This past week saw me exploring two of my city’s more charming eat-out places and I have to say, visiting Yours Truly on a sizzling hot Friday with a close friend was the perfect way to kick-start my first weekend back in the glorious Mother City and to simultaneously conclude a very busy, but fun-filled and productive ‘birthday week’ in laid-back fashion.
For months now, I have passed the Yours Truly Café on my way up Kloof Street and have, I confess, rather enviously eyed that almost subtropical food haven and its seemingly contented, chatty diners from the pavement. So, a month or two ago, I decided that, come hell or high water, I would pop in with someone special as soon as I was back in Cape Town in February 2016 and we’d have a great time to boot – and that is precisely what happened last Friday afternoon after my friend kindly agreed to join me! 🙂
This particular café branch* of Yours Truly is relatively new to the food scene having only opened its doors in 2014. According to their website: http://yourstrulycafe.co.za, they offer everything from coffee to live music events (in retrospect, we did notice an overhead projector above our table).
* (Aside from the ‘Up Yours’, Kloof Street’s only rooftop bar that’s run in partnership with Once Backpackers and is situated just above the main Yours Truly Café, there’s the original, far smaller Long Street (175) shop, as well as the latest additions: the café found on 63 Loop Street in a triple-storey Victorian building and the ‘You and Yours’ (YAY) express found on 81 Long. For more info. on these, please see their website.)
Yours Truly is wedged between other popular eateries in the bustling heart of the now ever-charming Kloof Street – which is home to many lovely restaurants, cafés and, of course, the Lifestyle on Kloof Centre, a wellness mecca of sorts for locals – and there’s just something about the place that had me falling for it from the very first moment I set eyes on it last year.
It could be the unusual, cleverly noticeable black-and-white signage or the strongly apparent relaxed atmosphere, which feels like a literal breath of fresh air in the city that never stops moving, and we Capetonians along with it, or it could be the way it seems so natural and calming with its abundance of flowers, trees and cool, green foliage, but whatever it is about the place, it has cemented itself as a firm favourite among (mainly) locals and it’s small wonder that you have to practically scramble to grab a table when you visit it.
Perhaps it is even the fancifulness or chilled vibe that draw visitors, who stream in either on their own with laptops or in companionable groups, or the way you claim one of the outdoor picnic-bench styled tables (and feel like a boss for managing to do so) and then almost literally feel life slow down around you to a more soothing pace, as you take in your faintly secluded, lush environs.
We arrived there sometime after 13:00 p.m. and at first, we were a little at a loss for where to sit. I’m fairly picky when it comes to things or places I am eager to try, so I was rather adamant that I wanted to sit at one of the main outdoor tables and I’m hazarding a guess here, but I think there are about ten or so of these and although each bench can comfortably seat five to six people, in my opinion, seating is not as plentiful as some other places, and almost everyone clamours to sit outside when the weather is that fair.
There are more tables inside, as well as one or two tables for a single person or even a couple to sit at but again, these are often passed up for the chance to sit at the tables nestled underneath the beautiful canopy roof, which, like everything else at Yours Truly, is alive and growing in a sense or the ones further back, just across from the Once Backpackers, in front of the massive Yours Truly bedecked black wall.
So too was it with us but we did have to wait a few minutes to acquire our table. I didn’t mind too much as I was taking photos anyway and I wanted the full experience on my first visit and even though I was wistfully eyeing a particularly pretty table set in front of a flowering wall, we finally secured a good spot beneath a mixture of dappled sunshine and shade near the street entrance.
We sat alone but don’t be too shy to perch on the edge of the table with another group or person – sometimes it’s the only option and honestly, everyone is so relaxed and openly welcoming to each other that no one minds in the least from what I’ve observed. This put me at ease and although I’m not the most outgoing person, made me feel right at home, so to speak.
Not too long after that, our very friendly and rather sweet waiter brought our black-and-white* menu boards and explained to us (though I had already read about the ordering procedure online) that we had to order at the till inside. Though, whilst you wait to be served, you can always have a look at the giant, painted ‘wall menu’ as I did.
* (Along with smooth, beautiful woodwork – even the aforementioned canopy is partially made from honey-coloured wood – that is the prevailing colour scheme, even with the chic fridges… I particularly liked the ‘Yskoud’ one.)
