Botley is an odd part of Oxford. Not odd in a bad way, just odd. It has just as many residents as Cowley, Headington, Summertown etc yet is largely forgotten when it comes to food. There’s the occasional takeaway down Botley Road itself, a few food vans on the industrial parks and if you detour towards Hinksey or Binsey, some very good pub restaurants. But nothing like the scale of the other places already mentioned.
There’s currently plans to update the weary and somewhat depressing shopping centre but this, much like the Westgate in the centre of town, has been ongoing for a while. Residents seem to want the new shops but don’t want to add to their traffic woes which is fair enough.
So what is there for food? Well, there’s a fish and chip shop, a Chinese restaurant, an Indian and two cafes. On a building supplies hunt last weekend it seemed entirely appropriate that we started off with a fry up.
Cafe Aloha is in the centre of Botley Parade and has a very American diner style. It confuses me a little as it’s a cafe that serves fry ups and sandwiches, but is then open in the evenings for pizzas,pasta, salad and tapas, accompanied by wine, beers, cocktails and quizzes. Looking at the whole menu intrigues me and I’d be tempted to try some of the other dishes, which seem to be a cut above your normal cafe fare.
There’s a good selection of breakfast options and it was busy when we went in. The husband went for the big breakfast option which came with toast and tea/coffee included whereas I went for waffles and bacon, and that was our first hiccup as waffles were off that day. Pancakes were offered as a substitute, so expecting thick fluffy American style pancakes, I happily agreed.
The food took some time to arrive, we were chatting actually time it but it was a good twenty minutes before it came out of the kitchen. Unfortunately, the table next to us had ordered similar food and our plates got delivered to them, with the slightly incorrect pancake order being sent back. Our waitress apologised profusely and explained ours would be on it’s way shortly but then it got even more Fawlty Towers with a couple at another table kicking off loudly as they’d arrived before us and our neighbours but hadn’t received their order! We kept our heads down and sat quietly. Eventually our food arrived and that was the final straw for the cross man who actually went into the kitchen to ask where his food was….
Anyway, despite feeling guilty and pretty keen to leave asap we tucked in. The big breakfast had three good Cumberland sausages, three rashers of decent bacon, two fried eggs, two hash browns, black pudding, mushrooms, beans and fried bread with a choice of tea, coffee or orange juice. There was also toast included which didn’t arrive and we decided not to ask for!
My pancakes were interesting. They were English style Shrove Tuesday style pancakes but thicker than normal. Not unpleasant, just odd, a bit sweet and slightly stodgy. The accompanying bacon and sausages were good but there was no sign of the maple syrup.
Despite the slapdash style, the food was pretty good and if I am up that way again I’d be happy to pop in for food.