Kitchen Garden Cafe, York Road, Kings Heath
Poor Kitchen Garden Cafe. Such a gorgeous treat of a place, but on the day we visited, more kitchen chaos than anything else.
The Kitchen Garden cafe is spread out behind a deceptively little, unassuming entrance on York Road, just off Kings Heath High Street. The hand-painted sign is propped up over the tunnel-like entrance, filled up on each side with stacks of plants and garden paraphernalia. Little shops filled with organic produce and more garden-ware, nestle in alcoves as you walk in, cutely announced with more hand-painted signs and plenty of chalk boards.
The cafe itself is at the far end of this green and luscious corridor, with seating spilling out onto the terrace.
Inside, a random mix of wooden chairs and tables sits within a busily decorated space, with a superior set of artwork-to-buy on some walls, myriad posters of musical events advertised on others, and fairy lights hanging over the whole scene. The clientele on a Saturday morning was a happy mix of families, couples, and groups of friends out to relax and enjoy the low-key ambience.
We ordered. It is a relatively breakfast menu of around twelve options, from the full English to granola. We ordered one full English, one Kitchen Garden Hash, and one avocado on ciabatta. Ten minutes later, an apologetic waitress arrived: no hash left. I ordered a sausage and egg sandwich. Five minutes later she was back. No avocado left. We replaced that order with French toast. At 11am two of the major offerings on the menu were done. We drank up our drinks, got started on the toast and waited for our second choices to arrive.
The toast is excellent here. The bread is thick and really tasty, although unfortunately, only one slice of two had been buttered, so we had to request extra butter. The breakfast tea was served in plain which cups (no teapot), and the chai latte went down a storm.
The full English was a bit of a disappointment. Although the toast was again excellent, the rest of the ingredients were very averagely standard. Somehow, in a venue that presents itself as such a homemade delight, you might expect a little more from the ingredients in some way.
The sausage and egg sandwich featured a well-cooked egg, more of that delicious bread, and was generally a solid choice. The French toast looks really beautiful, but as a replacement for avocado, was pronounced much too sweet for breakfast. This is personal taste though: as an example of a very very sweet breakfast dish, it looked great and tasted lovely.
The unisex toilets are plastered with more musical posters, and are through old wooden doors with atmospheric holes in them. The dryer is one of those ancient ones which is about as effective as just blowing on your hands to dry them, but soap and loo roll was plentiful.
Finally, as we left the waitress came rushing over to present us with the most sensational brownie as an apology for all of the missing ingredients in our brunch. While the brunch itself fell a bit flat, on the back of that brownie I would suggest the Kitchen Garden cafe for tea and cake definitely.
Price: mid-range £8.95 for a full English, £3.95 for a breakfast sandwich, £5.95 for French toast
Atmosphere and design: exposed brick, lots of music posters/adverts for events, fairy lights, blackboards, homemade-looking touches
Food: very average ingredients and much of the menu sold out by 11am on Saturday morning
Toilets: functional, bit basic
Enjoyment: very lovely atmospheric place to sit and relax with friends, welcoming atmosphere and friendly staff