Last year I made a long overdue day-trip across the Dee Estuary to visit The Wirral and explore its speciality coffee scene, which is when I discovered Wylde Coffee in Heswell. Perhaps more importantly, I discovered that Wylde has an offshoot, called Lateral, in West Kirby, which opened in January 2021, in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Earlier this week, I popped over to check it out (well, I say “popped over”; visible from my bedroom window, it’s 11 km as the crow flies, but to actually get there requires a 100 km round trip, featuring a bus and two trains each way).
While Wylde Coffee is very much a coffee shop, Lateral is more food-orientated. There are brunch and lunch menus every day until three o’clock, while from Wednesday to Saturday, Lateral reinvents itself as a cocktail bar with a full dinner menu from 17:00 onwards. When it comes to coffee, the offering is very similar to Wylde, with a bespoke house blend and decaf on espresso, roasted by old friends, Neighbourhood Coffee, plus regular guests on batch brew. This is all served up in a bright, modern space, just a short walk south from the train station.
You can read more of my thoughts after the gallery.
Lateral is on Banks Road, a 10-minute walk from West Kirby train station, at the end of the Wirral Line from Liverpool. Alternatively, head one street over and you can walk along the front, with fine views across the Dee Estuary to North Wales. Lateral is on your left, on the ground floor at the corner with Church Road. It’s simple façade has a glass door on the left, with three tall windows to the right, each with a three-person table in front of it on the broad pavement.
Inside, it’s just as simple, with the counter on the left, set back a little from the door. You order here, with retail shelves to your left, along with the coffee menu above them. If you’ve come for takeaway, you need go no further, but if you’re staying, find a table (all of which have menus on them), then return to the counter when ready to order.
The seating’s to the right of the counter, starting with a five-person window-bar running seamlessly across the three windows to the right of the door. A row of four tables runs down the middle of Lateral from front to back, starting with a round four-person table, level with the front of the counter. Next is a round three-person table, followed by a rectangle four-person table, while a small, square two-person table brings up the rear.
A pair of padded sofa-benches run along the right-hand wall, separated by what looks to me like the remnants of a party wall which once divided the space into front and back rooms. There are a pair of square, two-person tables in front of this, with two more at the back. Finally, an L-shaped sofa-bench runs along the back wall, a six-person rectangular table nestled alongside.
The counter is a two-part affair, with some lovely green tiles. The front is home to the coffee part of the operation, with the La Marzocco espresso machine and its two grinders, while the cakes are in a built-in glass display case in the front of the counter. The rear part of the counter is the bar, with beer on tap, and a row of five bar-chairs in front of it, although they were out-of-bounds while I was there.
I’d come for lunch and was spoilt for choice, with both brunch and lunch menus available. I went for the House-made Smokey Maple Beans on Toast with added cheese. These were excellent, so much better than any baked beans from a tin. They were, however, a little spicy, enough to leave a tingle on my lips, but not so much that I couldn’t appreciate my coffee.
Talking of which, I’d already sampled the Housemartin Espresso (Wylde’s bespoke blend roasted by Neighbourhood Coffee) in a flat white at Wylde Coffee, so I decided to go for the batch brew. Lateral has guest roasters from all over the country, with retail bags from two or three roasters at a time (Neighbourhood, Girls Who Grind and Quarter Horse Coffee Roasters during my visit) joining bags of the Housemartin Espresso and Sanderling Decaf.
The coffee on batch brew is chosen from amongst the guest roasters, with a one kilogram bag going on at a time. When that’s done (typically a week, two at most) it’s on to another roaster/coffee. I had Girl Crush from Girls Who Grind (currently a naturally-processed coffee from El Salvador). Served in a large carafe with a cup on the side, which I really appreciate, my coffee was the perfect drinking temperature, which allowed its rich and fruity flavours to come through immediately. Sublime.
|83 BANKS ROAD • WEST KIRBY • CH48 0RA|
|Monday||08:30 – 17:00||Roaster||Neighbourhood (espresso) + Guest (filter)|
|Tuesday||08:30 – 17:00||Seating||Tables, Window Bar, Counter; Tables (outside)|
|Wednesday||08:30 – 22:00||Food||Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner|
|Thursday||08:30 – 22:00||Service||Order at Counter|
|Friday||08:30 – 22:00||Payment||Cards + Cash|
|Saturday||08:30 – 22:00||Wifi||Free (with code)|
|Sunday||08:30 – 14:30||Power||Yes|
|Chain||Local||Visits||15th March 2022|
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