Sunday, March 4

Ox & Angela: ****

Big Taste is upon us everyone! My first stop this year - Ox & Angela for lunch.

The restaurant takes up the relatively large space vacated by Bungalow and is decorated in a tasteful but slightly quirky style - classic chocolate wood tables paired with funky white plastic (surprisingly sturdy) chairs, an island separating the diners from the busy kitchen, and artfully mismatched mirrors decorating a wall. The place was shockingly busy for a Sunday, especially considering most people wouldn't even know Ox & Angela is open for lunch. But I digress (as usual)!

I've been told that I must try a cocktail here so I opted for a Bellinissima, a fantastic take on Bellini with a sugar cube melting away at the bottom. Highly recommend it! Then it was time for starters - the options on the Big Taste menu were soup and salad, so of course had to try both. The soup was quite delicious, served in an adorable clay pot - the beans complemented the savoury broth quite nicely, and it is always a treat when you get to break a poached egg into anything. The salad had frisee, arugula, walnuts and a mountain of machego cheese - nothing bad to say about it, but it wasn't anything particularly memorable either.

Onto the mains! I ordered the vegetable paella, and it was very good. As much as I love all the seafood that normally goes into the dish, the best part of any paella is the saffron rice, so I knew I wouldn't miss the proteins in this particular case, and I was right! The trout we tried was also fantastic, flavoured with green olives and capers. I am normally not that big a fan of trout, but flavour was excellent (presence of skin also helped). Lastly, the patatas bravas, which were served as the accompaniment to the mains - basically home fries with smoked paprika ketchup and garlic aioli. I find that smoked paprika can be overwhelming, but deployed in this manner it was heavenly. I am definitely appropriating this idea and using it next time I want to add some kick to roasted potatoes (I love adding wasabi powder to roasties - it gives them a surprising hint of flavour).

We finished the dinner off with the excellent orange and almond tart - just the right size to finish off the meal, and almonds added a great bit of crunch. A note on the size of the lunch itself - it was massive. Come hungry, and schedule time for a nap afterwards! The selection of teas was a bit disappointing (only three kinds, and all flavoured!), but that's a relatively small nitpick. Other than that, I was very pleased with my kick off choice for Big Taste this year, and I will be back for dinner!

Ox & Angela on Urbanspoon

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