Cowley Road outlet of Oxford's cow-themed ice cream café empire. Bagels cakes and drinks too. Ongoing customer flavour suggestion competition. Sibling outlets on St Aldates and Little Clarendon St.
Opening hours: 8am - midnight every day. Fair Trade tea, coffee and ice cream. Wheelchair friendly.
Fair Trade products Fair Trade tea, coffee and ice cream.
Cuisine: American & ice cream.
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On a hot, sunny day in a freakish, muggy late September heatwave, what you need is a G&Ds ice cream to remind you of all that stracciatella gelato you scoffed on your last Italian holiday. G&D's really do seem to have nailed the homemade icecream market in Oxford - and rightly so. The stuff is delicious. The dime bar crunch is exquisitely naughty; the mango sorbet is like biting into the most seasonally imported, creamy-ripe, fizzy mango straight from the box out of Cowley Road's Continental Stores and the Kenya AA coffee (my favourite) tastes as richly caffeinated as any Costa cup. I'm taking mine to the park right after work. See you there.
Roo (DI Reviewer), 28/09/11
I've always liked G&Ds - the decor and cleanliness of their cafés are always good, and the staff are usually polite and happy, certainly more so than in many chain outlets.
From my last visit to the Cowley road outlet, the WiFi was timed at 90 mins, which I think is reasonable - any more than that without a drink refill or similar purchase would be stretching things in any café.
Their desserts are neither cheap nor expensive, and the apple pie and ice cream are good enough, for example, to buy as a treat for a minor special occasion or a nice night in with a loved one. Last time I had the Pecan pie though (in Cowley), it was a bit dry and little better than the sad dessert specimens one would find in Starbucks et al.
The only major complaint I have, which deters me from working alone there, and makes a good chat with friends difficult without shouting, is the volume of the music. The St Aldates café especially needs to get a handle on this - it is ridiculously noisy and louder than many pubs! Lots of people want either a quiet chat with friends, or, a low-pressure, relaxing time to write something up with a buzz in the background - the volume now precludes this and suggests thoughtlessness.
Please consider changing this G&Ds! I genuinely like your cafés and strong local business, but it has become an unwelcome downside.
Stx42 (DI User), 21/08/11
I would like to take this opportunity to thank all our customers and clear up a few myths about how we make our famous ice cream. Our recipes today are made in the very same way they were when we first opened twenty years ago.
All our sorbets comprise water, sugar and pure fruit pulp. We have not changed our recipe and do not plan on changing it any time soon. Most people find them very rich and full of flavour.
Our strawberry ice cream has always been light in colour and this is because we use real strawberries in our ice cream. We do not, ever, add colour to the ice cream. Mixing strawberries and cream results in a lightly pink colour and the colour also tends to change with the seasons. It's true the Oxford Blue ice cream has changed to a lighter colour recently, and this is because we switched suppliers and blueberries. Just like strawberries, blueberries change in colour over the course of the year.
All this shows we use natural ingredients. We did a few testers before the switch and we felt that this switch resulted in a fuller and deeper flavour. We would always hope that anyone with queries or concerns about our operational decisions would come and discuss these with any one of our Duty Managers. We are always happy to talk to customers about our product and we also have suggestion boxes in all three Shops. We are not a big faceless national brand and we would like to think that we are very approachable.
All I have to say on the issue of staff happiness is that one would only need to spend a few minutes in the shop to see for yourself whether the staff here are happy or not. The George and Delila Shop has been transformed into the company’s training centre so we have a lot of new people behind the counter who might seem startled when it is busy but all our trainees wear badges which clearly state that they are in training.
If in doubt, why not come in and see for yourself?
Juri Vahala, Manager (Unverified), 17/08/11
I have been a regular customer at George and Delila since their opening week and I feel that the previous review is extremely unfair. Their ice cream is ten times better than anything else on sale in Oxford and the friendliness of the staff is one of the main reasons I go back week after week.
Yes, the music is a bit loud and the atmosphere is lively but it is not a library and how can you say that the staff do not enjoy their jobs? I have come to know many of them personally and what you claim is, frankly, rubbish.
To G&D's, keep up the fantastic work and do not change a single thing.
