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Joris Minne: Brighter, bolder Ox in Belfast is like a whole new restaurant

The Michelin-starred eaterie has turbo-charged its culinary offerings, bringing the eating out experience to new and unexpected heights

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Ox in Belfast

Ox in Belfast

Ox in Belfast

It may be late summer, but in restaurant land a new spring has sprung as chefs and servers come back out blinking into the daylight following months of isolation.

The sense of optimism is palpable, even with the storm clouds of a second Covid surge gathering. In the meantime, the general consensus is to make merry and enjoy the moment because here's the surprise: restaurant food never tasted so good.

Everybody seems determined to be better than ever. From Gerard McQuillan's Freight in east Belfast to Paul Cunningham's Brunel's in Newcastle and from Chris Fearon's Deane's at Queens to Eddie Muldowney's Teach Coll in Donegal, restaurants seem to have spent the last four months honing skills, recipes and menus to create eating experiences that are a step change from their previous output.