Ever tasted an ‘iced antioxidant’? Probably not. “We’re creating our own beverage category,” says Murry von Hirschberg, one of the co-founders of B2, a drink that quenches like water, is packed with incredible flavour, but possesses only natural ingredients, with nothing added or removed.
Four years in the making, with recipe trials and brew experimentation, B2 has finally launched at Makers Landing, giving people an alternative to sugar-laden iced teas or flavoured waters. Inside the bottle is a tasty concoction of eight ingredients and superfoods: blueberries and blueberry leaves (which hold 31 times more antioxidants than the berries!), rooibos leaves, apple, lime, liquorice root, ginger and mint. “If you can pronounce all the words on the ingredients list, then you can trust the product,” says Murray, pointing out that no additives or synthetics have been included. “We wanted to create a drink that is good for you, while being honest and fair,” he says. “It’s about treating yourself, us and the environment well.”
By ‘us’ he is referring to the co-op that forms an integral part of the business’s transparent operations. “We’ve created a brand where we focus on getting the message of fairness out there and creating a demand, and then we have brewers making the product, who are their own employers.” This translates into the B2 space being a hub of collaborative activity for a brewers co-op which is owned and run by the brewers themselves, who take a split of the profits. By making this profit share an important aspect of the brand’s identity, Murray and his team hope to have more people buying directly from Makers Landing, to eliminate retail mark-up and grant brewers higher rewards.
The QR code on every bottle gives people an insight into which brewer made their drink, and how the money is being shared.
“I love how coffee brings people of all walks of life together,” says Moses Lebofa, one of Cape Town’s favourite baristas, who is taking his business, Coffee by Moses, to a new level at Makers Landing.
Moses grew up in a rural part of the Free State and had aspirations of becoming a teacher. He entered university but had to drop out in his second year to find full-time employment. This led him to Cape Town, where he took on any work he could find – from carpentry to construction and garden maintenance. It was when he landed a job at an eatery, doing deliveries, that he was introduced to coffee. “Coffee culture opened up a whole new world to me,” says Moses, who soon underwent barista training to satisfy his intrigue. “I love the ritual behind it.”
At his previous coffee station, inside Just Like Papa, he was the barista who knew your name and ‘your usual’, amassing a fandom that has followed him to Makers Landing, where he now has the opportunity to roast and distribute his own coffee. “I’m proud to be one of the first black people in South Africa who will be roasting coffee beans,” he says, hoping to shift perceptions and make coffee more inclusive to all.
Coffee by Moses is made from ethically sourced beans. Although some come from Colombia, Moses has now introduced African coffee to his range. “Africa has one of the biggest selections when it comes to flavour. From Kenya to Ethiopia, you could get tastes as diverse as liquorice to something more citrusy, each one served slightly differently.” In his 12-seater coffee shop at Makers Landing, these African notes can be enjoyed as slow-brewed pour-overs, adding to the experience he wishes to create when one visits. “Coffee is about service and how we make a person feel,” he says.
Since 2016, Afrikoa has been producing award-winning chocolate from scratch, using cocoa beans sourced directly from farmers in Tanzania, making it an authentic African product with an ethos of sustainability and social responsibility.
Afrikoa’s co-founders – Rwandan businesswoman Ingrid Karera, who has a passion for social-impact enterprises, and Sicilian chocolate-maker Antonino Allegra, who personally visited farms around Africa to establish direct relationships with the farmers from whom they source ingredients – have made a new wish come true at Makers Landing.
“We’re fulfilling our original dream of creating a bean-to-bonbon experience that rivals the best luxury chocolate shops in the world,” says Antonino, “and we’re doing this using a truly African chocolate.”
At Makers Landing, you’ll find pralines, truffles and delicious chocolate-enrobed nuts and nougat, all handmade on site. “Traditionally, the praline-and-truffle industry has been dominated by Swiss and Belgium brands, but we want to prove that Africa can hold its own in the fine-chocolate world, and offer chocolate-lovers something really special,” says ingrid.
Visitors are able to watch the chocolatiers in action, tempering, enrobing and decorating the chocolate. “We’ve created a full-on experience,” Antonino explains. “When you walk in, you are surrounded by the smell of chocolate. You see it move through the glass cooling tunnel while watching ganache, caramel and nougat being made. And then you get to taste it!”
All the bonbons are made using sustainably sourced direct-trade ingredients, which include sesame seeds from Tanzania, coffee from Rwanda, almonds from the Little Karoo and vanilla from Uganda.
