The Stables Village Market in Chartwell, just past Fourways, seems small and cosy at first, yet there are new corners to explore as you wander around the converted stable yard. This is a fabulous family market, providing entertainment for all ages – whether it’s little ones chasing chickens and bunny rabbits around the plot, and being led on pony rides or more adult distraction from the live music to be enjoyed with Dragon Fiery Ginger Beer on tap.
On arrival, the main area surrounds an open grassy section dotted with hay bales, thoughtfully covered in modern chevron wraps, with a stage for live jazz and blues performances to chill out to, while kids clamber on the wooden jungle gym. The converted stable stalls then open out and visitors are able to choose from a wide selection of picnic tables under shaded cover in various locations, some of which are in the cool centre of the stable yard (the ideal spot to hang out and soak up the market buzz on a hot summer’s day).\
While the main section of stables houses an array of arts and crafts stalls, from The Flower Factory florist to the Navy Heart leather workshop, it’s the many eateries selling their yummy fare that are the major drawcard for this foodie destination. Try some local cheese from Lorian’s or think beautifully plated sushi, market-style, from Sushi-to. Being a chilly day, we contemplated a hot curry from Ari’s Curry Kitchen, but after inhaling the smoked deliciousness coming from Low & Slow, we decided on “mercy wings” and “pit crew staple” – pulled pork tacos drenched in their mercy sauce and topped off with Cheddar, sour cream and guacamole. Served with a side of sweet potato chips, it was pure slowcooked heaven.
But take a stroll or follow one of the ponies and you’ll also stumble across the famous Smokin Joe’s Rib Shack, making ribs the authentic, Deep South way. With their own little house on the plot, you can take a seat at one of the red-and-white checked tables and order some lip-smacking goodness. There are also artisan chocolates around the bend and even a barn dedicated to the Banting phenomenon. To finish a great day off – come rain or shine – grab yourself an ice cream cone from the Knickerbocker Ice Cream Company or, if a healthier option beckons, select a smoothie from 50 Shakes of Juice.