Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Ox Eatery, Kingston

Another Saturday night and time to hit up another newbie restaurant/bar in town; this one just two minutes down the road from me. Ox Eatery is the restaurant at the East Hotel in Kingston; Canberra's newest hotel and hailed by many as the trendiest digs in town. The trend factor features nicely inside Ox, in a modern and subtle way. The restaurant takes up a ground floor corner of the hotel making good use of the large glass facade and street frontage. There's booth type tables at one end of the room and a long bar stretches the length of the room at the other end. The decor is simple and welcoming, as is the staff, who are also very smartly dressed might I add.

The menu isn't overly complicated. The hero at Ox is their genuine French rotisserie and the emphasis is on sharing food. And the other big draw card is their range of rare whiskies and gins; great for those who are well acquainted with the finer things in life.

 photo credit: Canberra Times

We settled in at a booth, and our cheerful waitress explained the menu and the specials. Us three hungry girls decided to go for the dinner banquet just so that we get to taste a bit of everything and at $49/head it seemed like good value. We ordered our food and a bottle of Barossa Valley Shiraz and settled in for the night. The wine list is impressive; it caters for all tastes and budgets ranging from well priced local drops to lavish vintages.

Despite it being a very busy Saturday night and a full restaurant, our food arrived in no time. First up was roast bone marrow on toast (which we asked for instead of the panko crumbed chicken on the banquet menu as I really wanted to try this). The bone marrow might not be to everyone's taste, it's rich, oily and buttery with a slimy texture (I really liked it), and the toast was equally buttery yet crispy and dense. The whole thing was a very strong flavour combination.

Next up was pan fried haloumi with lemon and honey, closely followed by grilled chorizo and warm olives.

The haloumi was simple and tasty, slightly caremolised on the outside with a subtle sweet glaze. Notice how generous the portion size is? Too generous I think! The chorizo was rich and smokey, worked well with the warm olives. This was followed by jamon and parmesan croquettes which I forgot to take a photo of. The croquettes were much bigger than average, not oily at all, and the flavour combination of jamon and parmesan was quite intense, in a good way. 

That was the end of entrees and we knew we were in trouble by this point as we still had two meaty mains to come and we were getting quite full thanks to the four rich dishes we just demolished. 

No time to back down now, our first main was in front of us and it looked mighty good! Here we have rotisserie pork belly with apple sauce and crackling accompanied by vegetable of the day (carrots obviously) and fries with chilli salt. The pork belly was incredible. It was melt in your mouth tender and the apple sauce added just the right amount of sweetness and tartness. Those carrots were out of this world delicious; they were nicely caremolised and tossed in almond slivers; I could eat just a huge plate of this for dinner very happily! The fries were also great; the chilli salt added a nice kick to the perfectly crunchy thick cut fries; and extra points for the cute bucket the fries came in.

Last dish to appear at our now clearly struggling table was a big plate of lemon and oregano chicken. Really, it was very good but my poor full belly couldn't take more than a few mouthfulls and sadly we didn't get through even a quarter of this dish.

So the verdict: We clearly made the amateur mistake of over-ordering; even to a triplet of seasoned eaters this banquet was WAY too much food! But if you are super hungry this is incredibly good food and great value. We really wanted dessert (like really really wanted it) but there was no hope in hell in squeezing anything more into our bellies. The rotisserie meats were amazing and Ox Eatery is clearly on to a very good thing here with a simple menu and big, powerful flavours. Next time I come (and there will be a next time very soon) I will skip the sharing dishes and go straight to the rotisserie meats and leave room for desserts. The food, the vibe and the service was all spot on all night; well done Ox for capturing an uptapped market in Canberra and doing it well!

Ox Eatery Bar & Deli on Urbanspoon 


  1. Great post! Can't wait to try this place out :)

    1. Thanks! It's definitely worth a try. Look forward to reading about your verdict :)

  2. Thanks for a really well written review! We're going tonight and our mouths are watering! I was going to get myself a little bit of lunch now as I'm starving, but after your review I'm holding out for the banquet!