Says Antonino, “We’re drawing inspiration from the continent to develop interesting flavour combinations. This is our chance to buy small batches of amazing ingredients to create once-off or limited edition flavours that will be exclusive to this shop.”
Still in her early 20s, Mmabatho Molefe considers herself a novice on the food scene. But that is not stopping the chef who graduated from Capsicum Culinary Studio in 2018 from forging a unique path for herself in the local industry. With her breakthrough restaurant Emazulwini (meaning ‘heaven’ in Zulu), she’s introducing Zulu dishes in completely unexpected ways to Makers Landing.
“I watched all the episodes of Chefs Table during lockdown,’ says the cook who lost her job at Salsify at The Roundhouse due to the Covid-19 pandemic. “The common thing that every chef said was that they were cooking food that was closest to their roots.”
This inspired Mmabatho to reflect on her own Zulu upbringing in KwaZulu-Natal, and experiment with recipes that could represent the food she was raised eating, but with modern techniques and novel ways of presentation. The intimate space at Emazulwini affords diners the opportunity to taste dishes such as ox tongue in different preparations of tomato, isijingi (a sweet pumpkin porridge with orange caramel, roasted pumpkin and cinnamon), and an amasi (sour milk) dessert made with uphuthu (pap) and whey caramel.
“I want people to let go of their previous apprehensions, try new things, and hopefully change their minds about these Zulu-inspired dishes,” she says. Although cooking and serving cultural foods differently to how they are traditionally done, she has ensured that the flavours remain true to the original. “Usually Zulu cuisine is slow-cooked and braised, and all the flavour gets left in the liquid,” she says, “so I’m just preparing it slightly differently. It doesn’t have to be brown, heavy food. I’m adding fresh components, so that people are more inclined to try it.”
By delving into Zulu history and traditions in her quest to honour her heritage, Mmabatho is sharing her culture through the art of cooking, creating a contemporary appreciation for Zulu cuisine .
In May 2020, during South Africa’s Covid-19 lockdown, Faieez Alexander (also known as Fuzzy) was sitting at home with his wife, feeling lus for something sweet. The registered tour guide had no work, with international travel being restricted, and so he resigned himself to the kitchen, his place of relaxation. He decided to make koeksisters for the first time, the fried doughnut-like spice-flavoured sweet treat he had grown up with, covered in syrup and desiccated coconut (not to be confused with the twisted Afrikaans koeksister).
“It’s the first thing you would look for on a Sunday: koeksisters and coffee,” says Faieez, referring broadly to Cape Town’s Cape Malay community from which this treat emerged. Fusing elements of his mother’s recipe with those of someone else’s, he succeeded in impressing his wife with his initial attempt. And so, two weeks later, he announced he’d be making some more, selling them this time, to bring in cash during that trying time without tourism clients. He advertised on his social media, and sold over 2,000 koeksisters on his first day of retail, going on to repeat the effort every Sunday, 7-11 am, from his house in Wetton.
Just four months after launching, Fuzzy’s Koesisters won best koesister at World Koesister Day, outshining 11 other finalists, and three months later opened a shop at Makers Landing. “Now koesisters are not just for Sundays,” laughs Faieez, who hopes to later add samoosas and other Cape Malay items to the offering, showcasing food from his culture. “A lot of people outside the coloured, Muslim community have never tasted a koesister, so I want to introduce it to everybody.”
“What was a means of survival has now become an opportunity for a business to grow into something larger,” he says, toying with the idea of distributing his koesisters to retailers down the line, thanks to their ability to be frozen. “It really shows that any dream is possible.”
Michele Mistry is a certified Ayurvedic nutritionist who has been a vegetarian for almost 30 years, with four years as a vegan. That, coupled with an idea to cook Indian food at organic markets, as a way of cultivating cultural awareness, saw her launching INDIKAAP in 2016. Having popped up around Cape Town, this Makers Landing shop is her first permanent space, affording Michele the opportunity to share her knowledge about Ayurveda with more people, through tasty dishes and bottled products.
Ayurveda is an ancient Indian health science that takes a holistic approach to health, for the body, mind and spirit. “Ayurvedic nutrition is an awareness of the impact food has on our bodies, and how to use food to bring balance, creating optimum states of health,” says Michele, who uses Ayurvedic principles to develop vegan recipes that suit the three doshas (the three temperaments in the body that determine one’s emotional, physical and mental constitutions). One’s dosha can be determined by completing a form on INDIKAAP’s website.
