THE BEST INDEPENDENT CAFES & COFFEE SHOPS IN LE1, LEICESTER
Over the past couple of years, I’m sure the folk of Leicester City will agree, there’s been a spike in independent coffee outlets taking prime location in LE1. Being the hugest coffee lover that ever existed and having a secret desire to be a Barista, I could not be more ecstatic! Yes small pleasures are simply the best! In my opinion, every visit to Leicester City Centre should involve at least one coffee stop accompanied by a generous serving of cake. After all, we are British and we did invent that great old constitution named the afternoon tea!
Regular readers opting to tune into my little space on the net, will know I have a real penchant for the word independent, be it boutique hotels, travel providers, eateries or in this case, coffee shops. I love their individuality and ability to provide something a little different to an existing market (before anyone pipes up, there’s nothing wrong with chain coffee shops, but this post is about Independent venues!) and offer an authentic experience, which adds that little bit of fairy dust emitting luxury! Luxury means different things to each and every single one of us but for me it is very much being part of the independent coffee culture scene that has swept LE1.
So for this reason and in the gallant name of research on behalf of my loyal readers, I decided to visit a selection and present to you my feedback. I would just like to add the following…
Disclaimer: ‘BE-LAVIE holds no responsibility for frequent urges to visit Independent coffee outlets to gorge on hot drinks and sinful cakes’. Consume responsibly!!
St Martin’s Coffee
Based in the swankier end of LE1, St Martin’s square amidst the pop-up café scene, St. Martins Coffee Roasters has two floors of seating, a feature coffee counter and you can even buy your own beans or have them ground here. As the names suggests these guys are roasters and you can even book yourself in for a Barista masterclass should that take your fancy! You can enjoy your freshly roasted coffee with the most delicious cakes, in particular of the red velvet variety! This is most definitely a place where you go to meet with friends and chat over a coffee with those high ceilings!
- Address: St Martins Coffee Roasters. 2-6 Saint Martins Walk. Leicester LE1 5DG
- Tel: 0116 251 2879
- Website: St Martin’s Coffee
The Coffee Counter
The coffee Counter are also roasters of coffee and provide a number of services to wholesale clients as well as the likes of you or I. As well as enjoying an ethically sourced cup of coffee and a snack here you can also purchase your very own quality roasted coffee to enjoy at home. The décor is a little quirky and don’t be fooled by the exterior, it’s pretty spacious inside and the atmosphere is lovey and relaxed. A coffee house where you could meet friends but also just pop in for a bite to eat and a coffee for lunch.
- Address: The Coffee Counter. 23 Bowling Green St. Leicester LE1 6AS
- Tel 07545 431108
- Website: The Coffee Counter
Piero’s Snack Bar
Located in the historical but cute little LE1 lanes lies this very popular café. As well as a variety of hot and cold beverages, Piero’s serve an array of food. One thing to note is that by far these guys had the most tastiest gluten free cakes I’ve ever had in Leicester. No soggy bottoms but fluffy sponges all the way. The atmosphere is laid back and the service is fast and furious. It’s a hit with the international folk of Leicester and it’s no wonder with dishes like Marrakech breakfast on the menu and a variety of Turkish teapots on display.
- Address: Piero’s Snack Bar. 8 Loseby Lane. Leicester LE1 5D.
- Tel 0116 251 5322
- Facebook: Piero;s Snack Bar
Mrs Bridges Tearooms
Mrs Bridges Tea Rooms gives Cuteness overload in this quaint, traditional establishment. For starters, the pink exterior will draw you in and when you enter the old world décor will remind you of having proper homemade hot drinks and cake all in the company of your lovely nana and her cutesy ornaments. Cakes, snacks, lunches, afternoon teas and breakfasts are served and you can grab a table downstairs, upstairs or in the small courtyard at the rear. It’s just so darn charming! The food is unfussy and it’s perfect for a catch-up with the girls!
