After a year of seeing restaurants around him going down in the flames of Covid-19, defiant Liam Tomlin bought a new lease of life to one of Cape Town’s oldest buildings; Heritage Square.
Liam; restauranteur, businessman, chef and now trailblazer ignited his Irish, feisty temperament when he saw the government was turning a blind eye to the restaurant industry, and the livelihoods of all of it’s employees. Like Brad Pitt in Snatch, he emerged with kitchen knives and placards and wouldn’t back down. He rallied up all restauranteurs and the hospitality industry and put up a (peaceful) fight.
As a final act of protest, Liam partnered with his long-time business partner and landlord Victoria Engelhorn on a new venture, Local at Heritage Square. A COVID friendly space which supports local people, local produce, local businesses.
When the building became vacant, Liam and Victoria put their heads together to reinvent the space, realising that they had prime CBD real estate on their hands and a real opportunity to change the way Capetonians engage with restaurants.
And so ‘LOCAL at Heritage Square’ was conceptualised, a multi-outlet platform that supports local first – local farmers, creators, chefs and most importantly, lovers of food. Home to ten local businesses with four different dining options and six retail vendors; You can find award-winning ice cream from Unframed Ice cream here, and Cape Town’s most famous flower artist, Adenes flowers, sells her gorgeous make-your-own bouquets here. Bespoke bon-bon maker Alexander Avery also has a new choc shop in the courtyard. As well as pantry goodies, deli meats, fresh vegetables and fruit.
It’s a foodie haven, whether you want to stop for lunch or buy some fresh produce, have a glass of local wine or beer, its worthy of your time on a daily basis. Local at Heritage Square is a gourmet paradise in the centre of Cape Town.
Mazza, Liams’ much-anticipated Middle-eastern tapas restaurant, is open and in full swing. Mazza is headed up by chefs Geoffrey Abrahams and Teenola Govender who previously worked at Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia. Roasted chickpea hummus, lamb neck tagines and orange semolina cakes are among the delightful traditional dishes on offer. The menu is a la carte style so you can order several dishes to your liking.
La Cantina is another casual eatery from Liam’s concepts, headed up by Marco Cardoso, previously sous chef of Chefs Warehouse and Canteen. Here you can find classic Italian tapas like arancini, Vitello tonato and the ubiquitous CW risottos. La Cantina also offers a sliced-to-order charcuterie and cheese counter with other favourites like duck rillettes and pates. Ordering is a la carte style so you can order one dish or ten to suit all pockets and palates.
The Sandwich Revolution is a concept bought to life by two gents with a thriving passion to create an honest product for your enjoyment. They provide a handful of gourmet sandwiches, you can be guaranteed the use of fresh artisan bread, free range meat and only the freshest local produce will be used.
Coffees and pastries are offered by Caffe Milano, headed up by Carne’s Giorgio Nava for a chic Italian start to your morning. If you’re looking for something bright and colourful healthy smoothies, build-your-own salad and elixirs are on offer from health bar Doing Well.
And Liam did not stop there, as if he hasn’t given locals enough to chew on, he decided after seven years to shake up the original Chefs Warehouse and Canteen and say adios to the modern tapas and hola to more authentic Pinchos and like its sibling restaurants across the way will focus on a specific cuisine.
The bar is tended by chefs, so expect superb theatre as they tempt you to fire-roasted pimentos, Calabrian sardines on toast, oysters, croquettes mussels, whole tuna belly or rich paellas to share.
Jamon Ibericos sliced to order on the bar will accompany generous glasses from a carefully curated local wine list.
Liam has provided us an opportunity to to travel into a forbidden world. With the stench of COVID, Europe & The Middle East has never seemed so far away. Thank you Liam for bringing their heritage to your kitchens so passionately, and providing us with authentic flavours, in the most gorgeous settings that make us feel like we have jumped continents in the matter of minutes.
I’m not in the kitchen at all these days, I’m 55 and did this (cheffing) for 40 years. I have more experience on the business rather than the kitchen side and any time I’m in any one of our restaurants, I’m blown away by the food, such talent we have. I would hate to cook for them as I wouldn’t even come close!Liam Tomlin, owner and restauranteur of The Chefs Warehouse Group & Local at Heritage.
Liam thank you for settling your Irish charm and talent in Cape Town, you give us so much, and we are forever grateful.
*Some of the text and photos above have been taken directly from chefswarehouse.co.za