Café Nura Feels Like Coffee in Casablanca
With assorted coffee drinks, smoothies and simple, but tasty food, Café Nura makes you want to play it again.
Walk into Café Nura in Webster Groves, and you might momentarily think you're walking into a coffee shop in Casablanca.
Four ceiling fans spin lazily above, and the décor is vaguely Middle Eastern. Gauzy curtains are open to reveal a separate room with a couch and chairs. You may even see people in the room smoking a hookah, a tobacco-filled water pipe with hoses for drawing out the smoke.
Located at 117 E. Lockwood Ave. in Webster Groves, Café Nura is a coffee shop that also offers cappuccinos, lattes, teas and hot chocolates. You'll also find fruit smoothies, salads, sandwiches, oatmeal and yogurt parfait, and the aforementioned hookah pipes with an assortment of fruit-flavored tobaccos to smoke.
If you're wondering how hookah smoking can be allowed with the anti-smoking ordinance, a story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explains that hookah lounges don't exactly fit the ordinance. The city and surrounding communities are trying to decide what the parameters of hookah lounges should be. For the time being, they are being allowed, but unless the law as it stands now is changed, their exemption will end in 2016.
But I was here for the coffee and a sandwich. There's only one kind of coffee offered—Mississippi Mud. That's enough. It was singularly good—deep, rich and satisfying. If the cappuccino and latte live up to that standard, they will be fine indeed.
The sandwiches on the menu—seven of them, all sporting the names of streets in Webster Groves—feature some interesting combinations such as the Elm with turkey, tomato, cucumber, cream cheese and Granny Smith apples ($6.50) or the Grove with spinach, feta, hummus, cucumber, roasted red pepper, tomato and red onion ($5.50). You'll also find Café Nura's more traditional offerings such as chicken and tuna salad.
I choose the Lockwood, a roast beef sandwich with havarti cheese, lettuce, tomato, red onion and tzatziki sauce ($6.50). The roast beef is not made in-house, but piled generously between whole grain oat-nut bread that was fresh and soft. The havarti was a perfect choice, the lettuce and tomato were fresh, the thinly sliced red onion offered a subtle and welcomed bite, and the tasty tzatziki sauce was applied in just the right amount.
I also tried one of two salads offered. The Nura ($5.50 for large and $3.25 for small)—consisting of romaine lettuce, tomatoes, green and sweet olives and house dressing—was a plain affair, but the veggies were fresh and the olives were tangy and delicious.
A light sprinkling of feta would have worked wonders, as well as substituting cherry tomatoes, since they carry more flavor out of season. The salad was either underdressed or completely lacking the house dressing, easily remedied by requesting more on the side.
The food wasn't mind-blowing, but was fresh and reasonably priced, good when you don't want to make a fuss or hurt your pocketbook. For that reason, I might return for another cup of that fabulous Mississippi Mud coffee and try a different sandwich while I'm at it.
On the way out, I got a Mango Tango smoothie and finished it as I arrived home. I was sorely tempted to turn around and go back for another, perhaps a Very Berry.
Café Nura is located at 117 E. Lockwood Ave. in Webster Groves. Hours are Monday through Wednesday from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m., Thursday and Friday from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. or later, Saturday from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. or later, and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.