I know that Iffley Road cafe SILVIE is a go-to among many East Oxford dwellers, and although I’ve been there for a couple of pop-up kitchen takeovers over the years, until fairly recently I’d never actually been to try their own food. The little independent cafe, situated beneath Bed and Breakfast Browns, is open every day from 10am-2pm, serving a limited hot brunch menu alongside drinks and cake.
They don’t take bookings, so knowing how popular this spot is, my friend and I met outside for 10am, being those keen people waiting outside the front door before they’ve even opened up yet. We didn’t wait long before being welcomed into the cosy cafe, and were seated out in the glass conservatory area, which is lined by plants and somehow feels even more appealing when the rain is lashing down against the glass and you’re warm and toasty inside.
The blackboard menu seems to change every couple of months or so, with around four or five different items. At the time of our visit, only one of those was vegan, and anyone not a fan of mushrooms was definitely out of luck. Luckily I love them, and was looking forward to tucking in to the tasty-sounding creamy soy mushrooms on toast. I also appreciated that the dish usually comes with poached egg, but if you ask for it without, they actually reduce the price accordingly, rather than charging you the same amount like so many establishments love to do.
It wasn’t the cheapest mushrooms on toast I’ve ever had, at £9, but they were very generous with the amount of mushrooms and it felt like a properly filling, warming meal (enough so that I was kept full until dinner). There were all kinds of different mushrooms too, very nicely cooked, with a rich flavour and almost meaty textures. The creamy sauce was nicely seasoned, soaking into the thick cut sourdough bread, and all was garnished with herbs adding freshness so it wasn’t too heavy.
This community cafe has such a nice atmosphere, we found ourselves among families, couples, students, friends, all making the most of a rainy weekend. We enjoyed a leisurely catch-up but eventually they politely suggested they needed the table back (as I said, popular)! I missed my opportunity as we were too busy talking, but there is always at least one interesting sounding vegan cake on offer to try. It’s so nice to have an independent cafe like this on our doorsteps in East Oxford, and with a rotating menu, I’m sure I’ll be back again soon to see what else they have to offer.