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One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

TripAdvisor chose Cape Town as one of its top destinations for 2015. What better way to experience one of the best cities on the planet than by staying at one of Africa's best hotels?

I had the pleasure of spending an entire weekend at One&Only Cape Town to experience all it had to offer this winter. So, if you want to treat your taste buds, here's a handy guide to all the yummy food offerings you can't afford to miss.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

Your first stop after check-in should be to the Vista Bar & Lounge. Situated in the centre of the lobby, this is the heart of the resort and, as the name suggests, there's quite a panoramic view of the mountain through a floor-to-ceiling wall of glass that's eight metres high.

Just as appealing is the selection of 'sweet pleasures' at the Afternoon Tea, which takes the classic art of French patisserie and adds a spoonful of local style. Even a healthy guy like me couldn't resist! I asked the pastry chef for a recommendation and came away smiling myself silly with some baked vanilla bean cheesecake.

Aside from the ever-changing daily array of sweet and savoury delicacies, the resort is set to offer a Lindt Chocolate Fondue menu for two: a platter of treats (from fruit and nuts to homemade marshmallows and shortbread sticks) that you can dip and devour. There's even going to be a Lindt Hot Chocolate Menu, including special creations with hazelnuts, mint, and even crushed chillies.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

After tea, the live music dies down and the space turns into a sophisticated cocktail bar. But besides the classic favourites, they also serve up a beverage menu that takes flavour inspiration from the ancient spice routes around the Cape of Good Hope, while also offering rare and vintage spirits.

That means each cocktail comes in its traditional form as well as with fresh twists, merging the original recipes with modern flavours and local influences. For example, The Manhattan is also served as a smoked tea-infused straight Kentucky bourbon, stirred with aromatic bitters and sweet honey, served over rich candyfloss.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

On our first night, we got to enjoy a private wine-tasting with Luvo Ntezo, the hotel's sommelier. "Most people are intimidated by wine," he said as we sipped one variety after another at The Reuben's Tasting Table, which hosts private dining for up to 12 guests. "But we're not here to dictate to you. Our job is to create an extraordinary dining experience."

Even though it's easy to stick to what appeals to you, it helps that Luvo is able to nudge you in the right direction of what wine will go best with what dish. And there's quite a lot to choose from. A spectacular three-storey wall of glass and steel commands the entrance to the impressive Wine Loft, which houses a collection of over 5000 bottles.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

All that wine set us up for more deliciousness, this time over dinner at Nobu. It's the first African restaurant from Michelin-starred chef Nobuyuki 'Nobu' Matsuhisa and gives classic Japanese cuisine a contemporary twist, incorporating South African seafood with indigenous spices and Peruvian influences.

Nobu is also tapping into the resurgence of ramen noodles as a global food trend. That means you can expect ramen noodles with tasty Asian broths and toppings, served with a trademark Nobu twist. The upper-level Nobu Lounge also features a selection of sakes, plum wines, Japanese beers, and Shochu-based cocktails.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

If you don't want to make too many decision or if you're in the mood to try anything and everything, order a special tasting menu. Another option for those who might feel overwhelmed is to go with a group and order several dishes to share. (The Nobu Lite platters, including one for vegetarians and one for pescatarians, are suitable for up to four guests.)

Highlights include dishes like Sake Roast Whitefish with Jalapeno or the Chocolate Bento Box: a dark chocolate fondant with green tea ice cream and a sesame seed tuile. Our group enjoyed endless platters of their signature dishes - all before we even got to the 'main' meal! I even got to try sake for the first time, making it an ideal way to toast new connections and the perfect end to a perfect night.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

The next morning, we went down to breakfast for the buffet, which managed to be both healthy and indulgent at the same time. You might as well take your pick because, as we discovered over dinner, they cater to all and love the challenge of doing so.

For me that meant Eggs Royale on the first day (country loaf, Norwegian salmon, poached eggs, and English spinach) and a Three Egg Omelette on the second (smoked salmon, dill, and mozzarella-horseradish). I also couldn't resist trying out a soothing mocha, with just enough chocolate and coffee for a pick-me-up, and some fresh mint tea in an iron pot.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

We had our lunch at the poolside Isola restaurant, which is only available for private functions (there were two weddings that day!) and in-house guests. It was one of those scorching late-summer days that made me tempted to take a dive in the infinity pool. All those guests looked very relaxed under shaded pavilions, some taking naps in the private sitting areas with double chaise lounges.

But the lunch, with its Mediterranean twist, was even more tempting. You can either go for something hefty (like a gourmet pizza, sandwich, or burger) or something light (like smoothies, healthy juices, and fresh fruit). I went with the Angry Duck salad, which went down well with some refreshing white wine.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

Since Isola restaurant is only open from October to April, the other lunch option is Reuben's. It opened in 2010 as the first urban restaurant from South African celebrity chef Reuben Riffel, who also has restaurants in Franschhoek, Paternoster, and Robertson.

Aside from an extensive a la carte menu, which features lots of steak and seafood choices, Reuben's is famous for its popular Sunday Lunch Buffet. It's brimming with hot and cold dishes that reflect his passion for local produce and Cape heritage food. This winter, you can even expect fragrant curries with all the trimmings, and traditional meat roasts with all the sides.

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

Reuben's also has a host of popular evening events. On the last Tuesday of every month is the Wine&Dine evening, where Reuben and Luvo invite a series of wine and Methôde Cap Classique-producing estate ambassadors to join them in presenting a deluxe five-course dinner. (Nobu hosts similar events on the first Thursday of every month.)

There's also the famous Reuben Invites, where Reuben and some of his favourite chefs share their culinary secrets, offer insight into their lives in the kitchen, and prepare a gourmet four-course meal. This makes it the perfect opportunity to meet the personalities behind some of South Africa's most respected restaurants.

"Many people are under the impression that chefs are so competitive that we never compare notes with each other, but nothing could be further from the truth," Riffel says. "Because of our crazy hours, chefs often end up socialising with each other. We love sharing new producers and ingredient finds, we all have war stories to tell, and invariably we'll give each other advice on one or other element of life in our kitchens."

One&Only Cape Town: foodie heaven

I'm most excited about the Guest Speaker Series, which celebrates its fourth year and runs from May to October. Last year, I got to hear British journalist and author Tim Butcher talking about his trek across the Congo. This year, there are even more adventurers and intrepid explorers ready to motivate and inspire.

From shark and wildlife specialist Chris Fallows to Trans-Atlantic and South Pole adventurer Pete van Kets, each speaker presents an interactive presentation in the ballroom. Then, after the talk, you can enjoy some food for thought (or is that thought for food?) at Reuben's. I guess that means the best way to experience everything One&Only offers is to be there for more than only one night!

Eugene Yiga was a media guest of One&Only Cape Town, who are looking after guests with a pocket-friendly accommodation deal this winter. The OneEscape special rate is R2999 per room per night, subject to availability from 1 May to 31 August, and includes a complimentary breakfast for two. Call +27 (0)21 431 5800, email moc.nwotepacylnodnaeno@snoitavreser or go to capetown.oneandonlyresorts.com

About Eugene Yiga

Eugene graduated from the University of Cape Town with distinctions in financial accounting and classical piano. He then spent over two-and-half years working in branding and communications at two of South Africa's top market research companies. Eugene also spent over three-and-a-half years at an eLearning start-up, all while building his business as an award-winning writer. Visit www.eugeneyiga.com, follow @eugeneyiga on Twitter, or email moc.agiyenegue@olleh to say, um, hello.

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