Small Batch, Norfolk Square

The Small Batch Logo: two gentlemen on a tandem, one holding a coffee pot, the other a mug. Above is written "DRINK SMALL BATCH COFFEE" and below "It's good for what ails you".Given that I’ve written about both Small Batch’s coffee and about places serving Small Batch, I thought it about time that I wrote about Small Batch itself. For those who don’t know, Small Batch is a well-established and well-respected roaster and coffee shop chain in Brighton and Hove, which I covered on one of my first assignments for Caffeine Magazine. In all, there are four Small Batch coffee shops in Brighton and Hove, with coffee stalls at both Brighton and Hove stations, and a roastery/café in Hove. Naturally, this being the Coffee Spot, I started at the end, not the beginning, visiting the newest Small Batch of all, the Norfolk Square branch.

On the busy Western Road, between Brighton and Hove, this might be the most beautiful of all the Small Batches. Located in an old bank branch, it is an elegant, bright, high-ceilinged space, enhanced by an island counter that subtly dominates the room. There’s a range of seating, including at the counter itself, where you can watch the espresso machine in action or marvel at the brew bar on the opposite side. You can also sit outside if you wish.

And, of course, there’s Small Batch’s excellent coffee.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Small Batch's latest outpost on the corner of Norfolk Square, along the Western Road.
  • There's a choice of outside seating: these three tables on the Western Road itself...
  • ... or round here on the terrace overlooking Norfolk Square. However, that was in 2013.
  • Since then, the pair of tables on the terrace have been replaced by this neat bar...
  • ... which, if I'm honest, I prefer.
  • Another improvement has occurred up above. No, not the railings. They were always there.
  • I'm talking about the hanging baskets.
  • Something else that was there from the start: Small Batch's logo/slogan on an outside wall.
  • Time to go inside through the two sets of double doors.
  • Inside things are dominated by the horseshoe-shaped island counter.
  • When you're ready to order, head around to the left, where you'll find the till/order point.
  • If you've ordered filter coffee, you can go around the other side and sit at the brew bar.
  • The counter, as seen from the back, where it looks more like an 'M' than a horseshoe...
  • This is where you come in, directly opposite the cake. How did that happen, I wonder?
  • If you want to, sit at the end of the counter, with a view of both espresso machine & brew bar.
  • Alternatively, keep on going round. This is what the counter looked like two years ago.
  • Now, however, it's the brew bar, complete with cold-brew aparatus, V60 and Chemex...
  • ... and its own EK-43.
  • If sitting at the counter doesn't take your fancy, how about the table by the window?
  • No? Well, keep going around and there's more seating options to the left of the door.
  • You could try one of the two high tables, with their high-backed bar chairs...
  • ... or there's the padded bench along the back wall. The flowers are a nice touch.
  • If you only want a table for two, though, try the padded bench on the right-hand wall.
  • Finally, you could sit outside if you like.
  • Back inside, and the back wall is beautifully decorated: sunrise over Brighton seafront.
  • The right-hand wall has these two lovely, long mirrors.
  • Small Batch through the looking glass.
  • The light-fittings are something to behold. There are three of these lighting rings.
  • One of the lighting rings in detail.
  • There are also these lamps on the walls.
  • I was particularly taken with them...
  • ... as you can see.
  • Did I mention that the cake is right in front of you as you come in? Nice display, by the way.
  • The cakes from two years ago.
  • As well as serving coffee, Small Batch sells it. New arrivals are on a board behind the door.
  • Originally, the coffee for sale was laid out on the counter...
  • However, they are now on the retail shelf by the door, which is much neater...
  • ... and frees up the counter for seating.
  • The concise menu is next to the till...
  • ... while details of the filter offerings are over on the brew bar. I rather fancied one of these, but the brew bar closes at four and I got there at five... Go me!
  • Instead I had to settle for something from the espresso machine.
  • Not a great hardship really, especially with Small Batch's Goldstone Blend in the hopper.
  • The espresso machine in detail...
  • ... and in action. So that's what the up-turned espresso cups are for!
  • I decided to have an espresso, which came in an over-sized cup...
  • ... and accompanied by a bite-sized lemon meringue tart.
  • My friend went for a piccolo...
  • ... and a slightly out-of-focus slice of toasted banana bread.
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Norfolk Square, sloping down towards the sea, is on the southern side of Western Road, the main thoroughfare linking Brighton and Hove, situated near the boundary between the two towns. A bank used to occupy the western (Hove) side of the square, on the corner of Western Road, but in a move that can only be applauded, it turned into the latest branch of Small Batch two years ago. This, by the way, was an old-fashioned, elegant branch of the type that still graces many high streets around the country and Small Batch has made the most of it, retaining several original features.

