My children have been eager to visit the Kitty Cafe for a while now. It’s a novel concept: a cafe in which cats roam free.
How cute! They even have their own raised walkways, rope bridges and scalable columns, thanks to them being covered in rope. In a world which is plagued by constant doom-mongering over climate change, Brexit, Russian aggression, fracking and a million other things, it’s comforting to know there’s an actual real life thing called the Kitty Cafe.
It opened in December last year and since then has done a roaring trade, judging by the queues I see outside every time I pass. In fact, if you want to get a table here, you’re better off booking, as walk-ins seem to be a hit and miss affair. But is it any good? Well, yes and no. I suppose it all depends on what criteria you want to judge it by. If you were to ask me whether your children will like it, I would say yes, for sure. They won’t even be bothered about the food, they’ll just spend the whole time wandering around the place trying to lure one of the 30 cats who live there. I dare say that even adults will like it, although mostly only vicariously. You see, as cute and cuddly as this place is, it has it’s niggles. There’s a £6 per adult/£4 per child flat entry fee (this before you even sit down), which goes towards the cost of their cat rescue and rehoming plan (yes, you can apply to permanent adopt (i.e.: take home and keep) the cats in there, subject to certain conditions).
Once you are sat down amid the gaudy interior, you are offered a menu, which is fairly basic - pasta, jacket potato, pizza, paninis, etc (all £5.95), but they do a ‘main, dessert and drink’ option for £9.95, which is decent value for money and so we plumped for that. Predictably, all the children went for pizza, while I tried the pesto tuna pasta (tiny bowl, gone in a few forkfuls, but nice) and my partner the jacket spud (more substantial). Cakes were above average, drinks involved Dong Ding Oolong tea, which is hard to describe but I’ll give it a go: clear and light, slightly sweet, woody with a hint of charcoal but not in a bad way.
Downsides include being continually reminded of how long we had left by the waitress, who also (not once but twice) tried to remove food which had not been eaten, including an almost complete pizza, until we asked for them to be left.
Kitty Cafe is one of those places you might want to share with friends, as we did, bringing out total bill (for four adults/four children) to £79.10, the itemised version of which was the longest till slip I have ever been given.
If there was an award for novelty cafes, this would probably win but overall, it’s very expensive, especially given the money you pay on entry and while the food is okay, we’d like just a little bit longer to enjoy it... and the cats.
Address: Kitty Cafe, Kirkgate, Leeds, LS1 6BZ