Eastern Food Bazaar review

I’m very excited to be sharing this review with you. Now and then Cape Town comes up with something that is just really cool in more ways than one. The Eastern Food Bazaar is one of those things.

I was driving home at about 7:30pm and wanted to stop and get something for dinner. I thought maybe I should try this Eastern Food Bazaar I had heard about, but walking along Darling Street at night didn’t seem too appealing. So I thought I would just drive past and see if it looked ok before trying to park. I wasn’t sure exactly where it was but as I drove along Darling Street towards Adderly, I suddenly knew exactly where it was. One vibrant and buzzing venue stood out on the dark road. I turned the corner, parked the car and made my way to the entrance of what used to be the Wellington Fruit Grower’s Market. Now it’s just called The Wellington.

There are actually two entrances, one on Darling Street and one on Longmarket Street (I assume they give their address as Long Market Street because it sounds less dodgy). They have come up with a brilliant idea (I’m sure it’s been done before, but I’ve never seen it), several serving stations/kitchens which specialise in different things. Located roughly in the middle is the till where you select your food and drinks and pay for them. They then give you the relevant receipts to swop for your dish at the various stations.

After walking along all the stations to see the options, I went to the till and ordered a Lamb Rogan Josh (R30 – with rice), a mixed snack platter (R10) and a mango lassie (R15) to wash it all down. I have not made a mistake with the prices, it’s really cheap. R30 is actually the most expensive thing on the entire menu. There is so much to choose from. There’s a Schwarma station, a Tandoor station, a Chinese station, and more, including a dessert and drinks station for ice creams and mango or sweet lassies. They have pictures next to each menu item so you don’t have to worry if you don’t know the various names of things.

The portions are generous and the food is very tasty. It’s not Bukhara quality but it wouldn’t be fair to expect that at portions double the size and a quarter the price (but it is owned by the same people who own The Jewel of India in the Waterfront). There were so many dishes I wanted to try, I can see I’ll be back quite regularly and my wallet will not be unhappy about that. They offer everything to eat in or take away. There is plenty of seating either in the busy downstairs or the quieter upstairs.

As I said at the beginning of the post, Eastern Food Bazaar is cool in more ways than one. The concept is great and the food is great (and inexpensive), but the decor is mind blowing. You would expect this sort of concept to be  just a big hall, but it is decorated beautifully with ornate wood pillars, doorways and furnishings. The look is finished with interesting chandeliers and unusual artefacts. It’s really an experience to walk through the place. There is a mixed crowd of people there, the place appeals to everyone. The whole time I was there I kept thinking of all the people I need to take there because they will love it. I wish I had some pictures to show you the decor. I’ll have to send the official Relax with Dax photographer to take some pics for me.

Ok, enough praise, we need some negatives otherwise people might start to worry about me. There is no alcohol sold nor allowed, so that might put some people off. They also only offer plastic knives and forks, which I personally don’t like but I imagine proper cutlery would find it’s way to other homes within a day. It also closes at 9pm so no late night dinners, which is what I think this place would actually be perfect for.

Right, that’s enough. Get there and check it out for yourself. Let us know what you think.

Eastern Food Bazaar
The Wellington, 96 Long Market St.
021 461 2458


51 responses to “Eastern Food Bazaar review”

  1. I think its now open until 10pm on weekends.
    And don’t miss out on the Bombay Crush!

  2. I’ve just been and im very pleased

  3. Just say when you want the official photographer to pay a visit? I’ve got my camera complete with curry proof cover on stand by

  4. cant get enough of this place –

    so take your plate and your date upstairs for a cosy chill.

    Veg Curry rice sambals dhal salad 6 sauces -R15 !
    Fresh baked naan bread R6 !

    Im sorry, but the food is actually even tastier than the great price.

  5. We ventured there on Saturday night… And I was Blown Away!!! Completely unlike anything I’ve ever seen in Cape Town and even after reading your review, it still came as a complete surprise. It was like stepping through some portal into a different country.

    Admittedly our food was nothing to write home about, but it was at the upper end of decent and at R30 for a plateful, complete with a great atmosphere to sit down and enjoy it in, definitely the best value for money I’ve encountered in the Mother City.