Another important thing to mention is that, at the Kloof and Loop Street branches, you can only order or design a homemade pizza after 16:00 p.m. so time your visit accordingly.
The menu options are fairly extensive and offer an interesting and sometimes surprising selection of: salads, hot-, cold-, alcoholic- and non-alcoholic beverages, bottings iced tea, fresh juices, as well as snacks and pastries but the really fun part about the Yours Truly menus are the quirky or smart names allotted to their salads, gourmet sandwiches and pizzas like ‘Yours Bluely’, ‘Hamhattan’ and ‘Nice to Meaty’ and the fact that you can literally design your own sandwich or pizza by selecting your roll, toppings or pizza base.
I really like this feature and especially for people who like to tweak the order or who want a pizza or roll but don’t like a certain cheese/meat topping, this is particularly handy. Obviously, depending on your design and what you opt for, the cost will vary from their standard specialities.
We didn’t really want to spend too much time selecting our meal on our very first visit (though it would be great to try next time) and found the menu gave us more than enough to go on and, although we still took our time deciding, in the end we settled on a classic gourmet sandwich/roll in ‘The Don’ (ciabatta with gypsy ham, mozzarella cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, basil pesto and rocket) for R50.
The menu’s standard meals will cost you between R30-R60 for a roll/sandwich and generally about R70-80 for a pizza, with the exception of the Margarita for R35. If, however, you wish to design your own sandwich, for example, you can expect to pay anything from R5-R16 per topping (these consist of various meats, cheeses, fresh salads and sauces), with all rolls costing a set R12.
I recommend looking over the ingredients carefully before getting up to place your order and above all, if you share a meal with someone as we did, check that you’re happy with what is inside and also, consider the different varieties of rolls/breads because these do vary in taste, size and texture.
I was really happy with the size of our ciabatta as one half of it per person was enough to fill us but some of the other sandwiches/rolls would not serve as a meal for two, though all portions are certainly enough to satisfy one eater.
Not only are the Yours Truly menus fairly health-conscious (always a plus), as they are packed with great cuts of meat, top-quality cheeses or fresh ingredients, but they are also reasonably priced and are, in my opinion, good value for money. It’s much the same with the drinks, though, depending on what you order, they cost between R18-R40, though our drink cost R25.
When doing some prior research of the place – the latest habit I have picked up when preparing for a travel reviews – I saw a photo of the Yours Truly iced coffee and had read rave reviews about the place’s coffee in general so I knew I had to have something along those lines, though sadly it was much too warm out for a hot beverage when we visited.
However, after my friend pointed to a man seated behind us and tactfully asked the waiter what drink he had ordered there, we knew there was only one real option: iced coffee. It looked suitably tempting and had been served in a decent-sized glass so we both easily decided on the same excellent drink.
After we had made up our minds about our meal, we left our bags on our table (yes, even though we were near the street), though I suggested we take our smartphones and purses with us just to be on the safe side (though truthfully, they’d have been perfectly safe there all the same), and stood in line near the till and adjoining glass display cabinet, which combine to offer artisan Honest Chocolate (R45 per slab), publications for purchase and a glimpse at the ingredients and breads that will make up your tasty meal.
Queues can get a bit long when it’s busy but we were fortunate to order when everyone else was already tucking in and thus didn’t have to wait long, though it was pleasant to stand inside and experience the cafe’s interior too. For some reason, I like the fact that the tables all have an individual table number screwed into the tabletop and that each table gets a numbered board for orders, though we never had to use ours as our waiter brought our food about 5-10 minutes after we had ordered and paid at the front. You pay first at the till and then return back down to your table to wait for your orders.
(I am not sure how tips work here as there’s nothing to leave your tip in after your meal and generally, people seem to just get up and go once they’ve finished but it is partly a self-service joint.)
Once our meal (these are served on long, lovely wooden boards in lieu of plates, as is fast-becoming a trend in Cape Town from what I’ve noticed) and drinks had arrived, we tucked in beneath the shelter of overhead Jacarandas and at some point, to our mixed amusement and relief, the little watering system for roof plants was switched on and we had a fine mist cooling us as we ate. This is a great feature for hot summer days and one man seated at the furthest side came over to stand beneath the sprayers and declared how lucky we were to be within their reach – I quite agree and, almost as if someone had overheard my quietly uttered wish for the spray’s force to be increased, moments later, it was!