Each menu item at this Makers Landing shop will have a key that indicates whether the dish increases or decreases a certain dosha. “This is the only food offering focused purely on Ayurveda in South Africa,” says Michele, excited about the prospect of making such nutrition accessible to a wider community at Makers Landing. “I’d like people to experience what being well-nourished feels like and how eating this way gives us energy and fortitude to live fully.”
With dishes such as mung-bean and basil pancakes, amaranth kheer, seasonal vegetables (sourced from small-scale local farmers) in a vegan ‘butter chicken’ sauce, and quinoa or millet with cooked root vegetables on steamed rocket, she wishes to improve the health of her customers.
INDIKAAP sells a range of vegan cook-in sauces, chutneys, pickles and more for those wanting to embark on an Ayurvedic lifestyle.
“A party in your mouth.” That is what Kapoochka is all about, says owner Hitesh Panchal, who is introducing a culinary aspect of his Indian heritage to Cape Town. Hitesh is from Mumbai, where street-food culture is a way of life. “Even on the beaches,” he says, “people don’t go to swim; they go to eat.”
One of the street foods that can be found throughout his home country is pani puri with ‘pani’ meaning water and ‘puri’ being a dough fried into a puffed hollow shell. (It is called poochka in some regions, which inspired the business name.) Pani puri is made by creating an opening on top of the shell and stuffing it with a mixture of potatoes or lentils, along with three different sauces – coriander, tamarind, and chilli and garlic – then dunking it in a chilled spiced water.
“You pop it into your mouth whole,” Hitesh explains, “so you can imagine the burst of flavours.”
Hitesh has over 30 years’ experience in the hospitality industry around the world, from owning restaurants and street-food joints to working on cruise liners and for hotel groups and conference centres. So he understands the importance of adapting foods to suit local palates, while creating experiences that people remember. Therefore, along with Kapoochka’s authentic menu options, he’s introduced flavours inspired by cuisines around the world, with things such as prawn, chicken or mushroom stuffed into the shell before being topped with cheese. ‘Decadent poppers’ make up the dessert offering, loaded with sweet purées such as chocolate mousse or banoffee filling. Saffron and rose lassi are available as beverages.
“It’s a way for people to experience something different and new,” says Hitesh.
Kapoochka is a family-run business, so when Hitesh is not around, you’ll meet his wife Manju, or their sons Tushar and Hriday, who work at Makers Landing in between their engineering studies.
Pienaar & Son is a craft distillery that seeks to create new traditions in a rather conventional alcohol industry. In 2015, Andre Pienaar and his father Schalk combined their interests to create gin, vodka, whisky and other spirits in very distinctive ways. Schalk’s expertise as a chemical engineer, with more than 40 years’ experience designing distillation equipment, had him custom make equipment for his son, who, having studied biochemistry, became interested in experimenting with the alchemy of alcohol and flavour.
The distillery produces spirits such as the Orient Gin, with notes of citrus and Eastern spices, and a bourbon cask-finish brandy, which has hints of maple, toffee and spice. The bar at Makers Landing now affords Pienaar & Son an opportunity to more immediately share its distillations with a growing fanbase. “People can come for cocktails, tastings or great G+Ts,” says Andre, indicating an area that seats guests inside or outside, at the Makers Landing entrance. “They can also book a private tasting or a distillery tour, where they get to see how crushed corn is fermented, distilled and bottled on site.”
Pairings with food may be on offer soon, too, as Andre looks to experiment with other Makers Landing tenants. “We have fun things in the pipeline,” he says, hinting at possibly making moonshine in the distillery, or collaborating with a winemaker to produce a vermouth. “Makers Landing allows us to have a much more functional home,” he says, “so that people can come and taste things for themselves and they don’t just have to see it on Instagram. For example, we could produce a once-off kiwi-fruit gin, and there could be just 20 litres of it, and we could then host these cool experiences to test our experiments. The space allows us a lot of creativity.”
Pitso Chauke has come full circle in a very unusual way by opening his restaurant, Pitso’s Kitchen, at Makers Landing. Up until 2017, the self-taught chef was a detective, just a stone’s throw away, at the South African Police Station near the Cruise Terminal. “I swapped the bullet-proof vest for an apron, and now I’ve returned to feed my friends,” he jokes.
