Ox and Finch – A Love Note
I feel the need to confess something here. This isn’t my first visit to Ox and Finch. It’s not even the third time I’ve been. IT’S THE FIFTH. I’m a decadent, greedy hallion that likes to fill her boots with delicious foods and I would venture the statement that nobody in Glasgow is in a better position to do that than Ox and Finch. This is essentially a love letter to my current favourite restaurant.
Looks-wise Ox and Finch ticks all the boxes, it’s modern and stylish without being try hard. The colour scheme is in a lovely palette of greens and greys, the open kitchen allows you to gawk at the magicians at work and there’s plenty of elbow room around the tables, particularly important when you know how many dishes you’re going to be ordering.
The menu is contemporary tapas with dishes ranging in price from the cheapest (organic bread and butter) at £2.75 to the most expensive (seared scallops, ramsay’s black pudding, cauliflower and cider vinegar) at £9.50. It’s divided into several sections – snacks, raw cured and cold, seafood, meat, vegetables and desserts. I was a bit gutted to see that two of my favourite dishes from previous visits (the crab and avocado on sour dough with pink grapefruit – I still dream about it sometimes and the peanut butter parfait with cherry sorbet, mmmm) had been taken off the menu but there were so many other things to sample it made no odds. It was my mum’s birthday so there were four of us out and we decided to choose 2 dishes each and a couple of sides, the idea being that we would all share everything.
The first dishes to arrive were a spectacular sour dough with a cumin heavy beetroot dip and an earthy, unbearably pretty looking beetroot, orange and goats cheese dish with little, joyful pecans. ‘Mon the beetroot.
Next up was oak-smoked scottish salmon with wasabi yoghurt and granny smith. I was super glad that two of us had ordered this because it was light, perfect and moreish, the wasabi was subtle enough to let the apple/salmon combo shine through.
I’m not usually that into fish, love shellfish but slabs of actual fish can leave me a bit cold. Not so these two dishes; there was a meaty hunk of roast coley with spicy chorizo and an-almost-too-bitter-but-not-quite piece of chicory. And then a bit of sea bream with perfectly crisp skin that came with a seriously refreshing, tangy thai salad which had us fighting over the last lettuce leaf.
Onto the meat. The star of the whole show was the venison, pancetta and neep scotch pie. I loved everything about this dish, the venison was so soft and slow cooked it pretty much melted in the mouth and the gravy it was in had me close to licking the plate. My only regret was that it had to be shared four ways.
There was also rich, soft, braised ox cheeks with creamy celeriac and the most amazing crispy hit of bacon gremolata sprinkled on top for crunch. And a bavette steak cooked pink with jerusalem artichoke and shitake mushrooms which The Boy was in raptures about.
Special mention must also go the chips. Luckily my mum was sensible enough to order two portions of the chips with truffle salt and roast garlic aioli because they were basically some of the best chips I’ve ever had. And that’s saying something because I’ve really eaten a lot of chips in my life. All the right things, savoury from the truffle salt, perfectly crisp on the outside, so hot on the inside that you have to do that weird blowing on something that’s already in your mouth thing and utterly fluffy.
Then finally, almost full to bursting, was dessert. In the absence of the peanut butter parfait they used to do (why why why do more restaurants not do peanut butter desserts? They’re the absolute best) I went for a slightly bizarre looking slab of chocolate and blackcurrant torte, one of my friends had said the appearance made them think of pate and I could see what they meant. I’m not always a massive fan of a fruit/chocolate combo and didn’t love the torte but was blown away by the honeycomb ice cream with cornflake crumb. I also got to try the lemon and earl grey baked alaska which was totally delightful, really light and fluffy with a biscuit base that elevated it into proper grown up dessert territory.
We left utterly satisfied and talking about what we’d eaten for a good while after. Price wise for 2 dishes each, a couple of side orders, dessert, coffee and wine it came to about £150 for the 4 of us. Considering how good it is I think it’s excellent value for money. The service is spot on too, professional, friendly and attentive.
Ox and Finch. I love you. If you haven’t already been get yourself booked in and fill yer boots. I’m going to keep going back till I’ve tried everything on the menu. Or get embarrassed trying.
10/10 hallion points.