If you’re unfamiliar with Smitten’s backstory you would be forgiven for thinking that we’re a brand new venture, but in truth Smitten’s journey from inception to fully fledged restaurant, bakery, deli and bar has been over 10 years in the making. In fact, Smitten had its genesis in something a lot more rustic and modest than its elegant new digs at The Yard. It actually debuted in 2012 as a pop-up restaurant and MCC bar concept that would set up shop at the Franschhoek Village Market every Saturday during the summer months.

Creators Chris and Imraan returned to the Market every season for three years while they fine-tuned their product and hunted for the ideal permanent home for Smitten in town. The Franschhoek Village Market provided the pair with invaluable insights into local tastes as well as an opportunity to test the market (pun intended) and its appetite for Chris’ deliciously unpretentious food and freshly-baked sweet and savoury offerings.

From the moment our colourful candy-striped gazebo went up (and conspicuously stood out) against a sea of dull, non-descript Market trestle tables, Smitten quickly became a crowd magnet – and it soon took on such a life and character of its own that it became almost impossible to leave the Market when the day inevitably came.

Many of our Smitten regulars from that prototypical period (who continue to ask to this day if we’ll ever return to the Market) will remember the fun of the “good old days”. But to those who weren’t with us back then, here’s the first in a photographic retrospective series recalling those happy days at Smitten at the Market – where it all began. Special moments that we’re so enjoying rekindling in our new space…