V&A Market on the Wharf opens at the V&A Waterfront!

The long awaited V&A Market on the Wharf has opened in the historic building near the V&A Hotel in the V&A Waterfront, which once housed Planet Hollywood, David Kramer’s Theatre, and Musica, with more than fifty vendors displaying their food and beverage offerings. It is Cape Town’s first permanent market, operating from Wednesdays to Sundays, from 9h30 – 19h30.

Owned by Greg Anderson, or ‘Bubbles’ as Vaughn Johnson informed me, who took over the management of the Market when the previous operators pulled out, the Market offers a kosher deli, fresh seafood, meat, fruit and vegetables, baked ware and delicacies.  Greg impressed with his passion, and kindly offered me a V&A Market on the Wharf branded shopping bag, to ‘hide’ my Woolworths bag!  Greg is proud of the large number of new business owners that have joined as vendors, very few having been seen at any other markets in Cape Town.  V&A Waterfront tenants Vaughn Johnson and Ian Halfon had come to have a look, and we had coffee and tea together.

A last-minute building regulation hitch saw the opening of the Market delayed by two days to last Friday. The space is large, one main hall with an upstairs section housing the craft beer bar and seating for eating, which is not available at the stalls themselves.  It will also be the space of the ‘Test Kitchen’, in which MasterChef SA runner-up Sue-Ann Allen will be doing cooking lessons for children, and will host food and wine pairings. There are two smaller side halls, upstairs and downstairs.  Upstairs a collection of spades decorates the wall, to give it a farm feeling, and downstairs a collection of chairs tries to create a similar effect less successfully.  Tables have been placed outside too, looking out on Noble Square, and more are to come facing Table Mountain.  It is a wonderful place to sit in the breeze and enjoy one’s ice cream, and to chat to the vendors having a break, as well as to other customers eating and drinking their Market shopping.

The vendors are housed in cheap looking pine booths, but it is up to each vendor to dress up his/her stall, some doing so successfully and building a brand, and others just using their space functionally.  The Little Denmark stall impressed me the most, with its branding, and use of the Danish red and white to attract attention, and to show how different its food is, being typical Danish dishes of hotdogs (R25); Smorrebrod (R30), being tiny sandwich bites on rye bread with different toppings; and a typical Danish Christmas dish of Aebleskiver (R20), being pancake puffs sprinkled with icing sugar and served with strawberry jam, offered with red and white serviettes.  Other interesting stalls were The Creamery, the first permanent outlet for the delicious ice cream brand, which has been very active in obtaining exposure at a variety of markets; The Mozzarella Well, owned by Puglia Cheese, the well still to be installed, and will contain various mozzarella cheeses for one to fish out of it, if I understood owner Ursula Ostuni correctly. They also sell a range of Italian products, as well as baguettes; Bubble Tea is an international drink, which makes its South African debut at the Market; the Royal Bavarian Bakery branch in the Market is far friendlier than the one run by Lucy Marston inside the V&A Waterfront’s re-opened Food Court, with the owner Harald Mittag of the company hands-on;  Jean-Pierre Fortain Chocolatier with Belgian chocolates has an impressive looking stand, but they do not do tastings; and Deluxe Coffeeworks and Origin coffees and Nigiro teas are quality beverages.

The full list of vendors has been supplied by the Market:

