“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
I couldn’t agree with this quote more if I tried, there are few things in the world that bring me happiness than spending time with people I adore, eating great food. Leeds is packed to the rafters with eateries sure to keep even the pickiest of eaters happy, keeping that in mind, it’s bloody tough to crack the Leeds foodie scene and come up with something unique whilst universally appealing. Ox Club at Headrow House have done exactly that.
If you are even slightly on the fence about food, or shrug your shoulders when asked what you fancy, this blog is not the place for you. All things food are applauded here, the skill and time that goes into creating a menu, the passion that is required. I am not a sit on the fence kind of person, and for that reason alone Ox Club is my new favourite place. There is no fence-sitting here, there is only all out passion on a plate. Indeed I love it so much I had brunch on the Sunday and was back 4 days later for dinner!
Let us begin with the location. I am a sucker for a less that expected place, a wander off the beaten track, a treasure found behind the seemingly dull. Headrow House is one of these places, tucked behind the monotony of the Headrow in Leeds city centre, it welcomes you like a tranquil escape from the high street and normcore.
I was invited along opening weekend to sample the brunch, which in my mind is the most important meal of the week, it allows for indulgence and booze and invites long conversations and the kind of escapism that we all crave, especially at this time of year.
I went for the flat-iron steak, home fries and cheesy eggs topped with a spicy chutney, it was the BEST hangover cure I’ve come across in a long time. The steak was cooked perfectly and I’m a picky bugger when it comes to how I like my eggs, and Ox Club nailed it. We loved the home fries so much that we ordered another side portion of them, and I could have ordered them time and time again.
Mum went for the brunch cassoulet which was packed with sausages, flageolet beans, confit guinea fowl and sour toast on the side. This dish is the epitome of a one pot wonder, cooked masterfully and mum raved about it for the rest of the day.
Fast forward 4 days and I was back in my happy place with Amy, we chatted non stop, catching up on the weeks that had passed since we last saw each other. Amy is one of those people who fills my heart with happiness, she has the perfect blend of sass and sweetness, she is without doubt one of my favourite people in the whole world and I’m very excited about what 2016 brings for us both.
So now I’m done with the friend swooning, onto the food.
The idea is simple when it comes to Ox Club dinner, there are little plates and big plates, all of which are recommended to share. The smaller plates were a selection of mouth-watering vegetable heavy dishes with a smattering of fish for good measure.
The cherry wood smoked trout & whisky cured salmon was a pile of perfection with the sharpness of horseradish, beetroot, apple it was moorish to say the least and I would happily have fought over the last mouthful. Luckily the other starter we opted for was the smoked burrata (a blend of mozzarella and cream, the outer shell is solid mozzarella, while the inside contains both mozzarella and cream), fennel, lemon & black pepper which was basically the most simple yet powerful dish I think I’ve ever tasted.
After the starters came the steak, hanger steak to be precise paired with salsa verde & watercress. There isn’t much I can say about this other than it was some of the best steak I have ever eaten and I want it again, right now.
When you think of side dishes, you think of accompaniments to the main show, but let me tell you, the side dishes stole the show.
Let me talk to you about roast cauliflower, yes you read that right, roast cauliflower.Roast Cauliflower swathed in romesco sauce, almonds, sherry vinegar. I must tell you, I don’t like cauliflower, or so I thought. In fact it seems that I don’t like boiled, bland cauliflower, I do however LOVE it roasted. Shout out to Lil, who raved about it all over the internet and if Lil likes it, then I must try it!
You must try it, trust me, try it. Crunchy, packed with flavour and a genius move by the kitchen wizards.
They’re so good in fact that they managed to make green beans exciting by adding capers, anchovy and parsley.
I was sold on all of the deserts, I would have devoured any and all of them, and then we we’re informed of the special desert that wasn’t on the menu. Baked chocolate, olive oil and orange cake and smoked sea salt. Eating at Ox Club is like being given a behind the scenes look at the inner workings of chefs minds. These pictures simply do not do this plate of food justice, it was just divine.
I am sure if you have read to the end of this post you will know exactly how I feel about this place. It’s love, all out, unadulterated, lust worthy love.
You must go, you must go immediately.
*although my lovely brunch was free, we paid full price for our dinner and I will happily be visiting time and time again and pay willingly.