- Mrs Bridges Tea Room. 17 Loseby Lane. Leicester LE1 5DR
- Tel :0116 262 3131
- Website: Mrs Bridges
200 Degress Coffee
200 degrees coffee are not technically independent (they have six outlets in total in the UK) but in LE1 they remain individual, with their brand of being artisan coffee roasters. Again, this place deals with wholesale business as well as having an online shop and an array of levels of Barista classes for all you wannabe and near perfect Baristas! Being roasters, the coffee and coffee art speaks for itself and the shop retains its interior goals from back in the day when it was Lumbars, the jewellers.
On a side note, I love how there is a bowl of water for man’s best friend outside beside the daily coffee friendly message board!
- Address: 200 Degrees Coffee. 10-12 Market Street. Leicester LE1 6DP
- Tel 0116 319 2770
- Website: 200 Degress
Bru Coffee & Gelato
Again this place has three shops but I still wanted to include them as being pretty independent to Leicester. Brü has quite a large premises on Granby Street and it’s popularity is testament to the fact that on most occasions I have struggled to find seating here. You have options to sit on the ground floor where the service counter is, the first floor or outside. There is a fine variety of coffees, teas and hot chocolates on offer, which can be accompanied by a variety of gelatos, cakes or even savoury snacks. The festive hot drinks are amazing each year, with my favourite being the chocolate orange hot chocolate with cream and a slice of real Terrys chocolate orange!
The atmosphere is always buzzing at Brü and has a very European cafe culture feel to it with the sound of laughter and chatting resonating all around.
- Address: Brὓ Coffee & Gelato. 20-22 Granby Street. Leicester LE1 1DE
- Tel 0116 251 9667
- Website: Bru
Kai Kitchen is situated at No.4 St Martin’s Square and provides quite a laid back but sophisticated independent hangout for a coffee, brunch, or even dinner! Quite a new establishment and owned by two chefs, Kiran and Aidan, who rustle up some fantastic coffees and food. The café itself doesn’t have a huge number of tables but the fact that it is packed is a testament to its fine fare and drink. The décor is rustic with natural hued scatter cushions and wooden tables and benches. The ceilings are high and I love how the room echoes with voices when the place is filled with diners.
I tried a Turmeric Latte, which incidentally was delicious and bought back memories of a childhood sore throat remedy and Dr C had his special, the black coffee. We accompanied our hot beverages with a brunch of Shakshuka. Absolutely delicious and my tip would be to make an advance reservation.
- Address: Kai Kitchen. 4 St Martin’s Square. Leicester. LE1 5DF
- Tel 0116 262140
- Website: Kai Kitchen
Now, Gelato village is not just Gelato you know! They do a number of non-gelato items too, and my absolute favourite is their Espresso. These guys brew one of the best and most authentic Espresso’s in town! It also goes very well with a Sicilian Cannoli! Yes seriously otherwise I wouldn’t rave about it and you know how often I visit Italy!
Gelato village are the only establishment in Leicester to serve the traditional Piemontese ‘Bicerin’ originating from Turin. If you’re not familiar this is Espresso, thick hot chocolate and milk foam, layered in a glass as per the original recipe from the 17th century.
Additionally they also do a Affogato as pictured above, gelato with an Espresso poured over the top!
- Address: 2 St. Martins Square. Leicester. LE1 5DF
- Tel: 0116 319 2252
- Website: Gelato Village
Gray’s Coffee Shop & Kitchen
Based in the super trendy and hip arty LCB Depot, Grays is a small but perfectly formed café serving up some of the best coffee, cakes, brekkies, and mains, you’ll feast your eyes on in LE1. Make a selection, grab a table or a comfy sofa and await your Barista bearing edible delights on white and blue patterned plates. There’s always something art based going on and always a small exhibition to go and feast your eyes on once you’re done. Additionally if you’re based in the city, why not hold one of your meetings at the LCB Depot, that way you’ll get great coffee and cake or even lunch and a perfect light and airy space to discuss business!
