For the longest time, Chester, closest city to Holywell, the town where I grew up, has been poorly served by speciality coffee. However, in recent months a spate of new openings have joined stalwarts such as The Barista’s and Jaunty Goat in the city centre and Little Yellow Pig, out in Hoole, which is where you’ll find today’s Coffee Spot, Short + Stout.
Occupying an interestingly-shaped building on a narrow corner at the end of two terraces in a relatively quiet, residential area, it’s not a huge space. Despite this, Short + Stout acts like a much larger coffee shop, offering breakfast, brunch and lunch menus, complete with full table service, a clear sign of its Melbourne roots, which is where the owners, Sarah and Will, first got their inspiration.
The coffee is from nearby Ancoats Coffee Co. in Manchester (Sarah having known Manny, from Ancoats, when they were both working in Melbourne). During my visit it was espresso only, with the ubiquitous Warehouse City blend joined by Ancoats’ seasonal decaf. However, Short + Stout, which had been serving cold brew over the summer, was in the process to switching to offering guest roasters on batch-brew alongside the espresso-based drinks.
July 2020: Short + Stout has opened its seating areas, having reopened for takeaway service in June. You can see what I made of it when I visited in August.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
In a fit of bad timing, I first ventured out to Hoole (to visit Little Yellow Pig) exactly one week before Short + Stout opened, although Sarah and Will, had done such a good job of creating a stir on social media that it was already firmly on my radar, so I made sure to return last month to check it out.
Just north of Hoole Way, on the other side of the train tracks from Chester Station, Short + Stout occupies a narrow corner at the end of Ermine Road and South Avenue, a pair of relatively quiet residential streets. The result is a rather odd-shaped building, effectively a wedge, with the door in the narrow end, right on the corner. That said, it’s laid out so that it’s actually a square with a slice taken off the right-hand side. However you describe it, the interior’s really bright, with windows on two sides, aided by clean, white-painted walls and ceiling.
The narrow counter is at the back, opposite to the door, till on the left and cakes in the middle. An opening in the back wall leads to a small nook which holds the La Marzocco Linea espresso machine, beyond which, in a separate room, is the kitchen. An opening in the left-hand wall gives access to the stairs to the basement, where you’ll find the toilets, but, sadly, no additional seating, although that may change. When they took on the place, there was plenty of work to do, with Will, who is a builder by trade, fitting it all out. There are plans to fit out the basement to provide additional seating, but Sarah and Will sensibly decided to open first, rather than do everything in one go.
Back upstairs, there are two high, pedestal tables directly ahead of you, between the door and counter, occupying the window on the right, overlooking Ermine Street. The closest table to the door seats two, while the one at the back by the counter seats four. The only other seating is along the front wall to your left, a wooden bench lining the window facing onto South Avenue. This has three low, square two-person tables with chairs opposite the bench, while in the corner, beyond the window, tucked in by the stairs, is a booth with a four-person table, wooden benches on either side.
Since Short + Stout offers table service, you’ll be greeted at the door, with a bottle of water and glasses brought to the table, along with menus if you are eating. I’d come for lunch and although very tempted by the poached eggs on toast, went with the corn and cauliflower fritters which I found intriguing. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was a stack of corn and cauliflower fritters, interleaved by layers of tomato chutney and pickled red onion, all topped by grilled halloumi and mashed avocado, drizzled with a mint and lime yoghurt sauce. The result was as delicious as it was unexpected!
I paired this with a rich, creamy flat white in a tulip cup, made with Ancoats’ Warehouse Blend. After a month in America, it was nice to get back to my familiar style of flat white, the coffee combining with the milk to provide a sweet finish.
December 2018: Short + Stout has won the 2018 Best Breakfast Award.
March 2019: Short + Stout has opened its basement, which now provides some much-needed additional seating.
|3A ERMINE ROAD • CHESTER • CH2 3PN|
|https://www.facebook.com/SHORT-STOUT||+44 (0) 1244 343378|
|Monday||07:30 – 17:00||Roaster||Ancoats (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||07:30 – 17:00||Seating||Tables|
|Wednesday||07:30 – 17:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||07:30 – 17:00||Service||Table|
|Friday||07:30 – 17:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||08:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||09:30 – 14:00||Power||Yes|
|Chain||No||Visits||29th September 2018|
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