One’s Erasmus year rarely includes a lot of studying. There comes a time where one must focus. Sometimes (all the time), the stale air in the library and the three floors of internal suffering and panic don’t make for helpful revision. So I sought out a place with a calm and jovial atmosphere, away from all the dread of Roma Tre library.
It just so happens, not 100 metres from the university, there is a little cafe called Le Storie.
I found it and was amazed. Stefania Stefanini runs the place. Her inimitable charm and grace are a staple of Le Storie. Over the year(s) she has become a dear friend. I went to see her in my brief trip to Rome recently. Le Storie remains a breath of fresh air in the unkempt Quartiere San Paolo.
I spent countless hours of my erasmus here reading; writing; and socialising. Le Storie is friendly and warm. Stefania also stocks a litany of progressive literature as well as all the course books you could ever need. The coffee there is of great quality, unlike the sludge they serve here in England. I must thank my friend Edorado for gifting me a vintage Bialetti.
In all, this is the place to go for a peaceful solution to your mounting workload. Fresh food in ample portions, relaxed atmosphere and excellent coffee. This is the place to escape your university woes for a few hours.
Lest we forget, it is also one of the more beautifully put together cafes in the San Paolo area. A testament to Stefania’s excellent taste.
When you go, make sure to tell Stefania: “Cedric says ti voglio bene!”
Let’s talk about Chris Stacey.
Tucked in a narrow alleyway between two semi-detached houses on 35 Dane Rd, Coventry, you’ll find Stacey’s repairs.
Resurrecting my car from its sorry state was nothing short of a miracle. For the sake of my insurance company and likely-shaking mother, I’d like to make it clear I was not in an accident.
The fact of the matter is, I cannot park to save my life. With my previous job, I drove on average over 1000 miles per month, visiting dozens of department stores and high streets. Needless to say, parking was a nightmare. Some car parks are more manageable than others.
Being without a car is possibly one of the most trying experiences of my time on earth. Having to cycle to my various appointments was a prime example of first world problems. In reality it wasn’t so trying at all.
Chris Stacey is an exceptional mechanic. In the space of a week, he managed to remove any trace of my incapacity to park. The photograph does not show that the other side of the car was similarly scratched and that there was a dent in the rear bumper from Warwick University’s Car Park 8. I’d managed to back it into a yellow pillar of all things. You’d have thought I’d have seen it.
The above picture is of Chris’ new garage space. It should be finished imminently and promises to boost Chris’ productivity and output.
An astute and highly efficient mechanic, Chris Stacey promised to make my car seem as though it were brand new. And he did so wonderfully. Even when I bought it, the car did not look as good. His price is fair and reflective of the high standard of his work.
Stacey’s service is incomparable to many mechanics which have previously worked on my car. Yes, mother, I’m afraid there have been a few appointments to the body shop I didn’t tell you about. Chris exceeded his promise to drive me from the garage to my home. He also drove me to a bakery and a Polish Delicatessen in order to pick up some bread and smoked ham.
The ensuing slow cooked lentil soup was a terrific success.
Chris kept me up to date with developments to my car and came to pick me up when it was ready.
Not a scratch! I am grateful to Chris for his professionalism and superb workmanship.
I could not recommend him highly enough. Strikingly new looking and fully valeted. Gold standard service.
“Yes indeed sir, a hair cut is a hair enhanced”
There are many hidden gems in Coventry. To my mind, people often laud Leamington Spa over Coventry but this is an error. The White Room is one such gem. Tucked away at 9 Hay Ln (CV1 5RF), they offer a premium service in a premium location.
Hay Lane is one of the most gorgeous streets in the city, ranking amongst my other two favourites: Spon Street and Trinity Street. It seems to have lost none of its pre-war charm. While the White Room is not one of the rare shops which have kept their original wooden beams in the ceiling, the decor is fantastic. Dozens of hanging lights scattered about; wonderful oak floors and a striking graffiti artwork on their feature wall by Phil “Philth” Drake.
Interestingly perhaps, Philth is also responsible for several of the paintings on the wall of The White Room.
Upon entering, one is greeted by a friendly smile and directed to the nearest ornate Chesterfield fainting couch, pictured below. a cup of tea or coffee follows in quick succession. I would suggest putting a tissue or some sort of mug cover over it if you plan on consuming it during your sheering. Nobody on this earth takes their coffee with hair. Well perhaps Ned Flanders.
There are a range of hairdressers to choose from, each with their own amount of experience, priced accordingly. I’ve never been disappointing by a haircut here as of yet, which is an achievement as I’m quite meticulous about my hair cuts.
The best part of this fine salon is that on Mondays and Tuesdays students get their hair cut 50% off. It pains me to think students at my university go to the Warwick University hairdressers, which have disappointed me each and every time I’ve been, whereas this hair utopia is a mere 3 miles away.
In summation, I suggest this salon for three reasons: excellent service; masterfully skilled hairdressers and rare glamour in the heart of Coventry.
The White Room Hair Salon Coventry
Trying to escape the rain on a Tuesday morning, I found myself in the beautifully wallpapered foyer of the Cosy Club. The first question I ask myself is where this place has been all my life.
The floor and ceiling have seen better days, but perhaps one could consider it adds charm to this post-colonial themed haven in the heart of Coventry. A comparatively young chain of restaurants/bars, with only 22 locations around the country, this chain was started by three enterprising young men around 10 years ago. Since then growth has been astounding, The Cosy Club intend to open 6 more UK stores by August of this year.
The waiters are exquisitely dressed, each with their own take on the traditional bartender style – low cut waistcoat; rolled up sleeves; slightly too short jeans with colourful socks. They contribute to the cosy, would you believe, atmosphere of this restaurant. Now, I happened to be here on a Tuesday so I took full advantage of their Tapas Tuesday offer: three plates of tapas and a house wine for £12.95. The portions were modest in size but nonetheless astoundingly delicious.
In the end I chose the honey glazed pigs in blankets; pulled chicken and chorizo and pork & beef meatballs. Pigs in blankets are always a religious experience. This feeling of pure unequalled ecstasy is something vegans will never understand and, in this reviewer’s opinion, the reason why the majority of them look frequently upset.
What a splendid coincidence that Cosy Club happens to have the same initials as my own name. At the risk of sounding conceited, I was pleased to have the impression of having a monogrammed napkin.
The meatballs were succulent and covered in a delicious red wine and tomato sauce. They paired well with the soft ciabatta bread.
I was slightly disappointed by the final of the three dishes. The potatoes were not as crispy as described in the menu and I found it lacked salt. The problem with these kinds of dishes is that one cannot overdo the portions. Punters find themselves too stuffed for dessert. So in removing the potatoes from their dish, the Cosy Club would be saving money on potatoes and making money on their desserts. Just a suggestion.
Overall, my experience at the Cosy Club Coventry was superb. The waiters enjoy their work, this is demonstrated by the exceptional service. When one speaks to them, they do not look around to see if other customers are looking frustrated, they are engaged and focused on you. Many coffee bars could learn a thing or two about customer service from them.
I suggest this grand old place to those in the mood for something upmarket and classy in the centre of Coventry.
On a side note, their espresso is top shelf.
Rah! Rah! Rah!