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Sloppy Sam, Heritage Square
Photograph: Sloppy Sam

Sloppy Sam finds a new home in Heritage Square

The address may have changed, but chef Hooman Saffarian’s signature Mediterranean plates are as delicious as ever.

Richard Holmes
Written by
Richard Holmes

Local foodies fond of Mediterranean plates packed with flavour will be smiling at the news that Sloppy Sam has found a new home in Heritage Square.

And while the curious name may not entirely hint at the experience on offer, there’s a good reason chef-patron Hooman Saffarian has kept it going for more than 30 years. 

Sloppy Sam has been a feature of Cape Town since the 1930s, when it was a much-loved 'milk bar' on Somerset Road in Green Point. In 1985 Saffarian took over the building, creating a cosy local-focused eatery. He kept the name, but built a menu of plates from the Mediterranean and Levant, mixed with a little of his Persian heritage.

It quickly became a staple of Cape Town’s restaurant landscape, drawing a loyal crowd for more than 30 years until rising rents saw Saffarian close its doors in 2019. A pop-up location followed, but now Sloppy Sam has a new – permanent – home in Heritage Square on Bree Street.

Taking over the space once occupied by Liam Tomlin’s Lebanese-focused Mazza, Sloppy Sam’s address may have changed, but the look and feel remain happily familiar. Expect a colourful collection of Persian rugs and mismatched wooden furniture creating a homely space that invites diners to breathe out and settle in.

'Some of the furniture and decorations I’ve kept from Somerset Road,' says Saffarian. 'It’s the style that’s more or less the same, but within this incredible heritage building. It has the same ambience, just on a smaller scale.'

There’s been a subtle evolution of the menu here too, with a new focus on small plates; a style of dining well suited to the dishes from the Mediterranean and the Levant.

Think bowls of Saffarian’s signature hummus, tzatziki or tarama served with pillowy flatbreads. Also don’t miss the börek – a Turkish pastry made with phyllo pastry, cheese and a dash of chilli – or dolmeh topped with thick Greek yoghurt. 

'The small plates and flatbreads are a really nice concept, perfect for sharing,' says Saffarian. 'But we also still do some big plates, like we used to serve in Somerset Road. So you can still order our famous lamb shank and lamb neck. Our motto is simple food, cooked well. But simplicity doesn’t mean that it lacks quality. We use the most expensive olive oil. We use the best salt. I love simplicity but the flavours are there.’'

It’s also worth noting that Sloppy Sam has reopened with a two-seating system, with bookings available from 5.30-8pm and 8-10pm, to fully use the more intimate space.

Still hungry? Head on over to the Time Out Market Cape Town for the best city bites

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