Belthazar, world's largest wine bar opens at V&A Waterfront

Thursday, 15 April, 2004
Belthazar Restaurant
Over 100 wines served by the glass
The largest 'wine by the glass' wine bar in the world has been the talk of the town since it opened recently at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

A totally new experience in wining and dining, Belthazar also brings the exciting concept of 'shoppertainment' to South Africa for the first time. A themed restaurant, grill, bar and gourmet merchandise store, Belthazar is on the cutting-edge of global retail trends. Belthazar is about 'the best of the best' - from the wine and cuisine to slick service by trained sommeliers and service ambassadors. The wines are served at the perfect temperature in renowned Riedel crystal glasses designed to enhance specific wine styles.

Belthazar has also introduced revolutionary nitrogen technology developed in the USA to keep the wine in perfect condition, preserving the fresh aroma, colour and taste once opened. Every glass of wine is served with a detailed neck-tag specifying the contents.

Named after Belshazzar, the King of Babylon who 'made a great feast ... and drank wine before the thousand', Belthazar serves up to 100 of the Cape's finest wines by the glass. It has a dream selection from over a 100 of the Cape's finest cellars, featuring hundreds of fine wines, auction wines and rare vintages displayed in the specially-designed vinoteque.

The Belthazar team devised the first wine-list in the country that illustrates vintage ratings, critic's ratings (by John Platter SA Wines, Fairbairn Capital Trophy Wine Show and Veritas), style indicators and wine/food matches. Belthazar is the creation of the owners of award-winning Balducci's, a landmark for sophisticated dining in the Cape.

Ian Halfon, Jonathan Steyn and Doron Duveen travelled the world to find an innovative formula that would showcase the Cape's wines at South Africa's premier tourist destination. They have recreated the rich ambience of a wharf warehouse at Belthazar, a specialty wine bar and world-class eatery at a prime location on the V&A Waterfront with spectacular views of Table Bay.

Belthazar is the innovative brainchild of Ian Halfon, a self-made restaurateur who started out selling candyfloss as a student and now operates 50 branches of St Elmo's across Southern Africa and his fine dining venues at sister restaurants, Balducci's and Belthazar. A lifelong collector of wine, he has attended almost every Nederburg Auction of Fine Wine since 1988. The hands-on restaurateur who still takes the time to works three shifts a week serving tables to ensure that the highest standards are met at Balducci's and Belthazar, says, 'Belthazar is for people who are passionate about wine. It is dedicated to my great love for wine. In travelling all over the world, I've never seen a wine bar in Europe, Australia or America that offers anything more than thirty wines by the glass. At Belthazar we intend to offer from 80 - 100 wines by the glass on a continuous basis.'

Belthazar only uses the finest ingredients. Specialising in the finest seafood and meats, Mozambican shellfish, South African line fish and aged grain-fed South African Karan beef are all export-quality. House specialties tempt diners with 'an onion blossom' (a giant seasoned, deep-fried onion), fresh West Coast oysters, flame-grilled steaks and kebabs, Karoo lamb chops, a luxury lamb burger and chocolate and chilli beef medallions. A wide seafood selection features langoustines, prawns, Cape and Mozambican crayfish, mussels, Patagonian calamari, sole and salmon - available on a signature seafood platter.

Belthazar brings a world of 'shoppertainment' to the V&A Waterfront. A wide selection of Belthazar merchandise is available for sale. Displayed in cabinets are glittering Riedel glassware, gift-packs and crystal duck decanters, wine aprons and accessories, stainless steel knives for the home gourmet chef, biltong knives and Belthazar house sauces. Diners may browse through the catalogue-style menu over lunch or dinner - and take the Belthazar brand home. The finest cuts of wet and dry-aged Karan beef are also available for sale from the Belthazar butchery - along with gourmet basting and seasoning sauces.

Belthazar Restaurant, Wine Bar & Grill, Shop 153, Victoria Wharf, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town.
Open daily from noon until late.
For reservations +27 (0) 21 421-3753