4 great steampunk restaurants in SA

More and more restaurants around South Africa are being dressed in whimsical retro-futuristic 19th century style. From exposed metal gears and dangling lights to copper steam-powered machinery and plush banquets, here are five steampunk spots for your next quirky foodie outing.

The Countess (Melville, Joburg)

This trendy smokehouse offers steampunk-lovers a stylish space to enjoy tasty ribs, wings and brisket. The double-volume space is impressive and moody, decked out in Prussian blue with lots of copper, both practical and decorative. Exposed ceilings, low-hanging light bulbs, and a huge mural of The Countess above the mixology area add drama. The bar, encased in embellished steel armour, make for an ideal spot to enjoy a cocktail.

The Countess's embellished bar. Photo supplied.

The Countess’s embellished bar. Photo supplied.

The Potato Shed (Newtown Junction, Joburg)

Once the site of fresh produce markets, Newtown’s original 1911 railway sidings have been transformed from a derelict space into a steampunk-style restaurant. Part bootlegger brewery, part barbecue, the restaurant features exposed pipes, rustic wooden accents, copper tanks and oversized light fittings. The modern dishes are prepared with pit smokers, fire pits, robata grills and wood-fired ovens, and are served in cast iron pans on wooden boards. Don’t leave without trying one of their potato dishes: there’s everything from wood-oven roast potatoes with butter and herbs; smashed potato with garlic and truffle; to twice baked potato with oven-dried tomatoes, feta and pecorino.

Steamworks Gastropub (Fourways, Joburg)

Not quite a bar and not quite a restaurant, this establishment is known for its quirky steampunk décor. Adorned in Victorian splendour, with accents of red and copper, the restaurant boasts bespoke furniture, a giant golden clock complete with cogs, and an mysterious birdcage-like contraption. Golden taps pour the craft beer to accompany the gourmet pub fare. Try a popcorn chicken sandwich with candied bacon; butter chicken pizza; or focaccia puffs wih roasted garlic butter and parmesan.

The bar at The Steamworks. Photo supplied.

The bar at The Steamworks. Photo supplied.

Truth Coffee Roasting HQ (City Bowl, Cape Town)

This hip coffee roastery is the original steampunk HQ in the Mother City. Designer Haldane Martin transformed an old building into a time-travelling coffee hub for David Donde’s roastery. The futuristic Victorian décor features cast-iron pillars, raw steel and brass, shaving mirrors, pull chains and Victorian basins. The focal point is the massive, fully functional vintage roaster. Sit in one of the deep-button leather booths while baristas dressed in nonsensical steampunk uniforms and hats serve you excellent coffee. Our recommendation: the sunrise espresso with a dash of orange juice.

The Truth interior. Photo supplied.

The Truth interior and roaster. Photo supplied.

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