2020 certainly won’t be remembered as the smoothest year around… a pandemic was raging, international travel was halted and Cape Town’s hospitality industry was dealt a hard blow (or three). You’d think this would put a stop to any new developments, certainly those within the food industry. However, luckily for us sitting in South Africa’s food capital (the Mother City) that wasn’t the case…

Makers Landing Exterior
Makers Landing Exterior. Image by Ashleigh Frans

December 2020 saw the opening of the much-anticipated Makers Landing, situated a mere 15 metres from the cruise liner’s quay at the V&A Waterfront, a convenient and well thought-out location chosen to provide both local and international tourists with an impressive “first impression of Cape Town” opening scene.

Makers Landing sits pretty, waiting to welcome those from other shores (we’re patiently waiting for the tourism industry to once again shine) but in the meantime, it’s the perfect spot for those in Cape Town and other provinces, to get stuck into some seriously great African food.

This vibey food-filled space provides the perfect stage for hopeful food entrepreneurs to learn new skills and grow their budding food businesses.  The space was developed in partnership with the National Treasury’s Jobs Fund to help create opportunities for the up and comers of the local African food scene.

The market allows food experts to pass on and share their skills, as well as mentoring young talent within the Makers Landing Kitchen Incubator, the very heart of what this multi-cultural space stands for. A place where different ideas, tastes, cultures and flavours combine to welcome the next food-driven generation into the Cape Town fold.

One of the elements that sets Makers Landing apart from being “just another food market in Cape Town” is directly attributed to the diversity of its traders and creators. A spot that has the makings to be something special and iconic within its own genre. A space for local talent to grow, a theatre for authentic South African food to not only take the spotlight but to educate both the local population and international visitors too.

Lufefe Nomjana of Spinach King
Lufefe Nomjana of Spinach King. Image by Cole Ndelu

From traditional, decadently sweet and sticky Cape Malay Koesisters, to authentic Frikkadels with tamatie smoortjie (a Cape Malay-style meatball, generously topped with a tomato and onion smoor, or thick sauce – we suggest some bread, you know, for mopping up of all of that sauce – you’ll need to get in line at Frikkadeli for some of these). Of course, you can’t talk traditional South African food, without mentioning Shisanyama – a Zulu phrase that literally means to “burn meat” – what we’re talking about here is South Africa’s, national pastime – to braai – basically, a meat-lover’s paradise on a plate. What would a great plate of braai’d meat be without something green? Enter Spinach King SA… Yes, South Africa’s very own king of the leafy green vegetable. This franchise is helping to incorporate the powerful super vegetable into a variety of different foods from savoury muffins to breads and smoothies. It is all about balancing the food groups at the end of the day…

But, what would a food tour around a harbour market be without a cold one in hand? Not to worry, apart from all of the food, glorious food on offer, local African beerhouse Ukhamba Beerworx (Pty) Ltd, a micro-brewery based in Cape Town is now serving up African brewed beer at Makers Landing. These local brewmasters are on a mission to see African beer represented throughout the world. So if you’re a bit of a beer aficionado, you’ll definitely, certainly, absolutely want to take a look at their Instagram feed, right over here.

A few of the must-try spots at Makers Landing (we suggest numerous visits to sample ALL of what’s on offer):

Moses Lebofa of Moses Coffees
Moses Lebofa of Moses Coffees. Image supplied by Cole Ndelu

Coffee By Moses: The greatest caffeine kick made by pro barista, Moses Lebofa. Coffee By Moses gets you ready for the ultimate foodie adventure at Makers Landing. Be sure to visit his caffeine stall and grab a few bags to go too, which include ethically sourced beans from the African continent and Columbia.

Extra tip: have those phone cameras Insta ready, Moses just might add one of his legendary crema stories to your cup.

Afrikoa Chocolate: Is it possible to have something taste so good, yet be ethical too? In Afrikoa’s books, or should we say cacao beans, it absolutely is! Afrikoa is an award-winning bean-to-bar, local chocolate brand, using the finest direct trade, organic heirloom cocoa from Tanzania. This means Afrikoa’s cocoa is sourced ethically, ensuring farmers earn significantly more.

Makers Landing Afrikoa Chocolate
Image by Afrikoa

Note: DO buy the larger box of handmade truffles. And, DON’T forget to wear your extra stretchy pants while visiting.

Side Wing Butter Chicken Roti Gatsby
Image courtesy of Side Wing.

Side Wing: If you’ve never experienced a Gatsby before… hold up, let’s first explain what a Gatsby is: best described as the South African Super Sandwich, it’s a foot-long bread roll, crammed full of slap chips with an added protein of your choice (think chicken, masala steak), smothered in sauce. Additions such as chili sauce and atchaar often make an appearance too…

But back to Side Wing, they make a mean (as in delicious!) Butter Chicken Roti Gatsby. If you’re feeling intimidated about the size of the Gatsby and how best to tackle it – don’t. Side Wing has adapted all of the flavours into a smaller (just as filling) version – best you bring some wet wipes along, things are about to get messy – in the best way possible.

Between the food and the Cape Town harbour views, Makers Landing has certainly reaffirmed  Cape Town’s spot on the international culinary map – with a much-needed and much-LOVED  Mzansi-flavoured spice. Makers Landing is buzzy and vibrant and as the Covid-crisis eases, the market has some seriously exciting activities and offerings happening over weekends for the whole family. Do give their Instagram feed a follow to stay up-to-date with the latest offerings that this hub of all things food has to offer.

*All Covid-19 protocols are strictly adhered to: face masks MUST be worn, temperatures are taken before entry. Makers Landing has visible markers on the floor to ensure that 1.5m social distancing rules are followed

Where? V&A Waterfront Cruise Terminal
Opening Times:   Friday – Sunday   |    8am-9pm
Instagram: @makerslanding 

Words and Title Images   |   Leila Saffarian  @pass_the_salt_blog