There’s much to be impressed about with Capriole Café. Tucked away behind a wall of old industrial units on the Binckhorst, the location is an oasis of canal-side calm whilst the welcome at the door of the venue is probably the warmest you’ll receive in the city.
The café itself is a fairly new addition to the Capriole brand that was founded as a coffee wholesaler by Pascal’s dad back in 1975. He and his sister, Joyce, inherited the running of the business – which now includes trade sales to both the Netherlands and Belgium – and last year they took the leap of opening their very own eatery offering “coffee, food and authentic hospitality”.
“We both started with the company at an early age”, says Pascal. “My background was business studies and my sister went to culinary school. She started her career in both the kitchen and front of the house of a three Michelin star restaurant and now brings that experience to our own restaurant in a more informal setting”.
Pascal and Joyce are evidently somewhat of a dream team when it comes to the Capriole brand. They’ve taken the solid bedrock that their father laid down over the past 40 years and have grown it into a very contemporary quality brand.
“It took us almost a year to find the exact roasting profiles and blend that we’ve created”, adds Pascal. “The Capriole coffee brand stands for quality first; we’ve translated that into the design of all of the packaging and the design of the restaurant and roastery”.
Now to say the build of Capriole is cool, would be an understatement. The mid-20th century industrial building has been sensitively and creatively restored from its original purpose as a paint factory into a clean and modern multifunctional hospitality space. Downstairs you’ll find the dining area plus a spacious lounge, alongside open bar and coffee grinder. Upstairs leads to private dining and meeting spaces, where you can also participate in a host of coffee masterclasses.
“We loved the industrial feel of the Binckhorst”, says Pascal. “The location has a very special feel, because you’re very close to the city centre, but it feels miles away. Having a big outside terrace next to the harbour makes it even more unique”.
Anyone familiar with The Hague will know that there’s significant construction and urban renewal underway at the moment in the Binckhorst, including moving the main road through the area underground. I ask Pascal what his thoughts are about the future potential of the locality:
“The Binckhorst is geographically very central for The Hague, Rijswijk and Voorburg and it will become an ever cooler area to live, work and hangout. There is a new creative side to The Hague and it feels like a lot of these new developments are in The Binckhorst.”
So what about the food at Capriole Café? I met their head chef, Jack Luteijn, during The Hague Food Festival in July when he presented on our live food show stage. Despite the somewhat inclement weather – a heavy rain storm – Jack kept his humour throughout and delivered an impressive fusion dish of octopus.
“Jack works together with his pastry chef, our coffee roaster and ourselves to come up with a menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner”, continues Pascal. “Every three months we change most of the menu to keep it exciting for our repeat customers”.
Coffee is not only important as a hot drink but also across the wider menu of the café, clearly demonstrating the flexibility of the product and also the creativity of the team.
“Our crispy pork marinated in coffee is a crowd pleaser and a big hit for lunch and dinner. We always have some sweet and savoury dishes that we’ve incorporated our coffee into. We recently created a new cocktail menu with some amazing coffee and tea cocktails, such as an espresso gin-tonic and a limoncello verbena ice-tea.”
Pascal and Joyce have a real passion for sourcing quality and ethical produce. They work with as many local suppliers as possible and keep a close eye on seasonality. Of course, the chances of the Netherlands growing commercial coffee is slim to say the very least, so that element of the business is sourced from growers across the globe.
“All of our coffees are ethically sourced and we want to know where all of our beans are coming from”, says Pascal. “I’ve recently returned from a visit to Costa Rica to inspect several coffee plantations that we want to work with in the future.”
Throughout the day their coffee roaster is live roasting beans and he is happy to share his passion with diners. And for those who want to know more there’s a regular programme of tastings and masterclasses.
I wonder what’s next for the growing Capriole empire?
“We have a lot of regulars that are asking if they can buy our coffee online and that’s something that’s coming soon. We will also be baking cakes to order to take home after so many requests”.
Capriole Café is a real gem on The Hague’s food scene. It’s rare to find such as perfect blend of service, food and environment, all delivered by possibly the friendliest restaurant team I’ve met in recent years. There’s definitely more to Capriole than excellent coffee.
Capriole Café is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Fokkerkade 18, 2516 CC Den Haag • 070 701 1010 • www.capriolecafe.nl