Little Yellow Pig (COVID-19 Update)

A lovely flat white, made with Colonna Coffee's Trio espresso blend, served in a cup at Little Yellow Pig.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.

  • Little Yellow Pig, with its two front doors on Charles Street in Hoole, Chester.
  • Mind you, the one on the left is a trap for the unwary, since it's never in use.
  • Instead, you want this one, the original entrance from 2014, in use up to the present day.
  • Take note of the temporary opening hours.
  • A queuing system is in operation and, while you wait, you can take a look at the menu.
  • When you are called in, you are greeted by the counter, protected by tables and Perspex.
  • This is how things were in my 2018 visit. The seating has now been removed, as you can...
  • ... see here. Even the window-bar is out of use! It's now for takeaway customers only.
  • In these COVID-19 times, if you want to sit in, you need to follow the arrow...
  • ... and head down the corridor to the seating area, where things don't look too different.
  • For example, you're still greeted by these two armchairs in front of the fireplace...
  • ... although this is a better view of them.
  • The two four-person tables along the bench under the window are still there...
  • ... with one at either end of the bench.
  • You can see them both in this view, looking back towards the corridor from the counter.
  • Carrying on, the sofa and its packing case coffee table are still in the far corner.
  • It's a similar story on the other side, where you'll find these two beyond the armchairs.
  • In fact, all that's missing are the two round tables that used be in the middle (from 2018).
  • There's more seating outside, accessed via the door onto Westminster Road...
  • ... which is clearly marked 'exit only'. There's another table like this on the other side.
  • Despite COVID-19, Little Yellow Pig hasn't lost its sense of humour...
  • ... as witnessed by the various chalkboards around the place.
  • I remember these three characters from my previous visits...
  • ... although I think that this one...
  • ... along with these felllows, are new.
  • As ever, I was fascinated by the light fittings, in this case the pretty lamp shades.
  • To business: you order at the counter, which is protected by this array of tables.
  • The ordering point is at the right-hand end, where you also pay...
  • ... as well as having a chance to fill in your details should the staff need to contact you.
  • Hand sanitiser is also provided...
  • ... and there's even some in the other room, handily placed on a table as you come in.
  • Back to the counter, and there are some retail bags of beans at the left-hand end...
  • ... which, if you've ordered takeaway, is where your coffee will appear.
  • I, however, was sitting in, enjoying the Eggs Florentine for lunch...
  • ... which I paired with this lovely flat white, served in a glass.
  • I'll leave you with the lovely latte art...
  • ... which lasted all the way to the bottom of the cup.
Slider Script by v4.6

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.

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 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 Regional Visits Original: 15th June, 29th September 2018
Update: 10th August 2020

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8 thoughts on “Little Yellow Pig (COVID-19 Update)

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