It’s been a while since I’ve ventured into Lochee, so when I had a wee walk down the High Street recently, I was pleasantly surprised by the changes.
Lochee centre was always a hive of activity but there was no denying that, over the years, it had begun to look a bit worn round the edges.
However, the regeneration work is beginning to bear fruit. The place has a buzz about it once more, with a wide selection of outlets available to keep the bustling crowds happy.
But one thing the masses seem to demand as they go about their business is a decent coffee shop.
The city centre is peppered with them and, every time you pass, they always seem full to bursting point.
One of the latest businesses to spring up in Lochee is Cox’s Cafe Bar at the top end of the High Street.
Formerly known as the Lochee Sports Bar, and before that the Ivanhoe pub, this latest venture offers customers the chance to take a break from shopping.
Inside, the atmosphere is pleasant, with background music at low enough volumes not to drown out conversation.
There’s a selection of seating arrangements, from conventional four-seater tables to sumptuous leather sofas for those who prefer to be laid back while enjoying a cuppa.
As for the menu, the owners make no secret of the fact coffee is their speciality.
And, to that end, they’ve employed one of the best in the business when it comes to ‘knowing your beans’.
‘Barista’ Carlos Barbolla has more than 20 years experience working in some of the finest coffee bars in Madrid, Barcelona and Valencia. So when he’s telling you about a certain type of coffee, you can be guaranteed he knows what he’s talking about.
His favourite is Arabic but that’s a bit strong for me and, on this occasion, I opted for the latte (£2).
It came in a tall glass and was creamy and smooth but with a strong enough coffee input to give it a kick.
Feeling a bit peckish, I also decided to take the plunge on a cheese and ham panini (£2.50) and slice of cheesecake (£2.50).
The panini was delicious.
The bread was cooked perfectly — crisp on the outside but still retaining the soft texture when biting in to it.
Oodles of melted cheese ran down the side covering a welcome wedge of juicy ham. I was struggling by the time I got to the cheesecake but, being a true soldier, there was no going back and I dived in teeth first.
I wasn’t left disappointed as the lovely topping complemented the crumbly base magnificently.
As I tucked in I was glad I’d chosen to sit in the leather sofa but the temptation to close my eyes and have a five-minute nap was growing in the background.
So, I snapped myself out of my slumber and got on my way.
Cox’s Cafe Bar is a great place to have a stop-off on your way around Lochee.
There’s a wide selection of coffees — and teas for that matter — along with freshly prepared paninis and toasties.
You’ll also be pleasantly surprised by the variety of delicious cakes, scones, breads and croissants on offer.
It’s quality fare at competitive prices and there’s even a loyalty card planned.
But probably the biggest compliment I can pay is to the welcoming, friendly atmosphere within the premises — and that comes free of charge!