The Pudding Shop

[edit] 6/11/2011 thesoupkitchen.com . Thought I would make a note of the url

It’s on days like these, cold and wet and wintery, that one starts thinking about a log wood fire and steaming hot soup. What I wouldn’t give for a genuine chicken broth soup, a small country style loaf of bread and fresh salty farm butter. But its not to be. It’s just the same old tried and tested menu year in and year out.

The best the local restaurants can come up with is that ambiguous soup of the day which is either a carelessly concocted minestrone or the faceless butternut standby with a swirl of cream. How difficult can it be to make a good pot of soup? Ideally it should simmer away quietly on the stove. Or it can be portioned and frozen and whipped out when needed? Have the restaurateurs forgotten what sort of business it is, they are in? Food is supposed to be exciting and emotional even. But that is something that somehow gets lost in the translation.

The best I can do, is firstly the Thai Kitchen. Joy does a chicken soup with coconut milk, galangal and lemon grass. She also offers Tom Yum Kung a hot and sour prawn soup as well as Tom Yum Het which is the same sort of thing, but with mushrooms. Next is The Tin House Cafe who also offer a soup menu which includes the ubiquitous Butternut soup along with a selection of Ham and Pea, a Minestrone and a Chicken & Corn. There is also Cafe 9 on Gray (previously Deenies) which has just opened. Finally there is the House of Flavour in George which I have been going to for years. I tried their lamb and lentil but still favour the chunky beef and vegetable which they, not surprisingly, do all year. They also do a Tortilla (tomato) based soup and one other.

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Winter menus – Cruise Cafe

[edit 09/06/11] Grilled Sole and skimny chips R48, Thai Seafood Curry and Basmati Rice R58.00, Moroccan Lamb Tagine mash and veg R60.00

[edit 26/05/11] The menu has changed and offers Sole at R48.95, Waffle at R21.95 and Patagonica Calamari R39.50

Cruise Cafe has introduced a lite lunch menu for winter which offers not only good food, but food that is well prepared and not to forget good value. That is very important for locals. There is also the complementary bread roll which is always appreciated. This is one of the few restaurants I eat at regularly and whilst the pork fillet and poached apple at R45 was as tasty I will stick to their braised pork neck, which I enjoy. They are also offering hake and chips at R38 and prawns, peppers and chinese noodles for R48. I understand that the menu is going to change periodically but I have no doubt it will be worth watching.

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Ham & Eggs

I arranged to meet the watercycler at Bosun’s for a pub lunch. They do a snack basket which is a tad more imaginative than most. But it was their ham, eggs and chips that caught my eye. Fearing the worst I tried it. But it was, as it was supposed to be. Fried eggs on slices of cold Greef’s gammon ham, served with chips and English mustard that I didn’t have to ask for. My only complaint was that the eggs yolks were firm rather than soft, which I would have preferred.

Submitted by footloose in eden – Restaurants in Knysna

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Cafe Talk

Chatanooga’s is supposed to be moving from Sedgefield to the old Aida premises opposite Coffee Connection on Main. It looks as if their Sedgefield venue is all closed up but that was a quick look on the run. The Shebeen has changed it’s name to Kings. We also have G Cafe at the new Greefs Butchery on Waterfront Drive and the Happy Pumpkin tucked away just off Pledge Square. St Elmo’s has changed hands again, as has Deenie’s which is getting a new coat of paint and Jamie Blue which has been relaunched by new owners. Gloria Jeans is now Wordsworth Coffee but think that was simply changing to in-house management from whatever it was before. Paddy’s Pub spluttered to a halt and has now reopened. And finally Leeuenbosch has opened a Farm Stall selling their diary produce, offering good coffee, cakes, milk tarts, light meals and a farmers breakfast. Just a farmers breakfast for breakfast. No this, no that.

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More shenanigans in Plett?

Two top beachfront restaurants in Plettenberg Bay, Moby Dick’s, overlooking Beacon Isle Beach and Lookout Deck, at the mouth of the Keurbooms River are due to change hands after the Bitou municipality recently awarded the tenders to a new set of lessee’s

And the fact that one of the restaurants is being taken over by a business consortium led by Rowan Spies, husband of Knysna mayor Eleanore Bouw Spies, is raising eyebrows and a great deal of criticism. For the most part it appears to be misdirected and ill informed. But what is sad is that it would appear that there are an awful lot of people who just naturally assume the worst. And I think those involved should recognise this and understand where it is coming from.

Corruption and the abuse of office is nothing new but there have always been limits and a measure of accountability. And what was once spoken of in hushed tones and circulated as scandalous rumours is now accepted as the unashamed and unrestrained plundering of the public purse. And Madame Mayor if the barbed criticisms sting, ask yourself what you, your movement and your party have contributed to this, the new perceptions of order and the meaning of abuse of individual freedoms.

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Cafe Talk

Cafe Nouveau is no more. Thought I would like to do something different and took a turn at Pledge but it’s been closed for awhile now. On the other hand Paddy’s Irish Pub has just got it’s licence and should be opening just in time for season. And it looks like there is a new coffee venue at Chiro Cafe in Fitchat St just up from the Wellness Centre. The River Deck on the Buffalo Bay Rd is also offering light snacks, coffee, rooster koek and a full bar as well as Cynthia’s warm chicken salad for those who remember La Lavande. This on their rustic deck overlooking the river with canoe’s and other paddle options.

