Carluccio's, on the corner of Dawson St and Duke St, is part of a chain of restaurants. A few months ago it almost closed, but thanks to a rent reduction it has remained open. It's a restaurant, a cafe (sorry, caffè) and a shop, but for the purposes of this post I'm only considering it as a cafe. So of course the most important question is: is the coffee good?
Hell yes it is. All of it. I've tried the entire (hot coffee) menu and I liked every single beverage they served me. Even the latte had a good strong coffee flavour to it. The machiatto and espresso are nice; the cappuccino varies from good to excellent. They don't serve Americano - some people might dislike that, but I don't.
The service attitude is friendly and helpful. To try something new and also test the service I asked for a takeout bicerin. A bicerin is a traditional drink from Turin, made of espresso, drinking chocolate and milk/cream. It is not suited to takeout: normally in Carluccio's it would be served in three little jugs, with the three components mixed together to taste by the customer. Would this slightly absurd request phase the staff? Not in the slightest.
Flaws? Two points. Firstly, as this is a restaurant and shop as well as a cafe it can get busy and service can become slow. If you're in a hurry and need coffee right now, try Fixx instead. Secondly, they only serve one size for the larger coffee drinks e.g. cappuccino, latte: no small / medium / large to choose from. I like the option to get a small coffee - the first few sips are the best - so I consider this a bit unfortunate.
The ambiance is pleasant and relaxing, perfect for a lazy Sunday morning coffee or brunch.
Conclusion: possibly the best coffee on Dawson St. If you have time, go there.
Next: Ariosa Coffee