Though 2020 has been a year that some would rather forget, renowned chef Liam Tomlin is showing no signs of slowing down – the Chefs Warehouse chef and owner continues to power through with resilience and adaptability during these trying times.
Aside from announcing the latest Chefs Warehouse opening at Tintswalo Atlantic, the chef has also been busy working on an exciting new venture hidden in the calm of the Heritage Square courtyard. Named Local at Heritage Square, the offering will be a restaurant and retail space that will have a strong focus on supporting local and becoming a welcome oasis away from the buzz of Bree Street.
Local, which has taken over the space where HQ once was, is receiving a complete overhaul. The historical building’s natural brick and wood are being exposed, natural light is now beaming into what was once a dark space and Liam, along with his team and business partner Victoria Engelhorn (owner of Cape Heritage Hotel), are breathing new life into the venue.
Upon entry from Shortmarket Street, visitors will be welcomed by tenants offering flowers, food and art. While the list of vendors is still a work in progress, Liam did reveal that a small pastry shop by Giorgio Nava (of 95 Keerom fame) called Caffe Milano will open in that space.
Walking through the building, the central downstairs area will be home to a bar housing only local wine, MCC, spirits and beers. The bar will also be headed up by Chefs Warehouse on Bree’s sommelier, Penny Setti. Here guests can sit and enjoy a glass or two while enjoying charcuterie and cheese, or some freshly shucked oysters and small bites from a seafood hatch run by one of the Chefs Warehouse Beau Constantia chefs. There will also be a retail space offering all local deli and pantry items, local fish, meats, cheeses and breads, as well as locally made kitchenware.
Upstairs – overlooking the bar and retail space – will be a Middle Eastern small plates spot called Mazza (meaning “to share”). The new restaurant will showcase flavours from all 17 Middle Eastern countries and pays homage to Beirut, where Liam had planned to open a restaurant before the devastating explosion in August.
While Mazza will continue on the theme of small plates that Liam is known for, there won’t be a set menu. “We want it to be accessible and for there to be options for people. If they want to come up to Mazza and have one or two plates and a glass of wine, they can do that, but they can also have a big party up here too, if they want,” explains Liam.
The small no-reservations dining space, complemented by the exposed brick of Heritage Square as well as hues of sage green and touches of gold, will have banquet seating and a colourful mural of the Beirut skyline hand-painted by local artist Tessa Metcalf.
Local at Heritage Square is set to open in November. Stay tuned to Eat Out for more updates.