On Monday night, whilst Mum attended a lecture on Anatolyan artifacts or similar, I needed to kill some time in Oxford close to St Giles. The area around St John’s Road and the park gardens at the end is a favourite part of Oxford for me; it brings back many memories but it’s also where I’ve always wanted to live. The houses are immeasurably chic.
I decided that since I had about an hour, I would head down to Little Clarendon Street to G&D’s, the best ice cream café in all the world. G&D’s was where we all used to go on a Sunday night when we were at school studying for our GCSEs. We’d arrive back at about 7pm, armed with our notes and books full of coloured post its, and we’d walk down to Little Clarendon Street, eat ice cream and hoot with laughter, returning to school an hour later when we’d sign in for the week! If we’d signed in beforehand, they’d never have let us back out again! Back then, we’d have towering cups of ice cream covered in hot sauces, m&ms and sprinkles and we thought we were the luckiest people alive.
At 7pm on a Monday evening in January, they were fairly busy but had it been May/June/July there wouldn’t have been a table in sight. The café is pretty small. It must seat about twenty and is bright and colourful as is their whole philosophy. Started in the early 90s by a chap who wanted somewhere nice to go in Oxford, it has a very hearty, happy ethos and this is still apparent in the people who work there and in the extended cafes in St Aldates and on the Cowley Road.
There are 2 big freezers with the specially made ice creams: Oxford Blue features, named after the rowing and containing blueberries, there is a Kenya AA variety for those who need their caffeine and a Greek yoghurt and Honey flavour that I hadn’t seen before. Each day has a sorbet on and this one was Mango. Then there is the sprinkles and m&ms, a butterscotch sauce and a hot chocolate sauce. You can have an ice cream in a cardboard pot or in a cone and the scoops are very generous. Bagels and salads are also available and good value at about £3-6 but I haven’t come here for salad items, I’m here for real calories.
The sundaes menu is where my heart lies. Many years ago, I had a cookie/ice cream sandwich and it was love at first bite. Knowing I won’t be able to finish it but hoping nonetheless, I ordered the Waffle Sundae (£4.95). You get to choose the ice cream, sauce and topping so I went for Dime Bar Crunch, it’s long been my favourite flavour, maple syrup and chopped nuts. The guy serving me congratulated me on my choice and reminded me why good customer service is sometimes just as simple as giving an honest opinion/recommendation. I also ordered a Snapple, there is a large fridge of different varieties of Snapple as well as the requisite coffees, teas and fizzy pops.
My waffle sundae was ready and I took it over to a table. When I say it was huge, I mean it. It was ENORMOUS! Huge waffle underneath, hot and fluffy and with that lovely crunch from the sugar, a huge double scoop of ice cream, a side plate’s worth of whipped cream, chopped nuts and maple syrup. I didn’t manage to eat the whole thing but it was delicious and worth every morsel of sugar/calorie.
I sat and watched Oxford University students writing essays and drinking coffee and read the posters for various plays/comedy nights/gigs at nearby colleges and realised that I am now 10 years older than I was when we first started going and whilst the place hasn’t changed at all, the students are so much younger and I, in turn, must be so much older.
A list of their flavours:
- After Eight Mint
- Baileys Irish Cream
- Belgium Chocolate
- Blackberry and Blueberry (‘Black and Blue’)
- Blueberry (‘Oxford Blue’)
- Creamy Caramel
- Crunchie Bar (‘Golden Secret’)
- Dime bar crunch
- Double Decker
- Gin and Tonic Sorbet
- Grand Marnier
- Greek Yoghurt and Honey
- Green tea
- Hamlet (white chocolate & raspberry)
- InLight Delight (white chocolate with chocolate cookie dough)
- Lover’s Tiff (Rose water & chocolate chip)
- Kenyan Coffee (‘Kenya AA’)
- Lavender and Honey (‘Smelly Bee’)
- Malibu and Pineapple Pieces (‘Caribbean Dream’)
- Mango Sorbet
- Mars Bar
- Mint Aero
- Passion fruit sorbet
- Raspberry Pavlova
- Purity and Danger (vanilla & chocolate brownie pieces)
- Turkish Delight
- White Chocolate
George and Davis’, 55 Little Clarendon Street, Oxford, OX1 2HS. Tel: (01865) 516652. http://gdcafe.com