North Star moved its roastery from the northern suburbs to the Leeds Dock development in the heart of Leeds last year. However, it wasn’t until this summer that it opened its new coffee shop in the space next door. A beautiful, high-ceilinged, glass-fronted spot, it’s the perfect showcase for North Star’s considerable output, with two single-origins on espresso and four on pour-over using the Kalita Wave and Marco Beverage Systems SP9.
If you are hungry, there are breakfast plates and bakes, plus lunches and, from 10am to 3pm on weekends, a concise brunch menu. This has four options, all vegetarian, with nut-free, vegan and gluten-free options available. There’s also an excellent selection of tasty-looking cakes, all baked fresh each day by Noisette, which does the food from the open kitchen behind the counter.
If that’s not enough, there’s also a range of loose-leaf tea from Storm and hot chocolate from Kokoa Collection. What’s more, North Star doubles as a general store, with a corner to the left of the door devoted to the likes of free-range eggs and sourdough loaves. As you’d expect, there’s a range of coffee-making kit for sale, along with bags (and boxes) of North Star’s coffee.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
North Star is on the left of the long, pedestrian lane running parallel to Leeds Dock behind the Royal Armouries. Perhaps twice as wide as it is deep and almost as tall, a concrete pillar at the front symbolically splits it in two. The door’s to the pillar’s left, while there’s outside seating in the shape of wooden benches (which are North Star’s) and tables (which aren’t, so while anyone can sit there, North Star can’t provide table service).
The counter, a concrete and wood affair, is at the back, slightly offset to the left, directly ahead as you enter. The general store part of North Star is in the corner, immediately to the door’s left, while the bulk of the seating’s to the right. However, there’s more to the left, where a long, thin corridor runs past the counter and kitchen, making the space L-shaped.
There’s a long, communal table on the left, then a raised seating area at the back, with a sofa and comfy chair, surely the best seats in the house. Back in the main area, a long window-bar occupies the four floor-to-ceiling windows to the door’s right, while a row of four square, two-person tables runs left-to-right in the centre of the store, between window and counter, starting in line with the door, allowing you a clear run at the counter when you come in.
An eight-person communal table runs front-to-back on the right-hand side, next to the party wall which separates North Star, the coffee shop, from North Star, the roastery. This is punctuated by two central door-sized windows and two glass doors, effectively joining the two together spiritually if not physically. It also means that you can see the roaster in action during the week.
To the right of the counter, a padded bench runs along the back wall. This has three fixed, round tables projecting from it. Finally, there’s a circular projection at the right-hand end of the counter with three bar-stools from where you can watch the SP9s in action.
North Star only serves single-origins, acting as a showcase for its output. The espresso changes every couple of months, while the filter changes as and when. One of the single-origins is also available as bulk-brew.
I made two visits, and for my first, on a Saturday, I selected the Guatemalan single-origin filter. This arrived in a narrow-necked carafe, cup on the side, a postcard giving details about the coffee and its farm. The coffee went down a treat: juicy, with plenty of body, it had subtle but complex flavours.
I paired this with a slice of apple and oat crumble. It wasn’t my first choice, but everyone had eaten everything else. As it turned out, it was great, with a solid crumble base, a layer of moist apple and a delightfully dry (in contrast to the filling) oat crumble topping.
On my return two days later, I had the Ethiopian espresso. Not quite what I was expecting (in a good way), it was nowhere near as bright as I’d feared, with a front-of-the-mouth taste. This time I had brunch, selecting the Baked Beans with Turkish Peppers, Ricotta and Hazelnut Dukkah, served with sourdough toast, which arrived on the side. Meanwhile, my plate was piled high with baked beans, including kidney beans and broad beans, while the crunchy Dukkah provided an interesting contrast of textures.
Finally, I had a toscakaka to go. This Swedish almond and caramel cake had a light bread base, which I’d happily eat by itself, topped with a sticky glaze and a generous layer of almonds. Simply awesome.
|33 THE BOULEVARD • LEEDS • LS10 1PZ|
|www.northstarroast.com||+44 (0) 7725 144211|
|Monday||07:00 – 19:00||Roaster||North Star (espresso + filter)|
|Tuesday||07:00 – 19:00||Seating||Tables, Window-Bar, Sofa, Benches (outside)|
|Wednesday||07:00 – 19:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Brunch, Cakes|
|Thursday||07:00 – 19:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||07:00 – 19:00||Cards||Amex, Mastercard, Visa|
|Saturday||09:00 – 17:00||Wifi||Free|
|Sunday||10:00 – 16:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||26th, 28th August 2017|
Liked this? Then don’t forget to check out the Coffee Spot Guide to Leeds for more great Coffee Spots.
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