Panna

A flat white from Panna, Liverpool, in an interestingly-shaped cup and saucer.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, at the western end of Liverpool's Titheburn Street.
  • The planters and the big window are deceptive though, since the entrance isn't here.
  • The planters screen off the outside seating, not much in evidence durng my December visit!
  • Panna's actual address, by the way, is Silkhouse Court, although it's accessible from the street.
  • Once you get close enough, a sign on the wall tells you that you've come to the right place...
  • ... as does the A-board outside on the pavement.
  • If you're coming the other way along Titheburn Street, you can see that Panna's downstairs...
  • ... where the entrance is in this little courtyard below street level...
  • ... accessed by this flight of stairs to the right of Panna.
  • Inside, Panna is surprisingly big. This is the view from just inside the door...
  • ... while this is the view from the other corner, looking back towards Titheburn Street.
  • The seating is a simple array of tables and chairs, laid out in rows.
  • Most of them are four-person tables.
  • However, there are a couple of smaller tables/chairs against the right-hand wall.
  • This artwork is tucked away in the corner to the left...
  • ... while flowers (and Christmas decorations) adorn the tables.
  • Interesting.
  • There's a big feature on Panna on the wall above the water station to the right of the door.
  • Meanwhile, to the left, there's the retail shelves.
  • This is the window that we could see from the street, Panna's only source of nature light.
  • Probably just as well that Panna's full of lights (and Christmas decorations).
  • One more shot, I promise (I suspect that the Christmas decorations have gone by now).
  • The counter is at the back, running the width of Panna.
  • The menus are on the wall above the counter...
  • There's breakfast (until 11.30) and all day brunch/lunch.
  • I was there far too late for the breakfast menu, which was a shame since it looked interesting.
  • However, the brunch/lunch menu looked just as interesting.
  • All the food is prepared in the small kitchen behind the counter.
  • Intrigued by the avocado and mozzarella omlette, I decided to have one for my lunch.
  • If I'd come earlier, I could have had a sandwich from the display case at the counter's end.
  • Of course, there were also biscuits...
  • ... and other sweet things on offer.
  • However, I wanted coffee.
  • The coffee menus are on the wall to the right of the counter.
  • There's a fairly standard espresso-based menu...
  • ... and a very non-standard alcohol-based one!
  • During my visit, Panna was using Has Bean's Smooth Criminal espresso blend...
  • ... so I tried it as a flat white to go with my lunch (note the interesting cup/saucer).
  • This is the full coffee range, by the way, with Neighbourhood Coffee doing the filter.
  • I went for the Born Sippin', an Ethiopian Yirgacheffe, through the V60.
  • Very coarse grind.
  • Ivana is at the controls!
  • After letting the coffee bloom, she tops up the V60...
  • .. and lets it filter through.
  • The coffee is served, as it should be, in a carafe, with a cup on the side.
  • Here it is in the cup.
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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)
Sunday CLOSED Power No
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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