Across from the leafy Plaza Alemania in Buenos Aires’ Palermo Chico neighbourhood is the latest addition to that city’s vibrant culinary, cultural and retail scene. Part-concept shop, part-restaurant, Casa Cavia is set in a beautiful, whitewashed mansion and is now overseen by creative director and owner Lupe Garcia. From the street, an arched entryway (first picture) leads to a series of unexpected spaces and airy courtyards where sleek finishes create a Paris-meets-South America aesthetic.
My first stop was the store’s tiny but well-curated bookshop (third picture), overseen by Ana Mosqueda of Ampersand Publishers. A mix of titles by the great Argentine writers, as well newer coffee-table tomes line the shelves. From there you can smell the pain au chocolat and espresso wafting from Próspero Velazco’s pâtisserie next door.
The main courtyard has been given over to Casa Cavia’s casual restaurant (second picture), where the soaring central space is dotted with minimalist lighting and Bertoia-esque chairs – a study in spare chic – setting the stage for sophisticated yet accessible food. Our group feasted on pasta pomodoro, a spinach salad piled high with Parmesan cheese and soft-boiled egg, and a stacked club sandwich made with local jamón. A salad of quinoa and grilled langoustines passed by too late, but looked delicious. A return trip to try chef Pablo Massey’s decadent chocolate ganache is definitely in order. The food was the unexpected hit: I came to explore the boutiques and left a fully sated fan of Casa Cavia’s fresh creative cuisine.
Last, but certainly not least, are two small boutiques that are studies in streamlined simplicity. Flores Pasión flowers features exquisite arrangements of lilies and wild roses – most in a single colour palette – while Julian Bedel’s Fueguia 1833 offers exquisite glass bottles filled with floral scents sourced from the rainforests of Brazil and the peaks of Patagonia.
Designed by London- and San Francisco-based firm Kallos Turin, Casa Cavia is bit of design perfection as far as I’m concerned. Garcia has even bigger plans for the future, with a series of rotating art exhibitions in the pipeline. Until then, this lovingly renovated townhouse remains BA’s one-stop shop for delighting the senses.