Chefs Warehouse & Canteen
When food-writing colleagues drop into town, this is one of the first places I take them. It’s not bound by a particular cuisine but defined by chef-patron Liam Tomlin’s perfect technique, and securing a table is possible if you understand the terms of engagement. They don’t take bookings, the kitchen closes at 8pm, the menu is set and the exact offering finalised each morning and served as trays of tapas for two (R560). In the case of small-plate eating, I’m quite happy relinquishing my freedom of choice or else trusting a professional. The experience is both convivial and carefully considered, with dishes arriving in three distinct waves that make sense as a beginning, middle and end. Lighting is bright,
seating is communal – in the form of low stools lining long, narrow tables – and Liam’s cooking is consistently excellent. When he owned Banc restaurant in Sydney, the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide named it Restaurant of the Year, and his kitchen was described as an incubator for talent. As far as the local culinary scene goes, Liam is one of our greatest assets, yet he has kept a relatively low profile. He never aspired to build an empire but as he enables and influences a new generation of chefs, ‘The Tomlin Effect’ is inevitable. And it extends as far as the Kruger Park, where he’s working with Singita at the redesigned Lebombo Lodge. Open weekdays for lunch and dinner (until 8pm), Saturday for lunch only. 92 Bree Street, Cape Town CBD. 021-422-0128, chefswarehouse.co.za
BELOW Inside Chefs Warehouse on Bree Street, where shelves are stocked with anything from rose petals to Korean chilli. RIGHT A tray of tapas at Chefs Warehouse. From top: carrot risotto, octopus carpaccio and rabbit terrine with liver parfait.