The street and pop-up food scene in Scotland right now is worth raving about. No more 30% meat content greasy burgers and more pulled pork with pomegranate. Names like Breaking Bread, Three Sisters Bake and Scoop are constantly on my radar. The former just opened a permanent restaurant in Glasgow called Ox & Finch. I learnt from social media that they are all about contemporary small dishes.
We phoned to book that morning and they only had 5pm tables left. Good sign. We took the early bird booking and first impressions were positive. The space is effortlessly cool, elegant but not pretentious.
They had run out of the wine that we ordered but our waiter was able to advise us on the other choices so we ended up with a quaffable white burgundy. White burgundy you say? The name doesn’t seem logical to me either but I’d never have chosen it myself so it was pleased.
We ordered bread with oil and, whilst we enjoyed the bread, wanted balsamic to go with it.
The scallops we ordered were presented beautifully, I love their crockery. They were smaller in size and Mr S thought a fourth wouldn’t have gone amiss as a reflection of that. The scallops and cauliflower puree had a nice flavour but the larda di colonnata didn’t add much. I wanted another dimension to the dish – something acidic maybe.
Ham hock and cheddar croquettes had been perfected. Lots of ham and a lovely crunch on the outside.
Another star dish was the hanger steak, mushrooms and onion rings. Each little element had been cooked with care & attention, and the hanger was flavourful.
House sausage with smoked ham hock beans was much, much better than expected. It was Mr S that chose it & one of those times in marriage when you decide to compromise. How exciting can sausages & beans be? Actually my husband was right because it was a solid dish. The homemade sausage was meaty & herby, and the beans were certainly not humdrum.
My favourite dish was crispy fried squid, chilli & orange salad. I have an affinity for squid anyway but the coating on this was extra crispy and the fresh orange cut through it. Slightly over seasoned in my opinion but I didn’t care. Saffron aioli was the perfect dip.
By this point I was stuffed to the gunnels. But we had been lusting after having dinner in Ox & Finch for a while so I wasn’t going to waste it. Bring on the dessert.
On of the desserts had popcorn so I instantly chose it. The menu said ‘dark chocolate cremeux, popcorn, peanuts & banana ice-cream’. Having no idea what cremeux was didn’t put me off- the kitchen had gained my confidence. We both swapped the banana ice-cream for vanilla & Mr S had his sans nuts. It was so fantastic that I ate the whole thing before remembering how full I was.
The restaurant changed their menu shortly after our visit so you won’t currently be able to get all of the above but I’m pretty sure that the dishes that you get will be made with skill. Their website writes that they are contemporary dining and I am happy to see a changing menu to fit the claim. They have used their wealth of experience to open a place that Glasgow should be proud of.