From its home on New Station Street, Laynes Espresso has long been at the forefront of speciality coffee in Leeds. Once-upon-time, there was just Laynes, then came Belgrave Hall, the (relatively short-lived) Sheaf Street Canteen and a pop-up at Leeds Dock, all of which have now closed as Laynes has consolidated, renewing its focus on the original Laynes in the process.
This used to be a small, cosy spot, with an equally cosy basement. However, Laynes underwent an expansion at the end of 2016, taking over the space to the right and knocking through both upstairs and down. The new Laynes is three times the size, transforming the upstairs into a bright, spacious coffee shop and kitchen, while the basement has lost its claustrophobic feel.
With the extra space comes an expanded menu and an increased focus on food. Building on the expertise gained first through weekend brunches at Belgrave and then Sheaf Street and various pop-ups, Laynes is as much, if not more, about food as it is about coffee. The result is an awesome all-day breakfast/brunch menu, heavy on vegetarian choices. The coffee, as ever, is from Square Mile, with Red Brick on espresso and a single-origin pour-over.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Laynes Espresso is conveniently-located on New Station Street, just around the corner from Leeds station, making it a great first/last coffee stop of any visit. It cuts a pretty striking figure, two near-identical spaces side-by-side on the steeply sloping street. Each has two windows on the left and a glass door on the right, with a bright, red/orange façade. There are also four benches outside, one for each window.
You can use either of the two doors, but you need to go into the left-hand side, which used to be the original Laynes, to order at the large counter. This occupies the bulk of the left-hand wall, with a large, open space in front of it. You’ll find a window-bar to the left of the door, tucked in by the counter, but other than that, if you want seating, you need to head to the other side or pop down to the basement using the stairs at the back.
Upstairs, the right-hand side of Laynes is accessible through either its own front door, or via a small step down from the counter, through where the party wall used to be. There’s an identical window-bar to the left of the door, while dead ahead is a padded bench against the right-hand wall, lined with four two-person tables. The middle of the space is occupied by four two-person tables arranged in two rows of two. Finally, at the back, behind a counter that runs the full width of right-hand side, is an open kitchen which produces all the food. If you like watching chefs at work, you can perch here on a bar stool.
The basement is equally spacious, although it only has the one entrance, the stairs depositing you into the back left-hand corner. It mirrors the upstairs in that there are two spaces, joined by a knocked-through party wall, although the floor here is all on one level. From the stairs, there’s a four-person table to the left, against the back wall, while directly opposite is a six-person bar against the front wall. Moving through what was the party wall, a padded bench runs along the back wall, directly under the kitchen upstairs, with five two-person tables, although they can be pushed together to form four-person tables. Running parallel to this and dominating the space is a long, wide communal table which is ideal for groups.
The two spaces have very different characters, although both have beautiful, stone-flagged floors that I’d happily have taken with me and re-laid in my kitchen, particularly the one downstairs! Upstairs is filled with natural light and has the bustle of the counter on one side and the kitchen on the other. The basement, on the other hand, is much quieter and more relaxed, the ideal hideaway for you and your laptop (although the Wifi is off at weekends). While I preferred sitting upstairs in the original Laynes, in the new Laynes, I find myself gravitating to the basement.
Naturally, I had to try the all-day brunch menu. I was there twice, sampling the Laynes breakfast (sourdough toast, braised beans and a poached egg, with whole roast cherry tomatoes, shallots and a grilled Portobello mushroom) and then the Morel Mushroom Florentine, an interesting twist on Eggs Florentine.
When it came to coffee, I had a flat white on my first visit, followed by a V60 of the Janachute, a rich, juicy brew that provided a nice contrast to the flat white. For a full description of both my meals and the coffee, please see my Coffee Spot Update on Laynes.
|16 NEW STATION STREET • LEEDS • LS1 5DL|
|www.laynesespresso.co.uk||+44 (0) 7828 823189|
|Monday||07:00 – 19:00||Roaster||Square Mile (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Bars; Benches (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 19:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Sandwiches, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 19:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 19:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||Original: 19th/20th June 2014, 20th May 2016|
|Update: 26th/28th August 2017|
You can find out what fellow coffee-bloggers Guila, Alison and finally, Bean There At, made of the original Laynes Espresso during various visits. Local blogger Georgia, has also written about Laynes Espresso and its new extension.
Liked this Coffee Spot? Then check out the rest of Leeds’ speciality coffee scene with the Coffee Spot Guide to Leeds.
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