty of free street parking, a really delicious Mediterranean menu, a well curated wine menu of which more than 40 are available by the glass, and an extensive selection of craft beer and cocktails (and mocktails).

Our point? Sotano is a perfect place to party (or even for a more sedate lunch or dinner). An events co-ordinator is available to help plan the music, entertainment, décor and more. You can decide how much help you need so if you have the urge to release your inner party planner, you can do that, too. And to make it a celebration to remember, there’s always the neighbouring La Splendida Hotel for an overnight stay.

Sotana was opened by the Caveau group in 2012 and is hard to beat for location – a clear view of the Mouille Point Lighthouse and the Atlantic Ocean – and menu. Uncomplicated but well made dishes include breakfasts, tapas, flat breads & dips, desserts and kiddies meals. There’s also Spanish paella (oh, my!) and slow-cooked Tuscan lamb and bean soup and a range of other must-try dishes.

See more at their Facebook page and website or call 021 433 1757.

out of town inspiration

I’ve been to ELL at Spookfontein in the Upper Hemel en Aarde Valley twice now, but have many, many more visits planned. The restaurant is contemporary and beautiful (even the bathroom is a joy to visit!) and floor to ceiling doors and windows open up to a patio and spectacular views of the surrounding fynbos, vineyards and mountains.

The menu is not massive, but is complemented by a range of specials based on whatever is available and in season. Chef and owner Norah Hudson sources all her ingredients locally and from ethical suppliers, which I love.

The pizzas with their thin, crisp bases are legendary. On my first visit I had the ELLsignature pizza – beetroot relish, goat camembert and thyme (I added rocket and balsamic cream) – and it was divine! Last weekend, while tempted to order another pizza (yes, they are that good), I opted for one of the specials: venison burger with pineapple chutney and camembert. The generous, succulent patty was served on a fresh house-made bun with delicious fries. So good! I had planned on taking a photograph but remembered only once I’d started eating, unfortunately. Others at the table raved about the beef fillet, bobotie and vegetarian burger they ordered.

In summer I plan on indulging in an ELL Smorgas Board: breads, charcuterie, cheeses, anchovies, pickles and other tasty nibbles like avocado, tomato and chilli relish, caramelised onion relish, ripe fig preserve and chutney du jour, are priced individually so you get to create a personalised feast for one or more!

Vegans and vegetarians are well catered for, with creative dishes that meat eaters would happily enjoy. In fact, it took me some time to decide between the venison and vegetarian burgers.

I’ve heard (but am not sure, so please check) that you can take your own wine, but we always make a point of buying a bottle or two of the Spookfontein wines for the table – current favourite is the Cabernet Franc – as well as a few to take home.

See more at the ELL Facebook page or call 073 067 7936. Do not think about popping in at a moment’s notice; booking really is essential.

Dirk and Kirsten Roos of Mooiplaas Estate and Private Nature Reserve host another Langtafel (Long Table) for the region’s Pop Up Winemaker’s Lunch in the historic Manor House. The lunch starts at 12:30pm with a wine tasting, followed by a superb home-cooked 4-course meal prepared by your hosts. Pre booking is essential as seating is limited to just 40 seats. Contact Tamzin Isaacs on 021 886 4310 or email marketing@wineroute.co.za) or buy tickets online here

Mooiplaas also offers delicious Victorian style picnics and cheese platters that one can enjoy in the gardens surrounding the historic stable and manor house. Details at their website

Mooiplaas Estate is situated on the M23 Bottelary Road off the R304 to Stellenbosch.

Bot River wineries – 13 in total – are celebrating spring by opening their doors for visitors to taste wines and enjoy delicious food and other farm products, from olives and olive oil to lavender to Anysbos goat cheeses (seriously good stuff!). Also vineyards tours, live music, competitions and more. See all participating farms and activities at their website and below for two particularly enticing events we have our eyes on.

The Manor House at the Benguela Cove Lagoon Wine Estate is holding a high tea with a selection of sandwiches, scones with clotted cream and preserves, and an assortment of cakes and fondants. Enjoy while listening to the tinkling of piano keys. Cost is R165 per person and the event starts at 2pm. Full details here

JAZZ ON THE LAGOON – Brunch & Carvery – 7 September
Also at Benguela Manor and starting from 11:30am, enjoy a brunch of cured meats, artisan cheese, olives, breads, roll, croissants and other delicious eats, followed (not immediately, of course) by a traditional carvery of roast meats, salads and veggies. Dessert includes Belgian waffles with yummy accompaniments. Live jazz, wine tastings and newspaper included. Full details here

BURGERS & BLENDS at SPIER – 6 September
Who doesn’t love a good burger? On its own it can be glorious, but on Saturday, 6 September, head to Spier where you can learn more about Spier’s blending secrets, taste their recently-launched Signature blends, try your hand at blending your own Spier Creative Block 3 and enjoy one of their famous Angus beef burgers with gorgonzola, plum and pink peppercorn chutney (served with chips). Vegetarians don’t need to lose out; let the folks at Spier know and they will create something specially for you. Tickets cost R175 per person. RSVP to Tania Lawrence on 021 809 1984 or email tanial@spier.co.za. More details [here](http://www.wineroute.co.za/calendar/event.aspx?DIARYID=13073 or here

It’s World Tourism Day on 27 September. Celebrate by visiting Stellenbosch for a brand new event: Savour Stellenbosch. For one night only, you’re invited to discover the old and the new of the Stellenbosch Valley at the historic Neethlingshof Estate. Enjoy a spectacular array of wines and tasting dishes unique to valley, along with live music. The event starts at 4pm and is set to end at 9pm. Tickets cost R300 inclusive of tasting glass, tastings, food and entertainment.

For more info call 021 886 8275, email events@wineroute.co.za or visit the website. Pre-booking is essential.

Head out to Black Oystercatcher on 11 October for the Elim Wine & Food Celebration. If you’re feeling active you can take part in a scenic cycle race or trail run. The rest of us will be relaxing and enjoying the region’s cool climate wines, craft beer, locally sourced food and live music. Event details here.