Now, I must describe and rate my drink and our shared ciabatta roll. Firstly, our iced coffee tasted as good as it looked and was served with a straw and literal coffee beans, which rested atop its thick icy slush. There was a lot of ice slush, which I liked but I feel like they could perhaps use less slush and more of the brilliant coffee itself because it was absolutely amazing and the pure, rich coffee taste is to die for! It’s a pity the weather was too hot for it because I would have loved to try their normal coffee, which has a built-up a good reputation as one of CT’s recommended coffees. We both were surprised by the coffee beans but it was a fun and unusual finish to the great drink, which was suitably cooling and satisfying. We both gave our iced coffee a 8/10 rating, though we craved more of the coffee taste itself and perhaps a little less slush as we had to wait for it to melt before we could reach the last remainder of our chilled coffee, but it was overall a really great drink and well worth the standard R25 iced coffee price! 🙂
As for our shared ‘The Don’ ciabatta (which my friend saw being prepared when she went back to order a can of Coke, R16), it was excellent and enough for two people sharing. I commented that I probably would have had trouble finishing it on my own in one go.
The roll was fresh and crisp without being too hard to sink your teeth into or break apart (something I was really glad about) and it had a great amount of really fine mozzarella and gypsy ham cuts, which spilled out the side. As for the tomatoes (not usually a fan of sun-dried tomatoes but these were excellent) and basil pesto pairing, it was amazing… I could have devoured a roll filled with just that! I do love my basil pesto in general but this was really outstanding so kudos to Yours Truly on their gourmet sandwiches and fillings… they do indeed live up to their now-famous reputation!
Neither of us were too mad on the additional rocket but still, it made for a really healthy and top-quality roll, which we enjoyed immensely as it left us feeling satisfied, and its amazing combination of flavours. I was really impressed with our order and feel like we picked well. Here again, we both rated our meal, The Don, as an 8/10, though we felt it could have had a few more of those smashing tomatoes but I’m nit-picking here.
Once we sadly reached the last of our meal and drinks, our waiter cleared away our table and I was touched to have him say, after I thanked him for the wonderful meal and service, “No, I am the one who should be thanking you guys. Thank you so much.” When I read reviews online prior to our visit, I saw some unfavourable comments about the staff and service so I took particular notice to try feel out the validity of these statements and honestly, I rate the service very highly and found the staff both friendly, quick to serve and extremely polite to boot.
After that, we briefly wandered into the Once Backpackers, which sells gifts and merchandise, advertises travel trips and offers a calendar of not-to-be-missed local activities and free travel brochures. It’s interesting to pop into if you have the time.
(I did try access Wi-Fi at the café but all I picked up was the Once Backpackers’ Wi-Fi so I don’t think there is free Wi-Fi available but try double-check if you visit, as I could be wrong.)
Overall, Yours Truly certainly lived up to all my expectations and in some ways, even exceeded them and as such, it gets an 9/10 rating for the following: eye-catching signage and creativity, a beautiful setting, good service so far as necessary and polite staff, fair prices for really good food and drinks and lastly, a really wonderful, relaxed vibe, which ensured a really great first visit.
I will certainly be popping in again and I hope you will do so too! 🙂 Please note: Yours Truly is open from 06:00 a.m. to 11 p.m., Monday to Sunday.
For more info., please contact them telephonically on: +27 (021) 426 2587 or contact Georgia on +27 (072), email them at email@example.com, visit 73 Kloof Street, Cape Town or find and follow them on social media such as: Twitter , Instagram and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/yourstruly.deli).
Many thanks to my friend, Kayla, for providing such stellar company and for the additional posts used in this post, as well to Yours Truly and their chic website for the additional info. used in this post.
Author: Tamlyn Amber Ryan
Tamlyn Ryan is a writer and blogger, who runs her own travel blog, called Tamlyn Amber Wanderlust. Despite a national diploma in Journalism, her preferred niche remains travel writing. She is a hopeless wanderer, equipped with an endless passion for road trips, carefully planned, holiday itineraries and above all else, the great outdoors.