Café Critique: Barefoot Bakery

This review probably should be in a different, fancier font than the normal OxStu sans-serif, something italicised and reminiscent of calligraphy or hand-lettering in keeping with the style of the Barefoot Bakery. Unfortunately, the need to have a cohesive paper formatting has to trump our stylistic concerns. Never mind!

If you’ve not heard about Barefoot before, if you have been to any Oxford café you have probably eaten their cakes, most likely their delicious Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownies! They supply baked goods to many of the cafes and eateries in Oxford, including Turl Street Kitchen, Branca and the Oxford Wine café. Barefoot Bakery were also regulars at the North Parade Market before moving into their own Jericho premises.

The displays of freshly baked breads, from the local Natural Bread Company, and of course the fabulous cakes are enough to tempt you through the sea-foam green door. Once inside, the café feels open and inviting with two main seating areas. The décor is very ‘Pinterest’ with floral bird wallpaper, quirky plants and stylish furniture. However, on the whole the seating is quite limited. During a mid afternoon rush the café did become quite full.

Barefoot also has a little garden at the back with a long bench under a glass roof. This may solve some of the seating issues come the summer months and would be an extremely pleasant way to spend an afternoon. There are toilets and Wi-Fi (but you have to ask for the password).

The coffee was good and bitter and very welcome at 3pm. The size of the cups is small, but luckily the price is to at £2.30 for a cappuccino (the mocha is £2.40). The service is quite quick as well and the people working there are friendly and lovely. The crockery is beautiful with floral decorations so you feel extremely classy when drinking the beverages!

Of the many herbal teas on offer I sampled ‘Nearly Nirvana’ described as a ‘luxury Silver Needle tea with spiritual spearmint and heavenly jasmine’ from the bluebird tea company. I don’t know what makes spearmint spiritual or jasmine heavenly but apparently this is an award winning tea and it definitely won my ‘Nice Tea’ award (patent pending).

Ariane had the penultimate slice of the flourless orange cake- the person after her got the last one! It was light and very flavourful, not too sweet as there was Greek yoghurt in the icing. The look of the cake was also phenomenal with little edible flowers on top. Brownies and loaf cake slices are both £2.75, a single layer cake slice is £3 and a double layer cake slice is £3.50. Whilst the prices may seem expensive, the portions are extremely generous, the cakes are fresh and absolutely delish!

The delicious display of cakes induced Ariane, forced her really (she definitely had no choice in the matter), to get some brownies as a treat for her boyfriend. We joked that he might not end up eating one; the outcome remains to be seen. I myself tried the Chocolate Salted Caramel Brownies during our visit to see whether they were worth the hype. The brownie was decadent and indulgent, but the saltiness of the salted caramel cut through the richness of the chocolate. There is a reason why these are some of the best rated brownies in Oxford.

Unfortunately, Barefoot only does cakes and hot drinks, as it would be a lovely place to have brunch but they do offer a range of local products including their own homemade chutneys if you are into pulverised fruit mush.

Verdict: If you’re concerned about the calorific content of cake, the walk into Jericho and back will certainly cancel out anything you ingest. Just go and enjoy the best cake in Oxford!!!