“ 23 Cowley Road, Oxford. Tel: (01865) 200232 „
Cafe Coco was a favorite restaurant of mine whilst an undergrad - the pizzas were only 5 quid, and blew Pizza Express out of the park in terms of originality of toppings and taste. The cocktails were also really tasty - I remember starting a night out in Cafe Coco with the girls, knocking back mojitos. As a student, price is always a factor - but in the case of Cafe Coco, this doesn't mean you don't need to sacrifice taste and distinction! Do not expect sticky floors, rowdy crew dates, or binge drinking students vomiting in the bathroom. At night, the lights are dimmed and candles at the table serve as the only real light sources. For the morning after, the breakfasts are also very tasty (and similarly well priced). The wait staff are also very sweet.
The only downside, I'd have to say, is the sad clown in the bathtub at the back masquerading as decoration - not the most appetizing thing to behold!
Whilst it's a bit more expensive than Kebab Kid up the road, I think the extra expense is worth it for a refuge in sloppy-student-dominated Oxford.
Café Coco is one of my favourite café bars in Oxford. Positioned at the bottom of the Cowley Road its in a prime location to visit on the way into town. The food is primarily of Italian origin and they provide a great pizza selection at reasonable prices. The service is always very efficient and the waiting staff are good fun and like to have a laugh with the customers. Over the years Café CoCo has received many accolades from the likes of The Daily Telegraph, The Observer and Olive Magazine.
FOOD AND DRINKS
Breakfast is available from 10:00 - midday to help absorb some of those student hangovers with everything from omelette and toast through to the full English breakfast.
On the main menu starters average about £4 and include garlic bread dough, spanakopita and king prawn skewers. There are over 18 pizzas available which can be served as a calzone if preferred. They come complete with a rich tomato, garlic and herb sauce and average about £7.95. If you fancy something other than pizza check out the oven section of the menu which contains things like seared salmon, chorizo mushroom salad and red mullet risotto.
The drinks menu is fairly extensive and they serve everything from espresso to cocktails. The bar staff are very knowledgeable as you will discover when you order. My only complaint is that they will not serve 'Long Island Iced Tea' due to the number of white spirits contained within it. I can however recommend the 'elderflower' which has a refreshing taste which is followed by a kick provided by the Absolut vodka!
AMBIANCE AND DECOR
The café is really relaxed and is a great place to just sit and 'people watch' over a coffee. There are a variety of different people who use the café at different times of the day including students, Professors from the University and the after work young professionals crowd.
There is quite an intimate ambiance due to the relatively small size of the venue. The interior design is very contemporary with lots of creams and beige. One of the most notable features is a clown mannequin that is sat in a full size bath tub. This acts as a giant ice bucket for the bar and is often a good talking point for customers.
There are a number of current offers running to entice customers during these difficult times such as all cocktails charged at £3.85 instead of £5.80 between 10 pm and close. Kids can eat free between 3 pm and 6 pm every day and there is an early bird deal for two pizzas for £10 Monday to Friday between midday and 6 pm.
If you enjoy eating out, my other recent restaurant reviews may be of interest to you:
-Pukka Food at Jamie's Italy (Oxford)
- Latin Spirit at Chiquito's - Milton Keynes
Thank you for taking the time to read my review.
My boyfriend and I went to Café Coco last week for a quick dinner before meeting friends for a birthday drinks celebration. It's on the city-centre end of Cowley Road, so handy for town but a little bit out of the way unless you live in the Cowley Road/St Clements area.
It looked very inviting from outside - even though it was only 6pm and barely getting dark, the inside was lit with candles, and had a very cosy atmosphere. Upon arriving, we were greeted by a friendly (and very glamorous) waitress who found us a table for two no problem. We hadn't booked, but even though this was a Friday night it was still early so not too busy. It's quite a small restaurant though, and the tables are quite close together, giving it a bustling and warm feel. The bar extends right down the middle of the restaurant, and in the middle there is a scary clown in a bathtub. Bit random!
We were impressed by the long cocktail menu and I went for a Manhattan, and my boyfriend for a Strawberry Daquiri (bit of a gender reversal there?!) Many of the cocktails, including his, can be made with your choice of fruit, which was a nice touch. The food menu consists mainly of pizzas and calzones, but there is a section of pastas and oven dishes, and a specials board which had a fish dish. I went for an anchovy and garlic pasta, and Steve for a ham and mushroom calzone. Our waitress brought our drinks straight away and took our food order promptly too. We didn't have to wait long for our food to arrive and it was piping hot and nicely presented.
My pasta was delicious - I've never tried anything like it. As well as the strong garlic taste and salty anchovies, there was also a hefty kick of chilli and some wilted greens (spinach, I think). This gave it a really pungent taste which may not have been to everyone's taste, but I found it delicious.
The calzone was less impressive - a bit average really. The pizza-base case was a bit soggy, and inside was a bit of a mush of tomato, cheese and ham. It didn't taste of all that much, and would have been much nicer if the filling was comprised of larger chunks rather than the sloppy mess it had become. Steve ended up stealing quite a bit of mine as he got food envy, and agreed that it was much nicer.
However the prices were great. Most of the pizzas and pastas are around £7-9, and the meat/fish dishes a little more. This is pretty good for Oxford and compares well with the chains like Pizza Express. The atmosphere was a lot nicer too, and the service was very quick and attentive. The cocktails were much better than one would get in a chain Italian too. These were all around £5-6.
Café Coco apparently do a special offer on all pizzas for £6 before 6pm, so this would be a great place to pop in for a quick early dinner. Just don't get the calzone - go for something a bit different.