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Burgers

I get confused. Sometimes horribly confused. Such as the time I ordered a Cafe Breakfast at Mario’s and was presented with a plate that looked nothing like the high cholesterol extravaganza that East Head Cafe does so well. But it was only when I asked where Mario’s breakfast sausage was that I realised that it was the Mario’s Breakfast I should have been eating. Similarly for some reason or other I had decided that Cruise Cafe and East Head were sharing the same burger recipe and it was only after ordering them on consecutive days that I came to the conclusion that I was quite wrong. And I might be quite wrong in giving Cruise Cafe the nod for Knysna’s best burger. It was one of the two but two things clinched it. The one is the fact that the East Head burger is crumbly rather than firm. Whilst I cant really be certain I think I prefer my burger to hold together and I think I will have to return to the Heads to put that theory to the test. The other reason and the one that I believe is more important in these difficult days, is that the Cruise Burger is marginally cheaper.
[edit] 6/5/11
Lunar Cafe serves an interesting burger in a homemade bun. It comes in a professional looking paper wrap which you munch at the way a burger is supposed to be eaten, hands on. There is a tasty sauce, which if I remember is mushroom based and that sneaks out of the corner of the wrap and can become a problem if not dealt with promptly and efficiently.

We did the Sirocco burger again and it was more burger like this time. The seasoning used in the patty is interesting and tasty but the chef has a problem gauging what is medium and what is not. My suspicion is that the patties are frozen before going into the pan. Whatever it is, besides both having the taste, the first burger looked nothing like the subsequent follow up. So much so we even tried the chicken burger to see if that is what I had eaten on the first bite.

But no, that was a merely a humble chicken breast in a bun and I question whether the original burger I had was not cooked in a microwave. It still had the straight up and down sides from what I suspect was a patty mould and was pale in complexion. Whereas the latest version was grilled but still red inside which the wife baulked at.

Cruise Cafe – Serve a substantially good burger with skinny chips

East Head Cafe – My other choice

Ile de pain – Suspect this has to be the biggest and most expensive. It comes draped in their distinctive tomato and onion sauce.

Bosun’s – Has an interesting flavour. Suspect it is primed with a little too much Worcester sauce and I am not sure whether it does the job or not

The Bell – Used to like the Bell Burger but the last one I had was cold and I doubt the patty is homemade. Too much binding, too rubbery.

Sirocco – Great view and a tasty burger. Jono at eight years old reckons it tops his list but for me it had straight up and down sides and it was an odd consistency. Not crumbly and certainly not grainy and firm

Falcon Creek Spur – Claims to be the best but have never put it to the test

I prepare my burgers with milk soaked bread, lashings of oyster and Thai mushroom soy sauce, tomato puree and sugar to taste. Would be most interested to find out what goes into everyone elses as well as any recomedatiuons that need tryinmg out. Olde’s for example.

Think that will be the next one I go for.

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Who is Next?

The Rex has gone. No surprises there but the Ocean Basket and Cafe Rossini have also followed suit and shut up shop. So too has the Sizzling Chicken which limped onto the stage shortly after the demise of Nando’s. And the question is Who is Next?

The World Cup passed us by without so much as a whisper and the intervening months have been dismal by anyone’s standards. So the question I would ask is whether the rumours are correct and are there are going to be another three restaurants and four coffee shops opening in the new mall? I know that Lunar Cafe was planning to relocate. But I just don’t understand how anyone could possibly contemplate opening in a market which is already saturated and severely over traded.

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Something special

Where does one go when you are looking for something different, something a little special. 34 Tapas & Oysters? It’s almost different but it lacks the bohemian informality I would expect from a Tapas Bar. It caters more to the up country folk and Thesen Island set. So for lunch I inevitably end up at Cruise Cafe and order the Pork Neck roast or if not why not the Thai Kitchen? I generally go for the Penang Thai Beef Curry. But be warned if Ken is cooking you are going to have to add a bit more seasoning to get the authentic taste.

What else is there? Sedgefied, George, Wilderness and Plett are no problem. I know what I like and where to find it. But in Kynsna I am at a loss. I have however tried the Oats porrige at the Coffee Connection and that’s worth another look. Very creamy, very Scottish. I also regularly do the Eggs Hollanaise at East End Cafe, Mario’s Breakfast and On the Run at Cruise Cafe but besides that lot, it all appears to be much the same. Altough Deenie’s, Piccola Italia and Maureen’s Place are also worth a look see mre often than not.

How many times have we seen a restaurant open with fresh new ideas that slowly get trimmed down to the inevitable burger and toasted sarmie’s? This smartly followed by the inevitable Gone Fishing sign on the door.

[edit 22/11/10] I tried the chicken and mushroom pie a Harry B’s and had to wait while they topped it and baked it but the result was well worth it. Beats the famous Bell chicken pie hands down. It was good!

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Cafe Talk

The Island Cafe which is part of the Turbine Hotel on Thesen Island is opening. It’s different in that the dinning area and pub have been built around the old turbine that supplied power to the Thesen factory. But they are going to battle even in the busy times. There are just too many restaurants and too few discerning diners in Knysna. S2E the fast food specialists on Long St have closed their doors as has Aroma LCD. That last one took me by surprise. Coffee shops yes but I always thought that a liquor outlet would be a safe bet.

Chaplins have opened a second cafe on Grey, Bamboo Guest House in Hunters Home the Mosaic restaurant and Brentonhill is offering breakfast, light lunches and afternoon tea.

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