Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Review: Ox184, Cowgate, Edinburgh

Already a fan of Holyrood 9A and The Southern, I was excited to hear Fuller Thomson had opened a new venue in the Cowgate. I had been warned that it was 'very red'. It did not disappoint!
I was surprised there were only a couple of people there when I arrived at 7pm on a Thursday. The large cavernous room felt empty and I was worried it would lack atmosphere. I needn't have worried; it steadily filled up with a good mix of big and small groups. The vibe was very laid back and the volume stayed at a low hum, so while it got busy, it never got too loud to have a conversation.

Service was polite and attentive. We were seated by the window which seemed like a great idea, but made me feel a bit like an animal at the zoo with lots of Cowgate's foot traffic peering in.
We ate bacon and corn muffins and pork cheek nuggets from the bites menu, the muffins were mini morsels of fluffy, bacon'y deliciousness. I felt the coating on the nuggets were a little too hard but the pork cheek filling was tasty and my dining companion had no complaints.
Next came lobster and pork belly burger along with the smoked chicken waffle sandwich from the mains menu. I prefer my waffles with a bit of crunch but otherwise couldn't fault the light airy batter. The sweetness of the dough worked well with the slightly spicy sauce and I got my crunch from the fried chicken which I felt was a little dry. No complaints about the lobster and pork belly burger though and the brioche bun really stepped it up a notch.
Due to a slight error, I also ended up with the vege option of the waffle sandwich which has a mushroom and spinach filling. I'd let it get a bit cold before I got to trying it so I'm surely not doing it justice, but I thought it needed added texture.
Our mains were accompanied by cheese fries and charred corn. The corn was done to perfection and the home made cheese sauce on the mountain of fries had a nice spiced kick. We also tried the burnt end beans which I found too salty but can see them doing well with big flavour drinks.

Draft beers come in 1/3, 2/3, pint and demijohns (8 pints). I took full advantage of the mini servings and tried three different beers from Tempest brewery. The companion had a Bristol Vice then a New Zealand sour wheat beer. Draft beers are rotating and are accompanied by a large selection of canned beers as well as a spirit list that spans two pages. They also offer a selection of whisky flights which I'd love to try.
The meal was concluded with the Smoked Banoffee, I was absolutely full to the brim but too intrigued not to order it. I have no regrets. The bruleed banana slices on top were revolutionary. I only want to eat my bananas bruleed from now on! The homemade gingerbread is soaked in house made toffee to absorb lots of caramel'y goodness before being popped in a jam jar with smoked banana which is puréed. It's rich, it's decadent and it absolutely defeated me.
The bathrooms are upstairs and you get to walk past the open fire pit and grill where a lot of the food is cooked. It's definitely worth checking out and stop for a chat with Greg the sous chef if there's anything you want to know about the food. There's also little nooks and booth seating upstairs which would be great for small and large groups.
We had a fantastic time and look forward to returning with a group so we can try the rest of the menu and order demijohns of beer! They're open until 3am and serve food until 2.30am. Which I'll be taking full advantage of at some stage!!

Overall, I feel like there's still a few things still to tweak and the menu is ever evolving, so I look forward to many trips back and having new things to try all the time.
xx Caz

[On this occasion we were guests of Ox184. Many thanks for their hospitality. All opinions are my own.]

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