With over 84k followers on Instagram, he’ll be feeding many more people than just his mates, having gained popularity through his weekend stand at the Neighbourgoods Market, where he started in 2016 after an unsuccessful stint selling food under a tree in Khayelitsha. His offering is one best served to those further away from their homes of origin, without time or knowledge to cook dishes such as tripe, oxtail, hardbody chicken and beef trotters, with sides such as steamed bread, chakalaka and amasonja (mopane worms).
Spurred on by leaving his own hometown in Limpopo and missing the meals he had grown up with, Pitso has carved a niche in Cape Town, a city which, despite its position as a food destination, lacks authentic traditional African dishes that are available to a wider audience. “I want to break boundaries and share these culinary stories while inspiring others to do the same,” says Pitso, who adds a modern twist to his dishes. “Normally, when you make a dish at home, it tastes the same as your neighbour’s, but I bend the rules a little bit so that I have a flavourful signature that is different.”
The walls at Pitso’s Kitchen are dotted with photographic portraits that echo those that he and many South Africans grew up with, and the music will add to this element of nostalgia, with a DJ booth adding extra doses of fun. Some menu items will be served in pots, brought to tables for guests to serve themselves. Says Pitso: “This must become people’s home away from home.”
“I want to change the way people eat,” says Sunshine Food Co. Founder Elisha Madzivadondo, who has been a vegan since his teenage years, growing up in Zimbabwe. Having relocated to South Africa nearly 20 years ago, and working his way from a guesthouse butler to a cook, he has established a business that echoes his healthy eating habits.
“Sprouts and micro-greens don’t have to be garnish. That’s where the nutrients are,” he says. By using them as the main elements in Sunshine Food Co.’s plant-based dishes, he’s advocating for more conscious eating, where fertilizers and pesticides don’t enter the ingredients we consume.
With a small eatery in Sea Point and stands at weekend markets, Sunshine Food Co. is already a big hit on the Cape Town food scene, especially with those interested in a plant-based diet. Regulars rate the vegan burger as the best in town. Elisha says it has to do with it being “homemade, not laboratory-related”. Wraps and bun-less burgers go down just as well, drizzled with his secret fermented lemon sauce, and freshly pressed juices and smoothies offer an additional health kick.
As far as possible, everything at Sunshine Food Co. is organic, with much of it produced on a plot of land Elisha farms in Pinelands. “Our menu is based on what we grow,” he says, ensuring he always has five ingredients in season.
Lentils, alfalfa sprouts, pea shoots and sunflower micro-greens are scattered around his Makers Landing shop in trays and jars. “They’re not decorations,” he insists, showing how he harvests them and puts them straight into his dishes. “I want to demonstrate to people that they can grow their own sprouts and micro-greens at home, without any soil. They are harvested when they are six days old, before they are fertilized or protected with pesticides,” he says. “It’s a much safer way to eat.”
Partners Ashleigh Frans and Strone Henry launched Side Wing as a fun way to explore their passion for food – an enjoyment that had previously led Strone to qualify as a chef through the South African Chefs Academy while Ashleigh studied photography.
Before starting their own business, they were employed on a corporate food campaign together – him as a food stylist’s assistant and she as a photographer’s assistant – and realised they worked well as a team. So, in 2017, they converted their kitchen into a business, selling chicken wings twice a week from their home in Ottery. Demand for Side Wing’s buffalo, BBQ and butter-chicken wings grew so much that it turned into a full-time enterprise, and they converted their garage into a bigger kitchen to feed more people, more often, with a weekly menu that included burgers and tacos.
“Our customers enjoy that our menu is never the same,” says Ashleigh, explaining how the Makers Landing shop rotates its menu monthly. For her, opening in Makers Landing at the Cruise Terminal is particularly sentimental. “My grandfather was a fisherman who used these docks often, so it’s almost like a family tradition for us to work here – this is just me creating my own tradition.”
The couple likes to play around with convention. Strone’s Doughnut Burger – a homemade glazed brioche doughnut, cut in half and toasted, then packed with fried chicken or beef, cheese, chutney and more – is an unexpected take on the traditional bun. “It’s not just a burger, it’s an experience,” says Ashleigh. “Strone first made it as a joke, but it just blew up!”
The Makers Landing version includes a glaze made with Ukhamba beer and meat from Conscious Meat Merchants, both fellow tenants. A chicken wing marinated in Pienaar & Son gin, another tenant, will also be introduced.
“Collaboration with this amazing community is going to be our success,” says Ashleigh.
