No one does Mediterranean and Middle Eastern in Cape Town quite like Hooman Saffarian’s Sloppy Sam. An ebullient gentleman who loves flying and food in equal measure, he is the kind of restaurateur whose disposition alone will lure you back time and again, even if just to bask in his vast personality, never mind the tasty, homegrown delights that roll out of his kitchen. Hooman, who left Iran in 1979, doesn’t like to label his cuisine, and while there’s some Persian influence, such as using saffron basting, he’s taken much inspiration from the Greeks. In fact the name “Sloppy Sam” goes way back to the mid-1930s, when it was a Greek dive down the drag in Sea Point; Hooman’s slightly ramshackle and deli-like version is on the fringe of the gay quarter. Rustic and down-to-earth, it’s a wonderful hodge-podge of tins, carpets, boxes, pottery, paintings, sacks of fruit and vegetables, large glass jars of sundried limes, lampstands, copper coffee urns, imported pomegranate juice, and piles of packaged food. Hooman’s calamari and kebabs are renowned, but it’s the lamb shank that he’s is most proud of, and claims to have converted a few vegetarians (“our lambs are all vegetarians,” he’ll quip).