Adams Apple

Fruit and Veg

Angus Meats

Meat

Around Cheese

Cheese

Aspen Flowers

Flowers

Bandoeng

Indonesian

Berkies On The Wharf

Kosher Deli

Bite Me’s Gourmet Panini

Gourmet Sandwiches

Blue Sky Organics

Olive and Olive Products

Books On The Wharf

Books

Bosini Bros

Fruit and Veg and Cookware

Bubble Tea Company

Tea based Gourmet Drink

By Nature

Dried Fruit and Nuts

Cecilia’s World

Dried Fruit and Nuts

Chrisna’s Olives

Olives and Olive Products

Classic Marmalades

Preserves

Clothing Store

Branded Merchandise

Como Foods

Latino

Coniglio

Rabbit and Duck Meat

Costa the Greek

Greek

Dr Juice

Juice

Durban’s Finest Curry

Curry Dishes and Soft Serve

Flannerie Bonaparte

Waffles and Pâtisserie

Fortain Chocolatier

Belgian Chocolates

Gourmet Pantry

Baker

Gourmet Samosas

Samosas

International Deli

Salamis and Sausages

Mr Pizza

Pizza

Munch-a-Chimney

Cakes

Naked drinks

Juice

Nap and Deluxe

Cakes

Nigiro Tea Merchants

Tea

Origin Coffee

Coffee

Oryx Desert Salt

Gourmet Salt

Pasta Deli

Italian

Prontomama

Gourmet Sauces

Royal Bavarian Bakery

Baker and Gourmet Sandwiches

Salmon Run

Salmon, Trout and Argan Oil

Salushi eXpress

Sushi

Seared

Specialist Food

Squirrels Bavarian Nuts

Nuts

Stokkiesdraai Biltong

Biltong

Sweet Dream The Fudge Makers

Fudge

Taste Buddies

Vegetarian Burgers

Taste of Taiwan

Taiwanese

The Cape Malay Deli

Cape Malay (Halaal)

The Creamery

Ice cream

The Danish Hotdog Stall

Gourmet Hotdogs

The Deli Box

Gourmet Sauces

The Mozzarella Well

Cheese

The Oyster Lady

Oysters

Things I love

Gourmet Salads

Totally Wild (Pty) Ltd

Aloe Products

Waymenels

Salt Beef

The benefit for the vendors is that the Market space is used exclusively for the purpose of selling their produce, and therefore they do not have to remove their tables nor their produce at the end of every day, making the Market a collection of little shops.  A vendor shared that a smaller stand costs a reasonable R6000 rental per month, with a turnover rental too, which commendably is halved in winter, and includes water, electricity and gas.  More than one vendor expressed concern about what business would be like in winter.

I missed cupcakes, macaroons, and cakes at the Market, an absolute minimum requirement, in my opinion, despite the Royal Bavarian Bakery selling German Christmas Stollen slices, and Nap selling a few treats, but not in any large numbers. I expected butchers, fishmongers, bakers, and more, selling fresh produce, and not having it all pre-packaged.  I expected more fresh fruit and vegetables, as one would see in European city markets, and which was depicted visually in early publicity photographs of the Market.  I missed the smell of fresh food in general in the Market building. I did not see a celebration of Cape Town being the food capital of our country.  It might be a good idea to hand out a floorplan of the location of each of the 54 vendors to everyone entering the building, and to have one entrance, and a different exit, to force one to see all the stalls.  Not everyone would venture upstairs, which means that they would miss out on about a quarter of the vendors.  I missed having counters near the stalls, to eat at while doing one’s shopping inside the Market – some barrels would suit this purpose.  While we wish all the very friendly vendors and the V&A Market on the Wharf all the best, I could not help but feel that it lacked some magic, and needs more amazing food vendors, to make one come back regularly.

V&A Market on the Wharf, V&A Waterfront, Cape Town. Tel (021) 276-0200. www.marketonthewharf.co.za Twitter: @VA_Market_Wharf  Wednesdays – Sundays.  9h30 – 19h30.

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

2 replies on “V&A Market on the Wharf opens at the V&A Waterfront!”

  1. Carol says:

    Hi Chris
    I love reading your blog, you certainly schetch a clear picture. Perhaps
    You could go to the Root 44 market at Audacia owner by Trevor Strydom ( Ex FNB ceo) and Richard Downing from Downing tents and give us your thoughts. I is supposed to be the Mother of all markets!!!
    Regards
    Carol

  2. Thank you for the heads up Carol.

    I know that this has been the first weekend of the market. When next I am in the Stellenbosch/Franschhoek area, I will pop in.

    I wish you the best success for this new project.

    Chris

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