A small selection of breakfast favourites served till mid-morning, followed by a light lunch and early evening dinner. There are very bold flavours – smoking appears to be highly favoured by the chef. The Pork’s Benedict Underbelly is a rich combination of flavours, combining smoked pork, poached eggs smothered in creamy hollandaise and the most unbelievable pak choi.
Favourites to try include the smoked wiener – it's great for lunch and comes with a host of toppings. Good to note is that the croissants and other sweet baked goodies are available all day from their deli section – perfect with your takeaway coffee.
Coffee! The best in the world, if many coffee lovers and articles are to be believed. If you aren’t there for coffee, there are many options available to you. Wind down with a pot of freshly brewed tea – try the Flower Gate, it’s delicious. On the wine list, there is a large variety of craft beers (bottled or on tap) and wines to cater to all palates. If you prefer to stay dry, try any of their iced teas and juices. The menu also says it offers anything in a bottle!
The reception is very friendly and you can find yourself overwhelmed by the fancy steam punk uniform when entering. Once seated, though, it's hard to pinpoint who your designated waiter is and even harder to flag them down when you need to order. Make sure you take note of their waistcoat to easily identify your waiter.
You are greeted by heavy steel structures that reinforce the steampunk décor and theme. Elegance meets industrial in this buzzing meeting place in the city. Whether you are stopping by while on lunch, having a business meeting or grabbing a quick take away, you can’t help but get caught up in the energy of Truth.
Check with your waiter to find out about saloon time; there are specials that run over this period.
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We popped in on Saturday and managed to get a table just before the crowds descended. The ambience is amazing, and I love the steampunk decor and corseted get-ups of the staff, but the attitude of our waitress would not suit everyone. She repeatedly admonished us for putting sugar in our drinks and, when one member of the party ordered hot chocolate, proceeded to bully her into getting a mocha because 'at least that has some coffee in it'. Fun and quirky if you're up for it; a little off-putting and intimidating if you're not. My BLT was delicious - great flavour in the sourdough bread, lots of bacon and fresh tomato and lettuce. In fact, it was practically a triple-decker deal. If you don't have your own table you might have to share a long counter with strangers. It all adds to the sociable vibe. This spot has won numerous awards for best coffee shop in the world, so it's definitely worth a visit for the novelty value.
Truth’s east city location and early opening hours make this a popular place for breakfast (or the place to go to treat a hangover). A French toasted croissant here is decadent thing, or you might keep it simple with scrambled eggs, with smoked salmon and cream cheese as an optional extra. The Steampunk Florentine or Benedict are signature breakfasts, but be sure to try the wonderful herby stack omelette – free range eggs layered with mushrooms, ham, roasted tomatoes, caramelised onions and gruyère sauce.
Moving on to lunch, there is an eclectic selection including tempura prawns, duck liver paté with caramelised onion chutney, beetroot and goat’s cheese ravioli with yoghurt dressing, a 300g sirloin, Thai green chicken curry, Norwegian salmon crusted in sesame seeds and served with a teriyaki sauce, or lamb shank lasagna. An impressive offering which goes above and beyond of what you’d expect from a coffee shop.
Coffee. Obviously. Ask for sugar at your own risk. There’s a bit of a snobbish attitude towards the beverage, but it’s all about quality and the love of the bean. It’s one of the best cups you’ll get in Cape Town. Of course you can order other beverages too, like beer, wine, spirits and soft drinks.
Frenetic and perfunctory. Some staff members engage with customers better than others, but sometimes you get the feeling you are a necessary annoyance.
Steampunk is the name of the style game, so expect bare walls, exposed ducts, beams and pipes, metal furniture and retro décor details, all surrounding a massive coffee roastery. As such, it is noisy and often manic but even so, it’s a favourite place for local hipsters and coffee lovers to come plug in their laptops in a trendy office away from the office.
It’s first and foremost a coffee roastery, so buy your favourite blend to take home. If you’re an aficionado, ask about a cupping. It’s not as rude as it sounds.
Themed restaurants are generally dangerous territory. From the rockabilly joints of Vegas (think Pulp Fiction) to the medieval jousting joints that exist overseas, you’re betting on customers never getting tired of your chosen theme.
What does this have to do with Truth? Well, Truth is a themed restaurant too. The staff members all wear hats and waistcoats seemingly plucked right out of an Oliver Twist production. The theme is steampunk, that homage to an imagined quasi-Victorian time of retro-futuristic technology that looks like it was made from your gran’s old copper kitchen pots, polished cabinet wood and leather belts. Basically, the off-cuts of the industrial revolution.
Truth, in contrast to Capellos or Lance-A-Lot’s Kebab Emporium, really hits the mark. The coffee bar area with its mad scientists’ coffee machine looks like some kind of steampunk cathedral organ, while the restaurant floor with its low steel furniture and hanging faux-flame light bulbs looks ripe for a Mad Max bar fight – just add moonshine and Mel Gibson.
Breakfast is pretty comprehensive, with iterations of your usual brekkie tetris blocks available. The mushrooms on toast (R45 for mixed wild mushrooms in a creamy thyme ragout served on a slice of rye with a soft-poached free-range farm egg) is solid, if a little too salty. I’m always suspicious of normal-looking (i.e. not porcini or pine rings) black mushrooms being punted as wild, but without a forensic audit of their fungi, in Truth we trust.
The lunch menu initially seems small, but it’s well thought-out and should offer something for everyone. From a veggie baguette to pastrami on rye, pizzas, salad, one pasta, a charcuterie platter, a steam dog (steamed bun hot dog), a burger, seared tuna and a steak sandwich – you have plenty of options. Throw in their all-day open avo sandwich, a croque monsieur and a steampunk Benedict, and you’re covered. The steak sandwich billed bravely as “The Ultimate Steak Sandwich” and the seared tuna steak with a creamy caper and lemon sauce are both very good: well-cooked, tender and flavoursome.
The booze selection is a little limited, which is excusable given the fact that they are only open late one night a week. Aside from a few Windhoek/SAB options, Truth offers Devil’s Peak beers and Citizen Alliance. Wines are available on request. The coffee is, as one would expect, excellent, and one of the main reasons for stepping back in time into steampunk fantasia. With names (and effects) like Resurrection, Antithesis, Vengeance, Chaos and Organic, you’ll soon find your favourite blend.
Excellent. Despite the Tim Burton movie getup, staff members are friendly, engaging and efficient and the barista supremely talented.
Buzzy, as befitting the caffeine high running through everyone’s veins. When the weather’s calm, the doors are opened up and the tables on the street add to the vibe. Truth is almost always relatively busy and occasionally positively packed.
They stay open late on Fridays when they feature bands. Once a month on a Wednesday sees Truth host a Vintage market.