I finally decided that it was about time for me to venture into the establishment whose aroma wafts down the Woodstock Road every day, making my commute to and from lectures ever so slightly more pleasant. After reading some Voltaire in the library, I headed to the deli in the sunshine, smug in the knowledge that today was the day I would actually consume its produce. As I approached, I saw a gathering of people assembled outside and wondered what they were doing before realising that this was in fact the queue spilling out onto the street. Definitely a good sign. The last two people in the queue were two of my friends who’d had the same idea as me; now I had more than just Voltaire for company.
Personally, I’m a fan of the veggie-friendly, charming and relaxed hippie vibes from the atmosphere and the staff. We even tactically chose which table to make a beeline for with smiles on our faces. I went for the chicken fricassé with rice, green veg and a sprinkling of seeds whilst both of my friends went for various salad combos. I was envious of my friends’ salads as we dug in, but they quickly found the colossal portions too much and offered me some of the best olives I’ve ever had.
It’s a real shame that there isn’t much light inside, as there are only the large windows at the front letting in any natural light and the seating goes quite far back from the street. However, I’m definitely happy to let that one slide because instead of light, shelves of funky products for sale like Oxford Sauce and Nicaraguan coffee surround you. Oxford Sauce is essentially a spicier version of ketchup and the bottle itself is enough justification to buy it. These products, paired with the William Morris design trays to put your plate on, are more than enough to satisfy a student like me who was merely there to eat some good food.
A generous helping of freshly prepared food and a bottle of elderflower drink set me back just under £9, which I feel was totally worth it. I left Will’s Deli with a grateful belly, a loyalty card and the knowledge that it’s the kind of place where I could eat alone or bump into friends. No doubt I’ll be back very soon.