Going loco for Cafe CoCo: cosmopolitan flair on Cowley Road

Food and Drink

Image credit: Gresa Rustemi. Description: a salmon fillet salad.

Cafe CoCo is a quirky place; indeed, I’d say it has character. Some of the art in the cafe borders a little on scary, like the big sculpture of a clown in a bathtub. That I could do without, but hey, how many other cafes have art like that? Cafe CoCo seems to be perfectly ideal for a hip, chilled late evening hangout, but I only went there for a late breakfast once. Nevertheless, perhaps those brunch rovers out there will find this helpful.

We managed to snag a high table near the window, which offered a great view of  Cowley Road. The inside was a little dark and cosy, with a pretty hipster atmosphere, but not overwhelmingly so. This is a lovely, funky bar, where you can sit most of the day with a coffee and a pastry and a novel or have drinks with the girls before heading up to Brookes to party or enjoy a full-blown family meal. 

The staff are so attentive, especially the kind and lovely waitresses. Cocktails are delicious and being able to enjoy them whilst sat in the sun and watching the people of Oxford go by is perfect, and almost made me feel like I’m on holiday. The burger is my favourite dish there, but the full breakfast is great as well, and basically everything I’ve tried on the menu so far is great! It shall continue to be one of my favourites in Oxford. On a very busy Saturday morning the service was highly efficient and I felt welcome, and compliments to the bartender who produced a ravishingly refreshing Peach Bellini. Must try!

“Then to finish things off we decided to go Lady and the Tramp style and split a rich warm Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce topped with creamy vanilla ice cream and fresh mint.”

To start with we had garlic dough bread (£3.25), lightly battered tempura prawns with sweet chilli sauce (£7.75) and an extra cheeky baked camembert with tart cranberry sauce and richly malted granary toast (£7.25).Then for mains I had a 6oz ground steak burger, cooked to my exact liking in a seeded bun with tomato, lettuce, red onion and gherkin (£11.00), whereas my super lean healthy colleague obviously ordered a gluten-free superfood salad of roasted salmon fillet with edamame beans, quinoa, greens, chickpeas, cranberry, mint, chia seeds with lemon, olive and sesame oil dressing (£13.50).

Then to finish things off we decided to go Lady and the Tramp style and split a rich, warm Belgian waffle with chocolate sauce topped with creamy vanilla ice cream and fresh mint. Our drinks comprised a Peach Bellini made up of candy sweet peach liquor and pureé topped with prosecco and a lightly sugared flute glass rim for extra fanciness (£6.50) My super-healthy compadre, on the other hand, ordered fresh-squeezed orange juice.

All in all, the rest of the menu looked devilishly tempting – a variety of pizzas, pasta, salads, burgers, fish… certainly not a bad selection! Speaking of which, they also a decent wine selection, and the website advertises a 3.85 pounds deal on cocktails after 10pm. You don’t find too many prices like that around Oxford. With this in mind, Cafe CoCo left such an impression that I decided to come on a second occasion.

Funnily enough, despite already having been here, it was our waitress who kindly recommended our dishes, and she gave a perfect choice for us since my second colleague is vegetarian. I am slightly ashamed to admit this as someone with Meditarranean roots, but I’m not the world’s biggest pizza fan; nevertheless, even I can’t resist the pizzas here. The prices are reasonable – similar to places like Zizzis, and they taste better in my opinion. Why people still go to places like Dominoes I do not know! If Cafe CoCo did home delivery, they’d be the pizza kings of Oxford. The most surprisingly part of the yumminesss is actually the pizza base. Normally, I see that just as a sort of edible plate for all the good stuff, but here it genuinely tastes great. No idea why – you’ll just have to try it for yourself! We had the Mediterranean pizza, shared a vegetarian mezze and the goat’s cheese and walnut salad to share. The food was lovely, with delicious olives and capers, high quality olive oil, and delicious hummus.

To conclude, it was a truly delightful meal in a unique ambiance and was perfect combined with the best company of a fellow colleague. We both left feeling fully fed, with a big goodbye having felt we’d been on a little holiday to a place of happy people who look like they want to be where they work. Everything ran smoothly on each trip, and quite honestly, I couldn’t have asked for a much more wonderful brunch and evening from Cafe CoCo!