Dundee's cultured cafés
A spirited fightback against the indentikit high street can be seen in Dundee’s independent cafés
It was a decade ago that Dundee enjoyed its first dash of indy café culture with the arrival of the Parlour Café on West Port. With an emphasis on fresh food, delicious home baking and veggie options, Gillian Veal’s stylish wee venture tapped into the area’s student population and locals’ love of culture, from music to art to good books. It has recently been joined by a sister venue, the Folk Café on Nethergate, a larger space able to host art exhibitions and occasional live music nights.
The Palais Tea Room on Union Street takes its name from the city’s former dance hall. Aware of locals getting tired of national coffee chains, proprietor Paula Schweikert says she ‘liked the idea of going back to the 50s and 60s’, creating some quirky talking points all around the interior. ‘Our aim was to bring a bit of nostalgia back to Dundee and to share our love of all things vintage, music and tearooms.’
In the downtown area the shabby-chic charm of T Ann Cake has its own quirky appeal. Ann Rougvie started baking for farmers’ markets before transferring operations to a new bakeshop and café, serving up homemade granary bread, scones, tarts, treats and cakes.
On Perth Road, owner of Espress Oh! Coffee Shop Barry Thomson lives by the ethos that ‘Life’s Too Short for Bad Coffee’. He offers a choice of brews each day along with loose leaf teas and eclectic homemade cakes.