“Steampunk” and “high tea” are unlikely bedfellows, yet somehow the cultishly cool coffee shop on Buitenkant Street has managed to turn the unexpected into a beautifully experiential marriage of flavours and brews.
Truth Coffee – the Mother City’s very own Steampunk HQ, long known for its game-changing approach – recently introduced Afternoon Tea, and The Insiders could barely wait to check it out…
Their edgy version of the age-old afternoon tradition packs a cool (and utterly delicious) punch, turning the sometimes-stuffy occasion into an unexpected experience of unique taste combinations and memorable pairings. As Truth Café manager Ken Walton explains: “We wanted to do something different, and allow people to explore their palates in a fun environment.”
So, where better to experience High Tea – complete with a flute of Pol Roger Champagne – than in a steampunk-themed coffee shop?
An epicurean extravaganza
The deep-buttoned leather booths at the back of the café are the perfect spot for an (over-)indulgent spread, something we discovered after the first course… (A word to the wise, wear your loosest-fitting pants – you’ll need them!)
Tea is divided into three courses of perfectly paired bites and beverages, carefully conceived by esteemed French-born chef Kamal Hamzaoui, and presented on a three-tiered platter stand that, when empty, is replenished immediately.
Three layers of deliciousness
The first course is the Amuse Bouche – a citrus-flavoured spread of lemon meringue, orange blossom and grapefruit petit fours, salmon and cream cheese canapés, and choux with mango and goat’s cheese – all perfectly paired with a deliciously crisp glass of Pol Roger Brut Reserve. “Chef Kamal devised a course of citrus-based treats because they pair so well with champagne,” explains Christine Lundy, Pol Roger’s marketing and public relations manager.
Next up is the Café Course: perfectly baked scones with homemade jam and clotted cream, choux profiteroles, and a chocolate-and-passion fruit tarte.
For the not-so-sweet-toothed, there’s a kudu carpaccio canapé, and a similar vegetarian option.
Caffeine fiends will feel like they’ve died and gone to coffee heaven – included in the price is the opportunity to explore all the coffees on the menu, (yes all!)
Ken suggests starting from the top of the menu, with the espresso-based beverages, and pour-overs reserving the milk-based options for the end. Unique offerings include the Battlebrew Coffee (made with butter and MCT oil) and the ColdDripStraightUp (pure cold-drip coffee with a refreshing bitter burst). “If you really want a flavour explosion,” says Ken, “mix tonic water with espresso!”
Lastly, Le Grande Révélation is a charcuterie-lover’s dream, and comes with ribbons of prosciutto and a cut of French camembert and blue cheese, accompanied by freshly toasted croissant slices.
And the cherry on top is an homage to Pol Roger – a theatrical white chocolate dome filled with champagne mousse and decorated with gold leaf.
The choice is yours
Although you can have it all (as we did), there are three options: Classic High Tea (nonalcoholic, R360), Pol Roger Champagne High Tea (R480), or Pol Roger Winston Churchill Champagne High Tea (R990).
No matter which way you take it, this inventive, unique high tea is sure to be an experience you won’t soon forget, where the aim is to have some steamy fun with family and friends while enjoying innovative and scrumptious treats
We’ll raise our cold-drip tumblers and flutes to that!