    PS: the Mango Lassi was the best I’ve ever had

    Looking forward to getting back there with my Camera!

  6. After seeing your review last week, I had to go there to check it out and I have now been there 3 times in the last 5 days.

  7. many tanks for support and a graet review.

  8. coming from durban… can relate, was phenomenal, food was decent, well priced, vibe was great with awesome mix of people there… likely really genuine happy vibe. No alcohol but really well worth the visit and am sure i wil be finding my way back there..

    thanks dax, great suggestion

  9. They do take aways too, so for those who need alcohol with a meal you could always take it home. This place is really great, nice buzz and so so so affordable. Very popular in the day for lunchtime breaks at work. Try the masala dosa!

  10. Maybe it was my high expectations, but a friend and I had a disappointing experience at the Eastern Bazaar on Tuesday evening. Firstly, they got my order wrong, and then didn’t have rice or dhal for my friends shwarma; it meant a 15 minute wait; also the vegetable samoosas were pretty aweful; we’d expected the thin pastry, but got the thick soggy variety.
    I hadn’t tried Masala Dosa before, so can’t blame the fact that I didn’t like it; it was dry and pretty tasteless without the sauces. Curries at the neighbouring tables did, however, look good.
    I liked the setting, and idea, and certainly good value for money; I hope to have a better experience if I go again.

    1. Yes, I also had a very average experience when I popped in on Tuesday. It seems when the place is quiet they don’t make everything before hand. I also had to wait for my Sheesh Kebab (R25) and the chips it came with were stale and cold.

      I tried the Bombay Crush (R15) to wash down the food as people have been raving about it but it’s quite gross. All sorts of weird stuff in it. I think I will stick to the (very nice) mango lassies in future.

  11. some pix for an idea of the place


  12. A great authentic experience…a little piece of India downtown!

    I need to warn to keep your handbag (or manbag)ON you at all times. Mine was nicked on Friday around 8 whilst we were sitting at our table eating, and we were being quite vigilent, aware of the bustle around us. There are signs on the walls warning to keep your belongings close by, and obviously for very good reason.

    However, this will not deter, and I will return…travelling light next time with cash and car keys stashed deep in my pocket!

  13. After ending my last response by saying “The Mango Lassi was the best I’ve ever had”… I’m starting this one out by saying “The Mango Lassi was the worst I’ve ever had”… I think it’s just luck of the draw, the most recent one must have been standing out nearly all day (there were only 3 left) so it was very sour.

    So my suggestion is only order anything if there’s a lot of it, since clearly that’s when it’s fresh.

    Not that this stopped me from going back, I was there again on Sunday and I can recommend the Chinese options as highly as the Indian options… Despite the amusing experience of the chef accidentally cooking the wrong order, then trying to convince me that the sweet and sour chicken that he’d just fried up is actually way better than the szechuan chicken I wanted so I should take it anyway… That didn’t work so then he tried the approach of trying to convince me that the Szechuan chicken is way too hot for a whitey 🙂

  14. The comments have been quite interesting, it started with only positive comments and then switched to a bunch of negative comments.

    I think each aspect of the place that we seem to like is a compromise of some form. We like the cheap prices, but have to compromise on food quality (and freshness?). We like the hustle & bustle but have to watch our belongings carefully.

    I guess with time we will learn when is a good time to go, what not to order, to leave our bags in the car, etc. This will ensure a more consistent experience.

    Perhaps through the comments on this post we can pick up some tips. Thanks Fiona for the tip about valuables and thanks Grant for the tip about ordering things there are lots of.

  15. My girlfriend told me about Eastern Food Bazaar. We have eaten there three times, trying the Butter Chicken curry (can’t handle much hotter), the Falafel and the Sweet & Sour Chicken.

    I like both the Mango Lassie and the Bombay Crush (which has interesting texture with tapioca-like balls and noodles at the bottom), but my girlfriend doesn’t like ether.

    Definitely the best price for your full-meal eastern food.

  16. I had dinner here again the other night. I had the chicken tikka which was tasty but the chicken was so tough I had it stuck in my teeth for the rest of the evening.

    My friend had the chicken breyani which I thought could have had more flavour but at least the chicken was tender.

    My mango lassie was good.

