The Ox, Corn Street: Review

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In a basement on Corn Street in the former home of Markwick’s lives The Ox: a restaurant that can be noticed only thanks to the menu board outside and a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it sign depicting an ox’s head above the door. It’s one thing that this restaurant, which has become well-known for its steaks, has in common with sister venues Hyde & Co, The Milk Thistle and Pata Negra, all of which make clever use of exterior signage to give them an air of exclusivity and intrigue.

 

The Ox - Signage

 

Monday night at The Ox is the night of choice for many diners, with the early bird offer of a 6oz rump steak, chips, a choice of two sauces and a glass of wine for £12.50 having plenty of appeal. And in January, when this offer was running all evening every Monday night, it would have been foolish of us not to take advantage.

Inside, the basement restaurant – once the Ocean Safe Deposit bank vaults – is easily recognisable as being of the same ilk as its siblings with its almost gentleman’s club-like design. A red ceiling, complete with glass chandeliers designed to resemble bunches of grapes, tops light wood panelled style walls, festooned with mirrors (and a little taxidermy), while some tables are adorned with mini lamps, others with tealights. The dining space is divided into two rooms, with a separate semi-enclosed space by the front door for those looking to simply come in and enjoy a drink, or sample the bar offering before eating.

The bar is amply stocked, as you’d expect, with a range of cocktails on offer in addition to wines, spirits, soft drinks and bottled beers and ciders. I’m not sure I’d be willing to pay £7.50 for a bottle of Wild Beer Co beer, though.

 

The Ox - Bar

 

The menu is more than just steak – on the night of our visit, small plates, charcuterie and various things on toast jostled for space with the mains, which included venison, brill, a burger and a pumpkin cannelloni for vegetarian diners. There was also, however, a choice of five cuts of steak for solo eaters, plus a choice of two sharing steaks, each weighing in at 850g.

We’d visited to take advantage of the Monday night offer, but after seeing the starters, decided to order one to share. A board of duck hearts and devils on horseback (£6) was presented beautifully, three of each threaded onto two separate skewers and served with a small puddle of apple butter, which complemented them perfectly. The devils on horseback provided a lovely combination of sweet and salty with the dates and bacon, while the duck hearts themselves were perfectly cooked with a subtle, gamey flavour.

 

The Ox - Duck Hearts

 

The 6oz rump steak was cooked medium rare, as requested, with just the right amount of char and seasoning on the outside. This was served with a generous portion of skin-on chips which were lovely and crispy on the outside and soft and fluffy in the middle. The seasoning of salt and pepper was a little too liberal for my liking, but they were fantastic nonetheless.

The only niggle was that while the Bearnaise sauce (we had a choice of that or peppercorn) had a lovely tang and was full of flavour, the mini pan in which it was served evidently hadn’t been heated as it was pretty cold by the time it reached our table.

 

The Ox - Rump Steak

 

We also ordered a side of mac ‘n’ cheese (£5) – the steaming dish yielding a seriously cheesy pasta dish that tasted just as naughty as it looked.

 

The Ox - Mac n Cheese

 

Too full for dessert, we asked for the bill – which came presented in a tobacco tin in the same vein as at Pata Negra just down the road, which was a lovely touch.

With friendly and efficient service, great food, an intimate (if maybe a little too dark) setting and a fantastic early evening offer, it’s easy to see why The Ox has become so popular.

 

3 Responses to The Ox, Corn Street: Review

  1. Pingback: Best steaks in Bristol - the top 5... - Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

  2. Your comment about Wild Beer Co is rather unfair. The beer in question is Wildebeest, which is 11%, and is a fantastically rich and complex stout. I don’t think £7.50 for a 330ml bottle is unreasonable at all – it compares favourably with the going rate for a large glass of good wine. Instead the Ox should be applauded for having such an excellent beer on their regular list.

  3. Pingback: The Ox Clifton, Whiteladies Road: Review - Bristol Bites | Bristol Bites

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