Neighbourgoods Market Jozi
Fresh. Organic. Natural. Those aren’t the words that immediately spring to mind when you think of Johannesburg’s inner city, but that’s exactly what you’ll find when you head into Braamfontein on Saturday mornings for the Neighbourgoods Market.
The market was first started at the Old Biscuit Mill in Cape Town in 2006 as an initiative aimed at reinventing the public market as a civic institution. It soon established itself as one of country’s premier food markets and a weekend institution.
Having conquered the Mother City, the next step for this award-winning market was clear, and in September of last year, the Neighbourgoods Market Johannesburg opened its doors for the first time. In the months since, the market has proved to be as popular as its Cape cousin. Parking becomes a luxury along Juta Street on Saturdays as Joburg’s eco-conscious set converge to shop, browse and, most importantly, eat.
The market is held over two floors at a Samro House, a landmark building with a façade by the late sculptor Edoardo Villas. Even if you’ve never been, the market isn’t hard to find. Just follow the throngs of hungry-looking young people and you’ll soon see the overhanging brass letters proclaiming the market’s name. Close to the university centre of Johannesburg, it’s obvious that the students staying nearby have embraced the market. An early start is necessary in order to avoid the worst of the crowds and the dreaded “sold out” signs.
Once inside, you’ll see a cornucopia of mouth-watering foods, both fresh and made. The market is run along ethical and eco-friendly lines, and it shows. The products are organic and locally sourced and the packaging is bio-degradable.
So what can you expect to find when you browse the market’s scrumptious wares? Among the delights are: fresh mozzarella direct from a water buffalo farm in the Western Cape, free-range cured meats, gourmet mushrooms, raw chocolate, olives, pesto, honey, just-baked bread and much more. The sustainable approach isn’t just confined to the food products – organic wine, craft produced beer and artisan coffees and teas are enough to satisfy anyone’s thirst.
They say never to shop on an empty stomach but the food at the Neighbourgoods Market is worth breaking the rule. Many stall-holders offer free samples of their products to taste, which make the full portions all the more inviting. With the selection on offer, the temptation to turn a visual feast into a literal one is great. Whether it’s breakfast, brunch, lunch or a mid-meal snack, the sights and smells of the market will make you want to stop for a bite.
The cuisine may be locally made but the influences are global: Thai stir fries, Spanish paella, Balkan burgers, Italian focaccias, French patisserie food and Ethiopian injera are some of the meals on offer. The hardest aspect of this market experience might be preventing yourself from eating too much. Market-goers can indulge in crepes, cupcakes, French tarts and pastries and gelato.
If you venture upstairs, you’ll find a dining area and bar, as well as a section dedicated to designer goods selling new and vintage clothes, bags and the incredibly cute range of hand-illustrated fine bona china by Be Kind. The market’s food focus means this section is small but the products are of the same quality as the rest of the market.
The Johannesburg Neighbourgoods Market runs every Saturday from 09:00 to 15:00, come rain, shine or Braamies traffic. It can be found at 73 Juta Street opposite the Milner Hotel.