Caparezza Espresso Bar is a little piece of Italy in James Place. Just off Rundle Mall but closer to the Grenfell St end it is a welcome addition to coffee options in the city. It's like a little slice of understated glamour where the coffee is as delightful as the premises. It's small so don't expect to sit in to a lunch with a big group. But it's partly the size that makes it - it is all part of the charm.
It brings to mind the narrow little coffee bars in Italy where you'll find people at all times of the day popping in to stand at the counter and slam down a quick espresso. Caparezza is a lovely throwback to this traditional coffee drinking culture but with a few little tables for those who prefer to sit down and take their time.
We have a thriving coffee culture in our country and the most important part of that is great coffee that you can really savour. I proudly walked through Rundle Mall brandishing my Caparezza take away cup in the air like the statue of Liberty holds her torch aloft – not really – but I did look at people with chain store coffee and feel very smug knowing that my coffee was better than theirs.
After I was finished I kept lifting it to my mouth to drink more forgetting that I'd finished, and just wanting more because it was that good. The service is also lovely and friendly and the white shirt/black ties that form the staff uniform are suave.
Fresh pastries are on offer on the counter and you can order through the window on your way past so no need to take too long out of your busy day. There are also other cake type sweets available and savouries in the way of paninis and piadinas or you could go with some delicious hot soup.
Caparezza actually means curly hair in an Italian dialect and is named after the owner's nickname for his daughter, but I think what it will come to mean in Adelaide is good coffee. So yeah, not being able to eat in with a large group is a draw-back, but the coffee is so good that you won't even care.
Yes, Kathleen, I've had my hair curled now (not my toes!) and been to check out the Caparezza espresso bar. You were right. It really is like just about being in Italy (or in a European cafe society - similar country like France or Austria), if you squint. Loved the little marble wall half-tables, for sitting aside from the bar itself. I had a cafe latte (which was served in the preferred - by me - short, round glass, rather than the long, tapering), and my coffee drinking partner had a marocchino (pron. marokino); we both really enjoyed these and yes, I could easily have had another! The coffee was smooth and cocoa-ey (can you say that, even?), well almost chocolatey.
We also had these little 'doughnut hole' treats, which were sweet ricotta balls apparently, named pulpette. Dusted with icing sugar, one did not, in any way feel guilty eating and enjoying these... I also had a piece of the mushroom frittata (quiche) which had very delicate (much thinner than usual) pastry, made by a French couple, so I was told. The frittata was amazing: creamy, earthy from the mushrooms and not overpowered by a too thick, too buttery pastry. Pine nuts, added to it's subtle and delicious flavour - this frittata, was delicate and delicious all at once.
Probably not the place to hang around in for too long, as you suggested, but it's a classy place definitely, to meet a friend for a coffee (and/or a quick bite to eat with it).
The black tie service, was also impeccable.
Apropos, to your article Kathleen, the owner has plans of knocking out an adjoining door or walkway through into the property next door, which he further plans to turn into a little Italian deli with an eatery. Watch that space... James Place, is going cosmopolitan! You'll be able to pop in and purchase sweet treats for that at home coffee (or takeaway), put together that quick antipasto tray for that spontaneous dinner party, or just the munchies, or a wine afternoon in your garden or on your verandah, and what's best about this, is that you won't have to brave the crowds in the Woolworths cues anymore, or even leave the city for the burbs, to buy all of this in the future. Oh, and what will the new deli be called? Well, so you might ask: I forget the word, but it's the Italian word for straight hair! The owner apparently has one daughter with curly hair and one with straight... so both will be represented soon, in James Place, in the city. I fear I will be going there quite often. Now, what was that word again? Caparlicious, caparlicci or something????
As I have a European coffee drinking background, I definitely intend to go here, soon. They have an Americano, which not all coffee bars do! Like the idea of holding up your takeaway coffee cup like the Statue of Liberty's torch. Good coffee drinkers unite!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I really was very keen to visit this place after reading your article. I believe in letting people know if their article has inspired...
By the way, although I kinda liked the idea of 'capalicious', I think you're in fact correct and that it should be 'capelli lisci', as I do know that 'capelli' means hair in Italian. So no, it's probably not rude after all.
I do wish someone would call their business: 'capalicious', though!