Irish Michelin starred (twice) chef Conrad Gallagher is a powerful force in restaurant plate tectonics. He’s now prized Camil and Ingrid Haas (he originally from Utrecht, she from Krugersdorp) off their Franschhoek perch opposite Spar to the new Rockwell development in De Waterkant, billed as Cape Town’s “gay village” on the internet. Like a giant bivalve, the original Bouillabaisse seafood deli filters the tourist rich nutrient flow of main road Franschhoek, a function offspring Bouillabaisse II replicates in the renovated redbrick warehouse district between the Vasco da Gama Taverna (aka the Portuguese Embassy) and Anatolis (Turkish territory).
Con’s own Epicurean Food Emporium is still being shop-fitted but by the looks of the Rockettes (black Prada-suited Rockwell doormen with Jonathan Antin haircuts) and the shiny new performance enhanced open plan kitchen at Bouillabaisse, Rockwell will soon be gourmet ground zero. Bringing some company to brand new dad Bruce Robertson round the corner in his Showroom.
Adding to the elegant ambiance is Ingrid’s Crêpe Suzette, a dead ringer for a Parisian crêpery complete with Henri Cartier-Bresson B&Ws, offering sweet or savory galettes, waffles, blinis and of course crêpes. Yesterday’s low key opening saw Franschhoek royalty like Lodine and Ludwig Maske of La Cotte Inn fame and regulars invited for a champagne cocktail with hot and cold running oysters. What a refreshing change to open with consumers rather than rent-a-Jimny schmodels, schlebs and knock and drop freelancers. Ingrid said they’d have a press launch later, but honestly with SA food and wine writing in terminal decline (Media24 having retrenched their lifestyle reporters en masse), why bother?
In his younger days, Con played in Irish punk band Kakistocracy so he probably knows the answer to the question in Tim Atkin’s Observer Christmas Quiz: “what is Muscat of Alexandria known as in South Africa? A: a) Steen; b) Hanepoot; c) Kak.”