Debbie Matthews (Unverified), 09/08/11
Personally I think the quality of ice cream has deteriorated over the years in G&Ds. The sorbets (sad but true) no longer have that lush, rich taste with perfect texture, instead you get bland, ice particles and maybe if you are lucky some fruit infusion. This also applies to strawberry and the famous Oxford-blue blueberry ice cream flavours. Their colour has lightened up, possibly due to not using as much fruit anymore, and the taste, to say it again, became bland. Although G&Ds was part of my favourite Oxford walking tour activities - i.e. walk to one of them, get a cone, continue walking - I have started to prefer store-bought ice cream. Also, the staff as mentioned in other reviews are not particularly enjoying their jobs, which reflects on the quality of bagels, milkshakes or waffles you get, as well as the service. I am not a very much study-in-a-cafe person so I did not experience the wi-fi difficulties others noted as having, but I am sad to witness an Oxford trademark losing its quality.
punctum (DI User), 02/08/11
In an update to the previous review, nowadays the WiFi vouchers are timed at 90 minutes. Also, I've never seen anyone refused a voucher when they asked, even between purchases. I think it's a great place to work - I go almost every day. Of course it's a matter of courtesy not to hog a table the whole day without purchasing anything. It's also a great place to drop in for a coffee or an ice cream. The quality of the coffee is not the best but entirely acceptable. The ice cream is delicious indeed.
G&D Cowley Road used to be a superb place to bring a laptop for some online work, facebook or whatever. One of the surprisingly few venues in Oxford with reliable free Wi-Fi, and their space, lighting and tables are good for laptops and books.
But a few months ago they stopped proper free Wi-Fi, so if that's what you're looking for, think again. They now give out free but time-limited Wi-Fi tickets with a purchase (only if you remember to ask), and you may be given a 15 or 30 minute time limit. 15 minutes between food/drink purchases is hardly long enough. It takes me about 45 minutes to drink a large tea if I rush. Apparently they were overrun by students coming in for hours, not buying much but taking all the seats, so they changed the Wi-Fi policy to discourage that. It's worked: The place is no longer packed in the evenings. Ergonomically it's still a great place to go with a laptop. I use 3G to get online, though, rather than their Wi-Fi now. The signal's poor but it beats trying to write in a frenzied rush before the clock runs out.
The music's often good, but a bit loud for me. I wear silicone earplugs when I go as well as active noise cancelling headphones, and can still hear the music clearly though the two layers.
The ice cream's nice, with interesting flavours (but it's not gourmet ice cream like you get in posh restaurants). Considering how indulgent and large they look, the muffins are surprisingly edible without being sickly. The topped bagels can be quite nice sometimes, especially the toasted or pizza ones. Bagels are the only option for food if you don't want something sweet. The range of herbal teas is very good. The hot chocolate varies considerably in my experience between chocolatey and too milky, so if you have a preference, best say so at the counter.
They might be the only non-alcohol-centric establishment in Oxford which stays open until midnight, which makes it appealing for those of us wanting to go out late and do a bit of reading or writing with a social buzz. If only there was somewhere to go afterwards!
Jamie (Unverified), 25/08/10
Great atmosphere! Friendly, switched on staff, yummy products... the works. Have been a regular customer since moving to Oxford a year ago and would recommend to anyone. Well done guys.
Jimmy (Unverified), 06/07/10
I think this place does fantastic food and drinks, everyone is pretty friendly- sometimes they play the music too loudly and won't turn it down if you ask... only issue. In general fantastic!
turtle (Unverified), 25/06/10
This is a lovely place - great coffee, tasty pastries, friendly staff. But even though the mornings are quieter, I find the volume level of the music later on in the day makes it impossible for me to concentrate or hear anything else properly. I have requested it be turned down, without success. I love this place but I think it has lost me as a customer because of this.
Eva T (Unverified), 16/10/09
The Cowley Road G&Ds is significantly larger than its other outlets. As a result, in addition to the faultless ice cream, you'll find comfortable sofas and lots of bright seating. Most importantly for students, academics and the burgeoning Oxford startup scene, though, is the reliable wifi: together with the Jam Factory, it's one of only two large, laptop-friendly cafes in the city. (Greens Café is a third, but it's always packed and can be stiflingly hot.)
The ice cream deserves its own paragraph, and is the same delicious, organic, creatively flavoured stuff you'll find at the other two outlets. Like the other G&Ds, this one's open until midnight, so you can very easily follow a couple of pints with a scoop or two; not a bad way to round off the night.
As with all the G&Ds outlets, the one bum note is the bagels. The fillings are great, but the bread itself isn't all it can be - it's more round bread than the chewy, moist flesh of the genuine article. Nonetheless, it's almost inconsequential; they're still pretty good, and most punters will likely make a beeline for a Super Chocolate cone rather than a veggie salad sandwich.
Ben Werdmuller (DI User), 16/10/09
Nice Ice Cream.
Nice Little Sun Trap Garden Out Back.
What More Could You Want?
? (Unverified), 29/04/09
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