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“Idea needs overhaul” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of St Giles' Cafe - CLOSED

St Giles' Cafe
Certificate of Excellence
Price range: $6 - $25
Cuisines: Cafe, British, European
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children, Special occasions, Local cuisine, Dining on a budget
Dining options: Lunch, Dinner, Brunch, Breakfast, Accepts American Express, Accepts Mastercard, Accepts Visa, Free Wifi, Highchairs Available, Seating, Takeout, Waitstaff, Wine and Beer
Oxford, England
Level Contributor
50 reviews
45 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 24 helpful votes
“Idea needs overhaul”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 10, 2013 via mobile

Pleasant-looking café interior, but my decision on having the egg and prawn sandwich - although it felt brave at the time... proved ill-advised. An odd combination? Textures? And, the mixture, bound together with mayonnaise, wasn't substantial enough. And, one on the slices of bread felt slightly stale to the touch - as would an edge of a cut loaf, left exposed for an hour or so. So, this could have been easily remedied in the kitchen by cutting the first slice off, and discarding it. I 'nearly' sent it back, but my 'English reserve' got the better of me, regrettably.
The latté was good and my friends, both eating the mackerel pâté, were pleased with their choices.
I feel that the menu is relatively expensive, in terms of café prices, so feel disappointed with my personal experience of this, my second visit here.
Also, observing the staff and the owner, I wonder if the 'dream' they once had of running a café has faded now and been replaced by hard graft reality? I just seemed to pick up on something there that had me thinking that this wasn't fun anymore. But that could have been my imagination.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank pedrov_dog
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baz B, Owner at St Giles' Cafe, responded to this review, August 11, 2013
Hi there and thank you for your review. To answer your question , it's still very much fun and hard work in equal measure. Making our food every day on our own premises is what we set out to do and what we fundamentally believe in. Nothing will change that. Our bread is made by us every day and its become our morning ritual - so if you felt one of your slices was a little stale, I'm sorry and a little bewildered to hear that. Prawn and egg? Well, its a mix I discovered when visiting a Venetian osteria a few years back and thought it a great combination. It's not our best selling sandwich (always made with fresh homemade bread and mayonnaise) and if it wasn't your thing , and had you not been so 'English' we'd have readily made you something else:) I can see you visit many cafes , and wonder how many of those genuinely make their own bread and mayonnaise? Thanks again, rest assured that I'll be following my dream for many, many years to come. Kind regards, Baz
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

196 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
    114
    53
    14
    10
    5
Rating summary
    Food
    Service
    Value
    Atmosphere
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • Japanese first
  • Polish first
  • Russian first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Level Contributor
7 reviews
6 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Quaint, british, quality, value a must on a visit to Oxford”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2013

I'm impressed.

The ambiance of the St Giles Cafe was delightful and the food delicious. The portions aren't huge but to be honest I don't want stacks of processed rubbish, I'd prefer a reasonable amount of freshly prepared food. The smoked mackerel pate was superb. The St Giles Cafe blend of tea was also delicious.

Service was attentive but not overbearing and we were allowed to take our time.

I could imagine Tolkien and CS Lewis eating here!

If you are visiting Oxford it is a truly delightful place to go

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Tim P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dereham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
5 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Super breakfast”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 5, 2013

We wanted a full english breakfast and asked a road sweeper where he recommended, he told us about St Giles Cafe and we certainly weren't disappointed. The service was very good and we all thoroughly enjoyed our breakfast. Certainly not a greasy spoon, they make their own bread etc and it certainly shows. I am a bit of a sausage snob and was certainly not disappointed. Would definitely eat there again if I ever return to Oxford.

  • Visited August 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Dewbre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
“Small but perfectly formed!”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 28, 2013

Lovely to find somewhere so individual in the centre of Oxford.

We ate on a Saturday evening. During the day this is a thriving cafe but they open for dinner three nights a week. Service friendly & setting lovely.

The menu was small, three choices per course, but I always think that's a good sign. My ham hock terrine was lovely perfectly seasoned. Chicken with spelt great too. One star removed for slightly tough brownie that my friend had!

Unlicensed so you can bring your own but corkage is £3.50 which I thought was a bit steep.

Having said that, I'll be back. Much of Oxford is dominated by chains so it is lovely to find somewhere independent & individual to eat.

  • Visited July 2013
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank Nursedibdob
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baz B, Public Relations Manager at St Giles' Cafe, responded to this review, July 30, 2013
Hi there, and thanks for such a constructive review! I'm pleased you enjoyed the experience and we look forward to seeing you again soon. Just a small point, there were (and always are) 5 starters, mains and desserts to choose from. We also change one of each of these every other week so that our regular customers always get something new to try. This week we are trying Pork Belly Confit !

On the subject of corkage, I'm really trying to strike a fair deal. I did plenty of research into this matter and looked at a very large number of restaurants in and around Oxford. Specifically I looked at New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc where the average restaurant price ( for a £7 bottle ) was £22.50. I figured that if you bring a £7 bottle of wine into the café for dinner, if we add £3.50 then you are still £12 better off. We employ 5 people on our evening shifts and given that we are so 'small and perfectly formed' I hope that you will understand that simply to cover our costs we have to charge such a corkage price. Whatever, hope to have a glass with you when you next visit! Thanks again. Kind regards, Baz
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
bangor ireland
Level Contributor
51 reviews
14 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Dinner”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 20, 2013

We tried this for one of their Thursday/Friday evening meal sessions, and were very pleased. Good freshly cooked food, and a very reasonable range of choice for what is still a relatively small establishment. Friendly staff who took a real interst in what they were cooking.We did not try their breakfasts etc - but having read other reviews, we wish we had done so!

  • Visited July 2013
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Atmosphere
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Food
Helpful?
Thank simmarian
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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