Last month, we went to see Peace at the O2 Academy in Oxford. I don’t know if I’m just old (in my mind) or too lazy to stand for long, but I wasn’t really bothered about seeing the support act, so we took the opportunity to grab a bite to eat on Cowley Road before the gig.
A plethora of choice on Cowley Road
I could probably start up a whole separate website to talk about all that Cowley Road has to offer: it’s vibrant and varied, and it seems like new things are popping up all the time.
But I wanted to go to a place I’d been before (as a meat eater) and see what their options were like for vegetarians. I was hoping to grab a seat at Atomic Pizza, but sadly it looks like that’s closed down now, so we booked an early table at the sister restaurant, Atomic Burger, instead. Despite the lack of pizza options on the menu, it looked like eating there wasn’t going to be an issue for me.
A restaurant like no other…
Atomic Burger has a ridiculously quirky comic-book theme. It takes a while to register everything around you as it’s just packed with everything from a giant Spiderman to memorabilia from just about every film or tv show I watched growing up (personal favourites included the Toy Story toys!).
When we arrived, the place was busy, despite it being quite early evening. We were grateful to have booked a table in advance and slotted in nicely by the window, giving us a great view of the stunning wall art next door. They had a playlist of throwback tunes and a tv showing the music videos too, which involved a lot of classic 80s hits.
The menu had loads of options for me – I ended up ordering the Cactus Jack Vegan Burger (but opted for a non-vegan brioche bun!), a side of onion rings and we got some hippy fries to share too.
What the heck is a Cactus Jack?
I asked myself the same question. The Cactus Jack consisted of pulled jackfruit, bbq sauce, onions and vegan cheese on top of the vegan burger. Considering I often have a pulled jackfruit bun alone, I went in apprehensive about how much I would manage to eat, but it was worth the absolute mountain of food that arrived in front of me.
My only gripe about the burger was that it was really crumbly – the whole thing kind of fell apart when I tried to pick it up, so I went in with a knife and fork and struggled to get any of the burger as it just kept falling apart. It’s not the first vegan burger to have fallen apart on me, but I was disappointed considering the restaurant markets it as a ‘secret recipe burger’. It tasted good, but I’m not after a recipe for food that is near impossible to eat! The rest of the stuff in the bun made up for it though – and the onion rings and fries were delicious too.
Room for dessert?
Despite being completely full, I had a sweet craving, so we opted to share a chocolate sundae. The menu had detailed that it contained marshmallow fluff (which, after some frantic googling, I was thrilled to confirm was vegetarian) but they must have run out, as when it came out there just ordinary marshmallows in there. I avoided them, but was a little disappointed.
That being said, you can’t really go wrong with a tonne of ice cream and chocolate sauce. I was glad to have shared it as it was a lot to have on your own!
I’d go back here, because on the whole, the food is great. And there are loads more veggie options I simply have to try! If you’ve got somewhere worth visiting on Cowley Road, please do let me know! You can get in touch with me by commenting here or you can always head over to my Instagram.