DOES Truro really need another brand new retro burger joint, serving cocktails in swankily reconditioned buildings as baristas do their none-more-cooler thing?
Well, when the answer is The Lounge in Princes Street then yes, I think the city can more than happily accommodate it.
Truro Lounge is the latest project from Loungers, the West Country-based restaurant/café/bar group, which has invested £525k in transforming the former building society, which has been closed for ten years, into a cosy home from home.
In recent months the city has been wowed – or not, depending on your point of view – by Sam’s In The City and Mustard & Rye, two establishments providing the burger and bar experience. Throw in the Hub Box on Lemon Quay and you’d think Truro had all this high-end fast food malarkey tied up.
What sets The Lounge apart is the huge array of food on offer; I may have dragged you down the burger path erroneously.
Yes, there is an array of burgers – including the more unusual peri-peri chicken and salmon and crayfish – and hot dogs, but there is also a fine list of all-day breakfast/brunch options, ciabatta sanwiches, paninis, salads, tapas and Lounge “classics” including jambalaya and fish and chips.
This isn’t just a place to get slaughtered at the bar after downing your food though. All ages are encouraged – indeed there is a fulsome and reasonable kids’ menu (split into Little Loungers and Little Bit Bigger Loungers) and the city’s elderly population have started popping in for coffee and cake during the day.
The reason it’s attracting such a panoply of people is down to the eccentric decor; I can categorically state there is nowhere like it in Cornwall.
Dramatic artwork sits next to oversized vintage sofas and manifold lampshades and light fittings of every style and colour. Pay Truro Lounge a visit and see if you’re not mesmerised by the frankly odd series of portraits (all of whom, apparently, are people related or acquainted to the owners of the Loungers company).
It’s as if a gentleman’s club has been redesigned by Tim Burton. And it’s a bit of a Tardis; doesn’t look much from the outside but step within and you have a huge downstairs area with every type of seat imaginable. A sweeping staircase leads to another large, esoteric floor (check out the startling Russian Orthodox funeral painting) and there’s even a terrace on the roof, where the designers obviously mistook Truro for Toronto.
A roof garden bar in Cornwall’s Methodist city? Truro’s conservative forefathers will be turning in their graves. Long may they roll ....
Everyone I know who’s visited the Lounge has raved about it, so I eventually gave it a go three weeks after it opened. It may have been a blustery pre-pay day Thursday in darkest January, but the place was full and buzzing, which has got to be a good sign.
Assistant manager Joe Hemming and the young bar and waiting staff were friendly and accommodating and poured a mean cocktail.
That’s another of the venue’s hits – a great drinks’ menu. The Nurse eased into the new year with a couple of Strawberry Jam Daiquiris. If you hate strawberries stop reading … strawberry jam, fresh strawberries and strawberry Pago juice, all mixed with Pampero Blanco rum and fresh limes.
While I downed Old Colonial Iced Tea, a concoction of Smirnoff vodka, Gordon’s gin, Cointreau, a splash of Earl Grey syrup and lemonade. To be honest, it went down so easily I could have drunk a bath full. But that would be disgraceful and frankly dangerous, kids.
The food that followed was good – superior pub grub and better than you would imagine from a chain; New York-style steak sandwich with fried onions, Emmental cheese and mustard mayo with skin-on chips for 5p short of a tenner and, off the specials menu, a delicious roasted chicken and portabella mushroom suet pudding served with peas, skin-on chips and mushroom sauce , priced £11.50. Old school hearty grub.
Truro is a funny place after dark – Fridays and Saturdays tend to be busy but the rest of the week is tumbleweed central. Hopefully, Truro Lounge will give the city’s nightlife a kick up the proverbial.
It’s open every day from 9am to 11pm with food served until 10pm.
Head online to
thelounges.co.uk/truro-lounge for the latest deals, details of specials and more.