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Forget about red carpets – it’s the red walls that first welcome you as you peer into the large glass windows of Kaale Kaffi. When you see that they are covered up to the ceiling with framed paintings of all sizes, tapestries, mirrors and more, you’ll just have to answer the siren’s call and go in. Owner Mustafa studied art restoration in Florence and it shows – the stacks of antique and oversized books, the upholstered chairs, the cozy seating arrangements and low tables have been arranged with an artist’s eye. ‘I wanted to create a space where people feel comfortable,’ he said. He did! The service you’ll get matches the interior – it’s warm and personal.
Sit back at Kaale Kaffi and sip a green jasmine tea, or a Glenfiddich whiskey, have a bottle of wine among friends, a gin and tonic, or sip a ginger lemon tea or an espresso as you read a book. They don’t really do food, but Mustafa has arrangements with nearby restaurants including a great Italian, so if you want a bite to eat or something more substantial, just ask him to organize something. I discovered Kaale Kaffi when a Persian-French friend invited me – we dined on stuffed vine leaves, cheese and olives she brought in – Mustafa is accommodating. The name ‘Kaale Kaffi’ is ironic – literally ‘cold coffee’ but also meaning ‘yesterday’s news’, it’s neither. This is the warmest cafe in town, and although steeped in old-worldly sensibilities, it’s never going to go out of style.