The Kitchen and a creative revolution in Woodstock Cape Town
Every time I blink, something new opens in Woodstock, a somewhat grungy suburb in Cape Town. It all seems to have started with the renovation of an old biscuit mill building into a creative/arty small funky shopping centre. Woodstock boasts some beautiful architecture – which over the years has been allowed to run down as the areas property prices remained depressed. The opening of the Biscuit Mill shopping centre and the start of the Fresh Goods Market (Cape Town’s first truly foodie market which allows product producers to connect directly with their clients) proved be a huge draw card to the area. It has been followed by the opening of two of the country’s top art contemporary art galleries in the area – The Goodman Gallery and Michael Stevenson. Both the Main galleries and the Biscuit Mill have provided a drawcard for other creative shops/galleries/designer furniture stores/delis to open around them, resulting in wonderful hubs of creativity. The bonus is that they are so close to the city that it makes for a wonderful Saturday morning ramble! My suggestion would be to start at the Biscuit Mill very early, explore the market, explore the shops and delis around it and then head to the top road in Woodstock to explore the shops around the main galleries. (Note that to visit The Kitchen for lunch you need to go on a weekday!)
Across the road from the main galleries you will find a little “gem” called The Kitchen. A review in a New York newspaper led to the shop being chosen for lunch by Michelle Obama on her recent visit to Cape Town for lunch with her family and friends. I thought there might be a picture up of her visit somewhere – but I had a small chuckle when all I could find was a Michelle Obama action doll on a counter! Read their blog about her visit here – it reflects their excitement and joy of having her visit The Kitchen.
There are a couple of things that strike you as you walk into this spot:
It is small and seems impossibly crowded with nic knacs on every surface and over most of the wall space
Every counter is covered with food – it is a complete visual assault of delicious dishes everywhere. There is a really awesome, very creative salad selection in the main fridge window – perfect for anyone who loves fresh goodies for lunch and for vegetarians. There are also dishes with delicious home cooked meats on top of the counter and a wonderful sweet tooth counter that you can simply select from.
- The smells hit you as you enter! It is a mix of great coffee being made, with spices and a hint of sweetness. Mouthwatering!
Seating in the shop is limited to only about 15 seats. So try and visit before 12h30 to get a seat. People stampede in from the offices in the area from 12h30 onwards – and organized chaos ensues. Luckily most are aiming for a take out lunch – and the clever thing to do would be to call through from the office before going! This shop is also wonderful to stock up for dinner on those lazy nights that you do not feel like cooking. In addition Karen Dudley, the owner, will gladly cater for anything from a small dinner party to a large function.
I loved the place! I loved the vibe and the happy feeling. You can see that this is a team who loves what they are doing and have fun doing it – one of the girls was even dancing behind the counter! I tried to capture it with my camera – but just was not fast enough! I admit to being biased – I love salads – the more creative and interesting the flavours the better – and they had heaps to chose from.
On my last visit I opted for their very interestingly named LOVE SANDWICH. This sandwich has a little of everything that they have on it – the base is there fresh pesto, followed by their fresh sundried tomato sauce, followed by chunks of delicious chicken, followed by tomato, lettuce, pickles ……………and I missed the end as I went off to pay. Result – absolutely love at first bite!! I will be back for more. My only regret is that I forgot to take a photograph of my beautiful sandwich – so will have to return to capture it for you!
THE KITCHEN, 111 Sir Lowry Road, Woodstock. Open Mon – Fri 08h30 – 16h00 Tel 021 462 2201.
Some pictures of the salads – great value at R40 per plate with a choice of 6 salads!