Opposite is a chain of three coffee shops in Leeds. The original Opposite (opposite Leeds University, hence the name) is 10 years old, while the third, out in Chapel Allerton, opened just over a year ago. This, the second Opposite, opened five years ago, under the soaring stained-glass arcades of the Victoria Quarter shopping centre in the heart of Leeds.
The Victoria Quarter branch is an interesting hybrid. It’s a kiosk, and feels like it should be a takeaway spot, but it’s got seating. However, despite the soaring glass ceiling, it’s not exactly the same as sitting inside, which I discovered on a freezing day in February where it was about as a warm as sitting out on the street… That said, it is an absolutely magnificent setting and well worth visiting. Just remember to wrap up warm. Or go in the summer.
Despite its small size, the Victoria Quarter Opposite packs a lot in, including a full range of espresso-based drinks, along with filter options (all from London’s Square Mile). There’s also a decent range of food, including sandwiches and cakes. The only downside is that all the drinks are served in takeaway cups…
January 2017: Sadly I have learnt that Opposite’s Victoria Quarter branch has had to close. It will be sadly missed.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
In typical Coffee Spot fashion, I’m visiting the branches of Opposite in reverse order, having started with Chapel Allerton last summer before moving onto Victoria Quarter. Presumably one day I will get around to visiting the original. I could wax lyrical about the Victoria Quarter shopping arcade for a long, long time. Regular readers will know of my love of Victorian shopping arcades, which, in my opinion, make the perfect setting for an independent coffee shop. However, time is short and I’ve packed the gallery full of pictures, so I’ll leave it at that.
Technically speaking, the Victoria Quarter isn’t actually a Victorian arcade, although it is next to one, the equally stupendous County Arcade, built in 1900. Instead, it’s a street (Queen Victoria Street) which runs between two three-storey Victorian brick-built buildings, which was renovated and roofed over in 1990, an early part of Leeds’ regeneration (and technically, the tag Victoria Quarter applies to both the street and its associated arcades…).
Victoria Quarter runs west-east from The Briggate to Vicar Lane. Opposite is located inside an octagonal kiosk at western (top end) of the arcade, just past the Harvey Nichols espresso bar. If you come from The Briggate, you’re actually approaching Opposite from behind since the seating is on the eastern side of the kiosk, occupying the space between Harvey Nichols and the fountains near the junction of the County and Cross Arcades.
In fact, you have a choice of seating. There are five high, round tables located between the kiosk and the fountains, each with four fixed bar stools. Alternatively, you can sit at one of two bars on the actual kiosk itself, each with four fixed bar stools, making a total of 28 seats in all. If you do sit at the bars though, watch out for random podcasters! (It was where Paul and I recorded the Coffee Spot episodes of Espressno.)
The setup at Opposite is impressive given the limited space that the barista has to work with. Standing in the centre of the kiosk I reckon, with both arms outstretched, I could almost reach the opposite walls. Despite the lack of space, Opposite boasts three grinders (house-blend, decaf and filter), a two-group Synesso Hydra espresso machine and filter coffee (Aeropress and pour-over). As well as coffee, there’s also tea, hot chocolate and soft drinks, plus, on the food front, a small selection of cake. At lunchtime, there’s also a choice of three sandwiches: one meat, one fish and one veggie. If that wasn’t enough, Opposite also sells beans and coffee-making kit!
Paul and I had the filter, a Kenyan Kithiga AA, as an Aeropress. I found this a little bit acidic, but this more down to taste/personal preference than anything, given my on-going struggles with Kenyans. Once I’d got rid of Paul (who is lovely, by the way, despite all the mean things I say about him), I had a decaf flat white. In the past, I’ve struggled with Square Mile’s decaf, but this was excellent and very smooth, while the milk was amazing, holding its pattern to the bottom of the cup. By then it was lunchtime, so I had a very fine lemon, herb and hummus sandwich to round things off.
|VICTORIA QUARTER • QUEEN VICTORIA STREET • LEEDS • LS1 6AZ|
|www.oppositecafe.co.uk||+44 (0) 7818 433082|
|Monday||09:00 – 17:00||Roaster||Square Mile (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||09:00 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Bar|
|Wednesday||09:00 – 17:00||Food||Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||09:00 – 17:00||Service||Counter|
|Friday||09:00 – 17:00||Payment||Cash Only|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with login)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 17:00||Power||No|
|Chain||Local||Visits||7th February 2015|
Liked this? Then take a look at the rest of the speciality coffee scene in Leeds with the Coffee Spot Guide to Leeds.
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