It was pure, unadulterated heaven. Sitting outside with the sun beating down, sipping freshly made cocktails while we chatted, drank, ate and laughed, it was a reminder of what life was all about, as well as a taste of things to come.
Because if one good thing has come out of the last terrible year, it’s been the revitalisation of our pubs, cafes and restaurants outdoor spaces.
eat Cafe Coco’s food by day – its classy pizzas, burgers, salads, fresh juice and brunch perfectly suited to outdoor climes – But by night the kazbar’s tapas menu kicks in
Dawson Street off Cowley Road is a prime example. Not only is it now pedestrianised, but as Dawson Street bridges both Cafe Coco and Kazbar, its outdoor dining space now perfectly mirrors their Mediterranean ethos with table upon table enjoying the piazza-like vibe usually associated with warmer climes.
Throw in the excellent food and drinks and its easy to see why the queue stretched round the block (socially distanced of course), as wanna-be punters waited patiently for their moment in the sun (you can’t book).
Owned by restaurateur Clinton Pugh, his famous children – actors Florence and Toby – were spotted there recently too.
We arrived early and nabbed a prime spot, ready with extra layers for when the sun dipped and the colourful lights were switched on instead.
it felt good to be alive, to have survived, and to be appreciating evenings like this just that little bit more
Menu wise you can eat Cafe Coco’s food by day – its classy pizzas, burgers, salads, fresh juice and brunch style of food perfectly suited to outdoor climes. But by night the tapas menu from Kazbar kicks in, a fitting accompaniment to the cocktails, bottled beer and wine being consumed around us.
It also breaks up the formality of eating three courses, ordering bits and bobs as and when you want them, which is exactly what we did, diving straight in to some babaganoush, bread and a ramekin of my favourite the Patatas con Chorizo – potatoes slow roasted with chorizo, onion and parsley, which I kept all to myself, and enjoyed every morsel.
When the others joined us, we ordered more of the same, throwing in some gigantes (giant butter beans, red onion and coriander in a rich tomato sauce), some Carrilleras a la sidra (Duroc black pig cheeks, slow cooked in Mayador cider), a portion of Alitas de pollo (chicken wings, cooked in a lemon, honey, garlic and chili marinade) a rather dry slice of tortilla, some Pimientos Chilis Rellenos de Queso Feta (red chillies stuffed with feta cheese) and a plate of Jamón Serrano (air-cured, salted Serrano ham) and sat back to enjoy our feast, as the dishes came out one after another, sometimes to be instantly replenished, along with an ever flowing stream of wine.
And sitting back, finishing the churros with hot chocolate sauce, washed down by some really decent rose and enjoying the wonderful people-watching, (the staff and clientele are as brilliant as each other), it felt good to be alive, to have survived, and to be appreciating evenings like this just that little bit more.
Still one of my favourite spots in Oxford, which can now be enjoyed al fresco by one and all while being wined and dined within an inch of your lives.