On one of the beautifully sunny days that we were treated to recently, as social distancing measures were easing up, Jamie and I headed to Florence Park to meet a friend for lunch. I’ve been following Flo’s ‘The Place in the Park’ cafe on social media for a while, and loved the fact that they’ve considered all kinds of dietary requirements with their simple but tasty looking menu. You can pre-order and pay on their website (be warned, your pick-up slot may not be for a couple of hours, so don’t wait until you’re already hungry to order) then collect from the cafe near the entrance of Florence Park. If you just want to pop in without pre-ordering anything, Flo’s is open for hot and cold drinks, snacks, and ice cream. The community-run non-profit also has a refill store and is open a few days a week for you to stock up on dried goods such as rice, oats, and lentils, at an affordable price, helping us all to reduce our reliance on plastic. Sounds good to me!
There were actually more vegan options on the menu than I could try in one sitting, which I was really impressed by. If a small local business such as this can manage, there’s definitely no excuse for other cafes and restaurants not to follow suit! I’d already made myself a vegan all-day breakfast of sorts earlier that morning at home, otherwise I would’ve definitely ordered that from the menu. Instead, I opted for the vegan pizza, and houmous snack bowl.
I was pleasantly surprised by the houmous bowl, as I was expecting for it to be a nice little side dish but it was in fact sizeable and filled me up as a meal on it’s own. A huge scoop of the creamiest, flavourful houmous was topped with a fresh crisp flatbread, and on the side was a generous portion of mixed crudites – red pepper, carrot, and cucumber. The houmous was topped with a dash of chilli oil and a sprinkling of toasted seeds, which added a delicious flavour. Such a basic ‘vegan’ meal, but absolutely perfect for a warm summer’s day.
We didn’t even get round to eating the pizza when it was fresh. I have to say I was a little less impressed by the ‘homemade sourdough pizza’ which was more like a flatbread, and didn’t really look like the picture. The image on the website had cheese on, which I’d assumed was vegan, but instead it came served without any, which I found a bit misleading. Still, there were plenty of mushrooms and spinach on top, with a rich tomatoey base, and the bread was light and fluffy. We took it home, grated our own vegan cheese on top and put it in the oven for ten minutes and it was very tasty. At £8, I felt it wasn’t as good value as the houmous bowl (£6), though it’d probably do two people if you ate it there and then in the park for a light lunch.
I couldn’t resist buying a couple of sweet treats too. The freezer is stocked up with an array of single serve vegan ice creams, and I spied my favourite Booja Booja raspberry for only £2.50 – probably the best value thing of the lot as these are usually almost twice that. Made with cashews, it’s so creamy and refreshing, and if you haven’t tried it yet you’re missing out! Lastly, I’d ordered the vegan apple loaf cake. Or at least, I thought I had, because when I opened the cake box a few hours later, they’d given me the banana bread that I’d seen on the counter at the cafe. It was labelled vegan so I knew it was fine, but I had been looking forward to my apple cake, and it was another instance of their website being a little bit misleading. The banana bread was nice enough, but I prefer it fresh out of the oven at home if I’m honest!
Despite the slightly mixed review, overall I’m really happy to have this little cafe just down the road. They have a lovely curry on the menu that I’d be keen to try at some point, and Jamie loved his burger with roast potatoes. There are so few places like this around my area, a bit further out from Cowley, serving simple, affordable bites for lunch. Flo’s also has a community space, nursery, and offers workshops and events for the local community. I’m happy to support them and next time I’m spending a leisurely day in the park I’d definitely pop in for a cup of tea and an ice cream, if not more.
The cafe is open Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday, 10am-6pm. Have you been before?