Thursday, 28 January 2010

10 things I like and 10 things I dislike

I like regulars and specials and stuff that everyone likes and veggies can eat eg pasta or soup, even quiche... I dislike too much choice and I won't believe you've got it
I like interesting things on the walls: art, photos, poems, tin signs, history... I dislike the sort of posters you can buy in Smiths or anything stuck up with blu tack, or out of date noticeboards (take note Goldsmiths)
I like different types of seats; stools, chairs, some with arms... I dislike hard plastic stackable chairs, particularly orange ones
I like tables that you can make different shapes (square or rectangular) with and dislike round tables, even outside
I like today's newspapers or failing that a few books, but not magazines of any description as they remind me of the dentist, GP or hairdresser
I like music or the radio playing in the background, especially if it's otherwise quiet, but I dislike any sort of compilation tape or jukebox apart from a Bal Ami or Rock Ola
I like a good cup of coffee and anywhere that has a proper coffee machine... I dislike any of the 'real coffee' chains that infest our cities
I like unhurried service that you know is efficient... and really dislike staff who get in a flap or are rude
That's not 10 I know but it will do to be going on with


    • ‘Feel’ – ‘community feel / hand made / did it ourselves quality / funky touches / community ownership, using appropriate inspiration as with the Deptford Project; knick-knacks for wall decorations (local markets) / coloured strips on tables (tube map colours) / a space that compliments the building and its setting.
    • Decor – Things to look at or read / wording/lettering on walls/furniture / stencils on the windows / motto of the day board
    • Colour – deep red for the comfy area and pistachio green for the seated/kitchen areas
    • FOOD! - simple manageable home cooked/rustic food / regular sandwich/snack type foods plus a couple of daily hot choices / healthy snacks / good choice for veggies / temptingly presented food / cakes…the cakes!!!! (we all know the ones).
    • Equipment - Stainless steel kitchen / proper coffee machine / chalk board of menu & separate for specials / newspapers
    • Environment - Natural light / skylights / large attractive ‘feature’ windows / large fold back doors opening to the outside (as with Pistachios) / internal divider doors to separate areas (Moonshot) the smell of home cooking …
    • Outside - Palms & chunky planters
    • Furniture - practical small square tables / dark wood / comfy seating area (not just for those with kids) / highchairs and tall dining chairs for those out of high chairs
    • Child Friendly - children’s toys / play area / kiddie seating / children’s menu/portions

    • 'Feel' - clique / made to order cafe (not personalised or lending self to the building/environment)
    • Décor – sparse cold empty walls (as with Moonshot)
    • Colours – bright primary colours
    • Environment – large gloomy open spaces (Albany) / artificial lighting (& plants) / strip lighting
    • Furniture – (cheap looking) yellow pine / not appropriate for use/customers (Moonshot)
    • FOOD – can’t see food before you buy / boring/poor selection / same as any old café / the never changing menu / badly displayed snacks & beverages / all plain food
    • Not child friendly – tight space between tables for buggies / no play area etc
    • Toilets – cold / no hot water / public bathroom feel
    • Equipment – preparation areas too spread out (as with Chumleigh’s) / insufficient prep’ area / kitchens that only seem to have a microwave!

    Sorry if that's a bit too much


  2. I like the name 'Goldcat' as it reminds me of happy times, the space was once called that in the past.
    I like friendly service always with a smile and if they haven't got it this time, they make sure they will have it for you the next time you come in.
    I like the new and the different, with a 'bit of a surprise'.
    I like new things that were once old. Like open plan converted factory studio apartments.
    I like a variety of fresh fruit teas and the smell and taste of a million different freshly ground coffees.
    I like home made CAKE!! 'Let them eat cake'. And every now and again, I like a Cream tea with a scone, jam and clotted cream. Without the tea of course.
    I like warm and cosy and comfortable chairs. But not fabric upholstered chairs in food establishments, soft furnishings like cushions are much easier to keep clean.
    I like a good variety of non meat based meals and snacks.
    I like a place that everyone can feel comfortable and enjoy, that you can build relationships in.
    I like a good value for money 'special'.
    Oh and I nearly forgot I like 'zones'!

