- Best Restaurant in Northern Ireland 2021 & 2022
The duo behind Ox met in France while working at the country’s top restaurants. What Alain Kerloc’h and Stephen Toman have created in Northern Ireland’s capital is a little more accessible than some of the places that appear on their CVs – which collectively include the globally renowned Mirazur and L’Arpège – but the riverside restaurant still provides its guests with a finely tuned and memorable experience.
Born in Belfast, chef owner Toman is well-travelled, having earned his stripes in both the US and France (his CV includes a spell at L’Astrance in Paris, which has graced the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list). But since Ox launched in 2013 he’s been rediscovering his homeland’s often under appreciated produce.
More recently, he has strived to put fruit and vegetables centre stage, although top quality meat and sustainably-sourced fish also get a look in. Dishes on Toman’s tasting menu emphasise Ireland's bounty of good quality produce, with local meats and cheeses in attendance.
A few years after opening the duo launched Ox Cave next door serving drinks and small plates on Wednesdays to Saturdays. Whether just for snacks such as gougeres or and Irish charcuterie plate ot larger plates of Mourne lamb, Cave is the ideal spot for a convivial bite to eat.
With restaurants like Ox in play, the future looks bright for Northern Ireland’s dining scene.