This crowd-funded café built on a cult following was created by friends Anthony Gird and Michael de Klerk, whose passion for sugar-free, dairy-free, ethically sourced and made raw chocolate led to the brand, Honest Chocolate. The delicate bars with artful wrappers were first sold at markets and later, at the petite flagship store in Wale Street.
The café is a celebration of baked chocolate treats, from brownies to a decadent banana bread bunny chow and vanilla gelato to tarts, cookies, bon-bons and dairy-free shakes. It’s popular with those on the sugar-free wagon but not afraid of calories.
Try the fresh, light-as-air croissants, served with Honest Chocolate’s chocolate spread, available for sale in jars. You won’t find any savouries on the menu – it’s a before, after or between-meals niche café that offers outstanding chocolate desserts. Vegans and vegetarians will be charmed here too.
There’s a variety of hot chocolate (including original, spiced Mexican and Christmas orange flavours), served short and dark or tall and milky; rooibos cappuccinos; kombucha; cold chocolate milk; Trump and Timbal coffees (you can buy the beans here); and the Chocolate Dream milkshake made with coconut milk, dates and cacao. You’re covered.
Friendly and efficient.
A narrow, rectangular space – with a glass front on Wale Street, small wooden chairs and simple wood tables – it makes good use of the space and fills up throughout the day. Go out back to the grey-and-white tiled courtyard for a pleasant city break.
An open secret is that the courtyard out back leads to the teeny, popular Secret Gin Bar, which opens in the late afternoon.
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The Eat Out editorial team trades lunch for a cocoa overdose at Honest Chocolate Café on Wale Street in Cape Town, sister to the Honest Chocolate store at the Woodstock Exchange.
If salads and sandwiches are what you’re looking for, consider yourself warned: you won’t find anything that boring on this menu. Instead, it boasts a seemingly endless array of items made with their signature raw chocolate that’s free from preservatives and artificial flavourings.
Tempting options include bon bon truffles (R45), chocolate macarons (R12), Honest dark chocolate cake (R35) and double-chocolate macadamia nut brownies (R20). For something completely different, try the justifiably popular banana ‘bunny chow’ (R48), a freshly baked banana mini loaf filled with macadamia chocolate spread and served with vanilla ice cream (or the dairy-free option made with coconut milk). The soft, fluffy banana bread balances out the rich, dark chocolate spread, with the ice cream bringing the dish to creamy completion. Also adventurous – and surprisingly delicious – is the chocolate ‘guacamole’ with crispy salted nachos and chilli flakes on the side (R48). The dark choc-coconut macaroon tart (R35) and the sweet potato chocolate-chunk brownie with a scoop of ice cream (R37) are further interesting options.
Without having to ask, we receive glasses of refreshing citrus water – quite clever of them to prepare their customers for the sweetness to come. Their drinks menu includes classics like chocolate and vanilla milkshakes for R35 (also available dairy free), and a sometimes an additional flavour of the day when the chef is able to set aside time and be creative. Other drinks to try are the short and thick hot chocolate (R25), with a spoon of brown sugar to sweeten it slightly. The latté (R20) is part of their Honest brew range, and can be made with soy milk too. The daring should opt for their chilli choc chai tea (R18) with some hot milk to neutralise the heat.
The modern, chic space with its intimate atmosphere allows for conversations to take place as soft background music plays. Sunny weather calls for alfresco dining, so we move through to the Mexican-styled courtyard at the back to sit at one of the trestle tables near the water feature.
Adjoining the courtyard is a beautiful Victorian-styled gin bar, with an antique cash register to complete the look, and the doorway to Commune 1 art gallery. The aroma of cocoa treats baking (and slightly burning) while you relax outside in the afternoon sun adds to the rich chocolate experience.
If your plan is to grab something quickly, the courtyard is probably not the best place to sit, as service outside tends to be a bit more relaxed. The staff are a friendly bunch and are quite keen to assist without hovering too much.
They have plenty of vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free options on their menu, so those with special dietary requirements can enjoy the good things in life too.