Velvet Elvis Emporium & Espresso, Durham
When I read the headline ‘Adam Sandler is moving to Durham, England’ I figured it was a joke. Who knows if there’s any truth in it, but what I do know is that I’ve been spending a lot of time in Durham recently as there’s lots of interesting things going on, food-wise. One place I was curious about trying was Velvet Elvis, which was featured in a Buzzfeed article on why you should visit the city. When you see a photo of a milkshake looking like THAT, you don’t pass up the opportunity to visit a cafe, believe me!
Unfortunately I didn’t get to sample this amazing looking doughnut dessert-cum-milkshake jobby as they didn’t have all the ingredients, but I did get to try out one of their salads and a different sort of shake when I visited.
Situated just over Framwellgate Bridge, Velvet Elvis has moved a few doors up from its previous location. Unfortunately this means the views out of the window of their new cafe aren’t quite as picturesque as before. Still, the menu more than makes up for it. This cafe above a vintage clothes store has plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, plus some bits and bobs for omnivores. Avoiding the obvious vegetarian choices like Falafel and a Ploughman’s Lunch, I ordered a Grilled Halloumi and Watermelon Salad.
Everything was prepared from scratch in the open plan kitchen and was served quickly. At just £4.30 it was one of the more expensive dishes Velvet Elvis have on the menu, but was a considerable portion size. In fact, I struggled to plough through my plateful! Using peppery rocket and spinach as a base to balance the sweetness of the goji berries and watermelon, it was filling and nutritious. Dressed with honey and a light oil, the salad also featured salty halloumi which was not scrimped upon.
My Strawberry Cheesecake milkshake chaser (£3) counteracted any health benefits derived from the salad with a considerable helping of whipped cream and strawberry syrup. Topped with a Lotus biscuit, it drew admiring glances from other tables. It tasted exactly like a strawberry cheesecake would; creamy and slightly tart. It may not have reached the dizzy heights of the brownie-topped milkshake I had at Great British Cupcakery, but it was enjoyable nevertheless.
The cafe has a relaxed atmosphere and is popular with students, as you’d imagine it would from its city centre location. There are tables downstairs for those with mobility issues, and I was told the cafe is dog-friendly on the ground floor too. Having an open plan kitchen means they can’t go upstairs, which is understandable. The laid-back vibe and friendly staff made me want to hang round for longer, but Dinky was in a fussy mood when we visited. I took the opportunity to browse the clothes and jewellery – which is handmade by the owner – as I was leaving and was impressed.
Velvet Elvis is definitely somewhere I’d pop back to, especially with Mr. Canny. He’d appreciate the vegan options on the menu, as well as the purse-friendly prices. There are lunchtime offers such as a sandwich and a drink for just £3, which is a bargain. I still need to try out that doughnut milkshake, too!
Thanks for reading,