A Cuppa Christmas in August

There are few things more annoying  to a foodie than a restaurant putting out pictures of food they either do not have or that look nothing like the ones they actually do serve. You sit there and gaze longingly at a photograph on the menu only to be disappointed with a reality that is as far from the fantasy as chalk is from cheese. But looking at the photographs on Cuppa Cappuccino’s inventively designed menu, I am pleasantly surprised to see that the pictures are taken in-house and that the tasteful presentation of the food captured within is a true depiction of what is served.
The café, tucked away on a side road in the airport residential area, is well-known for its gourmet coffees and delicious sandwiches. With a terrace shaded by trees, potted plants and hanging fauna, the atmosphere of the café immediately welcomes you to sit, sigh and relax.
This is exactly what I do, selecting a seat in the corner and settling down to spend my entire morning there. I am disappointed when one of the waitresses politely informs me that they neither have working power outlets nor do they “charge phones here.” I sigh again, this time with disappointment, as I realize that I would have to do without my laptop and my phone; I resignedly take in my surroundings.
An old air conditioner rattles in one corner, a quaint, little cassette-recorder cum CD player cum radio fills the room with soft music, mismatched raffia chairs surround hand-painted wood and metal tables and it all comes together to create an intriguing atmosphere of the exotic mixed with ‘home-sweet-home.’ Adding to this effect are the wood carvings and giant scented candles dotted about, coupled with the brown and rust-red colour scheme.

The waitresses, though slightly mousy, are pleasant enough. They may not engage you in witty banter, but they are polite and eager to help. A smiling young lady comes over to my corner to ask sweetly if I have been attended to and is kind enough to listen to and offer suggestions regarding my indecision.  I order the cheese and ham omelette from the breakfast menu, French fries from the hot meals menu and a cappuccino from the gourmet coffees menu. The omelette is rich and moist, accompanied with toast triangles and butter.

The crinkle cut fries are perfect—just enough salt, no trace of grease. The cappuccino comes in a very generous coffee cup. It isn’t much different from any other coffee I’ve had but then again, I have never really been a coffee person. I do notice though that the froth is high and bold, not half-hearted as is too often the case.

The kitchen is mysteriously absent (it’s at the back of the building I hear) and this contributes to the quiet and comfortable ambiance. Given the size of the dining area and the impression created that there is no kitchen, it amazes me just how vast a variety of foods and beverages are available and how large the portions of each item that is served.
Delightfully stuffed, I sit back and watch cars drive slowly by on the quiet side road. The indistinct chatter from the opposite table and the clinking of cutlery on china from the lady on my left almost lulls me to sleep. I begin to see the wisdom of not providing electric outlets as it would be impossible to get anyone to leave. Too bad the flies like it too, I think as I am startled alert by an annoying buzzing in my ear.
Having fallen in love with their sandwiches, I have been back several times. The range of choice is overwhelming. I have had the chicken, cheese, bacon and avocado sandwich; the chicken cheese and egg sandwich; and the turkey, bacon and lettuce sandwich. They are simply divine. Franka, the owner is referred to on the menu as a ‘food stylist’ and I couldn’t agree more. Those rich combinations of fillings, stuffed between toasted slices and cut into the cutest triangles are the best as part of any visit to Cuppa Cappuccino.
I walk away one hot afternoon with a takeaway apple and banana smoothie, relishing not for the first time the fact that the café is situated in such a convenient place. I sip my smoothie as I cross the road and am stopped in my tracks as the sweet, icy mix of cream and fruit fills my mouth. “It’s like Christmas in a cup,” I hear Ryan Reynolds say in The Proposal. Nothing describes my smoothie better so I’ll borrow the line. Cuppa Cappuccino is truly a delightful place, one of its kind in Accra and perfectly suited to that elusive balance between casual and professional.