200 Degrees, the Nottingham-based roaster, only opened its first café three years ago. Then, last year, came second Nottingham outlet, down by the station, plus, in the shape of the Birmingham 200 Degrees, its first coffee shop outside Nottingham. However, 200 Degrees was only getting started. In a flurry of activity, starting in December 2016, the Leeds branch opened, followed by Cardiff in April. And then there’s the subject of today’s Coffee Spot, the Leicester 200 Degrees, which opened a month before Cardiff.
If you’re familiar with 200 Degrees, then the Leicester branch will hold few surprises. Like those that have gone before it, 200 Degrees has taken an iconic building (in this case, a jewellers in an Art Deco building) and turned it into a lovely coffee shop. All the staples are there: a plush, well-appointed interior, plenty of wood and exposed brick, plus some amazing light-fittings.
The coffee also holds no surprises, with Brazilian Love Affair, the house espresso, joined by the interestingly-named Mellowship Slinky Decaf and a single-origin guest espresso, plus another single-origin on filter, all roasted in-house. There’s cold-brew on tap, plus the usual food options, including breakfast and lunch sandwiches, salads and bucket-loads of cake.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
200 Degrees is well-located on the pedestrianised Market Street. It’s reminiscent of the Birmingham 200 Degrees on Colmore Row, although while that occupies two adjoined units, Market Street is single shop front, glorious picture windows curving in towards a central, recessed door. There’s plenty of outside seating, with four two-person tables facing each window.
Like St Martin’s, 200 Degrees is big, showing that there’s an appetite for good coffee in Leicester despite the small number of good shops. Initially, the interior is also similar to Colmore Row: long counter down the right-hand side, seating on the left and centre. However, there’s a big difference at the back: while Colmore Row is dark and moody, far from the windows at the front, Market Street opens out, the low ceiling suddenly giving way to a skylight, soaring two floors above, flooding the back with light and giving it a wonderful sense of space. However, those missing low ceilings and moody lighting need not fear, since Market Street has those too, with two cosy rooms right at the back.
There’s a table in the window on the left, plus another just by the door, while two high, two-person tables line the exposed-brick wall. A 14-person communal table with low stools breaks things up, then there’s another two-person table, and all of this before you’re one-third of the way in. Market Street narrows slightly, with two more two-person tables on the left and a row of three, four-person tables down the centre, level with the end of the counter. That’s when it gets interesting.
Market Street opens out beyond this point, soaring up to the skylight, from which two massive lights are suspended. This is effectively a mezzanine level with stairs ascending the left-hand wall and a balcony/landing running around the back and right-hand walls. Sadly it’s currently staff-only, with a kitchen and store room at the back, while at the front, a smaller flight of stairs leads to another room at the front. Not in use at the moment, this may become anything: more seating, a training room or offices/meeting rooms.
Back downstairs, there’s a cluster of tables under the skylight, with an eight-person communal table, three four-person tables and solitary two-person one. Off to the right, a padded bench runs under the balcony with five two-person tables, while on the left, a pair of two-person tables with comfy chairs rest against the stairs.
There are three openings in the back wall, a wide, central one, flanked by two narrower ones. On the right are the toilets, while the central and left-hand ones form cosy rooms, connected at the back. The central one has two four-person tables on the left, the first with comfy chairs, a two-person table on the right, and, right at the back, two armchairs, backs to the entire café, flanking the trademark 200 Degrees neon fireplace.
Meanwhile, the left-hand room is lined with wood panelling and is sure to be a cosy option come winter. It also has two four-person tables on the left, with another two-person table on the right, but this time with comfy chairs.
The previous day I’d been to Nottingham and tried the Brazilian single-origin guest espresso at Carrington Street, where it went really well in a flat white, so here I tried it as an espresso, finding it rich and full-bodied, with a well-rounded flavour. I matched that with an aubergine, pesto and cheese sandwich, which was served warm. This was excellent, with plenty of aubergine and pesto, not something I would have jumped at as a taste combination, but which works really well.
|10-12 MARKET STREET • LEICESTER • LE1 6DP|
|200degs.com||+44 116 319 2770|
|Monday||07:30 – 20:00||Roaster||200 Degrees (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 20:00||Seating||Tables, Comfy Chairs|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 20:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch|
|Thursday||07:30 – 20:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:30 – 20:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||08:00 – 19:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||09:30 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Regional||Visits||15th July 2017|
You can see what fellow blogger Bex of Double Skinny Macchiato, made of 200 Degrees.
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