Hard-to-find Harlequin is a nice place with really good coffee.
It popped up from right under my nose. York is my home town and it troubles me to think that this coffee shop went undiscovered for so long….. my radar is obviously not what I thought it was.
I had heard good things about it but not, as such, as a coffee shop. But then I started hearing good things about the coffee. So, a visit was due….
My coffee (a mocha, heaven forbid) was great. The beans, including a custom Harlequin blend, come from the renowned Has Bean roastery (http://www.hasbean.co.uk/). There are bags on sale under the guise of “The Coffee Shack”. Co-owner Gordon explained later that one variety was in the winning cup at the 2008 World Barista Championships.
My partner plumped for a tea and was given the option of milk or lemon to accompany (a nice touch). She tells me it was delicious. It came loose in a china pot, to be poured through a strainer (another nice touch).
It’s in a bit of an odd spot. Bang in the centre of York, on the first floor and accessible through an inconspicuous beige door. As a result, there’s limited passing trade, and many of the customers are regulars.
The interior is unlike most other coffee shops in this blog. It’s a big room, distinctly tea-roomy with its table cloths, round glass-topped tables, pale walls, chandeliers and ornate mirror. It has little of the character I hanker after in indie coffee shops (contrast with Coffee Culture, just round the corner, and the Perky Peacock).
Gordon tells me he hopes to open a second room upstairs and to generally re-arrange things a bit, including popping in a few comfy sofas. As it is, it’s nicely decked out, just not my cup of tea(room).
But everything else is great, including friendly service and excellent drinks. The food is good, with efforts made to source local produce.
Gordon showing us the ropes………………….and my fumbling attempt at a latte
About a month before my visit, Gordon had found out about my interest in all things coffee, and he kindly invited me and my girlfriend along for a behind-the-scenes tour, which was fascinating. What do you mean it was only for a write-up in Cosy Coffee Shops….? Don’t be so cynical.
My later visit as a “normal” customer was strictly incognito, while Gordon was away.
One of Gordon’s creations
Gordon has competed successfully in regional barista and latte art championships and loves what he does.
It’s always good to find someone who is passionate about nice things, whether it’s coffee, tea, food or anything else. Things at Harlequin are done with perfection in mind.
2 Kings Square
We visited on 27 June 2009.