Another railtrip – this one in the UK and another chance to visit Glasgow. Today we are having lunch with our great friends Ilia & Muffin at Ox and Finch. Ox and Finch is in Sauchiehall Street and it was created by Jonathan MacDonald – formerly the head chef to the McLaren Formula 1 team. It delivers a wide range of small plate dishes that often feature Scottish produce and usually in a Mediterranean style .
Our first choices are from the drinks menu. Muffin has a glass of Villa Wolf Pinot Gris, a zesty German white with a good hit of fruitiness. Rock has a Just the Ticket, a fruity IPA from the award-winning Fallen Brewery of Stirling. Ilia and I also choose a Fallen Brewery ale – we both have their lager-style beer, called Odyssey. We are all happy.
Like most places that serve small plates, each dish is served as soon as it is cooked. The first to arrive is the toasted sourdough with smoked scallop roe taramasalata. Taramasalata is a favourite of Rock’s, but I really dislike it. However, here it is so good – I’m almost a convert.
Next is the salt and pink pepper squid with orange, lettuce, chilli & saffron aïoli. The crispy squid works well with the orange and the aïoli is really good. Then the seared scallops with piccalilli, Ramsay’s black pudding, cauliflower shavings, coriander and apple (see featured image). Again, I’m not a big fan of piccalilli – but this worked well with the scallops & the black pudding.
The smoked haddock with truffle polenta, pancetta and a poached egg another excellent dish. The fish and the egg are both perfectly cooked and the polenta is both creamy and not overtruffled. Side dishes arrive, one of red kale, toasted pine nuts and pomegranate molasses and the other – fabulous roast potatoes with a smoked cranberry ketchup.
And still there is more….Rock and I really love the turkey and smoked bacon meatballs served with spiced red cabbage and a chestnut crumble. Ilia is a huge fan of the confit duck leg with yellow curry, Thai basil and crispy rice. Plus, we have the slow-cooked lamb shoulder with bulgur wheat, apricots, almonds and mint yoghurt.
We cannot quite finish the savoury dishes, though we have given it a very good try – but we are still in the mood to order dessert. Ilia and Muffin share the dark chocolate cremeux with coconut frangipane and coconut ice cream. Rock and I share an extraordinary salted caramel and toasted buckwheat custard tart with a pear sorbet. Wow….I need to lie down.
Really great company, good beer and wine, some fabulous food and great service from the friendly and knowledgeable Lily. We all enjoyed ourselves and, particularly for anyone who likes the small plate style of dining, I’d recommend Ox and Finch as a seriously good place to spend a bit of time.