The Ox has been generating a giant Bumble Bee sized amount of buzz since it’s opening just before Christmas last year, finally this week we were able to sample it’s delights.
The setting is glorious, set in the basement of The Commercial Rooms on Corn St, the main room, with it’s low curved ceiling, had the feeling of a sumptuous dining carriage on The Orient Express. Lovely wood panelling, atmospherically lit by the wonderfully kitsch grape cluster light fittings. There is also a splendidly cosy waiting area, where it wouldn’t be a burden to enjoy a drink from the adventurous drink selection, whilst awaiting your table.
The food itself very much focused on meat, with steak being the centre point. Having said that there some fish options, alongside a limited vegetarian choice. The four of us in our party started by sharing some bread and olives, both of which were excellent. The Ox has an interesting selection of smaller dishes to choose from and amongst things like pig’s trotters and pickled herrings, my eye was taken by the roasted bone marrow, onion & parmesan with toast option. Very tasty it was too.
For the mains, we all went for steaks of various cuts and weights. My 10.5 Oz Rib-eye was full of flavour and beautifully cooked. The steaks come with some hearty triple cooked chips and we also went for a portion of leeks & greens plus a portion of fried sprouts. Those sprouts were am absolute revelation! Crispy and packed with flavour, I am looking at these little green treats in a very different way now! I finished my meal with some brilliant brown bread ice cream. All in all, a wonderful meal in fantastic surroundings.
As one of our friends pointed out, our parent’s generation would have enjoyed similar food in Bristol when the Berni Inn chain started from The Rummer in 1955. It’s fitting that The Rummer is less than two minutes walk from The Ox, so in Bristol at least the steak eating experience may have come full circle in a generation. Berni Inns went on to dominate the British food scene through the 1960’s will The Ox do the same? Well it’s hard to see that happening and beeing able to keep the quality so high. Then again, the people behind The Ox have already provided Bristol with The Milk Thistle, Hyde & Co. So we have much to thank them for.