Mother City Fine Dining

Mother City Fine Dining

ON19: Fine dining by the light of the moon

By Bianca Coleman

We’ve all heard the expression “once in a blue moon”, but how many of us know what it means?
I thought I did, but according to astrologer Dianne Garven, I – as is almost everyone else – am wrong. Popular culture would have us believe that it is the second full moon within a calendar month (a cycle is 29.5 days), which happens roughly every third year or so and which gives rise to the phrase, meaning something that doesn’t happen very often.

Garven tells us a real blue moon is one which appears twice consecutively in the same astrological constellation, in which case this month and last, it reaches fullness in Sagittarius. But only just. She explained this fully to me in an email, with degrees and such, and this is the kind of information you will be presented with when attending one of the Full Moon Dinners at Westin Grand’s ON19.
You will also receive a personalised chart explaining the sun and moon influences on your personality. It’s probably safe to say we all know our sun sign, but those who know where the moon was at the time they were born are rarer.

The restaurant on the 19th floor of the Foreshore hotel offers magnificent views of the city no matter what phase the moon is in, but it is rather beautiful to watch it rising all silver and swollen.
The evening begins with a welcome drink (or two), after which you are shown to your table for a three-course dinner specially prepared by executive chef Anerith Smythe to complement the current astrological conditions, paired with the wines of a featured, stellar Cape wine estate. These have included Ken Forrester, Avondale and Jordan.

When you book, you provide the dates, times and places of birth for yourself and your guests so Garven can prepare your charts, which are based on generic sun and moon characteristics and perfect for those who have not dabbled too deeply in these matters. After dinner she gives a short talk on the moon, the positions of stars and planets on the night, and insights into their meaning for those who are present to that particular full moon. Guests are invited to ask questions and once your interest is piqued, I’m sure Garven would be delighted to draw a far more detailed chart for you at a later date.

The next dinner is on June 20. Arrival time is 7pm, and the cost is R375 a person including wines and the chart. (To book, send an email to; or call 021 412 9050, at which time – no later than June 16 – you should provide birth details: time, date and place, for yourself and your guests.)

The menu begins with an amuse bouche of charred Brussels sprout with goat’s cheese, and pepper and vodka dressing, followed by a cream of coconut and kohlrabi soup. Main course choices are cacciucco (an Italian fish stew) or confit duck breast with cauliflower and blue cheese ice cream, almonds, and nasturtiums, with blueberry ricotta tart with honey crackling for dessert. Do mention any dietary requirements when booking so the Chef can accommodate them.

* Westin Grand is in Convention Square, Lower Long Street, Cape Town.