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Back Buzz - November 26, 2011

pumping heartHestia Mediterranean Restaurant and Café Bar, 190-192 Northfield Road, Crookes, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

A couple of weeks ago, as I was heading home to Walkley from Crookes, I noticed a new cafe. Nestled amidst a mostly residential area at the end of Cobden View Road, close to three other restaurant and takeaways, is Hestia Mediterranean Restaurant. Considering its location was formerly Jeera Indian Restaurant, and it's next to the Little China takeaway, with Jaflong Bangladeshi Restaurant and Sultans Takeaway just a few steps away, Hestia promises welcome relief from the standard Indian and Chinese fare.

I stopped in on a Thursday lunchtime on my way to work. It was very quiet, and a young man greeted me instantly. When I asked if he could do me a double macchiato, an older man emerged and showed the younger man how to make the drink. The resulting macchiato was somewhat between a typical macchiato and a cappuccino, and it reminded me very much of the old-fashioned not-overly-milky non-grande cappuccinos I used to get in my Seattle days. And it was pleasantly served in a white china cup. My only criticism is that it could have been a little bit stronger; but they're just starting and eager to get things right.

The food menu looks intriguing, with today's specials board featuring sea bream and lamb, and there are plenty of Mediterranean vegeterian options such as aubergine dishes, stuffed peppers, and Greek salad. The lunch menu looks very nice as well, with the average lunch around £5.00. The young man told me they're hoping to emphasize coffee for the passing daytime trade, including bus riders on the 52 route, and they even have their own bus stop located in front of the cafe. The display case next to my table showed off tempting chocolate croissants and pastries, a necessary prerequisite for a successful coffeehouse.

As I sipped my coffee I gazed at the pleasant territorial view down Cobden View Road. The décor of the café is very simple and basic, with paintings of jazz musicians on the walls. Behind me was a very cool-looking Dexter Gordon, and next to him Duke Ellington's band. And over there was Jelly Roll Morton's band. I mean, you can't get any cooler than that, especially on your way to work.

Speaking of commuting to work reminds me of a recent e-mail conversation with a workmate:

Last night I dreamed I got a new job. Every day I had a long circuitous twisty route I had to drive down a very narrow road through the Peak District to get to a recording studio by the sea in Newcastle. I had been hired to sketch caricatures of all of the musicians and bands that were doing sessions there so that the sketches could be used on their CD covers. I didn't mind the drive in itself, but each day I was faced with the Peak District pirates along the route who would stop me and ask me pub quiz-type questions that I had to answer correctly or they would lock me up in a windowless cell for an hour before freeing me. Overall I was excited about the job, but I was getting stressed out about the pirate quiz bit. Those Peak District pirates are certainly becoming a menace. It wouldn't be so bad if they didn't occasionally have the wrong answers (in keeping with most pub quizzes I've done). I was stuck there for an hour because they were convinced that "Lulu" was the only correct answer to "Which singer, who shares her name with an opera, won the Eurovision Song Contest in 1969?"
At least it's only an hour.