In this month’s blog we wanted to write an ode to our Moseley community, whilst telling you all the story of how we got to where we are today.
Opening our First Shop
In May 2014, we decided to begin our Damascena journey by opening our first shop in Moseley. Why? Back then you would struggle to visit a coffee house in Birmingham that would have a vast array of Vegetarian and Vegan food options. Birmingham lacked restaurants or cuisines from the Middle East. Those that were operating as middle eastern were not doing the food any justice. Damascena not only wanted guests to have a ‘local far away’ moment but also to show off some of our cuisine without cutting corners. Before middle eastern food became popular, Damascena saw a gap and wanted to change the trend whilst also raising the bar. Why should people not be able to have a pleasant experience whilst enjoying great food and perfect coffee?
How Birmingham fell in love with our Food
In 2014 it was doubtful that many people in Birmingham knew what Fatayer, Knafe or Manageesh were. We feel we have since worked hard to show off these foods and pave way for locals to appreciate the tastes of them. Back then, it was also doubtful that many people in Birmingham had previously tasted fresh Falafel straight from the fryer. Or Homemade Hummus that was still warm from the blender. Baba Ghanuuj that was so fresh that it was still warm from the burning of the Aubergine over the fire. We have raised the bar and people appreciate our efforts.
We wanted people to know that our food is not Turkish, Lebanese or Greek. We have always told people that we serve Syrian food. Many will of course not know or have any idea what that is, and this is the hard work that Damascena has tackled since inception. But Syrian food is Syrian food and we wanted to do it justice. Though there are influences and similarities to other cuisines in the Levant region (Turkey, Greece, Cyprus, Jordan, Lebanon) our aim was to make sure our cuisine got the credit it deserves. Damascus after all is the first civilised city in the world! We show that off and we’re proud of it. Other establishments in Birmingham have since started to portray themselves as Syrian and we feel this is something we began to encourage.
Our customers appreciation of our honesty, use of great quality ingredients and tasteful recipes has got us to where we are today. Our Moseley locals helped to establish Syrian food in Birmingham, and this is something we will forever be thankful for. You helped us to exceed our dreams, and serve our great food to the masses!
It’s an area that Anas (our owner, smiler and number one boss) had resided in for 10 years and fell in love with from a young age. The Moseley Village community is a model community and one Damascena is proud and honoured to be part of. We hope Damascena has contributed in the betterment of Moseley Village over the years. More than anything, we just loved the friendliness of the community. We opened because we felt there was a real lack of quality Coffee Houses that served quality fresh food. We found that coffee houses tend to neglect the food part and restaurants never usually serve great coffee. Damascena does not compromise on either side, which adds to our “local, far away” feel, alongside quality, fresh and healthy Mediterranean Vegetarian and Vegan foods.
Upon opening, we never expected to do so well. We realised we were taking a risk in serving food that wasn’t already well established in Birmingham. But we just wanted to follow our hearts and serve food and drink that we believed in and had great knowledge of. This paid off, as from our first day, the Moseley Community were here, wanting to taste everything on our menu.
We’ve put a lot of effort into our menu – choosing the best of Syrian cuisine and serving it well. We cut no corners and serve everything as it should be enjoyed. This means late night dough-making, early morning baking and super busy prep shifts, but we wouldn’t have it any other way! We’ve added our stamp to things and it’s these little touches that were valued so much by our Moseley customers in the early days, and now by the rest of Birmingham! Check out our blog on our Fresh Mint Green Tea to read more about how we care about the details.
Thank You Moseley People!
We never dreamed we’d end up opening 4 stores in a city that we love. But our first group of dedicated customers paved way to make this possible, and for that we are forever grateful. They told their friends and before we knew it, we had demand for our food on the other side of Birmingham! We’re so delighted to be part of Moseley’s thriving community and to have had the chance to begin our Damascena journey there. To all the Moseley regulars who have dedicated their time to eating at independents and supporting our cuisine THANK YOU! You are part of our story and have allowed us to make sure other people have the chance to enjoy our food. To everyone else that has joined and supported our journey since then THANK YOU also!
Click here view our full Menu and see what all the fuss is about.