Knocking one of the restaurants off my wish list, I finally visited Ox and Finch yesterday. Opening it’s doors just a few months ago in May, it’s impressive that at 12.30pm on a Monday afternoon the restaurant already had a good buzz about it. I loved the decor, bare brick walls, wooden panels and a massive wine rack.
The staff were friendly and immediately offered us a jug of tap water and explained the procedure for ordering food. Everything is served in a tapas style and the service will be staggered, as everything is brought to the table as soon as it is ready. The staff recommend two to three dishes each to start with but as it was lunch we didn’t want anything too heavy so decided to start off with four savoury dishes. The first dish brought to us was ham hock and cheddar croquettes. These bite size morsels were packed full of flavour, with a slightly salted, crisp coating. They had a strong but not over-powering cheese taste and were filled with a generous amount of shredded ham hock and perfectly seasoned. As soon as we finished them I was desperate for the next dish to arrive.
Next to arrive was the Roast Cornfed Chicken Breast with Peas, Bacon and Girolles. The chicken was perfectly cooked and had a lovely crisp skin that was full of yummy, chickeny flavour. The bacon was so crisp and added texture and saltiness, the peas freshness, the girolles earthiness and the sauce was creamy and smooth – a beautiful blend of tastes and textures!
After we had devoured the chicken, a surprisingly large amount of Chips with Truffle Salt and Roast Garlic Aioli was placed on our table. The chips were strong with the taste of truffle, perhaps over-powering for some people, but dipped in the garlic aioli they were simply divine. Crisp on the outside, fluffy on the outside, just as chips should be!
The chips were closely followed by what I considered to be the star of the meal: Confit Pork Belly, White Onion Puree, Capers and Raisins. The pork was crisp and also tender, the white onion puree mild, while the capers and raisins added little bursts of acidity and sweetness. I could have eaten double the amount all to myself, it was gorgeous.
We decided at this stage, rather than ordering more savoury, to order ourselves a couple of desserts instead. I chose the Passion fruit Tart with Raspberry Sorbet.
The raspberry sorbet was zingy and strong and cut through the creaminess of the tart, which was full of the flavour of passion fruit. I ended up eating all of this to myself while Sam tucked into the cheeseboard, which included a Dunsyr Blue, Cheddar, Pont L’Eveque and a goats cheese, all served with oatcakes, honey and a mixture of dried fruits.
This is a fairly generous cheeseboard in comparison to what you might find at other restaurants, although this is probably because it was made to share. I’m told the Dunsyre Blue and Pont L’Eveque were the stars of the board, while the cheddar was a little bland.
Our final bill came to around £38 for six dishes, a half pint of Joker IPA and a diet coke. A little pricey perhaps but I left the restaurant perfectly full and really impressed by the service and the quality of the food. The only downside Sam and I agreed on was that a tapas menu should have a bit more variety, but that might then detract from the quality. It’s a good selection and there are plenty more items on the menu I would love to try, along with an amazing drinks menu I just couldn’t really afford to sample. All in all, I would highly recommend Ox and Finch, but make sure you book a table in advance, they’re so darn good they’re always busy!
Check out the Ox and Finch website here for bookings, menus and more.