An Aberdeen family will bring the taste of Asia to Holburn Street with an “Instagrammable” coffee shop.
Mahmud Sirazudullah and his wife Mimi Nahid have dreamed of opening a cafe “at the heart of Aberdeen” for as long as they can remember.
The pair moved from London to the Granite City 10 years ago, having fallen in love with the north-east during summer holidays.
And for the last decade, they have been looking for the perfect location to start a new venture inspired by their love for food and traveling.
Now, after years of planning and many setbacks, their dream is finally coming to life.
Disused Holburn Street unit to be brought back to life
Mahmud and Mimi have transformed the disused unit on 33 Holburn Street into a vibrant pink coffee shop, which will offer something “different and unusual”.
Cafe Oregano will have a more diverse menu, including Asian food and drinks.
Drawn by its central location, Mahmud took over the vacant unit several years ago.
The 46-year-old first tried to convert it into a pizza and kebab shop.
But he was refused permission last July after neighbours complained about the potential smell.
The determined pair continued polishing their plans.
“It’s been a lifelong dream of ours, but our concept truly came to life in the last couple of years,” Mimi adds.
“Opening a new business is definitely a risk, but we are all up for it.”
What would be on offer at the cafe?
Decorated with a pink cherry blossom tree design, the new venue will bring a taste of Asia to Aberdeen with healthy snacks and Indian spiced tea.
Other options will include noodles and dumplings, as well as staples such as toasties and cakes.
Sitting on one of their newly polished tables, Mahmud and Mimi explain their focus is on offering customers “ready-to-go” food that is healthy and convenient.
One of the areas will be transformed into a “selfie corner” for Instagrammers.
When will it open?
The cafe will open next Friday, February 23.
During opening week, all customers will be able to get 15% off their bill when they follow Cafe Oregano on social media.
‘It was the right time to take a risk’
Encouraged by other businesses opening up in the area, Mahmud and Mimi say this was the “right time” to take a leap.
Running a cafe is a far cry from Mimi’s expertise… She also owns the beauty salon Hubun Brow and Nail down the street.
But with Mahmud’s 10 years of experience in catering and some creative input from their 18-year-old daughter Yana, they believe they’re on the right track.
Mahmud adds: “There have been so many new restaurants and cafes opening up in the last year, and that’s what encouraged us to give it go.
“We are trying to bring a new concept for Aberdeen, and with so many students and workers in the area we hope it will be a huge success.
“It was the right time to take a risk, and just do it.”