Oxfork – Jacqui – Apr 2014
After almost three and a half years of living half a mile away from Oxfork, I finally made it there for breakfast. Not at breakfast time, like one might expect, but at lunchtime. You see Oxfork, though very close to my house, has never been all that convenient for me. With its buggy unfriendly interior, and 9.30/10am opening, I was either in need of somewhere more accessible, or ready to gnaw my own arm off with hunger by the time it opened. No, I’m not one for a late breakfast – neither am I particularly patient (MrF will be nodding furiously).
So, when someone pointed out they serve breakfast for lunch too, well, it seemed like a pretty genius way of finally getting to try what many refer to as one of Oxford’s best brekkies.
Now, it’s not fair to say I don’t have any experience of this eccentrically decorated East Oxford cafe – I’ve been in for a coffee after a local baby group; bought a jar of bacon jam from the mini deli at the cafe counter; had a takeout of Mac ‘n’ Cheese (quite wonderfully rich, served with honey roasted carrots, greens and puy lentils); and had one of their BLTs to go (I could still kiss them now for their delightful addition of sunblush tomatoes).
I’d scoped out the interior at each opportunity – it’s kind of Grandma’s house meets arty student digs, with old fashioned lampshades and cookbooks intermingled with cutlery chandeliers and bistro chairs hanging on the wall (yes, you read that right). The small counter area near the front door is furnished with a tantilising selection of cakes, overlooked by slelves of teas, coffees and chutneys
This time though, I was finally at a table… with a menu… ordering some actual food. I’ll have a Full English please! And here it finally was, in all it’s glory – the Oxfork breakfast. So… was it worth the wait?
I guess so. I won’t be raving about it to anyone that will hear, but it was a damn good brekkie. Bacon and sausage all passed my taste and cooking test – i.e. they were actually cooked! (I’m gobsmacked by the number of times I’ve been served flaccid bacon or under-cooked sausages) – with the sausage being of particularly high standard. The mushrooms, tomato and egg all perfectly pleasant – if a little over on the egg – and the buttered sourdough toast an ideal companion.
One thing I’m not completely sold on though, as at another local cafe, is is the addition of home made baked beans. I know the tinned variety is no gastronomic feat and hardly ‘high end’, but, I’m yet to try a home made version that isn’t too dry – especially when mopping up at the end with toast. I get that tinned beans may not have a place here amongst such high quality produce, so I’d almost rather not have beans at all; throw in a potato cake, hash brown, black pudding, or an extra mushroom or two instead. It was a bit like eating quorn when what I really wanted was meat.
As far as cooked breakfasts go, this was up there, however I’m not left with a sudden urge to revisit for the same. Given that Oxfork do a good variety of breakfast choices, I’d probably choose something a little more exciting next time – I hear they do particularly good Eggs Benedict. If you fancy something even more exciting though, they often do breakfast specials, both veggie and meat versions, featuring the likes of baked eggs with new season garlic, mushrooms, plus organic potato and herb cakes. Arrrghhhh, I want that now! Oxfork also open in the evenings for dinner and often host pop up events, so it’s really worth keeping an eye on their Facebook page for updates.
In summary – good, but do check their egg dishes and breakfast specials for something more exciting.