Our next nominee for the 2015 Boschendal Style Award is Cape Town’s steampunk-themed Truth. This award-winning coffee house brings stylish eccentricity to Buitenkant Street. Here’s why Truth Coffee Roasting deserves its nomination this year.
In 2012, David Donde and his team discovered an under-cared-for 1898 Victorian three-storey building on Buitenkant Street. After acquiring this perfect place, they had the aluminium shop fronts removed, the ceilings dropped and the lino flooring removed. Then furniture and interior designer Haldane Martin set about redesigning the space.
Steampunk inspires the concept of the interior design, with both coffee roasters and espresso machines displaying elements of whimsical steam-powered technology.
The finer details
David, the brains behind the institution that is Truth, loved the idea of a futuristic Victorian fantasy. He worked closely with the design team, and together with his business partner Mike Morritt-Smith built many of the design elements that feature in the space.
As the building was stripped, stunning cast-iron pillars, original stone and brick walls, and Oregon pine roof trusses were exposed. The ground-floor façade was opened up onto the busy street with tall steel-and-glass doors. Most of the building’s structure was kept intact and complemented with elements of raw steel and brass and copper items such as shaving mirrors, pull chains and Victorian basins.
A massive fully functional vintage roaster forms the beautiful centrepiece of the space, truly capturing the steampunk spirit. A steel shelving structure reminiscent of a Victorian gasworks surrounds the impressive roaster.
The main bar is topped with leather and clad in pressed tin panel, and cushioned leather-and-steel chairs and copper tables dot the room. Deep-buttoned leather dining booths line the walls, offering a cosy atmosphere for patrons. The front of the café boasts the longest table in Cape Town, a 7,2m-long communal table with swing-out stools that has been crafted from industrial pipe and Oregon pine.
The barista coffee school has a coffee-and-sandwich hatch that opens onto the sidewalk for passing coffee lovers. Vintage steel stools and worn school desks dot the pavement to create a perfect spot for a quick coffee break.
As a final flourish, the staff are kitted out in nonsensical Steampunk uniforms and hats created by The Little Hattery & Clothing, creating a sense of your having time-travelled to a parallel universe.
Breakfast and lunch are offered, but Truth is famous for its coffee. The most popular brew is, of course, the flat white, which is made with their Slayer espresso machine – the only one in Africa. The Truth team choice, however, is the sunrise espresso, a double shot of espresso with a dash of orange juice – which is apparently way better than it sounds.
Does Truth Coffee Roasting HQ have what it takes to win the 2015 Boschendal Style Award? We’ll find out at the Eat Out Mercedes-Benz Restaurant Awards in November. Stay tuned to see our other nominees.