Back in February I reviewed the original branch of La Bottega Milanese which is located down the bottom end of town on The Calls. I enjoyed the food but didn't try the coffee.
Two things have changed since then, firstly I've developed a taste for coffee. My aversion to caffeine has disappeared and I seem to be craving a cup of the good stuff with increasing frequency (maybe aversion has morphed into addiction). Secondly, and more importantly, a new branch of La Bottega Milanese has opened up in The Light. It's a good time to be developing a coffee habit in Leeds, with a number of high quality openings in recent months, not least Laynes Espresso and now the new Bottega.
At the moment they are offering a special deal where a fiver will get you a slice of savoury tart, a cheesecake and a coffee. Not exactly the healthiest of lunches but I'm easily persuaded.
The vegetable tart (I think it was advertised as tart, rather than a quiche anyway) was pleasant but nothing special.
Coffee and pudding were excellent though. A capuccino was well made, the coffee having a good roasted flavour. I love that they provide a little glass of iced water with every hot drink too, presumably just as you'd get in Milan. It's a great idea as I always feel a little dehydrated after drinking coffee, and a few sips of iced water make all the difference.
There were several different cheesecakes to choose from, most of them fruit flavoured. I chose the exception, pecan nut. It was quite dense but not at all heavy going with a lovely caramelised, nutty flavour.
There's a good selection of ciabatta sandwiches too, and prices are reasonable, particularly for the coffee which is cheaper than in any of the major chains.
On the subject of the major coffee chains, people really do need coaxing away from them and into smaller, independent places like this. It was very quiet in La Bottega even though it was prime lunch time (I arrived at about 12.40pm). Afterwards I nipped down the escalator to see how business was in Starbucks. It was far, far busier.
People of Leeds, please get the hell out of Starbucks and give your custom to one of your local coffee shops. You'll almost certainly get a better product for less money. If you're in the vicinity of The Light go to La Bottega Milanese.
Oh, and the rooms done up all nice too. Bright and airy. And they won't inflict really tedious music on you like Starbucks do.
La Bottega Milanese