I don’t want this to be a rantblog so I promise to limit myself to no more than one a week. Mostly.
The thing is, Mrs T and I like a good black coffee and a fresh Danish pastry somewhere with a pleasant atmosphere if we’re out around the town in the morning. It doesn’t seem too much to ask. But the number of places in Oxford where you can get such a thing is limited. For now, Blackwell’s Café Nero fits the bill though it can get a rather congested later in the morning. The Queen’s Lane coffee shop too has been reliable for a coffee and cinnamon Danish.
This morning we headed for the Coconut Café in Friar’s Entry which I mentioned in a tweet the other day. Sad to say, we didn’t stay because although they had various cakes and muffins the only thing resembling a pastry was some twisty thing smothered in icing sugar. And it was uncomfortably hot inside too. I’ve lived in Denmark so I recognise a Danish pastry when I see one, and although I’ve never had one anywhere else that’s as good as those you can buy in almost any local bakery in Denmark, I’m prepared to accept a good effort. So whatever the Coconut may be like as a café in general I’m afraid it doesn’t hack it in the coffee-and-Danish stakes.
On our way to Queen’s Lane we thought we’d look in at The Vaults (behind the church in Radcliffe Square). We’ve had afternoon tea there which has been OK, but whenever we’ve looked in the mornings they’ve had cakes but no pastries. Cake is for the afternoon: the morning demands Danish pastry. But Lo! Croissants and pains au chocolat! Two americanos and two pains au chocolat duly ordered and served.
And rejected (the p’s au c: the coffee was fine). Stale, hard, and burnt on the underside. The staff reacted with disbelief, giving the impression they thought we were being fussy. “How could it be?”, they said. The pastries had come from Gatineau in Summertown only this morning. (Gatineau is a place we’ve never shopped so can’t speak from experience, but it describes itself as an artisan patisserie and appears to aim at the affluent North Oxford market.) My suggestion that Gatineau had passed on yesterday’s left-over stock after a quick reheat in the oven didn’t seem to be thought helpful, but a refund was rather grudgingly offerred and willingly accepted.
So the search goes on. There are some other places which are, how can I put it, kind of OK but rather functional and dull. If anyone has any recommendations please let me know.