If you fancy sitting outside, there’s a row of three four-person tables on the busy Western Road (one for each floor-to-ceiling bay window). Alternatively, there’s a quieter option, a terrace overlooking Norfolk Square, where there’s a bar lining the railings either side of a short flight of steps down to the pavement.

You enter via the main door on Western Road, although, if you like, you can use the French windows on the terrace. Coming in the front door, you immediately turn right and through another door (a legacy of the bank) which you arrive at the front of the main room, which is roughly square. The counter’s to your left, a horseshoe-shaped island, open at the back, with the cake cunningly placed on the front corner, directly ahead of you. How did that happen, I wonder?

Turn left, where you’ll find the till, menu and ordering point, cakes now to your right, espresso machine to your left. Behind you are two high, communal eight-person tables with high bar-chairs, one either side of the French windows opening onto the terrace. Alternatively, against the wood-lined back wall, beneath a painted Small Batch logo, a long, padded bench with several four-person tables runs along the left-hand part of the wall. If there isn’t space there, there’s another padded bench, this one with two-person tables, on the opposite side of the counter. This runs the full length of the right-hand wall, beneath two long mirrors.

If that wasn’t enough, you can also try the two-person table in one of the Western Road windows or you can sit on a bar-chair at the counter. Take your choice of the front, where you have both espresso machine to your left and brew bar to your right. Alternatively, you can sit at the brew bar itself and get a close-up view of your (and everyone else’s) coffee being made. However, don’t do what I did and arrive at five o’clock expecting filter coffee; the brew bar only operates from 10-4!

Denied my hoped-for pour-over (a choice of Peruvian or Bolivian through either Chemex or V60 during my visit) I chose an espresso, made using Small Batch’s standard Goldstone Blend, which I know well and  really enjoy. I wasn’t disappointed, my (double) espresso served in a surprisingly large cup. The first mouthful was really bright, but by the third (and final) mouthful it had mellowed wonderfully. My friend had a cortado, pronouncing that it went equally well in milk.

We felt obliged to try the wonderful cakes, with my friend opting for toasted banana bread, while I selected something sweeter, a lemon meringue tart, with great, crusty pasty and a lovely, creamy meringue.

111 WESTERN ROAD • BRIGHTON • BN1 2AA
http://smallbatchcoffee.co.uk +44 (0) 1273 731077
Monday 07:00 – 19:00 Roaster Small Batch (espresso + filter)
Tuesday 07:00 – 19:00 Seating Tables, Counter, Tables & Bar (outside)
Wednesday 07:00 – 19:00 Food Snacks, Cake
Thursday 07:00 – 19:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 07:00 – 19:00 Cards Mastercard, Visa
Saturday 07:00 – 19:00 Wifi No
Sunday 08:00 – 18:00 Power No
Chain Local Visits 12th September 2013, 30th March 2015

If you enjoyed this Coffee Spot, check out the rest of Brighton and Hove’s speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Brighton & Hove.

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8 thoughts on “Small Batch, Norfolk Square

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  6. Well honestly for me coffee is my one true love and coffee does make me feel refreshing. Moreover the view that you are mentioning is just beautiful and on Sunday I also use to visit place like this.

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