A blog about special neighbourhoods, local atmosphere and stellar coffee.

Old Biscuit Mill, Capetownian Saturday hangout

Old Biscuit Mill is a beloved hangout for locals and visitors alike. Brimming with stalls of eclectic food and drinks, handcrafted gifts and local art, this is where the creative and gastronomic community of South Africa come together.

I had heard that if you happen to be in Cape Town on Saturday, Old Biscuit Mill is the place to be. Located in Woodstock neighbourhood (375 Albert Road) a short ride from the main city centre, this converted old factory hangout, trade space and food market was one of our favourite spots in Cape Town. The Mill is where the creative and gastronomic community of South Africa come together to show their talent and creations.

The Old Biscuit Mill, as the name gives away, is a renovated old biscuit factory with a contemporary hip look. The industrial charm is dominated by red brick buildings and metal stairs, and some old preserved machinery. The complex has numerous quirky boutiques and craft shops that are open every day, as well as restaurants and cafes, some of which are apparently regarded among the best in Cape Town. The Neighbourgoods Market is a weekly event that is organised on Saturdays from 9am to 3pm. This is when the Mill is the busiest with live music and tens of pop up food and craft vendors.


We were early birds and hit the Mill around 8:30 am. It is worth getting up early to kick off Saturday there as during the early hours it is easier to find a spot to sit before it gets very crowded. We started with a morning cup at Espressolab, a coffee roaster inside the Mill complex. It was an extremely photographic place with accents of black and white; white clean tiles behind the white coffee counter, black floor, white tables and chairs, baristas wearing simple white shirts and black aprons. Everything is well curated and calculated, and the decoration revolves around coffee equipment and chemistry behind roasting. Apart from the immaculate décor, this place is all about coffee; there were no pastries or other nibbles, the only concentration being coffee. Pour overs were crafted with precision and espresso drinks powered by La Marzocco. The coffee was exceptionally good; creamy but strong with smooth aftertaste.

The Neighbourgoods Market

We love exploring food markets around the world and The Neighbourgoods Market really scored among the top five we have visited. It is a heaven for all foodies so it is imperative to go there hungry. Fresh, colourful, local and artisanal food will keep you going the whole day as ideally you tuck in your breakfast, lunch, sweet treats and craft beers all in one place. The huge venue has numerous stalls selling everything from dim sums to vegan wraps, from sushi to beef sandwiches, from messy burgers to Spanish paella. I was particularly impressed by the amount of healthy food and exciting salads. You can also buy organic veggies, local wine and chunks of cheese to take with you, and engage in conversation with the traders who are passionate about their products. We tried so many different things, eating with our eyes; freshly baked pastries from Woodstock Bakery, Dutch pancakes, filled veggie pita, fresh falafel sandwich, savoury salted beef bagels, and as a late second lunch some colourful Ethiopian stews. We felt so stuffed but also very happy and well nourished.

Market stalls

Around the Mill complex there are plenty of craft stalls to peruse handmade jewellery, clothes, local art, wooden toys, bric-a-brac. The prices are pretty high in comparison to cheaply mass produced stuff, but it definitely is a great place to find unique items mostly made in South Africa.


The atmosphere around the Mill was relaxed and inclusive. People were sitting on the grass with their food and drinks, or sharing big communal tables. We really liked that it was a complete mix of families, friends, teenagers, babies, pensioners, and both tourists and locals. We sat on the grass for hours, listening to live music, watching people and savouring some delicious dishes and drinks.


After leaving the Mill we took a little stroll around Woodstock. This neighbourhood, about a 15-minute drive from the city hub has had many different phases, and historically has been a poorer, working-class, mixed-race community. However, in recent years it has become more gentrified and has slowly started to become a new hipster enclave. Old industrial buildings have been converted that now house independent restaurants, bars and cafes, vintage shops, a brewery, yoga studios, antiques and other novelty shops. Skilful graffiti decorate the streets. Just like Cape Town as a whole, Woodstock is a complete mix, and it still has some areas where you shouldn’t go alone. We mainly stayed on Albert Road, the main thoroughfare of the neighbourhood. It felt safe but had many more beggars than elsewhere we had seen in Cape Town. As always, using common sense and mindfulness are paramount. Nevertheless, despite the contradictions, Woodstock is a great neighbourhood to explore when visiting The Old Biscuit Mill, offering some less trodden paths for Cape Town tourists.