The LMDC Espresso Bar occupies the perfect spot for a coffee shop on Harrogate’s pedestrianised John Street. Nestled alongside numerous other bars, cafes and restaurants, LMDC doesn’t immediately stand out from the crowd, but it’s worth hunting down. There’s a pair of two-person tables outside on the pavement, one either side of the door, the whole area fenced off from the passing crowd. Stepping inside takes you into a small but lovely space, full of wooden furniture, with a stone-flagged floor and a low, wooden-beam ceiling, all of which adds to a cosy, welcoming atmosphere.
Talking of which, a warm welcome is assured from the owner, Leslie, and from Head Barista, Elliott. When it comes to coffee, LMDC Espresso serves Square Mile on espresso, using the ubiquitous Red Brick blend, while there’s a single-origin on offer through either V60 or Chemex, the options changing every couple of weeks. If you’re hungry, you can almost hear the counter groaning under the weight of the homemade cakes, while there are good breakfast and lunch options if you want something more savoury. These use locally-sourced ingredients wherever possible, prepared in the kitchen at the back, tucked away beyond the end of the counter.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
LMDC Espresso is a long-standing member of Harrogate’s speciality coffee community, second only to Bean & Bud, having opened in 2012. It has an impressive pedigree on the coffee front, boasting amongst its ranks Ellis, one-time LMDC head barista, who left to become one of the founders of North Star Micro Roasters. These days, Ellis’ considerable shoes are amply filled by current head barista, Elliott, who not only pulls a mean shot, but doubles as an artist, with some of his coffee-themed cartoons adorning LMDC’s walls.
LMDC occupies the ground floor of a pretty, stone building on John Street, the central door flanked by two three-quarter height windows. Stepping inside, you’re immediately struck by the counter, which occupies the entire right-hand side of LMDC from the window at the front to the kitchen at the back. There are multiple cakes and sandwiches which you have to negotiate before getting to the till, beyond which is the grinder and an impressive Synesso espresso machine (of which LMDC is very proud). Beyond the counter is the enclosed kitchen, where LMDC produces a full lunch menu, with various specials to accompany the soup and sandwich offerings.
The seating starts opposite the counter, with a padded window seat and a long, padded bench against the left-hand wall. This has a couple of two-person tables in front of it, one of which is shared with the window seat. There’s a third two-person table opposite the till, then, in a small nook opposite the espresso machine, there’s another padded bench with a pair of two-person tables.
Beyond this, at the back of the store (effectively opposite the kitchen, from which it’s separated by a wall) is a group of four four-person tables, two on either side. Seating is provided by a mix of stools and chairs, with a padded bench at the back. Finally, on the right, there’s a round, two-person table up against the counter by the espresso machine.
The round table is metal, with fold-up metal chairs, and is the exception that proves the rule. The rest of the furniture is made of light wood planks, including the tables, chairs, benches and the stools, which look like large, square boxes. Combined with the stone-flagged floor, this makes for a very welcoming appearance which is pleasing on the eye, but then again, I am a sucker for wood and stone.
During a flying visit in 2014, I had a piccolo, which was very well made, but, since it used Square Mile’s ubiquitous Red Brick blend, it held no great surprises. On my return late last year, I had equally good flat white, with some impressive latte art from Elliott which lasted all the way to the bottom of the cup. These days the Red Brick is joined by a filter option, which, I’m told, is slowly tempting customers away from their Americanos. While I was there, an Aramo from Ethiopia was available, but there’s a different single-origin (all from Square Mile) every couple of weeks.
|4 JOHN STREET • HARROGATE • HG1 1JZ|
|www.lmdcespresso.co.uk||+44 (0) 7747 847834|
|Monday||08:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Square Mile (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||08:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:00 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||08:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:00 – 16:00||Cards||Mastercard, Visa (£5 minimum)|
|Saturday||08:00 – 16:00||Wifi||No|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||No|
|Chain||No||Visits||23rd June 2014, 5th December 2016|
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