Café Coho is a chain in the strictest sense of the word (there are two of them). Queens Road is the second of the two, very handily placed just a stone’s throw from Brighton Station and around the corner/down the street from the likes of Coffee@33 and Taylor Street Baristas. Despite this stiff competition, it more than holds its own, being a lovely spot, the décor full of brick and wood. As a bonus, on the day I was there, it was flooded with sunshine.
The coffee is from Union Hand-roasted, with a decaf option, but unlike many places in Brighton, there’s no guest roasters or pour-over. There is, however, a comprehensive breakfast/brunch/lunch menu, with a lavish array of cake and pastries. I ‘d only come in for an early-morning coffee before starting a day of café-hopping, but I made the mistake of sitting in the sun-filled room at the back, which is by the stairs down to the kitchen… After a constant stream of breakfasts coming up the stairs (plus harassment on twitter), I finally cracked and ordered poached eggs on toast (I’d have had the Eggs Florentine, but I’d already had one breakfast that day before setting off!).
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Literally a few steps from Brighton Station, you’ll find Café Coho on the left of the Queens Road. Exceedingly long and comparatively thin, Café Coho nonetheless has a spacious feel to it, helped by the pleasingly high ceilings. The bulk of the seating is in the front of the store, by the window and the door. Beyond this comes the counter, taking up much of the left-hand side, while on the right, opposite the counter, is a row of high, two-person tables up against the wall. Beyond that again, there’s a small waiting area with a couple of cinema seats, stairs down to the toilets and kitchen and, best of all, tucked away on the left, another little room with more seating which catches the morning sun.
Heading back to the Queens Road, not much of this is apparent from the street. There are a pair of tables outside on the pavement, although for me the constant stream of traffic and pedestrians heading to and from the station make this an unattractive option. However, press your face up against the generous window, which runs from floor to (very high) ceiling and, other than scaring the people seated at the window-bar, you’ll start to get an idea of what joys await inside.
The door, a solid, partially-glazed wood panel affair which occupies the right-hand third of the storefront, leads you into a wonderful interior. There are wooden floorboards beneath your feet and, to your left, a soaring bare-brick wall, while the wall to your right is painted pale grey. A clear path leads you past the tables to your left (a couple of two-person tables against the left-hand wall, with a row of four two-person tables down the middle) to the counter, where you are first confronted by the considerable ranks of cake before reaching the till, then, eventually the espresso machine.
Once you’ve ordered, you can return to the front, sit at one of the tables opposite the counter or, if you prefer, carry on to a little landing at the back. Here, through an open doorway in the left-hand wall, there’s a small back room which, facing east, catches the morning sun. This is a lovely spot in its own right, with five two-person tables and one four-person table, all arrayed around the edges. There’s a window at the back and a second (unused) doorway overlooking the stairs, which provides even more light. The wooden floorboards continue here, but the brick walls give way to plain, painted walls hung with artwork (the walls in the front part are also hung with art). Several people were back here during my visit, holding business meetings away from the hustle and bustle of the counter or the stream of people coming in and out of the door.
I had a flat white, and, having had Union on many previous occasions, it contained no great surprises. My coffee was very good though; smooth, with well-steamed milk and it was a lovely way to start the day. The poached eggs which I eventually ordered were equally lovely, coming on two huge slices of excellent sour-dough toast. Indeed, such was the size of the toast in comparison to the eggs that one commentator on twitter wondered what tiny bird had produced such small eggs!
|83 QUEENS ROAD • BRIGHTON • BN1 3XE|
|www.cafecoho.co.uk||+44 (0) 1273 719126|
|Monday||07:00 – 18:30||Roaster||Union (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 18:30||Seating||Tables, Window Bar, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 18:30||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:00 – 18:30||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 18:30||Cards||Mastercard, Visa (£5 minimum)|
|Saturday||09:00 – 18:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:00 – 18:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||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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