  17. We ate there on a wintry Sunday afternoon. It was fun to wander around the city like tourists and pop in for lunch at 4pm. And the splendour of the decoration makes you feel like you’re overseas.

    But the gaping entrances on either side make for a chilly and drafty experience (I didn’t know there was an upstairs). And our food was tasteless (paneer in tomatoe sauce, and potatoes in coriander). The portions were small, the ‘salad’ really garnish, and the accompanying dhal recognisable only by name and too small to be anything other than a tiny spot of sauce for the rice.

    Actually, it wasn’t worth the money, however cheap it was.

    I’m sorry about that, because it was fun and interesting. If I worked in the city, I would consider it a great place to grab a take-away or a quick bite at lunch. And if I happen to be in the city again in warmer weather, I will give it a second chance simply because so much effort has been given to the decor to make it a beautiful place (so many places are as dull as dishwater).

    BTW the concept of a food court is nothing new.

  18. I thought long and hard before adding this post, but I think it needs to be shared. My girlfriend and I went there last night to pick up takeaways, as we’ve done many times before.

    We ordered from the Chinese counter. Whilst cooking, the chef paused, had a good prolonged dig around in his nose, wiped it on his pants, then went back to cooking using the digging hand to lift ingredients from the tub into the pan.

    Obviously we went straight to the manager and told him we wanted a refund rather than snot infested food. He was very polite and didn’t object in the slightest.

    But… and this is where I have the real problem… beyond the point of telling this chef to stop cooking our food, he did nothing further. No sending him to wash his hands. I noticed when we left that he’d moved on to cooking the next person’s meal with the same ‘green fingers’.

    So unfortunately we wont be going back, ever. Which is a real pity since up until now it’s been fantastic.

    1. Wow, that’s a shocker of a story and you’re right, the fact that the manager didn’t have anything to say about it is a bad sign.

      Thanks for sharing this with us, I certainly won’t be recommending it anymore.

  19. Ok then, thats that for me.

  20. Oh dear – we went there the other day – it was my second time and hubby’s first. On Dax’s recommendation we ordered the Mango Lassie. I had had the chicken tikka masala before which was outstanding and now wanted the butter chicken but when i asked the person at at the till (mistake) which is better she suggested the deli chicken which was really not nice as it was all on a bone and hardly any chicken. My hubby had the lamb rogan gosh which he liked. Strangely enough there was a table in front of us – quite a few people and when they got up to go the lady could not find her handbag. She looked up and down and under the table and it was gone. So it seems like this is definitely something to watch out for.

    1. They should think about providing security, it’s an environment they created and they should make it safe.

  21. we at esatern food bazaar would like to thank you guys for all the support ,and wonderful critisim good or constractive.
    as you know it is a new establishment and things dont turnout perfect over night .
    we wold like to bring to your attantion that our most importent goal is to have great fresh food at good prices.
    i do take note of ome issues raised here and will corect them immedatly,unfourtunatly some of our naighbring shops try to distroy our name as the sucsses of the bazaar might hurt them.
    kindly come and visit us and hope you have a wonderful expiriance.

    p.s -theft is an issue and we trying our best to control pick pocketers ,kindly wach your belongings a bit closer.
    thanks efb

  22. raj kapoor

    eastern food bazaar rocks all you idiots just envy the place.
    if you see the lines of people storming to eat there my friend then you know its the best.

  23. I live in the Mutual Heights building right next door to Eastern Food Bazaar and have been there on a number of occasions. The food is excellent and priced even better.

    However I have a bone to pick with the reviewer about something completely different. Where exactly do you live and work because there is absolutely nothing dodgy about Darling Str. Long and Loop streets even with all the night life there is a lot more dodgy than Darling Str. Unless you see your friendly Nigerian drug dealer beating someone up in Long Str as part of the nights entertainment.

    Just to point out I have lived in this building for 4 years sometimes walking home at 3 in the morning on my own. I have never been attacked, yes you get hassled by people asking for money but to say it is dodgy is taking it a bit far. If you think it is dodgy and unsafe then please go to the waterfront and pay the ridiculous prices with the rest of the tourists. And to those of you complaining about pick pockets and your bags being stolen, please wake up this is Cape Town, South Africa where in South Africa is petty theft not a problem ? You can’t possibly blame the manager if this happens. There are security guards at both entrances and I have seen them turning away suspicious pick pocket types on a number of occasions.