Initially sparked by his Ouma’s daily commitment to baking, Francois Zietsman’s love affair with the kitchen has seen him embark on a cooking career that stretches from restaurants in his hometown of East London, and notable wine estates in the Cape, to private yachts, serving meals to luxury travellers. He even made it into the top eight in a season of MasterChef. But it was the nostalgia of Ouma’s baking that won out in the end, with Francois now dedicating himself to the art of bread-making.
“I love bread’s simplicity,” he says. “With just flour, salt, yeast and water you can make so many varieties of bread – all crafted by hand.” For him, bread offers an evocative sensory experience of something beautiful to look at, smell, taste and touch, with the added ability to bring people together. “Bread is about connecting and sharing – there’s nothing like breaking bread around a table,” he says.
Francois’s popular seed loaf is on The Bread Bar menu at Makers Landing, along with a host of others, such as potato-and-beer bread, caraway rye, corn bread, mosbolletjies (aniseed brioche), and a variety of mini focaccias – like olive and rosemary, and smoked red pepper, tomato and chilli. Besides walking away with a freshly baked loaf, visitors to Makers Landing get to watch Francois and his team in action, conducting the entire bread-making process of mixing, folding and baking.
“I have so many plans for this small space,” says the baker, explaining how he will be introducing different bread cultures to his shop, every few weeks. These could include items such as steam bread made in the Xhosa culture, or bread made with umqombothi (traditional beer).
Those who land on Sweet LionHeart’s Instagram page find it hard to leave, as they scroll through images of cakes that are almost too beautiful to be eaten. Previously only selling through its ‘online bake shop’, the cakery has moved its production to Makers Landing, from where it will soon be selling baked delights directly to the public, including its doughnuts, rocket pops, biscuits and comets (cake-pop-meets-truffle).
“Makers Landing is making our brand more accessible,” says founder Nikki Albertyn who, in 2016, started baking cakes as a sideline to her graphic-design job, after completing a part-time patisserie course. The combination of her skills was immediately evident in her painterly approach to buttercream icing, as well as in her knack for fashioning gallery-worthy cake toppers, in colours that read like poetry.
She soon resigned from her job to give Sweet LionHeart her full attention, and now works with a team of seven equally passionate women, acting as creative director for regular orders and custom commissions that have ranged from surf themes to forest settings.
Nikki admits that in the past they have erred on the side of caution when it comes to cake flavours, because online clients prefer choosing tastes they recognise. “Now I’m really excited to be able to put out cakes that are a little more out there, so that people can come and taste them by just buying a slice and not having to commit to an entire cake. I want to get them interested in more exciting flavour profiles,” she says.
Another part of the business – Sweet LionHeart cake workshops – will soon be scheduled on the events roster at the Makers Landing Demo Kitchen. But luckily visitors can be inspired by this team any day of the week by watching the bakers in action, seeing cakes come to life, as they are tiered, iced and decorated. Says Nikki, “There’s a little bit of theatre to it.”
Ukhamba Beerworx co-founders Lethu Tshabangu and Noluyanda Roxwana met through a mutual friend Noluyanda’s birthday party. “My friends and I had made our own pale ale for the party,” says Noluyanda, who learned the skill of making umqombothi (traditional beer) while growing up in the Eastern Cape. Lethu was then a bartender at a craft-beer bar, and had developed a passion for experimenting with beer-brewing himself. Their match was sealed.
The now-married couple joined forces and registered Ukhamba in 2015, naming it after the clay pot from which umqombothi is drunk (in some Nguni languages, ‘ukhamba’ also refers to any traditional alcohol). Lethu began assisting different breweries with their brews, and would make his beers in his own time, while being part of the Woodstock Brewers Coop. Noluyanda held on to her job at an NGO while they tested the market by selling Ukhamba to friends. The business soon grew, and she joined her husband fulltime when they opened their own brewery in Woodstock and then moved their operations to the Devils Peak brewery, where they continue to make their premium lager, iBhiya, and sorghum Saigon, Utywala.
Ukhamba’s Makers Landing brewery has allowed Lethu and Noluyanda to reintroduce two of their beers: Pursuit of Hoppyness (black IPA) and State Capture (IPA). “Now we have the flexibility and freedom to brew all styles of beer and play around with local flavours,” says Noluyanda. “It makes us want to push ourselves even more.”
Such determination could see them bottling a banana-bread beer they once made, or fruity beers like a strawberry flavour with which they have been experimenting.