- Address: Grays Coffee Shop & Kitchen. 31 Rutland Street. Leicester LE1 1RE
- Tel 0116 261 6827
- Website: Gray’s Coffee Shop
Just across the way from Mrs Bridges, is one of my old favourites, Café Dido. Serving old favourites like hot drinks, milkshakes, cake, jacket potatoes and my absolute downfall, toasties, in a variety of mouth-watering fillings has me going back time and time again. I mean who doesn’t like a cheddar cheese and red onion toastie? My favourite place is to grab the table next to the heater as you walk in on the left and people watch whilst slurping on a perfectly chocolate sprinkled cappuccino! Oh yes it’s all in the sprinkling action as well as the coffee shot. Dr C enjoys his favourite caramel and chocolate shortbread slice with an Americano as he studies the Sunday papers. Great homely, fuss free food, fab coffee and a lovely atmosphere coupled with huge friendly smiles from the staff.
- Address: Café Dido Loseby Lane Leicester LE1 5DR
- Tel 0116 225 0446
- Instagram: Cafe Dido
Holly’s Coffee Shop & Sandwich Bar
Holly’s Coffee Shop and Sandwich Bar is a family run independent establishment in cute and cosy surroundings! It has a lovely location on the outskirts of St Martin’s Square and The Lanes and is a lovely relaxed spot to enjoy a quiet drink and a read of the paper. The cakes are the real deal and taste like proper homemade fodder and the cappuccinos are just on point. Over the door, there is the slogan, ‘Food fit for a king’ and in my opinion, it really is. There’s also a fantastic variety of brunch and sandwich options on offer.
- Address: 13-15 St Martins, Leicester LE1 5DE
- Tel: 07772 729673
- Website: Holly’s Coffee Shop
So most things with an Italian name or the inkling of Italian cuisine draws my attention pronto! It’s one of my favourite foods on this globe! I’d noticed that Café Roma was always heaving and frequented by many of my Italian friends. They’d always told me that the coffee is supreme and the food is pretty authentic. After visiting and sampling, I would have to agree that it does bring back memories of numerous trips I have made to Italy! Café Roma is reminiscent of the rustic Italian cafes I have dined in and also stocks a variety of Italian fondant pastries and biscotti, which go well dipped into our coffee!
- Address: Café Roma. 11 Halford Street. Leicester LE1 1JA
- Tel 0116 251 5959
- Website: Cafe Roma
Prana opened in Spring 2018, this beautiful plant based café was just what the city needed Housed in the stunning former grand Barclays bank building, Prana serves up some delicious hot and cold food including the most delicious cakes, snacks, drinks and additionally the coffee is fabulous. They also do great breakfast options. To read more on Prana, click on the link below…
Related Post: Leicester’s only Artisan Plant-Based Cafe in LE1
- Address: Prana. 10 Horsefair Street. Leicester LE1 5BN
- Tel. 0116 254 7569
- Website: Prana Cafe
Leicester Coffee House Company
Leicester Coffee House Company is where Dr C purchases his coffee beans from occasionally and they’re roasted on site by means of single origin coffee.
My favourite is the Nicaraguan and Ethiopian. The coffee is good quality ethically sourced that ensures mutual profit and positive social impact for the coffee smallholders. The Coffee House also has decaf and other drinks including an Espresso Martini! Gail, one half of the owners, makes the most delicious cakes and recently I tried the gluten free rosemary and orange polenta cake, which was delicious. All coffees are weighed to a specific weight and made very precisely, so if like me you’re really into your coffee, this is where things get pretty technical! I also love the community project that Leicester Coffee House are involved in with helping to develop the skills of young people through the coffee shop. You can read more on their website, which is linked above.
So I saved this part for the end deliberately, Tommo is the resident dog of The Coffee House Company. He’s also the mascot for the place! He’s cute, always up for lots of cuddles and what more, does one want when they’re sipping on a lovely cup of coffee? If this cutie doesn’t melt your heart, I’m not sure what will.
- Address: 110 Granby St, Leicester LE1 1DL
- Tel: 07772 258728
- Website: Leicester Coffee House Co,
The merchant of Venice
One of the 2019, additions to the Leicester coffee shop scene has been The Merchant of Venice. Oh yes and just as it names suggests, it’s decor is in keeping with the Shakespearean play, with pictures of the William Shakespeare and the scenes of Venice adorning the walls! There are swings in the window and beautiful dark wood decor inside accompanying delicious coffee, brunches and some nice Italian Pistachio pastries as recommended by my Italian friends! Oh and the staff are pretty friendly too and always on hand to provide a plethora of recommendations.
