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Belfast, Northern Ireland

Belfast chef flies flag for Northern Irish ingredients

Why visit? Chef Stephen Toman has helped put Northern Ireland on the foodie map, showcasing the country's stunning natural produce in simple but technically accomplished dishes.

What's for dinner? Despite the meaty moniker, Ox's menu celebrates sustainably sourced fish and local vegetables just as much as meat. Starters include a delicate combo of pea, curd, red pepper caramel and radish, while Mourne Mountain lamb and basil gnocchi vies with a fragrant halibut dish comprising bergamot, romanesco and oyster leaf among the mains.

Who's the chef? Belfast-born Toman's love of seasonal produce and immaculate technique were bolstered by time spent in the kitchens of acclaimed Paris restaurants Taillevent, L’Arpège and L'Astrance. He opened Ox in 2013 with sommelier Alain Kerloc'h.

What to drink? Wines from 'interesting places' are a speciality with options from Corsica, Lebanon and Campania. There is also a terrific selection of gins. The restaurant opened a wine bar next door in 2014 called Ox Cave.

Bonus point: Theatre goers who order the weekend tasting menu can call back into the restaurant after the show to have dessert.

On the pass

  • Stephen Toman

Style of food

  • Modern European

Standout dish

  • Halibut, romanesco, curry, bergamot, oyster leaf