The KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen is a cool and classy looking play kitchen. The oven, dishwasher, fridge and microwave is finished in attractive silver while the sides of the play kitchen are a rich chocolate brown color (if you hate pink, you’re in luck).
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A little budding Gordon Ramsey will not feel out of place around this color scheme – nor future Uptown Girls. It is mainly constructed from composite wood. Details like the towel roll holder on the side and a chalkboard for writing the day’s specials on are nice added touches. The set is roughly medium sized – i.e. pre-schoolers won’t need a ladder to taste the soup (or to do the dishes afterwards).
Standout Features of the KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen
- Construction features mostly composite wood materials with some plastic and metal parts
- Modern silver and deep brown finish – very stylish (warning : it may put your current kitchen to shame)
- Appliance and cupboard doors open and close just like in real life (say what?)
- Knobs turn and buttons can be pressed
- Windows on the microwave and stove allows the little ones to see what’s cookin’ – (or busy burning when Barney and Friends are on the Telly)
- A cordless phone sits on a hook by the fridge so the little tykes can order in Chinese when they’ve burnt the roast (see above)
- The countertop has four stove plates and a sink
- The sink can be removed for cleaning
- A cup will actually fit in the ice dispenser on the front of the fridge – but it needs some imagination to work it’s magic
The cordless phone is popular with kids
Assembling the KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen
Before you start putting things together, try and sort the different pieces into some kind of working order. It might save time when looking for stuff later. Do the assembly in a spacious enough space (duh!).
Assembly instructions come in the form of a manual with pictures which show the different assembly steps (handy tip : don’t be a fool and at least skim the manual first). Reading the manual beforehand should give you a better idea of the whole process involved (handy tip : ignore the handy tip if you work for NASA or rebuild vintage cars in you garage in your spare time).
Roughly count on losing a morning or afternoon (2-4 hours) to assemble the play kitchen. The more help you have from friends, spouses or even your kids (help or hindrance?) the quicker the construction should progress (or regress into chaos – “no, that doesn’t go there!”).
Quite a number of steps can be done at the same time if you have an extra pair of hands helping you. Try not to force pieces to fit. Here lining up the parts correctly is very important. The pieces normally fit without needing to drill additional holes (anyone seen the Black & Decker?).
You should be able to get along with a Phillips head screwdriver for most of the work – having an electric drill and flat head screwdriver on the back burner (pun intended) is a good idea though.
Playtime with the fully assembled Uptown Espresso Kitchen
Classy cooking with the KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen
This kitchen play set has enough drawers, appliances, doors and cupboards for young brats to open and close to their heart’s delight. There is a shelve above the sink as well for putting stuff on. The stove knobs click when turned and the microwave has a turntable that rotates 360 degrees as well as buttons to press. The oven and dishwasher has drawers inside that slide in and out. The faucet turns on and off.
There is a pretend ice machine on the refrigerator. You can actually get a cup in there – but only imaginary ice comes out though (fake brain freeze!). Up to 2 or 3 kids can help each other make bogus-birthday cakes, con-casseroles and fake-french toast without stepping on each other’s toes (or cooking talent).
Chocolate chip cookies coming up!
There is a chalkboard for grocery lists for ingredients (don’t forget the milk!) or doodling. Four pegs are provided for utensils. There is a cutting board in the cabinet under the sink so the little chefs don’t damage the counter top when dicing Bugs Bunny’s carrots.
You will have to purchase some extra accessories (plastic fruit, dinner plates, utensils etc.) to really open up the playing possibilities. And a little chef’s hat, of course.
Notes on Quality and Safety
The cabinets and drawers open and close smoothly. It’s a little strange (when you’re used to a real oven) that the oven door opens sideways and not down like a real one. There is not an abundance of counter space as the counter space is being hogged by the stove plates and sink – this is a medium sized set though.
The unit does not have any sounds built in – which may be a drawback (or a blessing) – though it has knobs that give a good click.
It is most suitable for preschoolers 3 years and older. Though the set is steady and sturdy on it’s feet, anchors are provided for anchoring to a wall to prevent it ever tipping over. A sound idea if your little monkey is fond of climbing on top of stuff. The plastic sink can be removed to give it a clean.
The chalkboard is a nice little touch.
Last Thoughts & Video Look
The KidKraft Uptown Espresso Kitchen is a great little play kitchen. It is a medium sized set well suited to pre-schoolers. The modern styling is perfect for when you have both a boy and girl or a girl that isn’t overly fond of pink and purple. The up-to-date look falls somewhere between the muted pastel shades of some sets and the “ice pick in the eye” shades of some overly bright play sets. It almost looks better than some real life kitchens (e.g. my own).
The counter space is a little less than some sets and there is no battery powered bleeps and boings to be had. But the decent amount of cupboards and appliances packed into this little medium sized play kitchen certainly makes sure there is enough to occupy inquiring young minds. The chalk board (reminder – get more plastic fruit and veggies and one of those Ginsu knives that can cut through a shoe) and paper towel holder are nice additions.
The contemporary, gender neutral styling and well made parts make this set a good hand-me-down from older to younger siblings – or even one generation to the next. The time-consuming assembly, difficulty in obtaining replacement parts and lack of sound effects counts against it, but for its reasonable price this remains a solid buy.View the Uptown Espresso Kitchen now on Amazon.com
Also consider the Step2 Lifestyle Dream Kitchen.