Ca’puccino, Kings Road

June 12, 2012

The Kings Road is a place that always puts me slightly on edge. Having walked there across the beautiful Royal Albert Bridge and up the equally beautiful Royal Hospital Road, upon which the Chelsea Physic Garden stands out as one of the loveliest places to go in that part of town, I emerged onto the Kings Road and into a world of promenading, preening, and that sort of superior pretension that comes with easy wealth and red trousers. The problem is that the Kings Road has a great deal to offer in terms of shopping and wandering, and would probably would be a great stretch if it weren’t for some of the people. Porsche Cayenne drivers cruising at three miles an hour on their mobile phones, obliviously ensconced and careless with it, are the sort of people who really rile me. However, Lipstick had suggested that we attend Ca’puccino on the Kings Road, which is one of three outposts in the UK of an Italian company which roasts its own in the home country and ships it over. And I can’t say no to that…

Ca’puccino is well-suited to its environs.

Ca'puccino

Firstly, the coffee. The café promises “everything you expect in an Italian coffee bar: high quality, excellent ingredients, tradition, and a huge range of choices. It’s the coffee bar par excellence that has taught the world”. I’m not entirely sure I understand that last sentence, but you can’t fault the range of ways that Ca’puccino will serve you your caffeine installment. The blend, which as I said is a bespoke produced by the company itself at a roastery in Italy, is a three bean compote which is actually quite reasonable. The espresso was a touch too warm but a dappled crema sat snugly on a rich, dark shot which had some honeyed notes to its lower end, and a pleasingly acidic bite at the top. I didn’t feel the earth move, but it certainly fits well somewhere in between a really good coffee house and a high-street chain. It was maybe a bit watery, which was probably a function of the heat, but it wasn’t bad. The macchiato was poured, not dolloped, which was a good sign. Again, though, it failed to ignite for me. The milk was actually lovely, sweet and creamy, though this sadly overpowered the espresso. The problem with really good milk is that it needs to straddle a really good shot to produce fireworks (I’m not sure where that analogy came from – I’m obviously a little fevered), and there was not enough oompf left in the espresso to retain its body and shape once that lovely milk had melted into the shot. It’s actually a problem I’ve noticed with the better high-street chains (the worse ones don’t taste of much more than ashy water) and I think it betokens a lack of strength in the basic DNA of the shot, which possibly stems from a desire to overload the top end of the shot. This gives a bite which stabs the ‘coffee taste’ through the litres of milk in your bigger cups of coffee, which works economically and convinces the consumer they are drinking ‘proper’ coffee, rather than hot milk with a touch of the black stuff. All in all, while it didn’t wow me, Ca’puccino’s fare was perfectly drinkable and the milk garners points.

Ca'puccino

So what of the place itself? Well, as you can see in the second photo, I found a rather glorious bookcase which I felt was sufficiently lovely to celebrate on camera. At which point, I was properly scolded by a member of staff for taking a photo indoors without permission. This, apparently, infringed privacy and breached intellectual property law because the bookcase wasn’t mine to snap and I might copy it, and I was on private property. Oh and they were worried I might photograph the layout of security cameras. Well, I actually have no real issue with the above points. If I were enjoying a cup of coffee and someone poked a camera in my nose I might be aggrieved, but on the rare occasions people crop up in my photos, I crop them out. The venue were not to know this, of course, but they could have asked. The idea that I might be looking to go across the pavement for a coffee shop on the Kings Road was faintly laughable, but again I could sympathise was the concern, one which would have been immediately assuaged by asking the look at the photo (yes, one solitary photo) I had taken. As to property law, I was informed that I could find the details of the bookcase on the website (see below), but I could not find it. I would be more than happy to credit this beautiful work and, indeed, link to somewhere it could be bought, but I can’t. Sorry. So why this little moan? Well, for one, I have never been spoken to about taking photos inside a venue before. With the absurd proliferation of iPhones etc it has become commonplace to see people taking snaps everywhere. I was rather taken aback by both the content and manner of the telling-off, which was sarcastic and also questioned whether I was even a customer. Though the staff member who spoke to me so rudely did apologise for it, citing a plausible language issue (she was not a native English speaker), I still felt rather put out and was disappointed to have been treated in such a way, a way which has never occurred anywhere else. There was also a rather brusque manner to the service generally. All in all, I felt that Ca’puccino was a bit annoyed to have to bother with me, especially once I’d been so uncouth as to do something loads of people do all the time. Which is a shame, but perhaps not a surprise. In the same way that places in Dalston can be a bit cool for school, perhaps places on the Kings Road can be a bit cool for anyone. Unless you drive a Porsche Cayenne, maybe. I don’t, so I don’t think I’ll ever go back to Ca’puccino.

Ca’puccino, 138A Kings Road, SW3 4XB

Website with details

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5 Responses to “Ca’puccino, Kings Road”

  1. Rahul Says:

    They nabbed you for taking a picture inside their premises? What business do they think they are in – fine art? Geez.

    • liquidjolt Says:

      Who can say? As I tried to make clear, their arguments are not totally fatuous (however over-the-top they seem) and I could have forgiven them if it wasn’t for the manner of delivery

  2. Rob Says:

    Hi Liquidjolt,

    I am the area manager of Ca’puccino and I have just been reading your blog.
    Thanks for the comments on the above and I am sorry that you felt you were treated badly – we pride ourselves on going above and beyond people’s expectations on customer service, however we seem to have let you down on this occassion.

    if you are around the area again, I would love to invite you in for a coffee and we can discuss your feedback in more detail.

    Lastly, thanks very much for blogging about us! The more feedback we are able to get, the better out businesses will be able to perform.

    Many thanks,

    Rob

    • liquidjolt Says:

      Hello Rob,
      Thank you for your post. I appreciate the sentiment and I will take you up on that the next time I am around. I am glad you have taken the time to read and reply and I agree, feedback is crucial. Thank you again, and see you at some point in the near future.
      Best, Alex

  3. nam Says:

    We were there on June 5th 2012 and cannot praise it enough. The service was extra ordinary. The server was knowledgable, kind and had a great sense of humor. Infact I am on this page trying to find more of them somewhere, and even trying to look into a franchise of the same in Canada has crossed my mind over the past 6 weeks often enough to google it. The icecream was simply the best. The texture perfect, the smoothness so silky it was hard not to eat all of it. By the way it was mistakenly given to me with my coffee since my daughter decided I should have an icecream at 10.30am like her.
    Cannot wait to be back in London soon enough to be enjoying yet another Ca`puccino.
    Nam
    Mississauga
    Ontario
    Canada.


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