Duncan's blog

September 30, 2013

Wild Caper

Caffe latte at Wild Caper, BrixtonThe name of this café sounds like it could be referring to some sort of hijinx, like a buddy comedy or maybe a burlesque night, but I assume it’s referring to the plant instead!

This is just one of the many terrific small restaurants in the covered markets of Brixton.  Wild Caper is in Market Row, which to my mind seems slightly less busy than the neighbouring Brixton Village, although with an at least as good, or possibly better, selection of places to eat.

The owners also own Franco Manca, the excellent Neapolitan pizza chain, who’s first branch is just a few yards away, and always busy, for good reason (being some of the tastiest and best-value pizzas you’ll find in London).

This place is quite different from that, although equally good.  They bake their own artisan breads, which they sell from a little table at the front of the restaurant.  They also sell sandwiches, and a variety of hot and cold meals.  I’m a big vague on exactly what, because I have to confess I haven’t had a meal there, or tried their bread.  But I have sampled their coffee a couple of times, and thought that alone was worth writing about.

Their coffee machine is a Faema E61, the famous Italian brand of espresso machines dating back to 1961.  You can still buy this model today, however Wild Caper’s is an original from 1965, with ‘Macchina No. 123‘ stamped into the front.  It almost seems false, but as far as I can tell is genuine.  Which must make it one of the oldest coffee machines in London, after Doctor Espresso Caffetteria‘s 1956 Gaggia, and I think whatever the Scooter Caffe has is pretty old too.

And when I received my latte, I got a mug of steamed millk alongside a small jug containing a shot of espresso, for me to pour in myself.  Apparently this is how it’s commonly done in Naples, but I’ve never seen anywhere else in London serving coffee like this.  I liked it though; the coffee itself I think is from Monmouth, so you know it’s good.  And there’s a definite novelty in this approach.  If anything you’d expect to be served a cup with espresso and a jug of milk, so you can add milk to suit your tastes, not the other way around.  So you get quite a milky latte, but that suits me fine.  I didn’t try or see how they served any of their other coffees though.


Some other reviews:

Wild Caper on Urbanspoon



  1. That is indeed an old machine! I’ve seen plenty of E61s in action, but not the originals, always the up-to-date ones, so I shall have to get down there and have a look.

    As far as I know, it’s the fourth-oldest in London, behind Dr Espresso’s Caffetteria, Bar Italia in Soho and the Scooter Cafe on Lower Marsh.


    Comment by briancoffeespot — October 1, 2013 @ 9:50 am | Reply

    • oh yeah, I forgot Bar Italia too

      Comment by duncan — October 1, 2013 @ 9:54 am | Reply

  2. I’ve been in Brixton quite a bit recently but a bit lost for cafes etc outside the village, which I agree can get pretty packed – will get onto market row!

    Comment by eastlondonillustrated — October 5, 2013 @ 12:48 am | Reply

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