Saturday, 5 August 2017

The North Star Coffee Shop - Leeds Dock





North Star Coffee has been on the coffee scene for around 4 years now, you may have noticed their bags of coffee in your local coffee-shop, and you may well have even have drank a cup. North Star was the first independent roastery based in Leeds. They work with suppliers all over the world to source the best beans for your cuppa. They use the right type of beans, Arabica, and have strict ethical guidelines about how and who they import from. Here’s an extract from their website:

“Quality and ethics are at the heart of everything we do, we work with both our origin and wholesale partners to continue a positive cycle of re-investment, innovation and sustainability in an effort to guarantee the supply of outstanding coffee for many years to come.”


Some say they were well overdue opening their very own coffee shop in Leeds, but how would the coffee shops who already sell their coffee (and make a living from doing so) feel about their supplier becoming their rival? Their first shop opening in the Leeds Dock district of the city centre, an area that has proved a tough market in recent years with other retailers, is far enough away from their clients in the city centre, and hopefully it will bring a little more life to this area (if you know any cinema developers, the old casino could definitely be used as an independent/bespoke cinema… I’m giving you that one for free).

I'll have a flat white please. 


In opening their first coffee shop North Star have joined together with another well-known name on the Leeds food and drink scene, Noisette Bakehouse, who have setup a bakery onsite to provide customers seeking good coffee with equally good baked delights.

Cheese Scones


On the day I visited I tried their cheese and rye scone, served warm so that the butter melted into their soft bouncy dough. I never choose the savoury option when it comes to scones, Noisette’s have shown me the error in my ways. Try them yourself, you won’t be disappointed.  


Granola and yogurt. 

I’ve heard on the grapevine that their morning cakes are one of the best things on the menu, unfortunately they had sold out the day I visited (living up to their reputation), but I hope to one day get a chance to sample them, I’ll report back when I do.

However, it’s not all coffee and cake. North Star are also providing some excellent lunch and brunch options. Perfect for those feeling a little delicate on the weekend or if you work in the area this could be a good option for that Friday ‘working-lunch’.

Avocado on toast, an instagrammers dream 


Avocado on toast is still massive. It’s probably the most photographed food on Instagram, whenever I post a picture on my feed it gets a good response so you can’t be tired of it yet. It’s on the menu at North Star, served on sourdough with picked red onions and furikake (a dry Japanese seasoning).

Toasted Brioche with Ndali Vanilla, roasted cherries and house ricotta. 


If you prefer something sweeter for brunch, the toasted brioche topped with Ndali vanilla (a type of Fairtrade vanilla) roasted cherries and house ricotta will definitely hit your mark. Having sampled some of the other offerings, I quickly made my mind up that I am a sweeter person in the morning and possibly a savoury person in the evening. I’m not sure if this is a good or a bad thing, and this could probably be argued by my other half.  


Bacon and egg sandwich 


For those who prefer something a little more traditional, on the menu you’ll also find a bacon and egg sandwich with house made ketchup. Perfect for those hangovers.  


If you thought that coffee (stay in or take out), baked goods and excellent brunch options isn’t enough, this hip little store also sells everything you need to make excellent coffee at home. There are a range of bags o’ beans for sale, if you ask nicely they will grind these for you too, plus if you’re not sure what’s best for ‘you’ the staff are fully clued up and can give you some excellent guidance.

If you’re still a little unsure what a good cup of coffee looks like, or what makes it so good? They’ve got you covered here too, with coffee barista classes that take place in a special area created just off the side of the main shop and past the roastery.

And finally, if you’re really not in to coffee (you’ve tried the best and it still doesn’t do it for you), they’re also putting a lot of effort in to their tea offerings. I’ve heard there is a special tap that will dispense the water at three temperatures to make the best cup of tea you’ve ever tasted. The tea comes in glass teapots so you can see it brewing live before you too, very Instagram-able.

If you’re from out of town and thinking of paying a visit to Leeds, this could be a good place to start. There is cheaper secure multi-storey parking at Leeds Dock, then head to North Star for a perk up and breakfast. The Royal Armouries is the country’s national museum of arms and armour… and it’s free, follow this by taking a trip into town on the free water taxi along the River Aire (which of course will also bring you back) and then head in to town for some more sightseeing or shopping!

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