The Black Dog has sat quietly out on the A41 for many years. A regular dining pub with plenty of space and even more potential, which had never really been realised. Until now.
Mat and Bec took the The Black Dog over late last year and WOWSERZ! This unassuming venue has burst into life with theatrical fine dining and a huge amount of sass and style. This super-cool couple have not only brought huge personality and fresh new ideas to the ‘table’, but they have brought a fabulous team of young, impassioned people to Chester’s hugely diverse food and drink industry.
I am not only in love with the city, but even more so the incredible independent businesses which give it its sparkling and unique personality. I have always said that Chester punches well above its weight – and its venues like The Black Dog who contribute so much to our reputation as a destination for outstanding hospitality.
This is a wonderfully bonkers restaurant and bar. They nailed lockdown with an epic takeaway service which gave us a ‘taste’ of things to come afterwards, and WOW have they over-delivered on their promise.
I was invited for their five course Secret Lunch Menu and Wine Flight last week, and to say it was incredible is an understatement. Mat joined me so we could talk about the challenges himself and Bec have faced this year with Covid, and their plans for 2021 when things become a little more ‘normal’, although I’m hopeful that The Black Dog will never be described as normal while these guys are at the helm.
We started with a delicious roasted parsnip velouté amuse-bouche, which set the stall out for a fabulous dining experience. Next came the most dreamy Chicken liver parfait. Really light and fluffy – topped with crisp chicken skin, pickled apples and fig & walnut chutney which was paired with a super-sophisticated Assyrtico ‘Cuvée Membliarus’ Bekaa Valley, Château Oumsiyat from Lebanon – the perfect match. The next course turned out to be my favourite dish – Salt cod arancini with Thai broth, goma wakame, coriander and crisp noodles which was sublime. I especially loved the wine pairing of Viognier ‘1753’, Vin de Pays du Gard, Châteua de Campuget, which was amazing!
I loved the festive feel of this menu, and the next course of Roasted guinea fowl with boulangiare potato, pancetta, creamed sprouts and cranberry jus certainly hit the Christmas spot, and the Olivier Ravier Fleurie on the side was pretty special.
At this point we need to introduce Ian, who doesn’t just make desserts – he creates them. The Cinnamon poached pear with mulled wine syrup and vanilla ice cream was lovely, but his Baked Alaska with mandarin sorbet, white chocolate and popping candy was a fabulous treat. So yes, I had two puddings (thank you Ian), and the dessert wine was an experience all on its own (Botrytis Semillon, Reserve, Riverina, Berton Vineyard. And thank you to Chef Mike for the extra Goats cheese mousse with beetroot gel, nut crumb, shoots and roasted baby beets. Divine!).
The Secret Lunch Menu and Wine flight at The Black Dog is a very special experience, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can enjoy it inside the restaurant, or outside in the winter wonderland dining domes.
This is an incredible group of young, impassioned hospitality superstars who have battled through a nigh-on impossible year and are still smiling, and still coming up with the most innovative and superb quality dining experiences very day of the week (and their Sunday lunch is legendary btw).
Bravo to Mat, Bec, Chef Mike, Nathan and the whole team at The Black Dog. The Chester Food & Drink scene wouldn’t be the same without you.