I’ve returned to Cafe Reem in Harborne many times over the last couple of years and it really is one of my favourite places to eat at lunchtime. It’s also a great choice for a coffee and a cake, but for me if I’m popping in to meet up with a friend I usually opt for one of their magnificent Mint Teas rather than coffee. There’s so much emphasis on coffee in cafes these days that tea often gets forgotten or alternatively some good quality teabags are used, but a premium price (similar to the more pampered coffee) requested for the privilege. Cafe Reem is different because tea there is fresh and really an art form in its own right. Not only that but you get plenty of hot water provided, so your tea lasts for the duration of your catch up, which is just the way it should be.
Cafe Reem isn’t just about the tea though. There’s a lot more to sample and enjoy. With its focus on Middle Eastern cuisine it’s perhaps no surprise that falafel is a speciality and well worth sampling. It’s prepared with care with a well judged combination of spices to create aromatic and flavoursome falafel. My personal favourite is the Falafel Burger which is good size for a filling lunch. It comes with a centre of goat cheese, sumac, and caramelized onions plus it’s served with hummus, imhamara and salad. There are a range of sandwich options available with falafel fillings and they are just as good, but a little smaller on the portion side if you want a lighter lunch.
For my next visit I’m eyeing up the brunch menu which looks perfect for a leisurely weekend breakfast when you don’t have any particular plans for the day. There are a number of dishes with eggs that have caught my eye including O’jah, a Palestinian omelette, and Shakshuka, a one pot egg dish made with peppers.
Update: I went to Cafe Reem a few weeks ago (writing this in October 2018) with two friends and was disappointed. I’d raved about the cafe to them and felt very embarrassed by the customer service: an order forgotten; an order got slightly wrong; a lot of grief about a slightly torn bank note; and a disappointing reaction to a hair in a dish (not sure where the hair had come from, but I didn’t like the way the issue was handled). I do expect to go again with other friends, so I’ll know better if it was a once off then.