Their top-storey location at Makers Landing, with its view of the ocean, makes for a relaxing environment in which to enjoy Ukhamba’s beers, seated around a table with friends. This also means tasting any new flavours that make their way from the micro-brewery to the taproom.
Tours of the brewery are available for interested customers.
“We have such amazing cheese producers in this country who aren’t celebrated enough,” says Ross Baker of Wild Peacock, the fine-foods merchant who has opened the indulgent CheesePOD at Makers Landing. Around 200 local cheeses from almost 30 artisanal producers are now receiving their rightful place in the spotlight at this intimate shop.
Wild Peacock, started by Ross’s mother Sue, has been the supplier to many of South Africa’s top chefs for nearly 30 years, for speciality ingredients such as oysters, truffles, duck eggs, perlemoen, quail and other hard-to-source high-quality produce. They are applying this extensive experience in an entirely new way with their fromagerie, with a fascinating range that Ross’s sister Sarah has been curating for the past six years, while building relationships with various local cheese producers, including some tiny ones many people will never have heard of. “We’re making ingredients that have always been available to the professional chef more accessible to the experimental home chef,” says Ross.
Elodye Davids, who runs the CheesePOD, is on hand to advise customers on flavour profiles, offer tastings and provide insight into the way each type of cheese is made and where it comes from, also offering the opportunity for people to discuss specific requirements, should they want to source taste-specific cheeses. She’ll point out an aged vegetable-ash-rind chèvre from Johannesburg’s Belnori, a hard French-style cheese from Langbaken near Williston in the Karoo, a goat’s-milk cheese from Foxenburg outside Wellington, a sheep’s-milk cheese from All.About.Sheep in Montagu, a true Italian burrata and mozzarella from Ciao Ciao in Hout Bay, and many, many more.
The CheesePOD sells cheese boards so that you can enjoy a selection of these speciality products, and also makes cheese-focused sandwiches and raclette. By being introduced to new varieties, you’ll be able to order from the CheesePOD online shop when you don’t have time to pop by. But you’ll definitely return to find other favourites.
The Mussel Monger may have made a name for itself at Route 44 Market and Mojo Market, but it is at Makers Landing where this small independent business offers the true ocean-side experience in which to enjoy its two hero products: mussels and oysters. The oyster and mussel bar, with its vast windows that look out to the working harbour, is the ideal spot at which to linger with a glass of bubbly and mollusc or two in hand.
“This is our opportunity to become one of the iconic oyster bars of the world,” says founder Kyle Dods. “It’s really special to watch ships offloading equipment while you eat the best oysters in the Southern Hemisphere, in an environment that is classy yet casual and unpretentious.” The Mussel Monger’s evolution to Makers Landing is a proud step up for the entrepreneur, especially considering the business’s humble roots, with Kyle initially delivering oysters to clients in his own car.
The sustainably farmed oysters and mussels are delivered daily from Saldanha Bay, where Kyle and his wife reside, and are exposed to the same conditions as wild harvests, making them just as delicious. “The majority of oysters from Saldanha get exported,” says Kyle, “because South Africans are not accustomed to them.” His mission is to educate the public and encourage more people to try them. “Our number-one-selling product is a single oyster,” he says, indicating how customers are able to order solo servings as opposed to the customary minimum of six in other restaurants. “It’s our way of making it really accessible. People order one… and then they do it again!”
Those who get hooked on the sensation are able to buy fresh, raw mussels and oysters over the counter, to take home and cook for themselves.
You may recognise Oginga Siwundla and Gomotsegang Modiselle from the first season of My Kitchen Rules, where they impressed judges with their interesting approach to food. Now they’re wowing the everyday people of South Africa by serving them a dish they’ve all grown up with, in a completely novel way.
Together with their friend Karabo Makofane, OG and G, as they are more affectionately known, have launched MOSI at Makers Landing, with ‘pap en vleis’ as the star of the show. But this isn’t the kind of pap and wors you’re used to. Their pap is infused with caramelised onion and garlic, and rolled into a ball, before being baked and fried until crispy. “It’s a South African staple with a twist,” says Gomotsegang, keen as ever to bring heritage food to the mainstream market. “When you go out for a meal, it’s all mostly Western gastronomy. Africa hasn’t been represented properly.”
“Pap en vleis is something that everyone in South Africa can identify with,” says Oginga, “whether Afrikaans or Zulu. Yet there’s not a lot of it out there.”
