I’m calling this a review, but in reality it’s basically a love letter to what has instantly become one of my favourite brunch spots in Leeds city centre. Ox Club in Headrow House has only been open a few months, but it’s already made a huge impression on the city, and on me! The food is delicious, the decor beautiful, and to be quite frank any place that has a dedicated brunch sitting that runs until 3.30pm deserves all the medals.
The first time I visited was during Ox Club’s first proper weekend, when they were very kindly offering 50% off to draw in the customers. The consequence, of course, was that it was crazy busy, and we were lucky to get a table. However the waitresses were friendly and immediately dropped off a bottle of water at our table before taking our drink orders. This is one of the only places I am happy to order tea; usually I’m a neurotic tea fiend who truly believes that only I can make a tea exactly the way I like it…but Ox Club do a really good cuppa.
The single blow of my first visit came when I went to order the ricotta pancakes I had my heart set on after having them recommended by the lovely Bee, only to be told they had sold out. They were having a hectic first weekend and we hadn’t arrived until 1pm so it was no big crime on their part, but it did mean a last-minute scramble to choose a back-up dish. Torn between the smoked avocado on toast and Korean fried chicken, I opted for the avocado, and when it came I was almost thankful that so many people had arrived early to devour all the pancakes. The avocados were perfectly fresh, the sourdough flatbread toasted to perfection, and the chargrilled tomatoes complemented the smokiness of the avocado perfectly.
My dining partner had chosen the Ox Club Breakfast, which – thanks to me being way too preoccupied with my own dish – I didn’t get much of a look at, but there was a lot of variety on the plate and everything looked delicious. I especially loved the original touches that you don’t get with the average fry-up; the sausage was slightly spicy and I’m guessing German rather than the standard Lincolnshire, and there was also a melt-in-the-mouth chunk of pork that I only just managed to beg a bite of.
Of course my missing out on pancakes only served to provide me with an excuse to go back. A few weeks ago I returned promptly just half an hour after opening (just to make sure) and got my mouth around this plate of light, fluffy goodness. OH MY. My sweet tooth doesn’t have a lot of stamina so I’m often forced to leave American-style pancakes unfinished, but the sour tang of the blueberries and slight sourness of creme fraiche prevented these from becoming sickly. And the honeycomb pieces were just heaven – if someone could arrange for me to have a bag of them on my desk at work all day every day, I’d be a happy woman.
Ox Club, I love you. Never change.
Have you been to Ox Club? I’d love to hear about the evening menu!