Ole & Steen launched recently on the outside edge of Westgate Oxford, by the bus stops. The Danish bakery chain, with its cool grey interior, minimalist setting and rather epic display of daily baked goods, has nine locations outside of Denmark, the ninth being Oxford, the other eight London.
Visiting the new cafe-cum-bakery you’ll find windows dressed with delicate cakes and cinnamon ‘socials’, a signature dish of tear and share cinnamon cake. Counters are filled with baguettes, ciabatta, open sandwiches, boxed salads and pastries. Big glass windows let plenty of light into the large space, with tables spread out across two floors.
Breakfasts of porridge, bacon or sausage rolls and toast are available until noon. Brunches feature poached eggs and avocado or brunch bowls and are available until 5pm. Lunch and dinner is a casual mix of soups, sandwiches, stews and salads – lovely alliteration.
The bread selection is varied – buns, seeded, ciabatta, baguettes and their signature rye. Coffee is filter or espresso and beans are currently provided by Modern Standard in Essex. Oat, almond and soya milk are available for those preferring dairy free.
For those interested in eco credentials, all salad container boxes and straws are recyclable, and the bakery chain works directly with coffee farmers, paying over and above the fair trade minimum.
For those who like a freebie, you can download an app to collect points, that gives you two loaves of bread for every £100 spent, or a whole cinnamon social.
I went in recently to meet the team and sample some cake – all in the interest of hard research!
Tried & Tested at Ole & Steen
Clockwise from top:
Strawberry Tart – a very tasty combination of shortcrust base with frangipane and dark chocolate, topped off with a fresh vanilla cream, strawberries and almond shavings.
Gateau Marcel – a lot lighter than expected, chocolate mouse inside a French flour-free chocolate cake. Delicious, but wait for the next one…
Christianshavner Cake – my absolute favourite, this one needs trying. The caramelised hazelnut base is both chewy and crunchy in unison, topped off with an uber-light strawberry mouse underneath fresh berries. Drooooool.
Truffle Log – a clever combination of Danish pastry crushed up with extra cocoa and non-alcoholic rum essence. All rolled in marzipan and dipped on either end in dark chocolate.
Cinnamon Social – A long shareable soft dough pastry filled with vanilla custard and cinnamon paste topped with white icing. Good, but still not a patch on my cinnamon pastry go-to in Oxford, the Silvie cinnamon bun. Those that know, know!
Teriyaki Salmon Salad – A completely bonkers mix of Asian, Mediterranean and Nordic flavours that, god only knows how, work. And work really well. Served with – wait for it – soft boiled eggs, potatoes, olives, green beans, leaves & with Mustard Dill dressing on the side, plus 2 slices of nice seeded rye on the side.
So there you have it, a whole load of cakes you’ll want to try and another easy food option if you’re in central Oxford. It’s not an independent, but it’s a decent chain.
Opening hours: 9am – 9pm Monday – Friday, 8am – 9pm Saturday and 9am – 6pm Sunday.
Address: L42, 133 Queen Street, Westgate, Oxford OX1 1PB
Telephone: 01865 952286