London Coffee Shop Culture brought to the North of England
Established in October 2013, Hoxton North is the result of two Yorkshire folk who ended up living in London for more than a decade deciding to bring the coffeeshop culture of Hoxton back home to the North of England. Having recently celebrated their first year at the Royal Parade site in Harrogate, the cafe is enjoying a plethora of regulars from those who have followed them from their smaller beginnings to newbies who are re-finding their love of coffee.
The Royal Parade site is barley ever seen empty, as Harrogatians and tourists flood in regularly to sample the coffee that Hoxton North prides itself on. Offering coffee from specifically selected roasters to offer an ever-changing, crème de la crème portfolio to its customers, Hoxton North is definitely worth a look in for a coffee break.
Their coffee certainly consistently lives up to expectations. Having visited Hoxton North a few times, I can attest to their amazing coffee which is certainly a league above anything you’d find in chain coffee shops. However, on my most recent visit to Hoxton North, I also decided to sample some of their food. Unlike their coffees, their food was somewhat of a disappointment.
Ordering from their all-day brunch menu, I decided upon their crispy serrano ham brunch dish with crushed chilli peas on a bed of sliced, seasoned avocado and a toasted slice of sough dough bread, crowned with a poached egg. Sounds delicious doesn’t it?
Well I thought so too, when I saw this beautifully arranged dish before me. But something about it didn’t quite work for me. Although all the ingredients were really tasty in themselves, and the dish was well presented, the meal overall felt amiss. This was mostly because of on top of the cold sough dough toast, the cold sliced avocado, the cold crushed chilli peas and the cold serrano ham was the hot and freshly poached egg. It might just be me, but I prefer my meals either wholly hot, or wholly cold, not a mixed of two different temperatures. This just ended up in my food tasting not quite there, as if the chefs have tried really hard but missed the mark ever so slightly.
As well as the mismatched brunch, I also tried one of their slices of Banana and Walnut Vegan Cake. Sourced from local bakeries that particularly specialise in vegan goodies, Hoxton North is able to pride itself on tailoring to all dietary requirements. While it is great that they have vegan goodies, the cake itself was not exactly what I’d call a treat. Dry and not particularly tasty, the cake felt like something made during rations instead of locally baked. Although vegan baking isn’t the easiest niche to master, with the growing range of products and recipes out there it is becoming easier to perfect vegan treats. So there isn’t really any excuse for the blandness of this particular cake, having personally tried much tastier vegan banana cakes in similar cafes.
However, despite the disappointing food, Hoxton North still remains one of the best coffee houses in Harrogate. The staff in the cafe are brilliant and cannot be faulted on their friendly and attentive service. With some attention paid to the delivery of their food, Hoxton North wouldn’t be able to do much wrong.