Little Yellow Pig

A shot of Dark Arts Coffee's Lost Highway single-origin espresso in a gorgeous cup at Little Yellow Pig in Hoole, Chester.My knowledge of Chester’s speciality coffee scene has, until recently, largely been confined to the city centre, and, in the case of Moss Coffee, Brook Street, which leads between the centre and Chester Station. However, for the last 4½ years, (literally) on the other side of the tracks, Little Yellow Pig has been doing its thing in Hoole. Although part of Chester, Hoole has its own distinct look and feel, complete with a compact centre, packed with shops and restaurants, Little Yellow Pig fitting in perfectly.

From humble beginnings, Little Yellow Pig has grown into a large coffee shop and brunch venue, serving Lost Highway from Dark Arts Coffee on espresso, with plans for pour-over in the near future. Just as importantly, there’s food, with excellent breakfast and lunch menus, supplemented by a great selection of cakes, all cooked on site. There’s also fresh bread for sale every day. You can sit in the original part, where you’ll find a more traditional coffee shop setting, complete with counter and some tables, or next door, in the larger, lounge-like area which Little Yellow Pig annexed two years ago. There’s even a small outdoor seating area on Westminster Road.

June 2020: Little Yellow Pig has reopened, adding sit-in service in July. You can see what I made of it when I visited in August.

August 2020: Little Yellow Pig has moved to Hundred House, which supplies the house espresso and decaf, with regularly-rotating guests in the second hopper.

You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.

  • Little Yellow Pig, having two bites of the cherry on Charles Street in Hoole, Chester.
  • First, on the right, is the original part of Little Yellow Pig, and it's still the main entrance.
  • There's another door on the left, in the two storey building, but don't be fooled.
  • That one's not in use. Instead, you need to go around the corner to Westminster Road...
  • ... where you'll find the second door, plus a small outdoor seating area.
  • This takes you into the second part of Little Yellow Pig which we'll come back to.
  • The A-board, with an interesting take on the knock-knock joke.
  • The other side is even more direct!
  • Entering via the door on Charles Street, the counter is dead ahead.
  • The bulk of the seating is off to the right, including a pair of tables in the middle...
  • ... and a five-person window-bar at the front.
  • A view of the seating from the other end of Little Yellow Pig. Note the four-person table.
  • That's all that there used to be, but since 2016, there's more, as the sign indicates.
  • A corridor at the back leads through to a large, equally bright, second space.
  • The view from just inside the door, looking towards Westminster Road.
  • There are a pair of four-person tables off to the left (at the front), under the windows...
  • ... while beyond that, and the unused door, is a lovely, large sofa at the far end.
  • To your right, against the back wall, is a pair of armchairs by an equally unused fireplace.
  • Beyond that, a round, four-person table and a two-person table against the wall...
  • ... while in the far corner, by the door, another four-person table.
  • The view from the other end, by the door from Westminster Road.
  • Unsurprisingly, if you enter this way, everything is reversed. The sofa is on the right...
  • ... while the table is on the left...
  • ... followed by the round, four-person table...
  • ... and the two armchairs by the fireplace.
  • Meanwhile, on the other side, at the front, here's the two tables by the windows.
  • The windows are worth a second look. Like all of Little Yellow Pig, they are interesting.
  • Indeed, Little Yellow Pig is one of the busiest/most decorated coffee shops I've seen!
  • Practically every surface is covered with pictures and/or shelves.
  • Minimalist it is not!
  • Even the light-fittings, which are some of the best-dressed I've seen, are in on the act.
  • Some are plainly (but smartly) dressed...
  • ... while others are much more fancy!
  • These three, which hang above the counter, take the prize though.
  • There are also some glass-clad bulbs: these hang above the window-bar...
  • ... while, more daringly, there are some naked bulbs as well.
  • The eclectic nature of the decor continues with various bookcases...
  • ... and shelves, where lego features prominently.
  • You'll find this one to the left of the main door...
  • ... with even more lego.
  • Even the cushions are getting in on the act.
  • So, to business. The cakes and soft drinks are on a table to the right of the small counter.
  • All the cakes are baked in-house...
  • ... and displayed for all to see.
  • The only thing that's not baked in-house is the bread...
  • ... which comes from Born and Bread in the Wirral, delivered fresh every day.
  • It all looks gorgeous.
  • The coffee end of the operation is to the left of the counter.
  • The espresso is always Lost Higway, a seasonal single-origin from Dark Arts Coffee.
  • On my first visit in June, this was a Nicaragua Los Pirineos.
  • I'd not tried Dart Arts before, so I had to have some.
  • I started off with a flat white...
  • ... which tasted every bit as good as it looked.
  • I was also there for a late lunch, enjoying a cheese, mushroom and spinach omelette...
  • ... which I followed with a shot of the Lost Highway in a gorgeous cup.
  • When I returned in September, the Lost Highway was a Guatemala Finca San Antonio...
  • ... which I also enjoyed as an espresso. I think I'm in love with the cups though!
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Little Yellow Pig began life at the start of 2014, subletting a single-storey space from a vintage shop on the corner of Charles Street and Westminster Road in the heart of Hoole. Growing steadily from these humble origins, when the vintage shop closed in 2016, Little Yellow Pig was more than ready to take on the full lease, expanding into the adjacent space, the ground floor of the two-storey building to the left. From a Little Yellow Pig(let) it is now a rather large yellow pig!

