I was in Debenhams cafe recently and asked for a white coffee. The waitress looked at me blankly, “Do you mean a latte?” she enquired. “No” I responded – “just an ordinary coffee with a spot of milk”. Still the blank stare, “You mean an Americano with milk on the side” she ventured. I got my white coffee eventually.
It’s not that I don’t move with the times. In Starbucks I employ a whole glossary of terms in my coffee order – tall, soya, wet, decaf, latte, extra hot – but I was a little taken aback that a white coffee held no currency in Debenhams of all places.
Let me tell you about a little place I have discovered which is a fabulous antidote to the latte world…
Cafe Giacomo has been in business since the 1950s, and I don’t imagine much has changed since it first opened its doors. This unpretentious Dunfermline based cafe is a haven from modern madness.
Most of the seating in Cafe Giacomo takes the form of cosy booths which seem to have been designed for a time when obesity did not exist (a squash and a squeeze for some I would imagine). The waitresses wear green tabards and are invariably welcoming and cheerful. In Cafe Giacomo you will not find a latte, but you can order a milky coffee which is exactly as you would make it at home complete with the gorgeous skin on top as it cools. The clientèle are mainly locals and although there are plenty of young customers there is a leaning towards the old guard who probably came to the cafe with their parents in the 50s.
The menu is refreshingly traditional – breakfasts, custard slices and other hip busting fancies, sarnies and baked potatoes, pies, pasties and Knickerbocker Glories. They even sell ice cream cones! There is not a sprig of rocket in sight and although I love a few shavings of parmesan and a slice of prosciutto here and there, it is lovely to have discovered a much simpler world.
I make a bee line for Cafe Giacomo every Friday when mini me is bouncing around in her Gymnastics class. My own little tradition is to order a delicious milky coffee and two slices of white hot buttered toast with marmalade and read my book. The prices are great, the service is prompt and friendly and the food is good. There is nothing not to love about this charming haunt!
Cafe Giacomo is a welcome step back in time to a life before lattes and I for one hope that it continues to do business, unchanged, for the next 60 years.