It takes quite a lot for me to be excited about a new restaurant opening. I'm always happy to check out new places and try something new, but it's quite rare for me to be desperate to go somewhere that's just opened. Which is exactly how I felt about Ox Club. As soon as they opened their doors, everyone I know in Leeds who loves food was raving about them and I had to get a piece of it. Emma and I had dinner there about a week later, and it was everything I dreamed of and more. You can read all about it on her blog, in which she also says some very lovely things about me (blush). All I'll say is, get the cauliflower. It will change your life. Which is no mean feat for a vegetable that I have mostly avoided when it's not covered in a thick, cheese sauce.
As a basic white girl, and therefore a dedicated bruncher, I was also counting down the days until I got to try out their brunch menu. It's only available at weekends, and the thought of going into town during the Christmas shopping crush was too much for me, even with the promise of pancakes, so we waited until January and headed over to brunch to our heart's delights.
Ox Club is exactly the kind of restaurant where I like to spend my time and money; it's small enough to be intimate, it's not fancy with its decor, save for a few copper touches and some plants scattered about, and they let the food do the talking. The smell of the grill is the first thing that hits you when you arrive, and it is wonderful - smoky and delicious. The menu changes regularly depending on market availability of produce, and features a small array of dishes that are carefully considered and cooked to perfection. There's a reason everyone's been raving about this place.
For brunch, we settled on Hanger Steak & Cheddar Eggs and their Ricotta Pancakes, which are served with honeycomb and blueberries. Our greed lead us to order a side of bacon and extra home fries, but there was really no need - I couldn't even finish my pancakes because the portions were so generous. They were as light and fluffy as a cloud, and the blueberry and honeycomb accompaniment was surely a stroke of genius. We all need more honeycomb in our lives. Paul's steak was perfectly cooked and tender and came with a heaping pile of silky eggs and a gorgeous smoked tomato jam. All in all, an absolutely fantastic way to start the day and one I'll definitely be back for many times, I'm sure.