Chef Liam Tomlin admits his Local, La Cantina, and Mazza food projects are not working at Heritage Square!



After a big fanfare about taking over the former HQ on Shortmarket Street, adjacent to his Chefs Warehouse Pinchos and Winebar in the same building, and turning it into a Local market of mini restaurants,  an Italian restaurant La Cantina, and a Lebanese restaurant Mazza on the mezzanine level of the building in 2020, Chef Liam Tomlin has admitted defeat and walked away from all three restaurant projects, all in Heritage Square in town, he announced on his Social Media accounts last month!

Chef Liam wrote that all three businesses have been handed over to Victoria Engelhorn,  who he describes as a ‘long-time business partner in this market-eatery and restaurant concept since its inception a year ago’,  a relationship of only twelve months in the Heritage Square building! He does add that she is a business partner of his in his Barcelona-based Brugarol and Brugarol X restaurants.

Engelhorn is an American, owning the Cape Heritage Hotel, also in Heritage Square. She has written a cookbook ‘From Me to You’. She is not known in the Cape Town restaurant industry.

Tomlin’s media statement adds that he is ‘now focusing on the development of new concepts both locally and abroad’, which include Cape Town and Moscow, to be ‘run independently from Chefs Warehouse’. These planned developments are based on Tomlin’s optimism of the restaurant and tourism industries making an encouraging recovery.

The Local mini-restaurant market has not been well received, and the tenants, including Chef Giorgio Nava’s Caffe Milano, are not making good money there, one hears in the industry. Furthermore, it is sad to hear that his partnership with Chef Neil and Tina Jewell at Jewell’s at Spice Route has fallen apart, and that the Jewells are now running the restaurant on their own.

Tomlin has built a successful Chefs Warehouse brand of four restaurants, consults for Singita, owns Thali, and co-owns the two Barcelona restaurants, a portfolio of 8 restaurants, the largest collection of restaurants owned by a South African chef, closely followed by Chef Bertus Basson.


Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein, My Cape Town Guide/Mein Kapstadt Guide Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein @MyCapeTownGuide


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