The Kitchen

7 11 2012

Looking out of the windows of The Kitchen, the cafe now open within The Station on Silver Street, it’s hard not to be transported back to when Carny Ville put on their astonishing annual shows in this courtyard, with alien tentacles emerging from towers and corpse brides abseiling down walls.

Before the Invisible Circus took it over, Bristol’s new centre for young people was the fire and police HQ, as well as housing cells and courts.

The scale of this place means that Laser Quest and artists studios can be accommodated elsewhere, as The Station offers a plethora of activities and services for young people, including rehearsal, studio and performance spaces; chill-out areas; and a range of organisations offering support services.

When I visited The Kitchen yesterday lunchtime, the head chef was ill which meant that there was only one item on the menu, homemade leek and potato soup with Hobbs House bread (£3.50), just the tonic on a bitterly cold day.

Other options on the menu when the chef returns will include food like sandwiches and cakes, as well as coffee from Extract and teas from The Tea Emporium.

But The Kitchen is much more than just a cafe. It’s also a charity run by the YMCA which offers volunteering, training and employment opportunities to young people.

With its big red doors and high ceilings, it’s easy to imagine when this space was where Bristol’s fire engines used to be kept before moving to Temple Back.

The Kitchen is a contrast between old and new, with tables made out of reclaimed wood and a gleaming metallic counter, which Boris Johnson was photographed at last week during a visit, surrounded by original white tiles.

A few sofas are scattered about, and in one corner is a piano with a lamp shade on top. It’s as far removed as it’s possible to get from initial thoughts about what would constitute a stereotypical YMCA cafe.

Carny Ville may now be a long distant memory, but with the opening of The Kitchen there is a new reason to visit this corner of Bristol.

The Kitchen, The Station, Silver Street, Bristol, BS1 2AG. 0117 929 2975.

Twitter: @stationkitchen



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