Belfast Telegraph

OX spreads the word on Belfast dining scene in London

This week we focus on a Belfast restaurant that's taken its fine-dining experience to London to promote Northern Ireland's increasingly acclaimed hospitality scene

By Margaret Canning

Top Belfast restaurant OX, one of two Michelin-starred venues in the city, is helping spread the word about Northern Ireland's dining-out scene. The Oxford Street venue, which is owned by Alain Kerloc'h and Stephen Toman, has taken part in an event in London to promote Northern Ireland's restaurant scene.

Tourism Ireland joined forces with Condé Nast Traveller magazine to hold the special pop-up dinner, A Feast from Northern Ireland, at Carousel in London.

OX head chef Stephen Toman took charge in the kitchen for the evening - part of Tourism Ireland's programme of promotions to highlight Northern Ireland in Great Britain and, in particular, to raise awareness of the province as a destination for some of the best food, drink and hospitality in the British Isles.

OX has retained a Michelin star for the second year in a row, joining Deanes' Eipic, also in Belfast city centre. And in 2015, OX was named as one of the world's top restaurants, while last year, the Good Food Guide ranked it at number 47 in the UK's Top 50 restaurants.

It opened in March 2013 and quickly gained a reputation for adventurous, high-end dining, putting seasonal produce - and vegetables, in particular - centre stage.

David Boyce, Tourism Ireland's deputy head of Great Britain, said: "We were delighted to have Stephen Toman with us in London on St Patrick's Day, helping to spread the word about Northern Ireland's superb food, wonderful chefs and world-class restaurants and, of course, what makes a holiday in Northern Ireland unique and truly memorable.

"Our message is that Northern Ireland is a superb choice for 'foodies' for a holiday or long weekend break."

The Condé Nast Traveller Chefs World Series involves bringing top chefs from around the globe to cook up a feast in London.

And on Friday, a group of 60 diners were able to sample a special St Patrick's Day feast.

Chef Toman served three courses including a starter of celeriac, scallop and Northern Ireland sea urchin with truffle.

The main course consisted of Chateaubriand beef, asparagus, smoked potato and black garlic, while dessert was Bushmills jelly, lavender, oats and baked apple sorbet.

Guests also got to sample a Jawbox Gin cocktail and Co Couture chocolates - both of which are made in Belfast - and received a copy of Belfast on a Plate, a guide to Belfast's restaurant scene by David Pauley.

Tourism Ireland is set to hold more events in the next few months to highlight Northern Ireland's food and drink, and the legacy of the 2016 Northern Ireland Year of Food and Drink. In January, Tourism NI and the Belfast Telegraph hosted the Year of Food and Drink Awards, to congratulate the destinations around Northern Ireland which made the most of the opportunities of the year.

OX's London adventure was its second recent trade mission to spread the word about dining out in Northern Ireland. In September last year, it opened a pop-up restaurant in the heart of New York alongside The Dead Rabbit, a bar run by Sean Muldoon and Jack McGarry from Northern Ireland. Mr Toman cooked a five-course feast teamed with cocktails from the bar.

Belfast Telegraph