Scores: GFG 6
Belfast has been without a Michelin starred restaurant for a few years now and there appears to be a general trend for places to move slightly away from fine dining to more casual atmospheres and simpler food. Ox may be trying to win a star back as it is a restaurant with a contemporary vibe but there the food is definitely modern fine dining. Following a policy of some London places, on the weekend it offers tasting menus only. These are also ‘blind’ which also leads them to try and push wine pairings; we turned these down and ordered a bottle of white and red instead. Ox also had a very good gin list which helped start the evening nicely. The menu is 5 courses and it costs a not unreasonable £45- we were served the following dishes:
Milk curd, radish, pea, verbena
White asparagus, summer truffle, yolk, Iberico ham
Scallop, brandade, tomato chutney
Mourne lamb, spelt, crapaudine beetroot
Polenta, mascarpone, honey, apricot, pecan
This was generally a very good meal and it had definitely the most innovative food I have had in Belfast in years. There were a few slip ups though; some of the courses took a long time to arrive and although the service was friendly it was far from perfect. Also the food was just not quite well-balanced enough, for example the first dish was just a touch too sharp and the asparagus and ham was too salty.