Once upon a time, there was a world of magic and fairy tales, a world where grandparents spoiled grandchildren with homemade goodies, carefully baked in old ovens.
These grandparents had a special room where only guests were invited, named broadly the front room, a space situated near the street, which could be spotted from the outside. The magic and the chat that passed within those walls is now being revived in a small tea house or café, called “Camera din fata” – the Romanian translation of “front room”. The place was thoughtfully selected, and is clearly a front room spot – Mendeleev Street was previously very busy when Magheru Boulevard and Calea Victoriei were the only shopping locations in Bucharest.
Among old family pictures, thousands of pots with flavored tea (150 varieties to be precise), cups of coffee and, of course, coffee bags (over 25 types), the visitor seems to go back in time. Sitting on an old chair, which has seated at least two generations, drinking a recommended coffee or tea served on a redesigned sewing machine table is an indulgence that everyone should enjoy..
For a coffee, you must ask Paul, one of the owners who can almost always be found there, for more details. He has a story for every single blend of coffee he sells in Camera din fata, learnt from one of the Romanian masters of coffee, the distributor of the Royal House of Romania, Mihail Florescu. On his recommendation I tasted Miscela Italiana (RON 6), a combination of several types of coffee, and Sweet Winter (RON 17), a coffee cocktail with cream, Bailey’s and coffee liquor. Moreover, for those who want to buy coffee beans and are unsure about the flavor, you’ll receive advice and full instructions on how to use them as well as special grinding, according to the type of machine you use for preparing coffee.
Tea lovers may take their choice from among red, white, green, black, yellow, Japanese, Chinese or Indian blends, smoked, fresh or mixed teas and even unconventional combinations. To order a tea, first you have to decide whether you’re after an energy boost, relaxation or long-term benefits. Moreover, the tea comes with homemade jam or sorbet, prepared by the owners’ families. If you still need extra sugar, you can accompany your beverage with one of the traditional pies: apple, cheese or pumpkin, depending on the day.
At Camera din fata, there’s also a selection of related gifts: mugs, cups, tea services, tea kettles, espresso machines and even homemade goodies such as jams and fruit syrup.
Camera din fata, 22 Mendeleev Street, daily from 8.00-22.00 or last client.
Photo: Mihai Constantineanu