On the back of the success of the first co-working venue review that I did alongside my friend Liz – and inspired others to do the same, we thought we’d chance a second. We ended up picking another venue quite close to the other one, more out of ease for us, but at some point we will venture further a’field.
Kitchen Garden Cafe, York Road, Kings Heath
The KGC can pretty much be summed up as a hidden oasis off a busy High St. Part garden shop, party cafe it’s really got this quaint, magical quality to it. Artwork for sale adorning the walls, a programme of live folk and craft in the evenings, a play area for children and an environment of quirky it’s really very cute and a bit of a hidden gem – though thankfully fairly well known amongst locals.
I met Liz there around 11am, who bumped into a friend who was already working there. The cafe has a reasonable number of tables, but does get very busy. We sat in the back of the cafe, in order to find a plug for charging the laptops (note to anyone thinking about co-working anywhere, generally it’s wise to charge up before you go) and there were plenty. Unfortunately this is also the area with the toys for children.
Kinda hard to judge this one as I’ve been a few times and so my computer picked up the net no problem. Then again, even if you’ve not been before they usually have little slips of paper with the internet password freely available. And it’s your standard way of finding the network, enter the password and away you go. No complaints from me.
Food and drink
Food wise, the KGC is a little pricer than your usual cafe, but then again this is because the food is freshly made on site (from the counter you can just about see into the kitchen) and where possible they use seasonal, fairly-traded, local and/or organic food. And there’s a notable level of quality to the food because of it.
A while ago they removed sausage sandwiches from the all day menu and I never really forgave them for it (though they are on the breakfast menu served to midday), so I couldn’t tell you what breakfast or dinner at the KGC is like, but lunch wise its pretty good. This time I had the Home-made Haddock Fish Finger Sandwich which at £5.95 is pretty pricey for a sandwich, but the fresh battered fish is delicious and in all fairness I rarely feel it needs another side – although I have ordered a side of chips with it before. It’s the kind of sandwich which is just so delightful that I never really mind the fact that its £6, it kinda feels worth it.
The KGC really is a delightful place. Unfortunately it isn’t great for co-working. Why? Easy answer is children. It’s an incredibly child-friendly place, which is fine if you’re there for food and a catch up, but if you’re planning on working there it can be problematic (particularly when kids are crying for periods of time, but cafe etiquette is another blogpost). Generally I can work through most noise, but if you plan on taking any calls it just won’t work. I had to go outside to call anyone and whilst I could leave my laptop with Liz, it was a pain and whilst there’s a very safe, comfortably atmosphere to the KGC its not exactly recommend behaviour leaving your stuff. The music is a little louder than it needs to be too.
I love the KGC for lazy lunches, tea and cake, folk on a Sunday and somewhere to show off when friends come to visit the city. But for co-working, it just doesn’t really feel like its really up to it.
Check out what Liz thought here.