- Address: The Merchant of Venice. 110 Granby Street. Leicester. LE1 1DL
- Tel. 07772 258728
- Website; The Merchant of Venice
Bread & Honey
So just as with Almeida, I usually don’t post about Bread & Honey, but I love it. This very small but perfectly formed café is a great coffee spot, serving Monmoth coffee and has a selection of fantastic homemade cakes! Additionally, I thoroughly recommend the soups, which are served with bread. My favourite? The red pepper and sweet chilli, followed up with a Bakewell slice, washed down with a cappuccino of course! All that’s then left to do is grab a seat in the window on the counter top and watch the world go by!
- Address: Bread & Honey. 15 King Street. Leicester LE1 6RN
- Tel. 0116 254 3779
- Website: Bread & Honey
OK so I recently revealed on my Instagram stories that Almeidia on Guildhall Lane, is one of my secret gems! I’ve never previously posted about it nor have I mentioned it but this is my secret place I like to hibernate in upstairs and scroll through all your lovely comments. They make their own blend of coffee and boy is it good. There’s always some good chatter with the staff and Miguel, the owner is very inspirational. Almeida has been open 15 years and was the first juice bar in Leicester and I can vouch they do great juices.
My usual is a decaf cappuccino here but I recently tried the banana, Nutella and peanut butter toastie dusted in cinnamon for breakfast! Almost everything is homemade locally and there’s an array of savouries and sweets to chose from!
- Address: Almeida. 5 Guildhall Lane. Leicester LE1 5FQ
- Tel. 0116 261 9086
Opening on Market Street back in March 2019, was Orso. A quirky coffee shop serving cakes, brunches and my favourite the dirty chai latte! I totally fell in love with it when they served my cappuccino with my favourite biscuit, a custard cream accompaniment because we all know hot drinks are lonely without a biscuit friend!
Since then I’ve made this one of my go to meeting spots and the friendly chilled environment and is great for a spot of work! I recommend the Dirty Chai of course, which has a chocolate dusting of the Orso bear and a shot of coffee, the brunch Gaanola bowl, the avocado bagel with chilli flakes and a passion fruit smoothie. Maybe not all together though! Also I love how the owners, Josh and his partner have tried to add elements of their travels into the interiors!
- Address: Orso. 4 Market Place Leicester LE1 5GF
- Facebook: Orso
James Cafe Bistro
I recently discovered James Cafe Bistro on Bond Street, adjacent to The Highcross Shopping Centre. Its kitch and cute and I love the chilled out vibes and board games and books dotted around the cafe! I love the cappuccinos in here and the homely feel of the place. It’s a quite oasis away from the hustle and bustle of the crowds of the city centre shopping scene and the variety of food here is fantastic with homemade dishes and a great veggie and vegan range as most things can be tailored to suit all dietary requirements.
- Address: James Cafe Bistro. 5 East Bond Street. Leicester LE1 4SX
- Tel: 0116 253323
- Website: James Cafe Bitrso
Bryter Moon Deli
This cute deli is located in the revamped Silver Arcade in The Lanes and as well as serving local produce is a quite haven to escape the crowds in Leicester City Centre. A tranquil hangout in chilled out surroundings with checked table tops, games and a fun atmosphere, the food is top notch. Great coffee, fantastic brunch options, great range of allergen free foods and obviously the cakes are a complete treat!
- Address: Bryter Moon Deli. Unit 1 Silver Arcade. Silver Street. Leicester LE1 5FA
- Tel: 0116 251 7786
- Website: Bryter Moon Deli
Chloe Gourmet is a fantastic Parisian addition to the Leicester Coffee and Patisserie scene. Think exquisite tarts with fruit, beautifully glazed, chouettes, croissants aux almonds and my personal favourites, The Paris Brest. Chloe explained to me, she’s spent very many years perfecting the Paris Brest and boy is it superb. They also do breakfast, savoury lunches and general anytime snacks!! A firm favourite on my cake and coffee list!
