Leeds’ much-loved Laynes Espresso, down by the station, has a second outlet, perhaps best described as a pop-up concession (although it’s permanent) on the ground floor of the sprawling Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen. Occupying a simple counter at the back of the main room, at first sight there’s not a lot to Laynes Espresso, just the espresso machine, some cake and a bar with three stools. There’s no pour-over filter and none of the food (not even toast!) that you’ll find at Laynes HQ.
However, scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find there’s a lot more than meets the eye. Since Laynes is part of Belgrave Music Hall, you can take your coffee and sit anywhere you like, including the roof terrace. You want food? There’s burgers (Patty Smiths) and pizza (Dough Boys). There’s even a bar… And, once a month, Laynes takes the place over for Sunday brunch!
August 2017: I’ve learnt that Laynes has closed its operation in Belgrave Hall. Thanks to Wayne for the heads-up.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Belgrave Music Hall and Canteen, as the name suggests, is a music hall and canteen. Except it’s not a music hall anymore. It is, however, a canteen. And a music/art/film venue. And a bar. And a coffee shop. Which is what brought me here.
At first sight, though, it doesn’t look like there’s a coffee shop, but have faith. Stepping inside, you come across the Dough Boys serving pizza, with plenty of seating to your left and right. Skip this and head up the steps to the main room, where it feels like you’ve walked into a crowded bar. Which is probably because you have. The bar itself is to the right, while the majority of the space is taken up with seating, tables in the middle and, opposite the bar by the windows on the left, a pleasing row of pairs of back-to-back sofas, facing coffee tables. This creates the impression of booths without all the bother of partitions.
Press on and, right at the back, just before the stairs, you’ll find a small serving hatch, which we’ll return to. Opposite that, on the left, is Laynes Espresso, occupying a simple counter which looks as if it’s made of chipboard. Roughly one third houses the lovely Victoria Arduino lever espresso machine, another third the grinder and a small cake selection, with the final third given over to seating in the form of three bar stools. However, don’t despair: since Laynes is an integral part of Belgrave Music Hall, you can take your coffee and sit where you like (I recommend the sofas or the roof terrace).
Laynes serves a cut-down coffee menu, just espresso (using Square Mile’s Red Brick) which can be had as is or with milk, conveniently listed by size (4oz, 6oz, 8oz). I was well-looked after by barista Jordan who made me a very fine 4oz coffee, which, better still, came in a proper cup (well, in a glass actually). However, the point is that despite its temporary-seeming nature, there’s no only-paper-cups nonsense at Laynes!
Turning to the serving hatch, this is the second kitchen, which houses Patty Smiths, except for one Sunday a month, when Laynes’ takes it (and the ground floor) over to serve brunch (check Laynes’ website for details). Although I didn’t experience it myself, by all accounts this has become something of a Leeds institution, with people queuing to get in!
|1A CROSS BELGRAVE STREET • LEEDS • LS2 8JP|
|www.laynesespresso.co.uk||+44 (0) 7828 823189|
|Monday||11:00 – 18:00||Roaster||Square Mile (espresso)|
|Tuesday||11:00 – 18:00||Seating||Tables, Sofas, Roof Terrace|
|Wednesday||11:00 – 18:00||Food||Cake (brunch one Sunday a month)|
|Thursday||11:00 – 18:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||11:00 – 18:00||Cards||Cash Only|
|Saturday||11:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||11:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||19th June 2014|
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