Restore Garden Café : the oasis just off Cowley Road

Restore 1blogFor some it’s the secret garden, for me Restore Café is the oasis of Cowley Road. Between the international food-shops, restaurants, charity shops and some pharmacies, eyes, ears and mind sometimes need a space to calm down, sit and relax. The Restore Garden Café is one of these special places. And it’s particularly beautiful because children are more than welcome – which you do not feel in all cafés, right?! Somewhat hidden with an entrance composed of greenery, unfolds a magical little garden – with a wooden house, a willow hut, a seating corner (at the moment work in progress: beautiful mosaic), a lawn and a calm terrace. In summer, you merely see and hear nature with all its colourful variety – no cars, no people running around (ok, sometimes my child), but so basically it is you in front of your drink and a snack. And of course, your children, but the calmness can inspire them as well, believe me!

Restore 3blogWhere? Close to the NHS Health Centre of Manzil Way, behind the playground. Which is a perfect scene – before or afterwards your children can play there! Complete address: Manzil Way, Cowley Road, Oxford, OX4 1YH.

Opening Times? Every day, except Sunday, from 10am to 4pm.

What for? Have a drink or a little snack, or if you want to play it big, you can even have a lunch! Our children’s favourite: the coriander shortbread in winter, and lavender short bread in summer – absolutely divine! The cakes and biscuits are quite small which is perfect for the tiny mouth and our purse! But don’t forget the money raised is for the Restore charity!

What is Restore? It’s a local charity which supports people with mental health issues. Restore offers different ways for them to reconnect with their skills, community and local life in general: recovering groups, employment workshops, coaching etc.. The Garden Café is run by the members of a Recovery Group. They prepare the local and organic sourced food in the kitchen but also serve you at the Garden Café.

Better with babies or children? Both are warmly welcome. For the tinier ones there is enough space to come in (or to be outside) with their pram. The “sitting-ones” can use the high chairs, and for the “reading-ones” there are some (old-fashioned but still with life in them) books in a little corner close to the entrance. There are also changing facilities! The garden space is fabulous for all the children to play and discover some plants, smells or maybe butterflies! Especially the willow hut is the perfect place for role plays!

Good to know! If you have some pennies left, give them to your child who will love the little wooden zoo where you can put the money inside and it disappears in the hippopotamus’ mouth J (close to the table with the tap water).

Restore 4blogYou want to support Restore? The Garden Café offers a nice range of handmade presents from the therapeutic workshops of Restore : cards, pens, birdhouses… and toys! And all the gardener will be happy to discover that there are some plants for sale!

Keep in contact! www.restore.com and Restore is on Facebook and Twitter.

Thanks to Restore for the nice pictures!

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