I have been calling Cape Town a second home for 13 years now and I each time I visit I fall in love with it all over again. One of the many, many, reasons I love it there is the food. So much variety, such high quality, and freshness that I've not experienced elsewhere (after almost 8 years in London, I was beginning to forget what fresh food really tasted like).
There are always new places cropping up and over the past 2 years in particular there's been a huge surge in small, local businesses thriving. With markets and fairs giving students and novices alike a platform on which to be seen by locals and tourists, the outcry for something home-grown and honest is being answered. Living in a society dominated by chains and franchises, it's so inspiring to see people going it alone and creating a business, be it a coffee shop or a food stall, out of the sheer love of it.
I've recently noticed more and more people booking trips to Cape Town so I thought I'd impart some advice and give some much-deserved shout outs to my favourite places to eat and drink in and around the beautiful city.
The NeighbourGoods Market at The Old Biscuit Mill
The Old Biscuit Mill is a beautifully renovated building which now hosts stalls for local businesses to sell their wares, hence the name The NeighbourGoods Market. Predominantly a food market, each stall is a resplendent little pop-up showcasing world cuisine as well as goods from bakeries and eateries from across the cape such as Knead, a bakery and eatery with cafes across the area. Here's a pic from my Instagram of the full english I had at their Sea Point branch, it was to die for.
You really are spoilt for choice and I had to do a couple of laps before committing to a stall. As I had gone without breakfast that day, I went for a chorizo, fried egg and spinach sourdough roll, washed down with a rooibos, mint and lemon ice tea.
The market has a fantastic atmosphere and hasn't become a complete tourist trap just yet. It still has a community feel to it as well as a "best kept secret" quality. As a sort of hybrid on London's Brick Lane and Borough Market, many young designers and fashion start-ups travel to show their latest collections and garments to the locals, a fantastic way to get good quality, locally sourced and usual pieces and of course, a great way for the brands to raise their profiles.
Two of my favourites were a sustainable denim and lifestyle brand - Real and Simple Denim Company (www.realandsimpledenim.com) which had a truly raw, rustic, and "utility" feel to the garments. Secondly was Feat Sock Company (www.featsockco.com) an adorable brand with beautiful knitted and woven socks adorned with landscapes, animals, prints, patterns - you name it!
The Espresso Lab
On the ground floor of the Old Biscuit Mill was a coffee shop, the decor of which I completely fell in love with. The Espresso Lab (www.espressolabmicroroasters.com) is a clean, open-plan, modern space, with unique and unexpected design elements.
Fashioned on a 1950s-meets-21st Century science lab, it isn't everyday you get Breaking Bad/Dexter vibes with a fantastic cup off coffee, so this was a real treat. Small nuances such as the typewriter in the corner, papers with made up formulas typed on them under an Anglepoise lamp and the rows of stark white barrels (apparently filled with coffee beans) all added to an authentic , charming experience.
The Espresso Lab is an excellent example of how branding and decor can make something as menial as buying a coffee, into an experiential and memorable event - even the bags of coffee they sell are beautifully packaged (can you tell I'm a little obsessed? My OCD went into overdrive, it was all just so clean and neat and organised.)
Hout Bay Market
Hout Bay Market is another little hidden gem, secreted in the back of a warehouse, you'd just never even imagine it was there. A little less "foodie" than other markets, Hout Bay is an Aladdin's cave of knick-knacks, jewellery, clothing, furniture and more, so it has a more "arty" feel to it. With live bands providing the atmosphere and a couple of great bars serving locally-made craft beers and ales, it's certainly more lively than other markets.
The main (read: only) reason I don't have more photos of Hout Bay is the craft beer. I kinda B-lined for it, found a spot outside in the blazing sun, and sat listening to the live bands, sampling every beer on the menu. Therefore, my camera was soon forgotten about. All in the name of blogging...
Truth Coffee is probably my favourite spot in the city purely as a source of interior decor porn. I'm so in love with the steampunk aesthetic they've gone for, there was so much to look at and admire, it really was like stepping back in time. The coffee was of course, outstanding and they even had a coffee on the menu which carried the equivalent of 18 shots of espresso, which for the safety of those around me, I did not order.
Have I missed anything? If you've been to Cape Town and found foodie gem - let me know! I'm always looking for more recommendations.
All photos taken by me.