  24. Went there a few weeks ago, but before I saw the comment re: nose-picking here.

    I wasn’t impressed. Lamb in the rogan josh was like leather, and the dish itself was one-dimensionally tasteless, unlike the multi-layered curry one can get from ready-mixed Shan spices (serious, these ready-mixes are incredible – http://www.shanfoods.com/index.aspx).

    The dhal was also oily and tasteless. The samoosas (good old regular samoosas) were microwaved, which meant that the shell then went chewy-soggy.

    And I don’t buy the cheap-price argument. You can get much better food for the same price at any of several regular curry takeouts in town (albeit of different curry tradition).

    Oh, Dax, the stuff in your Bombay crush – also familiarly known in South Africa as ‘falooda’ – are Basil seeds: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basil#Basil_seeds

    1. Rustum, Thanks for the useful feedback. Which regular curry takeouts would you recommend in that price range?

  25. I had the paneer again in tomatoe sauce a couple of weeks ago. I ordered it as a takeaway, and it was actually far more tasty than my first experience.

    But as a fast-food place, they’ve got to improve their skills on the tills, and get more tills. I waited in the queue for ages. Everyone in the queue couldn’t believe how long we had to wait just because the cashier had made a mistake with an order and didn’t know how to correct it.

    Re nose-picking: I am sure it happens behind the closed doors of even the best kitchens. Revolting, but highly likely. But, when on display, they should think twice. The guy who served my food was so surly, I decided I would never go back, it was as off-putting as seeing him pick his nose.

  26. Dax, try Mariam’s – either bottom end of Adderley or upper end of Heerengracht (can’t remember which block it’s on, but it is in that vicinity). I notice that they’re becoming quite a little empire: http://www.strictlyhalaal.com/testsite/restaurant/mariams-kitchen/

    There’s of course Biesmillah, which does takeout and I believe now also a kind of “tandoori” grilled on open coal on the sidewalk.

    Then there’s Lady Bee’s, in St Peter’s Square, Observatory. A range of curries on offer by weight, porcelain plates, a spartan sit-down area (filled with office workers). Most important for curry and roti expeditions is a readily accessed washbasin, soap and paper towels.

    And if you ever wander out in the direction of Gatesville, try Wembley Roadhouse.

    It’s important to stress that these places offer the regular SA line of curries, which are significantly different from the especially northern Indian and Pakistani curries cheaply on offer at Eastern Food Bazaar (but introduced to the Cape, of course, by Bukhara’s in the early- or mid-1990s). But in the take-out price range, you can find excellent curry nevertheless. Some places are now expanding their regional-curry repertoires, to varying degrees of success, but I would be reluctant to try a rogan josh at a traditional SA curry take-out.

    Alas, Malay Fast Food, which used to be in Longmarket, is no more.

    Off the curry tip: I recently noticed a Moroccan joint along Main/Victoria Road in the Salt River/ Woodstock area. Predictably called Marrakesh, but also on the spartan sit-down or take away theme. Due for a check-out.

    I guess eaters will continue to argue about quality regarding Eastern Food Bazaar, but a non-SA friend who is a devoted Wembley fan, insists I should give EFB another shot and try the tandoori chicken…

  27. recently got intorduced to EFB by non locals i might add. anyway had to check it out… tried it over lunch last week as i work in town and was blown away by the vibey atmosphere. the food didnt blow me away immediatley but didnt disappoint me either. from the poitn of view of the price i paid – i actually was very satisfied with the service and quality.

    i then made two trips – fri night and sat night with much bigger company. we ordered a variety of dishes from all the stands and shared – to taste everything. this time i was really impressed with the food. the Dhai puri, pani puri and masala dosa anre good startes to choose from. the butter chicken was good and the dhal superb! the garlic naan was a firm favourite as well.

    overall i enjoyed thoroughly.. and will def be returning….

    as for the nose picking part… it happens everywhere.. the only diff is yu saw it because the food is prepared in front of you. ive worked in kithces as a chef and not sure if youve heard of the 8 secodn rule.. but these things happen. also sweat in food. spit in food if u nasty to the waiter etc. i prefer dining at these open kitchen places. at least there were no cockroaches and flies in the kitches which exist in most backdoor kitchens and the oil looks clean for the chips….