They provide options when it comes to the vleis (meat), which is smoked on different varieties of wood. MOSI, meaning ‘smoke’ or ‘smoking’ in xxxxx, references this method of preparation. “The word is also synonymous with traditional cooking, outside on a fire,” says Oginga. “It’s a way of adding depth of flavour to meats.” Their proteins range from beef rib and BBQ chicken wings, to lamb chops and beef sausage – all smoked of course.
Every portion of pap en vleis comes with a salad, adding colour and freshness to the easy-to-eat combo. Among these choices is coleslaw with peanuts, and a beetroot and feta salad, which Oginga explains holds relevance in a local context: “We’ve taken the beetroot that’s commonly eaten in traditional ceremonies, and given it a bit of added taste and complexity.”
“The frikkadel is so underrated,” says Saa-rah Adams, one of the family members behind Cape Town’s much loved Frikkadeli brand. Saa-rah, her parents, four siblings and their partners have all been involved in one way or another in transforming this Cape Malay version of a meatball from a simple home-comfort food into a culinary work of genius.
Inspired by their mother Fatima’s Cape Malay cuisine and can-do attitude, they launched the business at the end of 2018, at My Gourmet Market, a curated halal food experience (all their products are halal), and have made appearances at various markets since. Makers Landing is the first permanent fixture for Frikkadeli, a home from which it sells its tasty free-range grass-fed beef frikkadels in various iterations of brioche bun – from the Classic Frikkadeli to the Frikkadeli Sub, topped with homemade pickled onions, their ‘tamatie smoortjie’, grilled mozzarella and watercress. Also for sale are a variety of homemade gourmet samoosas and signature sauces, including jalapeño chutney and a secret savoury dip.
“Our mother makes the best Cape Malay food, always experimenting with spice blends and flavours,” Saa-rah says of Fatima, who has taken on the role of recipe developer in the business. “So Frikkadeli is about leaving a legacy that represents her, our family and our culture.”
Even though a Classic Frikkadeli may look like a burger, it is definitely not, and offers a taste sensation very unlike anything else. “Nice and crispy on the outside, with a soft texture inside, and a very unique flavour,” Saa-rah explains of the frikkadel. Naked Frikkadelis, without a bun, are on the menu too, as well as carb-conscious salad bowls and vegetarian ‘frikkadels’ made with chickpeas or cannellini beans – all with Fatima’s same secret blend of spices, keeping the flavour quintessentially South African.
“We always have new ideas up our sleeve,” says Saa-rah, “as we keep exploring what else we can do with the humble frikkadel.”
There were a few things that came together to push Sipamandla Manqele into the food industry. She grew up in an Eastern Cape village called Lusikisiki, wondering why locals without much income were not growing more food in their great climate, to utilise and sell. Later, her studies at UKZN, where she majored in business and community development, led to an exploration of entrepreneurship’s role in sustainable development. Then, when sourcing free-range eggs, milk, honey and village chickens to sell to friends and family in what were the first activities of her fledgling business in 2016, she began devising ways to create more of a demand for these healthy products, while working with the communities producing them.
“Then I came across a book of fiction by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and tried it,” Sipamandla explains of her foray into African foods beyond our borders. “Later, on a trip to Chicago, I went to a Senegalese restaurant, and connected with the African diaspora there.”
Her interest in African foods was piqued, and Sipamandla developed Local Village Foods into an enterprise that now sells naturally grown indigenous products from small-scale farmers across the continent, connecting ethical producers with conscious consumers. The business sells grains, legumes, raw cacao, teff, tiger nuts, plantain flour, roselle (an African hibiscus), and more.
“I say food is our currency for connection because we share so many similarities in food across Africa,” she says. “Take a product indigenous to Benin or Mali. It could be grown in Zimbabwe and eaten as a staple food there, and then you’ll find it in Venda and Bloemfontein as well. We have the same products, but we all call them different things. So I’m highlighting the commonality we have while showing people how to incorporate African food in their day-to-day diet by bringing it into the mainstream market. A simple thing such as food can help people recognise their similarities, and unite them by touching their hearts.”
The lightbulb moment for Conscious Meat Merchants emerged over a casual chat between business partners Mohammed Adam and Mohamed Mohidien, and Andy Fenner, co-founder (with his wife Nicole) of Frankie Fenner Meat Merchants. Mohammed and Mohamed, who run Conscious Carnivores, a pop-up eatery making halal burgers, were telling Andy how difficult it is to find a decent meal in Cape Town when following halal principles.
