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Aston Graduates set up continental coffee house

Kamila Khan
Pictured: Kamila Khan

18 March 2014

Aston University graduates who have set-up a new coffee house in Birmingham are hoping to create a continental ‘café culture’ across the city. 

Kamila Khan and Mariam Hussain felt there was a space in the market for a new kind of independent café. They founded Dolce Lounge to try and capture the alternative experience provided by coffee houses in major European cities such as Paris, Rome and Venice.

Logistics graduate Kamila said: “If you want to grab a coffee or patisserie in Birmingham then you really have to go to a chain store. We came to realise there was a need for a coffee house that offered something the chains don’t provide – an individual, personal touch.

“We wanted to create something different, something that evokes the kinds of cafés you see in France that serve delicious coffee and great pastries. We tried to recreate that kind of European café culture, where people do not accept second-best because it is a way of life for them.”

We came to realise there was a need for a coffee house that offered something the chains don’t provide – an individual, personal touch

The entrepreneurs, who have been friends since they attended Primary School together, began looking for suitable locations for Dolce Lounge after graduating in 2013. After finding a good site on Corporation Street, they set about refurbishing it by themselves.

“The café was originally a working office when I viewed the building in June,” explained Kamila. “As soon as I saw it, though, I knew it could be made into a nice, warm, cosy venue.

“As soon as we were given the lease, we rebuilt the entire interior – taking out the carpet, changing doors, pushing a wall back, installing lighting and cookers and putting up wood panelling. It was tough but I am delighted with how distinctive the café now looks.”

Before opening Dolce Lounge, Kamila and Business and Management graduate Mariam conducted extensive research into the practices of their Birmingham based competitors. They concluded quality of service and products was generally quite poor.

Kamila said: “Researching made us even more determined to create a fantastic place to drink, eat, relax and be social. From serving Italian gelato instead of ice cream, because it’s healthier and tastier, to using more expensive pearl sugar in our Belgian waffles, we aim to be the best.”

Dolce Lounge, at 203 Corporation Street, is open from 8am-11pm every day of the week. There is a 10% discount for all Aston students and staff. Follow them on Twitter here

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For further media information, please contact Jonathan Garbett, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or j.garbett@aston.ac.uk   

Dolce Lounge is offering a 10% discount for all Aston students and staff.