Chef Liam Tomlin adds the fourth jewel to his crowning achievement.
On the western skirts of Chapman’s Peak, where the sheer granite cliffs plunge into Hout Bay’s Atlantic Ocean waters, the Tintswalo Atlantic boutique lodge clings resolutely to the shore. The award-winning, five-star hotel has survived the ravages of fire and now a viral pandemic, which has tragically shut down scores of establishments throughout the country. But here, within the lodge’s stoic walls, a new restaurant takes root, though its name is an old favourite of South African foodies: Chefs Warehouse by vastly accomplished local chef, Liam Tomlin.
From the CBD to the sea
Chef Liam Tomlin has earned – through toil, innovation, and talent – a formidable reputation within the gastronomical echelons of South Africa’s culinary scene. His concept of a contemporary restaurant that serves wave after wave of intricately composed tapas dishes began with Chefs Warehouse at 92 Bree Street in the heart of Cape Town. Before that, he ran a cookery school, which he started in 2010 after working as a hospitality industry consultant.
Chefs Warehouse’s immense success on Bree Street demanded a sequel, which chef Liam then opened in 2016 at Beau Constantia, a wine estate in the leafy, historic winelands of Constantia. The following year, a third iteration of Chefs Warehouse was opened, this time at Maison Estate in the resplendent Franschhoek valley.
And now, in one of the most difficult years the South African restaurant industry has faced in living memory (for Gen Y’ers and above), chef Liam Tomlin has added a FOURTH jewel to the crown with Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic, successfully taking his award-winning tapas concept from the CBD to the sea!
The Tintswalo Atlantic (after)life
Baptised daily by sea spray and the burning light of South African sunsets, Tintswalo Atlantic is quite possibly a manifestation of what the afterlife could look like if you’ve spent your mortal life being extraordinarily well behaved. This boutique beach lodge sprawls along the coastline at the base of the Table Mountain National Park and, with its west-facing aspect and generous outdoor deck and terrace, offers guests the best sunset seats in the house.
Staggeringly gorgeous views aside, the interior is a multisensory manifestation of Nirvana, with its spa, uniquely designed, luxurious suites, and now, Chefs Warehouse, which, like its sister restaurants, proudly continues the tradition of absolutely blowing diners away with sensational food.
What’s on the menu?
Chefs Warehouse essentially does a set menu of tapas (vegetarian and vegan options available), but this is no ordinary tapas. This is the kind of stuff that’s innovated after hours of late-night experimentation until the perfect flavours and textures are achieved; and where aesthetics are considered just as important. Each dish is both beautiful to behold and devour.
But the best part is that this excruciatingly hedonistic assault on your senses happens again and again as each of four courses of tapas-inspired dishes arrives at your table. Naturally, chef Liam leverages the restaurant’s proximity to the ocean to curate a menu abundant in fresh seafood, as well as its location near our world-famous winelands to assemble a swoon-worthy wine list. Oh, and oysters and risotto, which are stalwarts of the Chefs Warehouse repertoire, are always on the menu.
Local on Heritage Square
While Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic continues on its merry task of knocking patrons’ socks off, chef Liam Tomlin has been hard at work on yet another venture: ‘Local at Heritage Square’. This restaurant and retail space are located at the old HQ in the city centre, which has received an extensive overhaul to reveal more of the gorgeous natural brick and wood beneath its plastered walls.
Downstairs, there’s a bar serving only local wine, MCC, spirits, and beers and a retail space selling fish, meats, cheeses, and breads, as well as locally-made kitchenware. Upstairs, there’s a Middle Eastern tapas restaurant called Mazza (meaning “to share”), which pays homage to Beirut, where chef Liam had planned to open a restaurant before the devastating explosion in August 2020.
Can you see it? A glass of wine at the bar, a quick shop at the deli for tomorrow’s lunch, and a delicious small-plates dinner with mates at Mazza. Sign me up!
A preview of “the good place”
Chef Liam Tomlin has truly done it again: with both ‘Local at Heritage Square’ and the fourth instalment of Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic. This powerhouse of a culinary wizard certainly seems to have a knack for transforming spaces into vastly successful enterprises that, married with the Cape’s beautiful views and heritage locations, deliver unforgettable dining experiences that could quite honestly be considered suitable previews for the afterlife…
If you’ve been good, that is.
Chefs Warehouse at Tintswalo Atlantic is open Monday to Sunday, 12pm to 2pm and 6pm to 8pm. Sunday dinners are served from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Times might be affected due to COVID-19 regulations. For bookings and enquiries, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call +27 (0)21 541 0165.
Photography: Claire Gunn