Friday, 4 January 2013

Cafe Creme, Broad Street, Oxford

Sadly, age and an oxygen tank means that I have lost the ability to drape myself casually over furniture as is the wont of all students. No matter how high the stool or unyielding the banquette, as an undergraduate, I could always find the slouching position; and be both comfortable and look unbelievably cool. For this establishment such an ability would be a distinct advantage. It is a long narrow place with steep steps down to the dining area and additional steps down to the toilet. Seating is the aforementioned high chairs/stools or a long, buttock-numbing low bench with small, round tables. Access with any accompanying wheels is impossible.

On the other hand if your budget is as meagre as a student's, then this is perfect. Two toasted baguettes and two drinks was just over a tenner. The offerings are standard lunch fare - paninis, baguettes, wraps, flapjacks, cakes. There are some amazing options for vegetarians. I had a ham and cheese toastie (because I lack imagination) which was just right. One full slice of ham per half portion and cheese completely melted, molten-hot, glutinous in texture, slightly chargrilled baguette but loud, satisfying crunch and tear. No salad accompaniment: in fact, no accompaniment at all, not even a few crisps. I thought that was delightful. Drew had the artichoke, sundried tomato, halloumi and pesto on his baguette and declared it 'beautiful'. It tasted like a pasta dish, felt summery and indulgent. Crinkled, silky tomato, with fragrant, creamy pesto, soft bite on the baguette, not too tough on the teeth. I had the latte, fairtrade, served in a decent sized mug, creamy foam (though no moustache).

It is a good spot to sit and watch the students.  If this place is anything to go by, they are far more sensible about their eating habits than I ever was. I well remember nocturnal journeys to a supermarket to get cheap white bread, a can of beans and six eggs to see me through a couple of days. Then stuffed my face with Go Ahead bars all next day because I felt guilty I was not eating properly!

I'd do it all again. In a heartbeat.

Latte: *****
Access: *****

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