As a result, Little Yellow Pig has three front doors, two of which are in use. The first is on the left-hand side of the low, single-storey building, while the second (which isn’t in use) comes in a matching façade on the blue-painted two-storey building to the left, home of the old vintage shop. Both of these are on Charles Street, with the third just around the corner on Westminster Road, set back slight from the pavement, where there’s a small outdoor seating area with a solitary table (in good weather).

Entering via Charles Street, you’ll find a traditional coffee-shop setting. Long and thin, there are two windows to your right, running the full length of this part of Little Yellow Pig, the counter occupying the back wall, espresso machine and grinders on the left-hand side, 90⁰ to the front. On a table to the right of the small counter are the cakes and soft drinks. To the right of the door is a small set of shelves where you can buy bread from the Wirral’s Born and Bread, beyond which is a five-person window-bar with high, wooden chairs. To the door’s left, a small set of retail shelves occupy the corner, holding an eclectic range of non-coffee stuff. Finally, between the counter and window, there’s a row of tables, a four-person one against the left-hand wall and two two-person tables, back-to-back, on the right.

Access to the second part of Little Yellow Pig is along a corridor at the back on the left. This leads past the toilets and stairs to the upstairs kitchen. This second area is much larger, with two four-person tables in the windows to the left, and a pair of armchairs by the fireplace on the right. A round, two-person table blocks off the door on the left, while on the right there’s a four-person round table and a two-person square one. Finally at the far end, a sofa on the left and a four-person table on the right flank the door to Westminster Road.

Little Yellow Pig serves breakfast/lunch until 2pm/3pm respectively. Annoyingly, I conspired to arrive at 2:30, so missed out on variations on the Full English and Eggs Benedict, plus avocado on toast. Instead I had an extremely tasty, well-cooked cheese, mushroom and spinach omelette with side-salad from a lunch menu which included sandwiches, panini, salads, soup and cheese on toast.

The coffee is always Dark Arts’ Lost Highway, a seasonal single-origin espresso. I had a flat white, which started out quite fruity, but evolved into more chocolatey notes towards the end, a really impressive trick. I also had an espresso, which was a little acidic for my tastes, but still very good.

I visited Little Yellow Pig twice, first in June, when the Lost Highway was a Nicaragua Los Pirineos, and again on Saturday, this time to get more photographs. Although I didn’t linger, I had time for an espresso, a Guatemala Finca San Antonio. While I enjoyed it, I preferred the Nicaragua, although I suspect it would have been just as superb in milk.

December 2018: Little Yellow Pig was a runner-up for the 2018 Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.

November 2021: see what I made of Little Yellow Pig’s second location in Nantwich.

31A CHARLES STREET • CHESTER • CH2 3AY +44 (0) 1244 637220
Monday 09:00 – 17:00 Roaster  Hundred House + Guests (espresso only)
Tuesday 09:00 – 17:00 Seating Tables, Sofa, Window-Bar; Table (outside)
Wednesday 09:00 – 17:00 Food Breakfast, Lunch, Cake
Thursday 09:00 – 17:00 Service Order at Counter
Friday 09:00 – 17:00 Payment Cards + Cash
Saturday 09:00 – 16:00 Wifi Free (with code)
Sunday 10:00 – 14:00 Power Limited
Chain Regional Visits 15th June, 29th September 2018

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