Ox Club has been on my list of restaurants to try for a while now. It’s located in Headrow House, the four-floored bar, restaurant and events space, run by the same guys behind Belgrave Music Hall. You know what a fan I am of the permanent eateries and the monthly food stalls there, so I’ve been pretty excited to visit Ox Club.
Although I’ve been to Headrow House a few times before, enjoying a rum & coke on the rooftop terrace or a strong concoction in the cocktail bar, I’ve never eaten in the restaurant. When it was suggested we go there for my brother’s birthday, I was really pleased to finally have an excuse to visit.
As Ox Club features in the Good Food Guide 2017 and the Michelin Guide 2017, and very recently won the Yorkshire Evening Post Oliver Award (not to be confused with the Olivier awards!) for Best British, Best Newcomer AND Best Overall Winner categories, it’s fair to say my expectations were pretty high!
The Ox Club’s “USP” is that it has a “Grillworks grill”, one of the very few restaurants in the UK to have one. If, like me, you are impressed by this idea but don’t actually know what it means, apparently Grillworks are the bees knees in “American artisanal grills”, making “premier wood-fired grills for gourmets, chefs and kitchen designers alike.” So now you know!
Ox Club also makes a point of showcasing the best of Yorkshire produce, something I’m a fan of.
It is quite a small restaurant and has a lovely rustic, intimate vibe. Although it has quite a casual feel to it, you’re in for a fine dining treat here.
We were booked in for 6pm so managed to order from the fixed menu – 2 courses and a side for £16.50 or 3 courses and a side for £19.50.
If you’re not a “foodie”, don’t be put off by the menu. It can sound a little intimidating, but just be reassured that any dish you order is likely to be amazing.
Showing that we’re perhaps more alike than we like to admit, both Dan and I went for the pig cheek with bamboo, spring onion, ramen sauce and soy egg to start with (top left in below picture), followed by flat iron steak with béarnaise, salsa verde and watercress (bottom right.) James, going off menu, went for “Connaire dreams of onions” from the specials board – a variety of onion types basically! (top right) and the pork neck with barbecued potato and rhubarb ketchup. Laura, selecting the veggie option, chose purple sprouting broccoli, with pickled stems, jerusalem artichoke, hazelnuts and loveage (bottom left), and then the celeriac with parsley root, king oyster mushroom, mushroom dashi and apple. (The celeriac dish was the only course we weren’t blown away by, but I think you have to really be a fan of celeriac to enjoy a full plate of it!)
We also went for a selection of five sides (we could have chosen four, but as my dad says, we’re all “flippin'” gannets) and had coal roasted bashed turnips, chips (skinny with the skin on – my favourite) and cauliflower with almonds.
For dessert, my companions all chose chocolate mousse with artichoke cake and coffee stout syrup and I went for banana and passionfruit sorbet. Both options were delicious. A word of warning – if you order banana sorbet, don’t expect it to be yellow! I actually thought I had the wrong order because it tasted so fresh, and not artificial like banana dishes usually do.
My family always give marks out of 10 whenever we eat anywhere (because that’s what we’re like) and Dan gave a strong 9/10 for every dish, which is pretty good going!
As well as serving dinner throughout the week, Ox Club also offers brunch at weekends – something I’m keen to try. If the brunch is anywhere near as good as the evening menu, I’ll be in for a treat.