With all the discussions around the major coffee shop chains dodging corporate tax payments the time seems right to give a quick rundown on independents I regularly frequent in Leeds city centre.
If you’re a regular reader of my thoughts here you’ll already be aware that I previously reviewed Moments Coffee on Swinegate (near to Malmaison & Cosmopolitan hotels). This is definitely one of my favourites in the city, with a friendly team, relaxed spacious layout and perfect for people watching if you’re lucky enough to grab the sofa in the window. Think I’ve had the best sausage sandwich of my life served to me in here!
Mrs Athas is another place I can’t get enough of, on Central Road next door to Little Tokyo (behind House of Fraser)! This place is the ultimate of ‘indie’ in independents, with a cavernous main room of exposed brick walls and a quirky little downstairs seated area & kitchen. Not only do they have a funky choice of cakes, they also do light snacks and sandwiches – and open later on the weekend serving a range of wines, making this the perfect place for a quieter start to your party night where you can chat & catch up before heading out to the louder Call Lane area bars. The bonus for me with Mrs Athas is the free WiFi!
Talking of an impressive serving area, how could I not include Vanilla One based in the Corn Exchange? The service & seating is all based out in the main hall of the building so you can’t fail to be impressed with the views, and it’s also another perfect spot for sitting & watching the World go by as people browse the local independent stores. If you’re a tea drinker then this is also likely to be the place for you, with an extensive range to choose from.
For the chocolate lovers amongst us then an afternoon visit to Heaven should probably be part of your plan. Don’t be fooled by the small area on the ground floor, as they’ve another couple of floors dedicated to seating. They do a range of sandwiches, but they’ve also a huge amount of delicious handmade chocolates for you to choose from – perfect to accompany your coffee break.
My most recent discovery is Hepworth’s Deli, hidden away in Thorntons Arcade just off Briggate. Unfortunately it’s really restricted on the number of available seats, as it’s just got 3 tables and a couple of ledges to sit at, but if you’re looking for somewhere to relax then fingers crossed you’ll be lucky enough to grab one of those limited spaces. They’ve got the usual goods that you’d expect from a deli, including a range of pate, olives, oils and other delights. Along with this they also offer a great hot brunch menu, from which I can personally recommend the Eggs Benedict!
What list would be complete without mention of Laynes Expresso on New Station Street, just off Boar Lane. They’ve quickly established themselves a loyal following, with their range of tasty treats and even tastier coffee. This is another place that has further seating available downstairs, so don’t let the lack of seating in the main room put you off a visit.