Ministry of Coffee
“Great coffee. Delicious food. Smooth Jams.” The newly opened quirky but comfy café is a mini haven in Sanad for coffee lovers
It is no surprise that a freshly made, crisp cup of coffee is best enjoyed in a cosy ambiance, sipped on slowly amongst the company of good friends, family, or even alone while delved into a good book unfolding the story along the characters with each turning page. Striking the perfect balance between homely and chic, Ministry of Coffee is the ideal venue for coffee enthusiasts who like to take the time to appreciate their cup complemented with some light food, as mellow tunes play in the background. Founder, Tariq Mahmoud, spoke to Perle Magazine about how their longstanding family business of Tariq Pastries lead to the birth of their latest venture.
Having been born into an industry that thrives on ensuring their customers are served the highest quality goods, it was inevitable Tariq would find his way to his roots, but with a modern twist. After returning from university with a degree in Business and International Studies, Tariq joined the family business, Tariq Pastries. Known for their delicious traditional baklavas, baked goods, and freshly brewed Arabic coffee, Tariq Pastries is a confectionary that needs no introduction, as it is a name synonymous with the Bahraini tradition of enjoying sweets on every joyous occasion. The confectioners, which are based on a take-and-go concept have multiple branches across The Kingdom and have a very strong customer base, which, Tariq says, was somewhat the inspiration behind setting up a place where customers can have an inviting place to sit and enjoy their coffee and sweets. Tariq says though he had not planned on opening a café, the opportunity arose and realised it was a good time to make a presence in the up and coming area of Sanad.
Taking two years to set up and launch, Tariq added hints of his own simplistic demeanour as well as elements from his upbringing into the design of Ministry of Coffee. Named after his favourite band, Ministry of Sound, the café has an urban décor style with an overall cement-finish for floors and wall, wooden tables, simple black seating, and a muted colour palette throughout. The glass front of the two-storey café allows in ample sunlight and lets the customers get a view of the bustling Sanad outside, perfectly juxtaposed with the tranquillity indoors. The walls have framed coffee-isms hand-picked by Tariq, adding his personal minimalist touches to the coffee shop, giving it a cosier feel. Breaking up the rigid interior is the spectacular live-wall inside the café that often finds itself in many customers’ images, as it is a beautiful backdrop and gives the impression of being outdoors. Ministry of Coffee also boasts a spacious upstairs area for customers to enjoy their time at the café in a slightly more private setting, yet still being a part of the Ministry of Coffee experience.
The coffee, Tariq explains, is sourced from Italy from a family owned group, who go to great lengths to source the best coffee beans. The in-house master blender creates the different unique blends, one of which caught Tariq’s interest and decided to bring it to Bahrain to be served at the café. Adding that though currently they do not roast their own coffees, it is something they will be looking into in the future as working with Tariq Pastries, where they freshly roast Arabic coffee, has provided them with the roasting experience. Using the special Italian blend, Ministry of Coffee boasts a small but rich coffee menu that includes the delicious selection of flavoured lattes both hot and iced, a special iced coffee drink the Cold Coffee Crusher, café mocha, cappuccino, mocha latte, espresso, espresso con pana, and even non-coffee drinks such as their refreshing freshly made lemon-mint drink, perfect for the hotter months just ahead. One of the most special drinks at Ministry of Coffee is the Argentinean Matte Tea. Packed with antioxidants, the tea is rich in caffeine and is perfect for the morning to kick-start the day. The tea is served with all its herbs loose in the cup, and is sipped with a special straw that has a filter at the bottom to prevent any leaves being consumed. The tea is a great substitute for those looking to cut back on their coffee intake but still enjoy a warm drink high in energy.
Creating a small and light, but flexible food menu, Tariq says the food menu was created keeping in mind that it has to be something light but filling and items customers can enjoy with their coffee. Tariq says since the café is a smaller operation than what he is used to at Tariq Pastries, it is easier for them to experiment with and create different items for the menu to keep it fresh and interesting for the customers. With the help of family members and the chef at Ministry of Coffee, the menu has items that can be enjoyed by all such as a variety of salads that include the delicious Greek pasta salad made with penne pasta, feta cheese, cherry tomatoes, and olives, or the traditional tabouleh salad made with a modern twist fused with superfood Quinoa, or the Freekeh grain salad with feta cheese and dates; all of which are rich in taste and light on the stomach. The sandwiches served are also made to cater to different taste palates such as the tuna or turkey or chicken sandwiches served with crisps freshly dusted with zaatar, and the halloumi cheese sandwich or the mozzarella cheese and tomato sandwich for the cheese lovers, and the scrumptious Philly steak sandwich, are all options the customers can enjoy. The café also has freshly baked goods everyday such as different types of muffins and croissants, to enjoy with the hot or cold drinks. Home to mouth-watering desserts such as the ever-popular cheesecake with berry compote topping, red velvet cake, chocolate mousse cake, pana cotta served in chic little jars, Affogato for those who enjoy coffee in their dessert too, among the others that are being served on the day. Catering to the morning crowd, Ministry of Coffee also has a hearty selection of breakfast bagels with different fillings such as the fresh labneh and zaatar bagel with capsicum, cucumbers, and olives, or their smoked salmon bagel topped with avocado, capers, and fresh dill on a sesame bagel. “We made sure our menu is healthy, light, diverse, and something you wouldn’t mind having with a cup of coffee or tea.”
Having faced some difficulties along the way, Tariq says it is inevitable things will change from concept to execution, but still happy with how he was able to transfer his ideas into the space, and achieved spectacular results.
Tariq says they are hoping to expand around Bahrain to bring the Ministry of Coffee experience closer to all their customers, starting off by setting a branch in Budaiya.
A crisp cup of coffee or a warm cup of tea with the delectable light bites, as the smooth jams play in the background, set the tone for a calm and relaxing visit to the stylish coffee shop, Ministry of Coffee is the ideal location for those who want nothing more than a warm welcome from a place in which they can take the time to really enjoy the main reason they ended up there in the first place: a good cup of coffee.
For more information:
Friday – Saturday 10am – 10pm
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