Clayton Howard is Cape Town’s Duke of Dim Sum, exciting food parcels that turn a simple course into a banquet of flavours. His brave I Love My Laundry on Buitengracht may have only been open for three and a half months, but he’s already up to dim sum #110. 110 different dumplings from the bog standard kimchi and exotic mushroom stalwarts, all the way up to foie gras with cranberries.
Lunching on dim sum #110 today – fresh and crunchy leeks with a plum dipping sauce – a solution to what to serve at the Wellington District Dinner at Kleinevalleij on September 21 which will introduce Wellington to the world as an appellation in its own right. The dinner is sure to become the hottest ticket in the Cape as it coincidentally raises the curtain on WOSA’s controversial R4.5 million Cape Wine 2012 jamboree. The menu is obvious: a dozen or so different dim sums matched to Wellington wines selected at next month’s Quest for the Best blind tasting.
For unlike WOSA’s own extravagant R1 million party which is mainly for the self-aggrandizement of senior management and imported freebie aficionados, this novel pairing will blaze the way for Wellington in the East, the promised land for SA wine exports. Perlemoen dim sum and Pinotage. Sauvignon Blanc and shredded snoek. The potential is awesome and Clayton is the chef to come up with the selection as he was brought up in Japan and would holiday in China when his dad thought he needed to see some grass. “There is not much grass in Japan” he remembers, with a smile.
Wellington will be inviting a couple of unexpected guests to speak at the dinner and I had hoped to invite Madonna as entertainment – after all, she does make a Shiraz from Wellington grapes (being modeled by Clayton, above). He sold out 600 bottles in less than a week (that was all he was allocated) at R85 each, but after tasting the 2011 wine, which was more beaujolais than Bovlei, we may have to fall back on Plan B: Arno Carstens and his Springbok Nude Girls.
After all, Clayton already sells Arno’s art in his laundry. R115K for a Star Trek inspired vision. Almost exactly what WOSA spent planning Cape Wine 2012 last year already, on top of the R4.5 mil this. Which raises serious eyebrows among art critics, auditors and struggling producers, alike.