If you haven’t heard of Barefoot Oxford before, then chances are you’ve eaten one of their cakes without realising it, as they supply cakes to many of the cafes around Oxford such as Quarter Horse Coffee, Oxford Wine Cafe, The Chester, Joe Perks & Co, Branca and Turl Street Kitchen to name but a few! They’re also regulars at the North Parade Market and have appeared at numerous #BittenStreet events in the past, with their Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownies having already earned legendary status in Oxford as the best brownie ever tasted (I challenge you to try one and disagree!).
When Emily and her ever supportive husband, Fraser, were offered the chance to take over the gorgeous Victorian unit on Walton Street in Jericho, formerly occupied by Casa Rose, it was too good to miss out on, giving Barefoot an opportunity to have their own cafe in Oxford.
Speaking to Emily on opening day over a coffee and a cake, I asked what the biggest challenge had been getting the cafe open. Informing me that it was probably getting the services in; the water, electrics and Wi-Fi that the cafe needs, Emily went on to explain that as it used to be a clothes shop, it didn’t have much in place, so that had been a challenge to get set up.
I also asked her if she was baking on-site, but that is something that is going to be coming along later once the extensive basement area has been converted, hopefully in the next 6 to 9 months. However, there has been a small oven installed that will be used for warming muffins and the like as they extend their offerings over the coming weeks and months.
The cafe itself is split into two areas; the counter, cakes and coffee in the bigger space, with a slightly smaller adjoining space housing tables and a large sofa. This also leads through to the toilets and the garden, which will no doubt come into its own next year when the warmer weather returns. There isn’t a great deal of seating but expect this to be increased over the next few weeks as they settle into the space.
Barefoot have always been keen to keep things local and this is born out in the choice of the all important tea and coffee supplier, with beans coming from Jericho Coffee Traders, roasted in Jericho, mere minutes from the premises. The bread and pastries that are available come fresh each morning from the Natural Bread Company, just along Walton Street in Jericho. This local theme is continued on the dresser in the main area that offers a range of locally made products to purchase including the rather fabulous Plantation Chocolates.
So… what about the cake? They are all homemade by Emily using only natural ingredients without any artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives added.
You can expect to find delicious loaf cakes such as Courgette and Lime or Banana Caramel for £2.50 a slice. Perhaps you will be tempted by one of the epic Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownies for £2.75?
Then there are the single layer and double layer cakes such as Vegan Chocolate Fudge, Black Velvet Stout Cake or Sticky Toffee Apple Cake with Quince Puree – £3.00 for a slice of single layer and £3.50 for a slice of double layer decadence.
New for the shop and highly recommended are the amazing little Barefoot Kisses, melt-in-the-mouth meringue treats that are perfect if you are something a little less indulgent than the cakes on offer.
Barefoot Oxford is open 8am to 5pm Monday to Friday and 9am to 5pm on Saturday and Sundays, you can find them at 74a Walton Street in Jericho.
Top tip – if struggling for parking then head to Walton Well Car Park, it is only a few minutes walk from the shop.