We love The Old Biscuit Mill for its vibe and variety – there’s so much to do, see, eat and covet! But the thing that makes it extra-special is that it’s all housed in one convenient corner, which means you can hop from a good espresso to a spot of designer shopping to a top-notch meal, and more, without the schlep of getting into your car (or calling an Uber).
Of course, the Neighbourgoods Market, which takes place every Saturday, is one of the venue’s famous attractions. But why wait for the weekend to experience The Old Biscuit Mill, when there’s so much on offer during the week? Here are five reasons to visit any day of the week.
Despite its location, nowhere near Cape Town’s posh areas, The Old Biscuit Mill happens to be home to two of Cape Town’s top restaurants, the Luke Dale Roberts-owned Pot Luck Club, where the city views at night are almost as good as the food; and The Test Kitchen, which was ranked 44th best restaurant in the world in 2019.
Fancy a pizza or burger? Burrata does superb hand-crafted ones. And there’s also Redemption Burgers for unpretentious food and vibes.
For farm-fresh breakfast and lunch dishes, make a stop at Saucisse, a deli and restaurant situated in the courtyard. Caffeine fiends can get their fix (and then some) at Espresso Lab Microroasters next door.
Finally, try Openwine for boutique wines and craft gin. Owned by Italian couple Marta Gobbo and Raphael Paterniti, the store is stocked with labels you’re not likely to find anywhere else, and is as much about the experience of tasting wine as the act of purchasing them.
If you’re allergic to shopping malls and big-brand retail stores, The Mill will satisfy your desire for unique, locally designed and hand-crafted finds – from clothing and jewellery to furniture, decor and art.
For stylish clothing and accessories, try Kat van Duinen, Lime Grove, Michelle Harper and Ruby Yaya; while your decor and furnishing needs can be met at Quirky Me, Karoo Moon Country Store and Abode. Looking for cute kids’ clothes and stationery? Mu & Me is a great resource.
For an eclectic hodge-podge of decor and furnishings, Plush Bazaar is a charming antique shop with a mix of French-country and Victorian pieces.
The creative and enterprising spirit of The Old Biscuit Mill is reflected in the various examples of street art that decorate the venue, which you might miss if you only visit on the weekend, when they’re usually concealed by tents. These include a picture of a submarine exploring a kelp forest by Mars (aka Mr Moris), which is a homage to the Cape’s natural beauty; and a picture by Conform (Wayne Bks) of a diverse group of Capetonians (including a penguin) standing in a row, representing our city’s rich multiculturalism.
Artists, art-lovers and appreciators will be in their element at the stores and galleries. Photo fiends will love Hendre Louw Private Gallery and Exposure Gallery, the latter of which doubles as a gallery of curated photographic artworks, and a place where you can purchase photography equipment and paraphernalia.
Pottery fans should pop in at Imiso Ceramics, where you’ll find an array of ceramic vases and art inspired by African culture and history.
An array of talented artisans operate within The Mill. As such, you’ll find no big brands here, rather a unique array of items handcrafted by passionate individuals. Try Heartworks for jewellery and gifts, including stuffed animals; the Glass and Bead Cabin for interesting products, including glass straws, and live glass-blowing demonstrations; and Clementina Ceramics for tableware, interior decor and other handcrafted ceramics.
There’s also Bello Studio, a creative hub where local designers, artists, and photographers are able to showcase their work. Seasonal collectives are also hosted here, where local brands and designers collaborate to advance the cause of SLOW (Sustainable, Local, Organic, Whole) fashion.
Whatever your reason for visiting The Old Biscuit Mill, you might find that you end up staying a lot longer than you planned. The vibe is infectious; it’s the sort of place where you’ll bump into a friend you haven’t seen in ages, and grab an impromptu beer at a nearby restaurant. Every corner seems to be alive with new possibilities and new finds.
It’s not surprising then, that The Old Biscuit Mill is often the site of popular events and festivals, namely Noble Vice, and Cape Town’s very own Gin & Tonic Festival.