Sunday, 3 April 2011

No pressure over cappuccino

Over the last year or so I've um-ed and ah-ed about reviewing and blogging about places in Westfield. My very recent rant will demonstrate this. However, I am guilty of going there more often than not and I will now be guilty of timidly recommending at least one place there for your custom.


Ca'puccino is the coffee shop/restaurant you will see as you walk up towards Westfield from Shepherd's Bush station along the so-called Southern Terrace of bars and restaurants. If you have the money or a perverse love of window shopping for items you will never be able to afford, you will chuck a right to head into The Village up the escalator that allows you to peer into Ca'puccino's dimly lit but spacious and comfortable layout. You will also catch sight of the two circular gelato fridges full of colourful and, take it from me, very delicious flavours. During our time there we saw no fewer than three people walk past outside, clock the gelato fridges and ten minutes later appear at the counter ordering a couple of scoops.

NewMan and I were shown to a table in the window, in full gawping view of the escalator. Rather than feeling any fishbowl effect we actually relished this ideal people-watching perch and we both settled in comfortably to our white leather thrown-esque chairs. We'd spent the day cycling across town, soaking up the rare sunshine and had missed lunchtime by miles, however we were given the full menu by a polite waiter man who gave us plenty of time to choose. I ordered a modest Insalata delle Terre Ducali (which roughly translates as salad from the duchy or duke's regions - of course) and a hungry NewMan ordered the Piacenza panini. As an occasional Italian speaker (depending on amounts of Chianti consumed) I'm always frustrated that we English use "panini" for the singular as well as the plural. However it would seem that even Italians have succumbed to it now, as Ca'puccino is not an Italo-phoney created by a well-to-do Knightsbridge entrepreneur with an over-zealous appetite for frothy coffee, but a well established Italian chain of restaurants with a presence in six Italian cities. Ca'puccino first landed in UK in Harrods. The Westfield shop is the chain's second UK location. It should be said that chain coffee shops are not as widely accepted or even understood in Italy as they are in UK, so I was quite surprised to understand their origins. That said, their website makes grand claims to a menu which features food from all 20 Italian regions.

In actual fact their menu covers pretty much all regions and all sweet things available in Europe; with cakes, tarts, mouses, pastries and of course gelato all featured. I've succumbed to their dolci on more than one post-shopping occasion and certainly have no complaints but until yesterday no specific recommendations (aside from the amazing gelato - did I mention that already?) so I was excited to try something savoury.



Considering our meals were approximately around £7.00 - £8.00 each, I was very pleasantly surprised by the amount of well-presented food we were served. There are many restaurants and pubs in London which lack the comfort and style of Ca'puccino who would charge twice as much for food of half the standard. I was very impressed with both the quantity and quality. My salad was simple; parma ham, lettuce and boiled new potatos all tossed in a balsamic vinegar glaze. It was light, fresh and delicious; the parma ham was the best I've tasted in years.NewMan had ham envy as his cheese and ham panino (sorry!) didn't quite live up to a smilar standard (in his opinion). Apart from a long list of panini choices, the other savoury options on the menu are limited but very Italian and I would now imagine to be of equally high standard



 We washed our food down with the house white wine. (I should add that there are limited alcoholic drink options on the menu; there is only house red, white or sparkling wine). Of course the coffee is exceptional but I should add that I am neither a coffee connoisseur and though I have previously enjoyed Ca'puccino's lattes (that doesn't sound right!) we didn't order any caffeine on this occasion. I hope someone with more passion for coffee can tell me if their cappuccinos are worthy of the name.

Despite my good intentions and purposefully sitting with my back to the gelati (plural of gelato, which hereby concludes this Italian lesson) to avoid any more calories, without consulting me NewMan asked our waiter for another glance at the menu. Before I knew it we were sharing a delicious desert. I sadly forget the name (this was how sneaky NewMan was in ordering) but it was sponge cake covered in limoncello mousse and with a dollop of cream in the middle, all served with some raspberry sauce. (In the picture below you are more than welcome to compare it to a certain part of the female anatomy. We did and had many minutes of pointing, laughing and giggling childishly.) I enjoyed those extra unnecessary calories very much,as did NewMan who would have licked our plate clean had he not been in full view.




Ca'puccino is no loyal stalwart of Shepherd's Bush in the same way that Esarn Kheaw or Patio are, but it is a nice place to have a coffee and take a break from the madness that is Westfield, should you need to. I was also pleasantly surprised by the value for money spent (our meal was just under £30.00 total). There are a lot of options for coffee, food and wine in Westfield and many of these are also options to get it  very wrongand pay too much for not a lot. Be it for coffee and cake or a panino or two (panini) I don't think you would be disappointed with Ca'puccino. Furthermore if you also chose to have a coppa o due of the gelato disappointment would be close to an impossibility.



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