Today’s Coffee Spot Update features the last of the six coffee shops that I visited in Chester at the start of August, taking us to Hoole, on the other side of the train tracks from the city centre. This is home to Little Yellow Pig, a much-loved local institution which has been serving great coffee and awesome food to locals and visitors alike since 2014. I was a bit slow on the uptake though, my first visit not coming until the summer of 2018, although since then I’ve made a point of popping in a few times.
Little Yellow Pig reopened in June for takeaway coffee, fully reopening in July, when the restrictions were relaxed in England, although this has meant a reduced capacity due to social distancing requirements. While Little Yellow Pig is operating on temporarily reduced opening hours, the good news is that a full brunch menu is on offer, which is available for takeout as well. And, of course, there’s coffee. When I visited, Little Yellow Pig was moving its house roaster to the (relatively) nearby Hundred House Coffee, which will be supplying the house espresso and decaf, with regularly-rotating guests in the second hopper.
You can see what else I found after the gallery.
Originally, Little Yellow Pig was, well, little, before expanding into the larger, adjacent space to its left in 2016, the two connected via a short corridor. This resulted in Little Yellow Pig having three front doors, two on Charles Street, with the third around the corner on Westminster Street. However, this unusual layout has served it well during COVID-19.
When Little Yellow Pig reopened for takeaway coffee in June, it just used the smaller original space on the right, which houses the counter. In pre-COVID times, this held a limited amount of seating (three tables and a five-person window-bar), but this was stripped out to make space for the takeout service. When Little Yellow Pig reopened for sit-in service, the counter area was kept clear, with the second space on the left being used exclusively for seating.
The changes start on the street outside, where a queuing system is in place, delineated by a series of stools on the pavement. These run from the door of the original space along the windows at the front, where you wait to be called in (there’s a two-customer limit in the counter space). A handy menu in the window means that you can decide what you want while waiting.
Once called inside, takeaway customers order and pay at the counter through a gap in the Perspex screens on the right, then wait in the large space in front of the counter, before collecting drinks from a second gap by the espresso machine on the left (any food is brought out from the kitchen).
Sit-in customers, meanwhile, are sent through to the second space. You’ll need to return to the counter to order and pay (which includes leaving your contact details) although if you know what you want, you can save yourself a trip and order on entering.
The seating area in the second space has seen the fewest changes. There’s hand sanitiser on a table as you enter, but there are only two tables missing from pre-COVID times (the round, four-person table from the middle of the room and the smaller two-person table in front of the second front door, which is still out of use by the way). This leaves six tables, three seating four and three seating two, although there are a further two two-person tables outside at the end of Little Yellow Pig, accessed through the third front door at the far end. This is exit only, so when you’ve finished, you can leave without going back through to the counter, thus minimising contact with other customers.
This has clearly been well thought-out, with everything well-signed and with the one-way system clearly marked, although that didn’t stop at least one couple walking in through the exit, sitting down at the only table that the staff hadn’t had time to clear/sanitise after the previous customer had left!
I visited on a Monday afternoon in August, breaking my journey home from my Dad’s. After a short wait, I made it in just before the kitchen closed at 14:30, which was a relief since I was there for lunch! Little Yellow Pig has combined its pre-COVID breakfast and lunch menus into a single brunch menu, from which I selected the excellent Eggs Florentine, three small slices of crunchy toast topped by two well-poached eggs, with rich, thick yokes and an equally rich hollandaise sauce.
I paired this with a flat white, served in a glass and made with Colonna Coffee’s Trio espresso, a blend of Colombian, Guatemalan and Ethiopian beans. The coffee and milk were in perfect harmony, while the milk held the latte art to the bottom of the glass, all of which set me up perfectly for my train journey back to London.
December 2020: Little Yellow Pig has won the 2020 Best Neighbourhood Coffee Spot Award.
|31A CHARLES STREET • CHESTER • CH2 3AY|
|www.facebook.com/littleyellowpighoole||+44 (0) 1244 637220|
|Monday||10:00 – 16:00||Roaster||Hundred House + Guests (espresso only)|
|Tuesday||10:00 – 16:00||Seating||Tables, Sofa, Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||10:00 – 16:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Cake|
|Thursday||10:00 – 16:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||10:00 – 16:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||10:00 – 16:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||10:00 – 15:00||Power||Limited|
|Chain||No||Visits||Original: 15th June, 29th September 2018
Update: 10th August 2020
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