    Now for my dislikes:
    I dislike unhelpful, unfriendly service.
    I get bored of most menus after a while, so new dishes need to be introduced periodically.
    I dislike old things that smell and things that aren't clean.
    I dislike places you go to drink and they haven't got much choice. Only tea or coffee.
    I don't like places that sell mass manufactured cakes, if I wanted that I'd go to Tescos.
    I don't like chairs that have ground in pieces of old food on them.
    I don't like the only non meat products to be cheese or fish.
    I don't like to feel unwelcome or intimidated.
    I don't like places that can't adapt, 'businesses need to change with the times'.
    I don't like places that don't for fill and that aren't good value.

  3. Deptford Project
    Like: writing on stools; ornaments on mini shelves outside (outside art brightens up area and this is good use of limited space); outside loo in shed is great innovation but should not be necessary for us; compact and well-designed kitchen; Hearty portions; Huge cakes
    Dislikes: Made me feel sea-sick
    Likes: Daily specials
    Dislikes: Hard furniture - sofa was not inviting; White walls
    Likes: Comments book; Soft olive green walls;
    Sofas back-to-back to create obvious child area;
    Smaller flexible tables; Arches either side of chimney create space; Local interest art/decoration; Fire painting; Chalkboards
    Dislikes: Trellis across window; Wide opening to kitchen
    Moonshot: Walls creating rooms; Seating platform; folding Tables with flip tops; Stairs/seating flexibility
    Dislikes: Cold colour scheme; Clinical school furniture; Tuck-shop counter
    Likes: Yellow/red colours - felt busy, warm and inviting; Option to open up front (but they do have lovely view - we don't)
    Dislikes: Over 50% of space devoted to kitchen
    Other ideas: Make interesting furniture/décor by including writing/objects/images that might spark up conversation/evoke emotion E.g. stools in Deptford Project, ornaments, wall decorations in Chumleigh

  4. Things I like : Cosy and warm in Winter. Cool and airy in Summer. Clean. Healthy food. Unhealthy food. Treats (cake). Friendly staff and customers.
    Reasonable prices. Tables outside. Themed decor.

  5. I like to feel that I’m actually wanted ~ as a guest (even though I’m paying). It is especially important if I’m on my own.

    I like hot homemade soup and a chunk of good quality bread (homemade is best). I like to be able to fill up on bread as part of the price for the soup (or a small amount extra)… and I quite like it when they offer small bowls as well as ones you feel you could swim in!

    I like knowing that someone has lovingly prepared the food. It’s great if there is a story to tell, “we use our own herbs… I just need to pop outside and gather some more parsley…”

    I love fresh salads and a wide variety of vegetables and I like to think that the café is as environmentally friendly as possible (perhaps there is a leaflet on the table which tells me more about the values of the café and what they do to live these values).

    I like to know that my food tastes great AND is healthy too. I know there are going to be exceptions. For example ~ I know I’m kidding myself if I think that I’m going to find “healthy gooey chocolate cake”, but there are lots of ways of making main meals and snacks healthier. I love having a mixture of cake and fresh fruit salad. I may just be trying to ease my conscience here, but it feels like “having my cake and eating it”…

    I like it when the “healthier option” is also the less expensive. Makes it much easier to choose!

    I like being able to taste a teaspoonful of a “new” food without having to buy it.
    And I like having a short description of the food to help me know what I’m buying.

    I like to be served by people who are willing to find a way to help. For example, I once asked for a mug of hot chocolate and I noticed the waitress nip out to the shop attached to the café and get a mug!

    I don’t like shop bought cakes or biscuits or food which is stale or cold when it should be hot. I like being warm.

    … and I love “discovering” a café with these attributes somewhere where I wasn’t expecting it.