Ox Club is back open and better than ever, with all-new menus and a stylish refit.
The fire at Ox Club last September became the catalyst for something very exciting. It gave them the time and the opportunity to breathe new life into this much-loved restaurant. They’ve given the venue a subtle facelift and returned to their roots with a new menu that promises creative dishes charred, smoked and buried in the coals of their wood-fired grill. It’s everything we loved about them, reinvented and reimagined in record time. Now it’s back open for business and ready to take your order.
Before the fire, Ox Club was stripped back and bare. From the concrete floors to the barren walls, it was minimalist to a fault. Now they’ve softened the edges with wooden floors, flashes of orange paint, oodles of plants and a smorgasbord of local artwork. They wanted to create a welcoming space to enjoy their refined plates – somewhere that isn’t too stuffy or too formal, despite the quality of the food (it’s Michelin and Good Food Guide recommended, after all).
That quality begins with their suppliers. They don’t just source local produce, they form unique collaborations – and that creates all sorts of wonderful opportunities. They have a really close relationship with Harewood House, so without warning, they might find themselves with a 400-year-old mulberry bush to fuel their grill or a couple of deer, fresh from the field. It’s the same with Robertshaw’s and The Organic Pantry, but with veggies.
But no matter what they get their hands on, every dish revolves around their Grillworks grill. They sizzle succulent meats over wood and in their improvised yakitori-style grill, but they’re not afraid to get creative. Fresh veggies are buried in the glowing embers of the ashtray to give them their trademark smoky flavours or cooked in a sieve directly on top of the coals. The result? Everything is distinctively different, even ingredients you’ve eaten a million times before.
Before they reopened, they redesigned all their menus. They’ve replaced the old brunch menu with a brand new Lunch Menu that’s only available on Fridays and Saturdays. It still has some of their most popular brunch-y dishes, like the Korean Fried Chicken, but it’s also allowed them to experiment with new flavour combinations, like the Iberico Pork Katsu Sando. This little pork cutlet is deep-fried and topped with Japanese mayonnaise and a teriyaki-quince sauce.
The Prix Fixe Menu has changed too. No longer a simple set menu, it brings together two smaller plates and a side, so you can get a real taste of their smokey, wood-fired goodness – all for just £19.50. The new menu features some of their most popular creations, which means you can try petite versions of the Beef Tartare with charcoal, kale and black garlic or the Chinese BBQ Pigeon with barley and golden beetroot.
But if you ask Andy Castle, their Head Chef, the 8oz onglet is the way to go, “The onglet is cut from the diaphragm and served with a peppercorn sauce that’s never been on the menu before. We put all our efforts into making the best one we possibly can, so we use the braise from the short rib as the base, then pair it with salt and vinegar chipsticks, which are like the crisps, but smaller, more like matchstick potatoes.”
And that brings us neatly on to the Evening Menu. It’s bigger, badder and bolder than ever before. You can still order a starter and a main, if you want to keep it traditional, but there’s a new focus on sharing that will make you want to bring your friends – and the more, the merrier because you’re positively spoilt for choice. Bite-sized morsels like olives and oysters sit side-by-side with starter-sized dishes and almighty sharing plates – think big cuts and whole fish.
They’ve always done them, but in the past they were up on a blackboard and subject to change. Now they’re taking pride of place on the menu, so you can feast on their famous Porterhouse Steak, the juicy-as-hell Wing Rib of Beef or a whacking great chunk of Middlewhite Pork Shoulder Chop, at your leisure. “The cuts will stay the same but where we get them from might change, the breed of animal might change, how long it’s been aged for might vary, so that will be kind of relayed to you by your server,” Executive Chef, Ben Davy told us. “And the fish is a good chance to get a whole turbot, a whole brill or something big and meaty that we can grill whole, and the table can share.”
Now, let’s talk about their Sunday lunch. It’s something they’ve been wanting to do for a while – and it ticks all the right boxes. They’ve used their connections to source a cracking beef rump cap and an equally good pork loin. Unlike everywhere else, they don’t slow-cook them, their joints are cooked over fire throughout the day, so they’re lip-smackingly fresh. Veggie? Try the roast squash with pearl barley risotto – it’s as good as any roast. Whatever you order, it’ll come with all the trimmings, including Yorkshire puddings, pomme Anna and a home-made gravy specific to each main.
This is Ox Club, reforged in fire and better than ever, so what are you waiting for? Get down there and check it out before everyone else hears that it’s back open.