Take a tour of Village Market’s swanky new Food Market with Trademark Hotels marketing assistant, Nrupali Dave, who spends an entire day eating her way through as many eateries as humanly possible. Find out what’s on offer and get an insider’s perspective on items you simply must try.
Photos by Tatiana Karanja & Peter Ndung’u
Before I even consider tackling my inbox I pop upstairs to the hotels recently opened Harvest Restaurant. Laureen – the barista already seems to have picked up on my innate need for caffeine and swiftly serves up a piping hot cappuccino and further delights me with her Instagram worthy latté art. It’s tempting to stay on, especially because fresh pastries have just emerged from the kitchen, but its straight back to the hotel office for me. It’s not long before the gentle hum of hungry diners below the hotel signals the need for a mid-morning snack.
As I make my way into to the new wing of the Village Market, my childlike senses take over and I find myself craving everything. The trendy food market is tucked away in the corner and is easy to miss if you’ve already been seduced into one of the other 45 eateries. It is an eclectic mix of restaurants and retail stalls selling everything from fine wine, exotic spices and hand-wrapped chocolates to sophisticated crockery and exquisite oriental teas.
There’s plenty to choose from but I’ve done this walk many times and my eyes quickly settle on a decadent chocolate espresso brownie slab from the Absolute Chocolate Bar. Moist yet chewy, the combined flavours roll over my tongue and satisfy that much needed mid-morning sugar crave. They offer me one of their famed hot chocolates but guilt sets in and I’ve already spent minutes gazing at their selection of truffles. I decline but promise to return.
A group of friends join me during the lunch break. The healthy one goes to Pots Kitchen, a little pop-up store owned by an incredibly sweet couple, Leenor and Michael Potts. Their selection of soups and salad jars change every day so you’ll always have exciting choices. Go early though, because their hearty soups are in high demand and often run out. We get the mushroom along with some crusty bread which I proceed to nibble as we move on.
My other friend is completely obsessed with Santorini’s Greek Chicken Gyro and it’s not hard to see why. Unlike many lackluster wraps I’ve sampled in the past, theirs is fluffy, filled with flavour and incredibly satisfying. The perfectly crisped chicken bursts with distinctive Mediterranean flavour, combined with tzatziki, sweet pickle and subtle heat from their homemade chilli. You can either have a wrapped or open flat gyro.
My final friend who loves Asian food disappears into the back of the food market. We catch up with her as she’s handed a steamy aromatic Khimchi Udon from PoCha 254 Bar. She loves kimchi, Korean soups, chicken and chewy udon noodles so combining them into one dish is divine. The soup is an exotic Korean-Japanese fusion dish with just enough heat to make your nose run but won’t have you breathing fire. The udon noodles are chunky, slippery and full of comforting carbs. The jammy eggs served on top are perfectly soft with a hint of runny yolk.
I stop at TastiGo A.K.A Pizza Corner and order poussin fish which is soft in the middle yet charred and crisp on the edges, dripping with buttery, spicy poussin sauce making for the perfect lunchtime treat. This dish is the epitome of comfort food and is elevated by the fiery peri-peri sauce.
By now we’re all stuffed and I waddle back to the hotel. A few meetings later it’s almost 4pm which calls for a tea break. Rather than opting for a warm cup of chai at one of the many bakeries, the afternoon heat demands I head over to Keventers Milkshake. Their menu is packed with unusual flavours that you’d never think would work, but they do.
I opt for the creamy carmello popcorn, beautifully packaged in their signature glass bottles, before dashing back to my desk.
The newly opened Village Supermarket is yet another treat for foodies, with many imported and diet specific items such as lactose free cream cheese and gluten free ranges. As the day draws to a close, I get my groceries here. Strolling past the food market again, picture perfect desserts stare me down from behind the polished display cabinet of Tiramisu where I order the famous Tiramisu-in-a-jar. Tiramisu in Italian means “pick-me-up” – appropriate following the onset of guilt for having pigged out the entire day. I take my first bite of that silky and smooth mascarpone cheese and ladyfingers drenched in espresso and let out a satisfied sigh. I glance down at my food baby and think to myself “surely I can’t eat like this every day – just today!” But then I walk into work the next day and the aroma of freshly baked muffins draws me back into Harvest to start the cycle again.
If you’re craving authentic Chinese, this is the place to grab a meal to go. Their dumplings and noodle soups will quickly become a staple.
Ideal for snackable nibbles, their wide selection of dried fruit, dates, nuts, chocolate and candy is a must try. The individual jewel coloured chocolates come in a variety of tempting flavours and make for a lovely gift.
Barfee has an extensive range of Asian sweets and savoury confectionary. They also have a full day menu serving up authentic indian meals including lunch platters.
The Brown’s cheddar cheese and caramelised onion toastie literally melts in your mouth. While their menu is small, everything is tasty from the tomato soup with halloumi cubes to the mixed salad, sandwiches and range of Delia’s seasonal ice creams.
Zucchini Juice Bar
If you’re in the mood for something light, refreshing and on the go, this is the place. There’s plenty to choose from: fruit salads, juices, smoothies, smoothie bowls and gelato, the coconut charcoal being my favourite.
Delicious soft shell tacos including kale and butternut, juicy pulled pork and crunchy fried fish are a must try, as are their frozen margaritas.
Oyster and Champagne Bar
Having just opened following much anticipation, this classy little spot is perfect for date night and promises the freshest oysters and finest champagne. Talk about fancy!