The Frock Report

Dispatches from the front row of fashion and style…
Posted: March 2nd, 2009 | By Simon


Sol Kerzner’s new Cape Town joint will feature a Nobu and a Gordon Ramsay Maze. I have mixed feeling about this.

If we are to import high-end dining brands, who wouldn’t want a Nobu? Even if it’s not what it once was (and in no small part, arguably, because it is now a mass-consumable globalised commodity).

And I’d take the freshness and relative informality of a Maze over the stuffy, excruciating experience of dining at Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s.

But isn’t this kind of cooking exactly the kind of thing that Cape Town does so well anyway?

One of my reservations about Cape Town is that it’s stylish in the sense of approximating style. Hang around Long Street at the right time of night, and everyone looks great. But they also look like they’ve just teleported from Hoxton (and held in suspension for six months, to allow for seasonal variations). It’s a triumph of verisimilitude (how different South Africans might look if they sojourned in NYC rather than London).

Don’t get me wrong, I like a pretty surface as much as the next guy, but the soul and the future of SA fashion is Stoned Cherrie not skinny jeans.

Maybe. An obsession with money conjoined with glib sentimentalism is the defining condition of much of Jozi, and the enemy of art. The horrifying prospect of ‘Afro-chic’ – as opposed to African and chic, like Stoned Cherrie – is a phony authenticity, cooked up by marketing departments.

So thank goodness one&only brought in a couple of respected international brands. If Kerzner had attempted to capture contemporary ‘Africanness’, Cape Town diners might be eating between zebra prints and Sun City fiberglass tusks.

(Picture: abmiller99)

- s





March 2, 2009 at 1:07 pm

Great write up.
I’m looking forward to dining at both restaurants. South Africa needs some Michellin-established restaurants to add to it’s already great selection and some international brands such as Nobu and Gordon Ramsay will do the industry a world of good.

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