Lunch at the Phabulous café
Yesterday, I was taken by a friend for lunch at the Phabulous café.
The café is situated next to Leigh Road Baptist church, who own the building. In the introductory blurb on their Facebook page, they write (26/3/21) “We are a brand new café in Leigh on Sea, but we’re not any ordinary café … We are a training centre for local people with additional needs to gain skills, experience and confidence in the food industry! There are no sign up/training fees if you want to come work with us! We are a local charity that relies on local support, so please come and visit us soon!“
This was my first visit and I was wowed seeing their “training centre for local people with additional needs to gain skills, experience and confidence in the food industry” ethos in action, which evidently worked well and reminded me back in the day when I was involved in starting the Growing Together garden project (in this case focusing on folk with mental health needs and empowering them through gardening etc.) with similar aims and no doubt challenges, something our communities could do with a lot more of. We were warmly greeted by one of the “in charges”, who filled us in with some of the details about the history, activities, purposes of the café etc. There was a pleasant ambience and a lively and friendly atmosphere. The surroundings were bright, clean and inviting. We arrived at 12pm and noted a good number of across the age etc. range clientele who appeared to be mostly regulars, who evidently felt at home, sitting down, eating and socialising at Phabulous.
I suppose, if I were to ignore the main purpose of the café and score it according to the normal criteria I use, when it comes to food, service, value etc., when visiting eating establishments, it would be on the good side of average but not more, and as for menu choice while everything on offer was good and we both enjoyed what we ordered, what was on offer was limited choice wise. However, when it comes to doing something few other eating out places do (or other workplace environments come to that) when it comes to employing folk with “additional needs”, including them as part of the business / service being offered and giving them the very support they would find helpful, they get 10 out of 10. Summing up, we enjoyed our time at Phabulous (my friend is already a regular), and it would be a place I would happily revisit and recommend to others.