Laynes Espresso review, Leeds - an indulgent and valued alternative to nearby chain options
Laynes Espresso easily catches the eye as you walk from Leeds Station, with its burnt orange exterior welcome amid the morning's grey wintry sky during rush hour in the city.
The New Station Street cafe functions primarily as, duh, an espresso bar, having set up independently in 2011.
But really it's a dining spot too with a menu that's respectably alternative to the many chain options in its vicinity.
One thing that has put me off in the past is how busy it seems - that's expected so close to the station and on a key route for commuters, though, and perhaps an indication of its quality too - but on a morning in need of a quick breakfast and following a recommendation, I give it a go.
-> The full list of the 76 Yorkshire restaurants in the Good Food Guide 2020First impressions?
As expected, during rush hour it's busy, with its door swinging open every few seconds and limited spots to sit down at on the top ground level, except bar stools facing the window looking out to the street.
Though hectic, it's without the queue confusion and hollering experienced in some mainstream outlets close by, possibly because the staff seemed to be working efficiently, calmly and politely during what must have been a challenging hour of the day.
What’s the menu like?
The brunch menu (I clarified that it was all available at about 8.30am, when I dropped in) features a really good range of different food styles for that time of day. There's the usual 'full English' style breakfasts - though these come in vegetarian and vegan form unless paying extra for meat - porridge, bagels and toast options. But it also features Welsh rarebit, Turkish eggs, buckwheat pancakes, sweetcorn fritters and sauteed chilli greens. Prices range between £3 to £9, which seems reasonable.
-> These are the 15 best restaurants in Leeds according to Google user reviewsNow onto the food
The aforementioned recommendation was really for the Turkish eggs, so this is what I went for, along with a latte, and an almond croissant to take away for later. Two poached eggs, garlic yoghurt, sage and chipotle butter sauce, spinach and sourdough toast. Now, this is not the kind of thing I'd usually be able to stomach in the earlier hours, but what comes is an an inviting, indulgent bowl of swirling white mixed in with the orange coloured butter. It looks, quite simply, very nice.
As expected, the garlic yoghurt is incredibly flavourful and a great accompaniment to the eggs - runny, slightly more so than I'd usually like, but this mixes well with the rest of the dish. As always with sourdough, a chainsaw would perhaps be a more suitable implement to cut through the toast but actually it's well-chosen, as its texture is fitting in what is overall quite a soft dish. The butter sauce didn't register much, aside from a slight sweetness, and the spinach didn't add a great deal for me. But overall, it was a delicious plate that I'd happily return for, albeit probably during actual brunch time rather than breakfast.
The latte was lovely. It came in a glass with the kind of pattern on top that is now a prerequisite for any independent cafe, and more importantly wasn't too weak, which is sometimes the case with lattes.
The croissant, sheepishly gobbled up later, was also delicious. Crusty on the outside, with a coating of whole almonds, while the inside was stodgy to the point of it basically being a cake - pretty much bordering on Battenberg in flavour.
-> Food review: The Beehive X, ThornerHow much was the bill? Was it value for money?
All in, it was £14.70, the most expensive item the Turkish eggs at £8. For a breakfast meal that was a little more than the usual soulless grab-and-go so common these days, it was well worth the price. What's more, the food came quickly, setting my anxiety over the morning rush to get to work at ease.
Address: 16 New Station St, Leeds LS1 5DL