Living in Aberdeen, the most interaction I generally have with Dundee involves traversing the many roundabouts it takes to get around the city and on to Glasgow, Edinburgh and the South. I’d never really had a reason to stop and explore before, but Pacamara changed that.
Tucked away in the city’s West End, Pacamara cuts a relatively benign figure from the street. From the outside, it looks very similar to any other cafe; the only clue is the little sign way up above that reads: Life is too short for bad coffee.
Inside all is dark wood: wood floors, wood ceilings, wood tables and chairs, wood counter, wood everything. Light comes from assorted chandeliers and the big windows along one wall, but there isn’t a lot of it and the space could definitely feel gloomy on an overcast day. Luckily on the day I was there it was quite bright outside which made the place feel cheerful.
Antique frames on the wall are a nice touch, and the big mirror down one wall makes the cafe feel bigger. The counter where orders and payment are taken is at the back and presumably there is a kitchen downstairs judging by the full food menu and the dumb waiter in the corner.
Coffee is provided by Has Bean and prepared on a La Spaziale S9 and Mahlkonig grinders, and manual brew is offered by Aeropress. There is also an extensive tea menu for those not coffee inclined.
I began with an Aeropress of the Ethiopia Ana Sora Natural, which was pleasantly bright with a syrupy mouthfeel and the requisite blueberry notes. I then had a cortado with Has Bean’s Jailbreak blend, which harmonised nicely with the milk, hints of coconut and toasted hazelnuts accompanying a well rounded depth and sweetness.
The staff were charming and the people watching possibilities were ceaseless - the clientele were pleasingly eclectic, probably due to the proximity of Dundee University and various neighbourhoods in the vicinity.
Pacamara is a stand out coffee island in this part of the world, serving good quality drinks with a positive attitude and seemingly succeeding - I was there over lunch and was lucky to get a seat.
Long may it continue.