Because Frankie Fenner (now owned by Andy, Andrew Nel and Msizi Ngcongo) is known for its ethical manner of handling meat, the two businesses realised an opportunity to create a new brand that could provide grass-fed, ethically sourced, free-range meat to a halal community. “The animal is exactly the same – the only difference is that we say a prayer when it is sacrificed,” explains Mohammed of the premium halal offering available at their Makers Landing butchery and eatery, where meat comes from animals that have been raised with integrity.
The launch of Conscious Meat Merchants means that Cape Town’s Muslim community finally has accessibility to top-quality meat and cuts it was not able to find previously, including a chorizo made with beef instead of pork, and a host of cured products and charcuterie. “We’re creating an inclusive community butcher that’s open to everyone,” says Mohammed.
“We have a deep-rooted respect for animal husbandry (the way an animal is reared), for the butchering of the carcass, with patience and with care, and for cooking the resulting meat, with meticulous attention to detail,” says Andy. “I am so proud and excited to be building a space where everyone is welcome, regardless of their beliefs.”
Conscious Meat Merchants has its own private non-alcoholic seating area, where customers can choose the meat they want grilled on the open-fire Kamado, enjoy an item off the menu, such as the popular Wagyu burger, or indulge in a decadent treat from the milkshake bar, where everything is made with fresh seasonal ingredients.
A love of entertaining friends and cooking with spices inspired Caryn Wells to create her own spice blends for her experimental dishes. “I became very interested in mixing and blending spices, so I started Cape Town Spice Market in 2012 by selling these mixes to my family. Word of mouth spread and it just grew,” she says of the start of her entrepreneurial venture.
In 2015 Caryn left her finance job at Puma to embark on her business fulltime, launching new products and appearing at many markets. But in 2018 she scaled down operations to focus on her small children and, in the two years that followed, she conducted cooking classes from home, teaching newly married women the secrets of a great curry and stew, staple dishes in the Cape Coloured community, she says.
“Now that my kids are a bit older, I want to showcase what I’ve been doing, and expand the business, so Makers Landing comes at the perfect time,” she says. As well as selling spices, Cape Town Spice Market will serve Caryn’s homemade curries. And every now and then she’ll offer cooking classes in the Demo Kitchen, delving into the heritage of the dishes being cooked, and showing people how to mix a typical Cape Malay curry or potjie blend.
Her many authentic spice mixes – all made from scratch – include a bobotie blend, and braai and chakalaka seasoning. “It’s been a long process of research and recipe testing – late nights and hard work,” Caryn says of her journey. “But I just love curry, and blending spices feeds my curiosity as I learn what ingredient goes with what.”
A visit to Cape Town Spice Market will have customers loaded with knowledge on how best to enhance their own curries. Says Caryn, “Sometimes all it takes is a touch of garam masala, just towards the end.”
Nolusindiso and Xolisani Roland Ncube have both been cooking from a young age, so it has always been natural for this married couple to prepare meals together. “She loves baking; I love cooking,” says Xolisani, whose most recent job was as Head Chef at Casa Labia. Having previously been a manager at Inner City Ideas Cartel, it was in 2016 that his interest in food found him gravitating more and more toward the business’s kitchen.
“I grew up cooking,” he explains of his upbringing in Zimbabwe. “We were six boys and two girls and my mother never had this thing about only girls being in the kitchen, so we had a roster and would all take turns.”
Nolusindiso recalls baking her own birthday cakes, finding joy in the kitchen from the age of eight. Raised in Mitchells Plain, she would learn about her Xhosa heritage when visiting her grandmother in the Eastern Cape, or family in Khayelitsha, and would experiment with their recipes and flavours back home.
The husband and wife have combined their culinary traditions in Nolu & Xoli’s Kitchen, an enterprise they began during the Covid-19 lockdown, catering for dinner parties and doing deliveries of their heritage food and other dishes. Potjie tripe curry, carrot steamed bread, creamy spinach and peach trifle have all made an appearance. Some dishes are served with Zimbabwean pap, made from sorghum meal, and others with Xhosa umfino – pap with spinach.
At Makers Landing, Nolu & Xoli’s Kitchen serves a daily menu, with both a Zimbabwean and Xhosa option. “It’s a great opportunity for people to taste these two cuisines,” says Nolusindiso, who has noted stark differences between the two. “With us Xhosa people, if there’s no stock or rajah, we say, ‘Where’s the flavour?’.”
“It’s always a debate in our house,” laughs Xolisani, “because Zimbabwean flavours are so simple. We just add salt.”