South AfricaBardelli's
On a Friday night, not too long ago, I had dinner with a friend at Bardelli's, a small family-friendly restaurant in Kenilworth, in the Southern Suburbs of Cape Town. The menu features primarily Italian dishes and the atmosphere is quite relaxed and friendly.

After dinner I thought I'd take advantage of the fact that I was dining out and order a cappuccino for the Cappuccino Quest. My dining companion, though not a huge fan of cappuccinos, decided to do the same in order to experience the quest process.

My cappuccino experience was so interesting that I've hauled most of the description out of the coffee part of the opinion section below as it became a bit of an essay. You just can't encapsulate what I have to say in a few words.

Our cappuccinos arrived reasonably promptly and we were pleasantly surprised to find them served in large mugs, rather than tiny, overpriced cups that one usually receives. The only downside (at the time) was that we were given dinky teaspoons along with the coffee. These spoons were smaller than the height of the mug and were light and tacky because they had been manufactured from cheap metal. I found this a little odd since Bardelli's is a decent restaurant.

I was in the midst of my coffee-testing procedure, pre tasting (I was still examining the foam), when I noticed the look on my dining companion's face.

"It tastes like chai coffee," he muttered.

I had no idea of what that meant, until I tasted mine...regrettably.

Bardelli's - the red glow in the top-right corner is the glow from the candle...aaah

This is probably the worst cappuccino I've ever had in my life (and my standards aren't that high). "Chai coffee" aptly describes it, although the photograph doesn't do it justice. I'm not even sure we can classify this as coffee and I can't describe its taste because I never tasted anything remotely reminiscent of coffee, only the intense, sickening chai-ness that should have been saved for a random hippie's tea, and not my cappuccino.

About halfway through the mug I had to stop drinking it; the taste was so bad. I sat there staring at it, wondering how the hell I was going to finish it without gagging, when my friend remarked that I should just leave it. I replied that I couldn't, because I had to investigate the gunge factor.

"If there is something on the bottom it might have flavour," my friend replied philosophically.

Well, there was just a little bit of gunge but it, sadly, didn't improve the taste.

Moral of the story: I'll have dinner at Bardelli's again but I will never, ever order a cappuccino there again. Never. Ever.

South Opinion
Where: 51 Kenilworth Road, Kenilworth, Cape Town, South Africa
Hours: It's open for dinner seven days a week from 18:00. The kitchen closes between 22:00 and 22:30.
Phone: +27 21 683 1423
Web Site: n/a
When: 15 September 2006
Size: Regular. The mug was huge [9/10].
Foam: The foam was about 1cm thick, was made with milk, and had cocoa powder sprinkled on top [7/10].
Heat: Hot [8/10].
Coffee: Infinite yuck. There are no other succinct words [1/10].
Price: R9.00 [?] - an excellent price, especially considering the size of the mug...pity about the taste [9/10].
Overall: Big mug, okay foam, stupid spoon, horrendous coffee [2/10].
Primary Tester: Mandy J Watson
Secondary Tester: Gideon Joubert Comments