The Ox (Central and Whiteladies and Cheltenham)
May 11, 2018
One of Bristol’s best steakhouses, The Ox is anything but hidebound when it comes to its menu. In the unlikely setting of a basement underneath a Wetherspoon’s pub, it offers luxurious takes on meat-lovers’ favourites, including Sunday roasts and sirloin or T-bone steaks with triple-cooked chips. But it’s also inspired by the growing popularity of the steak and cocktails bar concept to offers a lively selection of liquor, helpfully divided into “Early Evening”, which features light and zesty concoctions perfect for a pre-dinner aperitif, and the sturdier propositions of “All Night Long”. The latter category includes a few imaginative twists on classic tipples. Paddington Sour is laced with the children’s storybook bear’s favourite food, marmalade, along with brandy and bitters. And the Ox-Eye Daisy takes its inspiration from the gorgeous countryside that surrounds Bristol to offer a distinctly West Country twist on the Mojito. White rum, cider syrup and yellow chartreuse combine to verdant effect. Imaginative bar snacks come courtesy of small plates of roasted bone marrow, Dorset snails, trout pate, or extensive boards of cured meats to share. The restaurants dimly lit atmosphere puts diners cheek-by-jowl in the historic setting of a former bank vault, underground. Deep red ceilings and furnishings combine with sensual pre-Raphaelite murals of bathing women and leather padded banquettes to create an atmosphere of low-key, old-fashioned luxury. Mounted pictures of oxen and antlers emphasise the message that this is a meat-eater’s paradise. But even for hardened vegetarians, The Ox’s cunning way with a cocktail makes this venue a cosy delight.