After visiting so many coffee shops thought it would be cool to share some of the places I’ve had my double espresso shots in! Check out more Coffee Sessions Here.
Birmingham. The Second City. Brum. Whatever nickname you want to call it, it is a city close to my heart. Near to where I live and a place I have spent a large part of my career in, it’s actually shameful that I don’t spend enough time actually in it. Especially since I was recommended a beautiful coffee shop, Damascena.
The recommendation by the way came from one of my favourite food bloggers, Brum Eats. I implore you to check her out, she finds some absolute gems and a resource I always go to when I want to explore Birmingham’s culinary delights.
Damascena has three branches in the Birmingham area; Moseley, Harborne and City Centre, which is where I went. Located in Temple Row, I walked there leaving the car parked in a nearby multi-storey. Isn’t it lovely how all staircases in multi-storey car parks smell of urine. The lifts were out of order and I had a quick chat with the unlucky soul who had to come down, clearly just woken up to put out of order signs everywhere. I joked that he should just turn it off and on again. He laughed carrying on joking about something, not quite sure. I almost felt bad fake laughing my way down the urine scented stairs. Almost.
As I walked through the city towards this delightful place, I reminisced about how long its actually been enjoying my home turf. Looking around all the changes, new buildings brimming with cool places to check out, I realised I need “to do” Brum one of these days with my boy. Finally at my destination, you would think the journey this far was long but alas it was barely a fifteen minute walk, nonetheless I was relieved and smiled as I saw the front signage. You know when you see a place, you just know its going to be lovely. Yeah, that’s the feeling I had, not just because it was a bit cold and I was wearing a thin jacket.
Upon entering you have the main bar, a little seating area which looked like a waiting area for take outs and high stool tables for those quick solo drinks and snacks. However further down a small corridor is the main seating area which was beautifully decorated. The decor totally rocked the traditional Lebanese theme. Muted brown and golden antique colours, metallic lanterns and lighting, colourful cushions and seats while still feeling quite open with its high ceiling and not at all claustrophobic. With no table service, you order at the bar and given a stick with a number on it. Nando’s style. With three menu’s on offer; Drinks, Food and Desserts. Drinks had an array of hot and cold, naturally plenty of coffee options being a coffee house and all, but also some lovely sounding tea options (my second love). Food wise, appeared to be your traditional Lebanese fare, and didn’t really peruse the Desserts but I imagine it would Baklava or what was on display at the bar. Feeling quite peckish as it was breakfast time, I went for the smoked salami and cheese manageesh (bread) and Turkish Coffee sweetened with cardamom.
Sitting at the table, you cannot help but then notice the little touches in the decor. The picture frames of snapshots of Middle Eastern places, the little keys hanging off the wall next to some wonderful old wooden doors, all after the now obligatory shelf porn of goodies in coffee joints these days. The ambience was lovely, even though there were quite a few other patrons, the perfectly volumed Arabic music did not detract from conversation or cause unintentional eavesdropping.
My coffee arrived promptly by the warm smiling waitress, saying thank you with my eyes glued to what was in front of me. A gorgeous tray of matt antique ottoman style serving set, with a cup, jug and sugar bowl cheekily hiding a couple of pieces of Turkish Delight. After pouring the coffee with heart eyes and a smile, I gently took a sip of the dark viscous delight in front of me. Strong and perfectly balanced between the bitter and sweet with the hint of cardamom promised by the barista. I’m glad I chose this over my usual double espresso. Soon after my first licking of lips, my food arrived. The bread was nice and soft, the cheese which was not too cheesy and small salami pieces I usually have in my Sunday home fry up. I couldn’t help but wishing it should have had a sunny side up fried or poached egg on top which would have made it from good to great. All being said it did the job of filling the gap in my tummy. For sure, the fact is I will be returning to sample more of the food here.
After taking some more shots, I left and wondered what the other branches were like. The drinks and food I’m sure would be the same but the surroundings may differ due to the building, definitely one for my ever growing list to check out. For now though, with a more conscious effort to further explore my home city and with its late closing time, my Brummy city coffee fix will be here. Thanks Damascena and Brum Eats for leading me here. Peace & Love.
Check out more Coffee Sessions Here.