  28. The decor was pretty I must agree.

    I took two pics:

    Was this added to your list of vegetarian restaurants? Can’t remember your post name. They had waaay too many options for me. I tried out their Paneer Makhani. Very yum. Had a take away and still ate two more times from that one meal.

  29. Thanks for great review and will visit tonight, I stumbled upon the listing in Food24 a while back and couldn’t believe I hadn’t heard about it! Eastern / Indian food, all my favourites in a very unpretentious place. Hope the prices stay the same, frankly my wife and I don’t bother to much anymore as we’re sick of (what we consider) is just a pure rip-off @ 99% of restaurants: R80 and up for a main course, approx R35 for a dessert, R16+ for a beer – it’s all BS!!! I hope they keep their prices as is and we’ll be loyal supporters!!!

  30. Great Food, great price.
    Go on average twice a week.

  31. Dud and Jane

    Discovered this place and now can’t resist going back again and again. No bad experiences – food has always been fresh and amazingly good value. Have tried Indian, Chinese,and Tandoori options, eating in and take away and can’t rate it highly enough. Atmosphere is buzzy and fun (but yes, keep your bag close to you) and although the plastic cutlery is not great can see no reason not to opt for a “take your own knife and fork” option? Have already taken visiting tourist friends (who were blown away) and planning to introduce Capetonians too. Even with no alcohol, it is a treat not to be missed.

  32. Had the vegetarian samoosas twice in the past week. The tastiest I’ve ever eaten. R10 for 3, felt like really good value. And the pastry is so nice — not the usually flaky, oily pastry, but rather it seemed like a wholewheat pastry.

    Also had the masala dosa as a takeaway. Suggest you eat it there, most of it got soggy on the way. But it was very tasty, and very good value — I think R20.

    BUT the queue to pay, the system is madness. Two tills for the whole place, and situated in the middle with all the congestion. I’m surprised that a place so beautifully decorated got the payment system so wrong. I bet they’d sell a whole lot more food if they made payment easier.

    The buzz on a Sunday is incredible.

  33. oh god …what a place we love it ……….
    to efb team to all stunning.

  34. Justin

    Love the place. Only place I am happy to go and have a meal. I never had a problem with the food, always fresh, the pizza option is pretty good as well.

    Still haven’t tried everything. But I am sure to get around to it.

    Someone said they had a small portion, man, I really find that hard to believe. Did he check out those bunny chows???

  35. Thank you all for all the nice things you have had to say about us we really appriciate all your support.

    We hope to see you all soon.


  36. To the efb guy dat commented,u right nothing happens over night so don’t worry about the bad comments…

    However I had a great time eating there today,the food was so devine.
    I actually enjoyed my lunch there but after enjoying my lunch only to realise my bag wasn’t with me any longer,I know you have signs up which I’ve only noticed after my bag was stolen…
    All thanks to errr I think that’s the manager he was veri helpfull showing me the camera footage,after all its not just a bergie that is suspect da person who stole my bag actually looked very decent an he and she does not look like a capetonian they look foreign but lucky she stared straight into the camera so that we can see her face,she better be aware the nextime she shows her face again…

    The joke is the manager never even took note cause he was standing by them not even knowing they the criminals in his take out so funny
    But thanks for the help (manager who ever you are)

  37. Here is the initial report:
    Imam Ahmed Tahier Mohamed of the B-South Masjid “All meat supplied to
    eastern bazaar is no longer halal says one of the ulama that made
    enqueries! They were asked where do u buy your meat? Answer was
    airport meats…. It was found that they were lying eastern bazaar
    quickly said AL Moslem butcher.The sheikh phoned them immediately and
    it was discoverd they were not gettin meat from there either.They
    refused to give their souce of supply.”

    Now for those of you who thought this was random posting, nah nah nah.
    EFB has been playing shady cards with muslims since its opening. We
    all thought its muslim ownership but the guy was used as a front. I
    had a report like this before Puasa last year and I took it lightly. I
    didnt eat there again though but I went for observation.

