It’s been a while since a breakfast review! Now I work in the city centre a whole world of delicious breakfast opportunities has been opened up to me. Back in the fold of my girl friends’ bi-monthly breakfast meet, in May we went to GAIL’s on Little Clarendon Street, in Jericho, before work to see what they had to offer. I arrived at 7.45am and the cafe seating was already quite full, and there was a steady stream of takeaway customers throughout the hour we spent there – generally a good sign!
Being indecisive, and for the purposes of the review of course, I tried a couple of options. While I waited for my breakfasts to arrive, I’d treated myself to a ‘vegan hot cocoa’. It was pretty outrageously priced for a tiny mug, but after my first couple of sips I knew that a small was plenty enough for me. It was incredibly rich, silky and decadent. I enjoyed every mouthful but it had already started to fill me up by the time my food started to arrive.
I’d ordered porridge, made up with oat milk, which came out almost overflowing out of the bowl – or rather it would have been, were it not for the texture. This is the kind of porridge which your spoon stands up straight in. I know everyone has their preference when it comes to a bowl of oatmeal, but for me I prefer a little more liquid (ideally, I don’t want to have to properly chew it…). The portion was huge, I have no idea how many oats buts probably three times as much as I’d usually weigh out. They were also very generous with the homemade almond butter and compote on the side. They kindly swapped the seasonal fruit compote for stewed blueberries for me free of charge, because I’m fussy and can’t eat raisins or sultanas. I got through less than half of the bowl, along with my hot chocolate, and had to take the rest to go. I slowly made my way through it while sat at my desk in the office, and it managed to keep me full until I took a late lunch at 1.30pm, so in fairness to them this is a really substantial and very good value breakfast.
I also couldn’t resist the mushroom, avocado, and baby spinach breakfast roll. It was indeed delicious and again well worth the money I paid. I actually ended up saving this for my lunch, after a couple of bites of it warm, as clearly I was way too full from the porridge. It was super tasty both hot and cold. The sauteed mushrooms were spilling out of the seeded roll, plentiful and perfectly seasoned with lots of salt and herbs. They were cooked nicely, not slimy and still retained a meaty texture. Then there was the creamy avocado, cooling in contrast to a bit of chilli heat coming from a lovely tomato relish. The roll itself was crusty on the outside but soft and fluffy in the middle, texture presumably helped along thanks to the substitution of potato for a bit of the wheat flour. Would definitely recommend this as a healthy but indulgent-feeling breakfast treat!
There were a couple of refrigerated vegan ‘bowls’ available to grab and go (sadly there was an abundance of takeaway plastic packaging in their fridge) with some very nice sounding combinations. The ‘overnight cereals’ looked pretty enticing, and the chia pudding, though not something I’m a big fan of, looked like it would be a substantial and nutritious start to the day. There were also a couple of vegan cakes on display in the bakery at the front, at great expense, and they were seemingly half the size of all the other pastries so I wasn’t quite as sold on those. Still, plenty more on their menu that I’d like to go back and try.
Considering we were probably the largest table in there and the bakery was particularly busy, the service was great, the staff were very helpful and our hot food came out quickly. It was a really lovely place to start the morning and I envied those who’d set up with their laptops, presumably to hang out there and get on with a few hours of work. Both breakfast and lunch would be a treat here and I’d recommend giving it a try if you haven’t yet visited.
Where’s your favourite spot for breakfast in Oxford? Let us know if there’s anywhere you’d like to see reviewed!