For Dundee tattoo artist Graham Cameron, seeing his coffee shop Höfn open up on Dundee’s Bank Street is “very surreal”.
Graham Cameron and Andrew McCallum, who run Bank Street Tattoo, have together opened the stylish new coffee shop with business partner and friend Mark Edwards.
Graham, 35, says the “alluring” dream of opening up a coffee shop was something he couldn’t resist after seeing the empty unit nearby the tattoo parlour every day.
“It was a bit of a pipedream for me, opening a coffee shop,” says Graham.
“I used to be an engineer and then a tattooist, so I’m always up for business things when they come along.
“With that premises, it had lain vacant just along from our studio since the start of last year.
“I was walking past it every day thinking ‘I want to do something with that’.”
Graham currently splits his time between the tattoo parlour on Bank Street and the coffee shop.
He told The Courier: “The reality of tattooing in your 30s is that you get a really bad back. So I know that when I get to my 40s, am I really still going to be tattooing full time? Probably not.
“So I didn’t really want to get to that age and think, what am I going to do now?
“For me, the pipedream of a coffee shop was just too alluring.”
What food can you get at Höfn coffee shop in Dundee?
Visitors to Höfn can expect a “very relaxed, chilled out atmosphere with the best coffee, the best cakes and food”, according to Graham.
“We really want people to feel welcomed when they come into this space, and to leave wanting to come back,” he says.
“So it’s very important to us that staff are very kind and friendly and accommodating in whatever way that they can be.”
There are plenty of delicious bakes on offer at the Höfn coffee shop, from a range of local bakers.
This includes fresh bread from The Newport Bakery, run by Jamie Scott and his team.
There are also Sfogliatellas – a chewy croissant-like Italian pastry – available on their menu, and nowhere else in Dundee.
They also serve granola, though Graham’s favourite item on the menu is the cinnamon roll.
“We’re trying not to bite off more than we can chew to begin with,” says Graham, “so we’re not doing any hot food necessarily.”
But all avocado lovers can fear not, as there will be avocado toast on offer.
Other savoury options include an open sandwich called Pastrami on the Sly, which involves pastrami, garlic mayo, rocket and sun-blushed tomatoes.
Graham hopes they will have hot food options like poached eggs available later this year.
The coffee available at Höfn Dundee comes from Unorthodox Roasters in Kinross, which Graham says is “exceptional coffee”.
Former barber shop needed ‘a lot of renovation’ to become gorgeous interior today
“We did all the renovations ourselves,” explains Graham.
“So having spent the last four months living and breathing it, whilst also doing our full-time jobs, it’s quite surreal having it actually open and having customers go in and out.
“It involved early mornings and some late nights, as well as working days off.
“We owe a lot to my dad who came out of retirement to help out a little bit… Which turned into him doing six day weeks for four months.
“So we owe him everything really.”
The venue needed a significant shake-up to become the modern, sleek and stylish interior it is today.
“It was a barber shop beforehand and all the walls were dark green and tiled half way up,” says Graham, “as well as having these stations where the barbers would work, that were sort of built-in with various lighting.
“It was so completely different to what I imagined the place looking like that it needed to be stripped right back.”
‘Instagrammable’ Dundee coffee shop inspired by spots abroad
Graham had a particular style in mind for the “Instragrammable” coffee shop, and clearly the time they spent on the renovation has paid off.
“We’ve got a big feature wall behind the counter with an oval shelving [unit],” he adds.
“That’s kind of what took the additional time to make it look the way that it does but I think it was worth it in the end because it doesn’t look like anywhere else.”
Höfn‘s inspiration, says Graham, comes from his own experiences while travelling.
“I really like that sort of minimal aesthetic,” he says. “When I go away travelling to other places in the world, I always like a coffee shop.
“And I think I’ve just sucked in all the different things that they’ve used. The lime-washed walls and that sort of thing, with the minimal lighting.
“It’s nice and cosy feeling that will hopefully get people coming back again and again.”