While supporters of ANC president Jacob Zuma may relish their hero sitting in the Big House with Gordon Brown discussing weighty issues of the day over a cup of tea, Mr. Zuma has already achieved his fifteen minutes of fame in a different forum. The San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants Awards announced in London last month handed out the laurels to two restaurants called Zuma in London and Hong Kong.
While not quite at the top table (positioned at 64 and 99 respectively) the 100% Zulu boy is certainly on gourmet radar screens. Critics called Zuma London “a chic twist on traditional Japanese informal dining in the heart of Knightsbridge” while China Zuma was dubbed “a ‘with it’ Japanese restaurant” in retro sixties speak. Groovy!
SA freedom fighters make popular choices for restaurant names with Biko in Mexico at position 89 described as “an elegant venue with a menu of traditional dishes and modern interpretations.” Other SA connections include the Quartier Français at 50 and George Jardine’s eponymous eatery at 93 while that victor of the first SA idols competition, Heinz Winkler, storms in as a German restaurant in Aschau at number 68.
Five restaurants (all from the Western Cape) get tipped as regional recommendations by a panel of voters who not coincidentally mostly live in the Western Cape. Include the two top twenty entries and the Cape makes a clean sweep of the country’s best restaurants.
As usual, Ferran Adrià’s El Bulli in Spain was voted best restaurant in the world, but the trophy for brand coverage must go to French chef Joël Robuchon, whose French establishment is rated 14th in the world. The UK version comes in at 83, the American at 85 and 87 (different cities) while the Hong Kong incarnation limbos under the bar at 98. So the palate of one man is responsible for five of the world’s top 100 restaurants, according to the makers of Italy’s leading fizzy water. Its McDonald’s raised to infinity.