Sometimes, practical things make the difference in a restaurant’s success story. The fact that OX is located next to Belfast’s law courts has meant that chef Stevie Toman and sommelier Alain Kerloc’h have been able to maintain a busy lunchtime trade feeding food-loving lawyers. The cash-flow means the duo have been able to stick to their original dream of offering superlative avant garde cooking, and offering it in a pared-back, wildly unconventional room, whilst getting away with it in a city that has little taste for modernism. Mr Toman’s food is a thrill-ride because he finds flavour connections where other chefs wouldn’t even think to look – jerusalem artichoke with banana; Coolattin cheddar gougere with beer; lamb with smoked carrot. And M.Kerloc’h is the Watson to his Holmes, winkling out wine pairings that can make the Ox experience transcendent.
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