7th December 2016 at 6pm
A friend had recommended visiting the Ox to sample their ox cheek dish as she fell in love with it when she tried it, so we did just that. Situated at the bottom of Broughton St, the Ox is a cosy little place with a bar and some seating at the lower section of the venue and a more formal dining space in the upper section. The menu had some great gems on it, from small bites to more traditional starters, mains and desserts. I ended up choosing a herb gnocchi for starter followed by the ox cheek for main. My friend went for a small bite of a Stornaway black pudding scotch egg instead of a starter and then the ox cheek for main. Whilst waiting for food, we did find ourselves almost blinded a few times when the light in the kitchen went onto a bright mode over the pass. Just as you got used to it, you were plunged into darkness again when it was turned off. This wasn’t hugely problematic for us but I could imagine some people finding it annoying.
The starters were quite different in size, with the small bite seemingly larger than the starter – not that it mattered. My herb gnocchi was perfectly formed. Sat in a bowl of pumpkin purée and scattered with ricotta and crispy sage, this gnocchi was full of flavour. I could have eaten a larger version of this for my main. It was excellent and a beautifully satisfying plate of food. On the other side of the table, my dining companion was thoroughly enjoying her scotch egg. She thought it seemed more like haggis than black pudding though. The egg was runny and seemed to be like it was poached before coated as it was so soft. The outer coating had a really good crunch to it, so much so I could hear it crunch from my side of the table. The mustard mayo topped it off nicely.
I was impressed upon arrival of the ox cheeks. A hearty portion for each of us, this was bordering on roast territory. The cheek itself was massive, with additional seasoning scattered on top. The flavour was good, although it could have had a bit more of a melting quality. It was sat on top of a bed of carrots, horseradish mash and bone marrow. The carrots were still very firm but tasted nice. The mash was excellent. The whole dish was topped with tons of beautiful crispy kale and a sauce full of depth. We both enjoyed the dish.
We also went for dessert. Again, we chose the same dessert – chocolate brownie with salted peanut ice cream and banana. This was a solid offering, with the ice cream packing the most punch. I like my brownies a little more gooey though but that’s a personal preference. The banana didn’t really seem to add much.
The Ox has some really nice choices on the menu and everything had good flavour. Worth a visit.
Food – 8.5/10
Service – 8/10
Atmosphere – 8/10
Value – 8/10
Would I eat here again? Yes, I am looking forward to exploring more of the menu
Cost £55 for two x three courses and a glass of wine