Panna, located in Liverpool’s business district, just north of the centre, is tucked away in the basement of Silkhouse Court on Tythebarn Street. In a city full of lovely, old Victorian buildings (such as the nearby old Exchange Station), this is a disappointing slice of modern, stark, concrete functionality. The setting notwithstanding, Panna’s a lovely spot and, for somewhere that’s effectively a basement and entirely below street level, it’s surprisingly bright.
Panna opened in 2013, offering baguettes and coffee. However, the offering’s steadily expanded as demand has grown. These days there’s an interesting and innovative breakfast menu (to 11.30) and an equally interesting and innovative all-day brunch/lunch menu, with all the food prepared in the small kitchen behind the counter. Sandwiches are still available, as is a range of cakes and cookies.
The coffee side of Panna has also grown, with Has Bean providing the espresso blend and, since last summer, local roasters Neighbourhood Coffee offering a selection of single-origin filters through the V60. These were introduced to give customers something different from the typical Americanos, Panna being rewarded with a slow migration to pour-over. There’s also an interesting range of alcohol-based coffees and loose-leaf tea, served in individual infusers.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Panna’s easily enough missed if you don’t know what you’re looking for. I actually walked past the entrance, a flight of concrete steps, as I approached along Tythebarn Street and almost walked past Panna itself. Fortunately Panna should be easier to spot in the summer (I was there in December), when the pavement in front of the solitary window houses an outdoor seating area. If you need a convenient landmark, Panna (and Silkhouse Court) are opposite the Travelodge.
Once you find Panna, the steps are a little way to the right and lead to a small, enclosed courtyard below street-level, the doors to Panna on the far side. Stepping inside, Panna has a simple layout. The door’s on the right-hand side, with the front wall running along Tythebarn Street, directly behind the pavement seating area. The top half of this wall is a long, thin window, which, along with the glass doors, is Panna’s only source of natural light. Despite this, there are plenty of lights hanging from the ceiling, which make it a surprisingly bright spot. The décor, white, painted walls and wooden floor/furniture, also helps.
The white, tiled counter, inset into the back wall, runs with the width of Panna, while the seating consists of three rows of tables of varying sizes (mostly four-person, but with one 10-person communal table and one two-person table). These run down the centre of Panna and along the left-hand wall, leaving a generous gap to the right, giving easy access to the counter.
Panna is run by Ivana and Peter, a friendly, welcoming Slovak couple. It struck me, first and foremost, as somewhere to come for food, either breakfast or brunch/lunch, but backed up with top-notch coffee. It also has excellent service, something which can occasionally let more coffee-orientated places down.
I was there for a (late) lunch and, in an unusual move for me, eschewed my normal Eggs Benedict (or variations thereon), instead opting for an omelette. I don’t often have omelettes because, when they’re done badly, they can be a huge let down. However, when done well, such as the avocado and mozzarella one I had in Panna, they can be a delight. Fairly thin and crisp, mine was done to perfection, with slightly crispy edges. Unsurprisingly, the mozzarella didn’t dominate, and neither did the avocado, leading to a very pleasant, well-balanced lunch. Having sung the omelette’s praises, the undoubted highlight was actually the exceptionally-crunchy toast that came on the side.
I accompanied this with a flat white, made with the house-blend, which came in an interesting cup/saucer combination. The cup had a massive handle (10/10 for usability) and a weirdly-curved saucer which kept making me think that the table was on a slope… The flat white itself was okay, but if I’m being critical, it was surprisingly large (10oz) and hot. Once it had cooled a bit, it had a lovely, creamy consistency and very smooth taste.
I followed this up with a V60, using Neighbourhood Coffee’s Born Sippin’, an Ethiopian Konga Yirgacheffe, which was really well made by Ivana. It’s a very subtle, delicate coffee and while I didn’t quite get the strawberries mentioned on the packet, it was very fruity. Served in a carafe with a lid, it came with the same 10oz cup on the side.
|SILKHOUSE COURT • TITHEBARN STREET • LIVERPOOL • L2 2LZ|
|www.pannaliverpool.com||+44 (0) 151 227 4764|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Has Bean (espresso) + Neighbourhood (filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||CLOSED||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Chain||No||Visits||16th December 2015|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Liverpool for more great Coffee Spots.
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