Food and Drink December 11, 2008
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Damascus Drum Café
Location: 2 Silver Street, Hawick, TD9 0AD [map]
Phone: 07707 856 123
Open: Mon-Sat 9am-5pm

As you enter the award-winning Damascus Drum Café, it feels as though warm sunshine has just touched your back. Owners Frances and Christopher Ryan have created a friendly oasis where exotic wall hangings and dishes go hand in hand with the finest local produce. The cream and terracotta decor is enhanced by mirrors and tribal rugs, creating an intense sensation of well-being, and the thoughtfully selected books for sale in the relaxed back room of the café add further to this special atmosphere.

Among stunning hand-produced delicacies and local ingredients, the Damascus Drum is especially known for its homemade soup. On the day we visited this was a deliciously rich vegetable and chicken broth, and served with caraway and rye bread it made a substantial lunch. We also opted for a taste of the Middle Eastern culture that so inspires the Ryans by sharing a plate of meze. This exotic offering presented different combinations of hand-made dishes depending on your appetite. Our large mixed plate was, at £6.50, excellent value and ample for two. The meze is served with hot pitta and includes roasted tomatoes rich with basil and olive oil, homemade hummus and succulent vine leaves stuffed with subtle spices, a spectacularly flavoursome feta cheese and olives. All these delicacies can also be sampled in bagels or as the very popular hot paninis with a fresh green salad garnish.

We rounded off our meal with drinks from an impressive selection of Fairtrade coffees, teas, juices and organic soft drinks. Wine and beer are also served. Feeling adventurous, I chose the Arabic coffee infused with ground cardamom. Served from a Turkish coffee pot, and with a glass of water, the depth of taste was sensational. Whatever you choose, make sure you complement it with a slice from the huge range of homemade cakes. We shared a rich and treacly piece of date and walnut loaf. Don’t forget to ask about the story of the Damascus Drum as you leave; you may find that you linger even longer in this unique café.

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