After 20 years in Moseley, Matchbox Cafe has moved into the LGBT centre in the city and revolutionised lunch hours. They offer lots of dependable staples, such as baguettes and jacket potatoes, but it is their inventive – and completely home-made – specials that stand out.
I wasn't sure what to expect when I went into Matchbox Café because I'd heard it was run by and for people with learning difficulties, and I've never been to a cafe where people with learning difficulties are catered for, let alone run it.
The fact that Matchbox is owned and run by people with disabilities, makes it even more impress that they make everything on site, with a lean towards vegetarian cuisine.
So as I approached somewhat anxiously it was a pleasant surprise to see the cafe was quite large, spacious, light, airy, and the food sounded delicious. As you walk in to your immediate left there is a large blackboard which states the daily specials. I saw there was a Mumbai special on the menu, which sounded yummy. Unfortunately, when I got into the cafe all the specials had been devoured, so I opted for one of 'Mrs Earnshaw's Oat Biscuits', and got myself a seat.
Perfectly crunchy, expectedly oaty, and satisfying
Admittedly I was wary of the staff because I wasn't sure what to expect, but as I struggled to find my purse in my bag - when I paid for the biscuit which was 50p, I was pleasantly surprised. I hadn't anticipated how patient the staff would be. They didn't drum their fingers on the desk, or look at me awkwardly, they simply watched me and smiled as I finally dug out my purse and handed over the change.
It's the staff who really 'make' this place. They're chatty, funny, honest, and they don't try and make you buy anything. They told me what was available, and if you want it, great, if you're not keen, then no worries.
It was refreshing to find such candid responses in a city centre café, but also quite beautiful, without sounding too poetic. Don't get me wrong, the biscuit, with my cup of herbal tea was great, but you can see the warmth and joy the staff get from working there. There is a sense of community, trust, and again, honesty about it, which is quite endearing.
It is only a shame that the café isn't more central - it is on the Holloway Circus Island - but the five minute walk from the Bullring to the café is well worth it because the service, is one of a kind.