Tantalising smells, milling people, the sizzle of frying ghee – these characterise the atmosphere of The Eastern Food Bazaar. Recently opened in what used to be the Wellington Fruit Growers, a long, narrow building from 1934 spanning the block between Darling Street and Longmarket Street in the centre of Cape Town, The Eastern Food Bazaar cooks up a storm.
In the buzzing heart of the Cape Town business district, The Eastern Food Bazaar cuts a democratic swathe across the people of Cape Town. All types of people can be found here, from suited businessmen, to German tourists and hungry locals. All enjoy the flavours, smells and sounds of this bustling restaurant.
Taking a different approach to the restaurant business, the owners of the Jewel of India work on the idea that different people like different things, and service costs money. A variety of food is served at 6 or 7 kitchens, while there is a central pay point for all kitchens. Service is kept to a minimum, with a few servers to clear tables, and maintain hygiene. Food, drinks and dessert can all be collected from self-service kitchens, and water is available on a central counter.
The dishes range from chicken bunny chow (R25) to potato paratha (R15) and lamb rogan josh (R30). There’s also homemade ice cream and lassi to cool your chops when you’ve enjoyed a chicken tikka masala.
The décor leaves nothing to be desired, and puts many a Michelin starred restaurant to shame. Lining the walls are carved wooden screens and doors, authentic Mughal paintings and silks. The floor was paved with stones to suggest a cobbled lane, and the whole effect is supposed to simulate an Indian lane. Granite tables and wooden chairs complete the feeling of quality, and enhance the already fantastic food.
This haven of spicy delight fills a hole in the Cape Town restaurant scene, by offering good food, in a beautiful setting at very reasonable prices. This isn’t fine dining, but it doesn’t pretend to be. I predict that this unpretentious, incredible place will fill many tummies for many years to come.
The Eastern Food Bazaar
Tel 021 461 2458
Fax 086 682 6519
96 Longmarket Street
Cape Town CBD