    The owner isnt Muslim for your info but theres something more
    treacherous…but lets see if we can get down to the real nitty

    And Yes, for Now They are not Halaal! No body certified them in the
    past cos they had muslim chefs and staff and a muslim manager and some
    rakams…leka mooi die kaartjies gespeel…

    Al-Moslem butchery is my neighbours and they dont supply them too! So
    post this and share wide for now…in the interest of being careful!

    Laaiqah Majiet

    Milward and King Residential Division

    1st Floor King House

    119 Main Road


    Tel: 021 712 2600

    Fax: 021 715 4769

    email: laaiqah@milwardandking.co.za

  38. Ron Heath

    Re Halaal or not.

    Quite frankly I don’t think that many people care. The food is tasty and well priced.

  39. Elvis Naidoo

    I’m from Durban and Indian. Good food like a good Durbs curry. We don’t care either if its hallal or not.

  40. salaams

    please be advise that eastern is 100% halaal and only stupid people that are proberly jealous write this kak.

  41. i dont belive that eastern food is halaal i read email and i tell every 1 dont go there


    http://www.easternfoodbazaar.co.za has a copy of their halaal certificate issued by the Islamic Council of South Africa Halaal Fund posted on their site. Think before you post, because some people have better things to do..

  43. yestaday i was lisning radio and hear that easter food bazzar is not halaal i was surprise i and my friends had plan to go there but now i am not going any more i am muslim

  44. Horrible experience and will never go there again (except maybe for the ice cream and drinks which have been consistently decent). Have been there a few times and was usually disappointed but ended up returning because my friends like it. But last night was the last straw. Had to wait for a bunny chow 20mins only to get to the front of the queue and only get part of the meal because they’ve run out. I asked to be compensated with something else, but the guy refused. Either way, the bunny was very poor quality: more bone than meat inside, and extremely salty (and this was no cheap dish! R40 for a bunny chow!). Have tried a variety of other things there, and they’re usually extremely salty and poor quality ingredients (especially the meats).

  45. Eastern Food Bazaar…WOW…
    I had the pleasure of meeting the owner and his 2 sons.
    They are the most humble and amazing people you would ever come across.
    I have also been going there ever since the day they opened, they do have the most amazing food and take great pride in there place..
    It is really sad and annoying that people are jealous and do not stop attacking them they most def do have a halal certificate for every year they have been open and so do the people who supply.
    So Cape Town enjoy them and the place that they have made for us to enjoy.

  46. bobby

    I have gone to Eb about 4 times. The food is a generous proportion,and the price doesn’t cost u an arm and a leg. I think its good bang for your buck,with a decent variety on offer. As someone who has grown up in an Indian household,the only gripe I have is that the spice has been turned down too much. I understand that its been tailored to the broader south african audience,but I feel an option should be there for having some of the curries spicier if requested. Even the so called “hot/spicy” dishes were anything but.
    I ordered a chicken manchurian,which was okay,so figured I ask the next time if i could have it spicier. the chef tried to make it spicier,but,it tasted even more sweet than the first time. still kudos for the effort.

    overall,a good experience,just wish SOME dishes were spicier….like their meant to be ..

  47. Louise

    Elke keer wat ons daar was was dit ‘n onvergeetlike ervaring. Die “fibe” is lekker en die dekor laat mens voel of mens in ‘n ander land is. Welgedaan aan die eienaars. Die sekuriteit is goed maar soos enige plek met soveel voete wat daar deur beweeg is dit ook ‘n risiko. Loop in enige Provinsie se strate of winkelsentrums en jy sal dieselfde ervaring he, veral die groot stede. Oppas vir die Waterfront. Die kos is lekker en sakpas. Van die mense wat so vreeslik kla, jy kan seker nie beter bekostig nie en dus die klagtes. Gaan eet asb by ‘n ander plek. Jy het seker gedink omdat jy kla jy die kos verniet gaan kry. (Ek praat nie van higiene nie) Probeer weer. Mens kies wat jy wil bestel, soms val dit nie in jou smaak maar onthou jy het iets nuuts probeer. Geniet die ervaring. Bring die probleem wat jy ondervind onder die aandag van die bestuurder. Dit is al hoe hulle die ervaring kan verbeter en dit is dan vir almal ‘n beter ervaring. Dankie aan almal wat daar werk. Sterkte en hou so aan.