Chloe Gourmet. 10-12 Cank Street Leicester. LE1 5GW
- Address: 10-12 Cank St, Leicester LE1 5GW
- Tel: 0116 319 6477
- Website: Chloe Gourmet
Five Fox Lane
Five Fox Lane is located in the original Bruccianni’s location on Fox Lane in Leicester city centre. and have even kept a couple of the Brucciani favorites including soda floats & iced buns.
Tucked away in the centre of town, Five Fox Lane serves delicious cakes, sandwiches, pastries, a variety of hot and cold beverages as well as ice-cream. Every coffee before 11am is accompanied by a croissant too.
I love the ode to railway with some of the signage, the fresh decor with comfy seating and bar tables with quirky art work on the walls from posters to plates and also some replica paintings framed in ornate gold surroundings. The service is friendly and the atmosphere nice and relaxed.
I would recommend a mocha and lemon cake for an anytime snack!
- Address: 5 Fox Lane. Leicester LE1 1WT
- Facebook: Five Fox Lane
6 Degrees Coffee House was set up in 2016 as a social enterprise of Open Hands Trust which is a local charity which helps those in need in Leicester, with clothes, food, furniture and skills to grow confidence and get back into work.
The team are volunteers which enables more profit from the coffee shop to be invested in the work of Hands
The name is based on the theory that any two people in the world are connected by no more than 6 connections, and we have loved seeing these connections grow in our shop
6 Degrees serves a great range of hot and cold drinks as well as brunch, pastries and sandwiches. They also do a delicious Afternoon Tea.
- Address: 6 Degrees. 08 London Rd, Leicester LE2 0QS
- Tel, 0116 3190020
- Website: 6 Degrees
La Forêt Café
A French Moroccan Styled cafe located in King Street with beautiful traditional Moroccan decor. Freshly made food all made by the owner Rizwan. Beautiful Patisserie work, great hot and cold drinks as well as the most delicious salad bowls.
There is also a private room at the back should you wish to enjoy your treats in a quieter space.
I would recommend the Cappuccino with caramel chocolate sprinkles, the Moroccan salad and on the house-made Fruit de la Foret tart.
- Address: La Forêt Café 11 King St, Leicester LE1 6RH
- Tel: 07898 007227
- Facebook La Foret Cafe
This gorgeous Middle-Eastern cafe on Granby Street not only makes delicious hot and cold drinks but also the most delicious food items. No cake as such on the menu but trust me you won’t miss it. There is an extensive list of pastries, flat breads and chappatis with some fab fillings and flavour combinations. I personally recommend the freshly made flatbread or Manakish with crunchy falafel and Tahini with a cardamom tea or the eggs Florentine pastry, looks a complete treat.
- Address: 26 Granby St, Leicester LE1 1DE 0116 262 5544
- Tel: 0116 262 5544
- Website: Dama Rose
Healthy Louisa is Leicester’s only fully plant-based cafe deli! The bright and airy cafe situated in Leicester’s Belgrave Gate is a little oasis of calm and tranquility. There’s a rainbow coloured selection of delicious food on teh menu, including brunches, pancakes, Budda Bowls, wedges, pasta bowls, sourdough topped with yummy goodies.
The coffees are also very delicious, my personal favourite would be the coconut milk mocha.
Oh and the avocado two ways with cherry tomatoes and chilli on toasted sourdough is always a winner for me.
- Address: Healthy Louisa Cafe 63 Belgrave Gate Leicester LE1 3HR
- Tel: 07521 672482
- Website: Healthy Louisa
Kith meaning friend is a cafe, bake house and dry bar in Leicester serving mocktails, weekend brunches, evening meals, cakes and coffee galore!
The decor is minimalist and inspired by stylish NYC cafes with blush pink and white hues and is the perfect spot to meet friends and guess what? No one needs to be the designated driver!
- Address: 32 Granby St, Leicester LE1 1DE
- Instagram: andkith
If you find yourself wondering around in LE1 as one does, then you now have the perfect excuse to pop in and treat yourself to some of the hot stuff accompanied by a sweet or savoury treat! I’m certain that you’re going to find solace in one of the many independent establishments I have carefully researched and sampled for you!