WLGT Dining Review – The Black Dog

The Black Dog is something of an eccentric venue – and eccentric venues just happen to be my favourite kind!

I have been following these guys closely from when they launched not long before the pandemic struck, and just like our entire local food and drink sector, we salute Matt and Bec’s determination and sheer resilience in getting to the other side – and with such flair and panache all at the same time.

So it was about time I popped by to find out how one of my favourite hospitality couples were doing, as well as to write a brand new dining review. It’s important to note that WLGT pays 50% of the total bill when we review a local restaurant. We do not expect a freebie, plus this gives us the flexibility to order what we want – including a nice bottle of wine – without stressing about being thought of as cheeky!

Our dining experience at The Black Dog last week was, as expected, first class. This is their ‘transitional menu’, as they move through from Autumn to Winter, and I have to say, I loved every mouthful!

If there is anything Asian-inspired on the menu, I will normally go straight for that – and my starter choice of Korean chicken (with sweet chilli, spring onion, sesame goma wakame) hit the spot perfectly. Phil opted for the full-on surf ‘n’ turf dining experience with Scallops to start (with roast cauliflower, mussels, cockles, caviar, dashi) followed by a very special steak indeed, which is worthy of its very own paragraph.

Keeping it all very much in the family, Matt’s brother Joe is an online butcher – and no ordinary butcher at that. His website is well worth a mooch as he sells some fabulous raw (and rare) meats, locally sourced supporting ethical and sustainable farming. He also sells meat boxes and prepared meals, but for this review, I’m going to big up his handcrafted collection of beef, dry-aged in a bespoke Himalayan salt chamber.
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Phil ordered the Himalayan salt experience – fillet of beef 220g, which was, indeed, spectacular! Served with a sublime Stilton sauce, proper chips and classic grill garnish, this was an epic steak experience which he loved… and I’ll have to take his word for it as he refused to share any of it with me! No matter though, as I was perfectly happy with my Autumnal-Esque Cottage pie with braised beef, Chantenay carrots and bread – my only criticism being that there was too much of it, so I took it home and popped it in the oven a day or so later for a delicious TV dinner for one.

Desserts are ‘a thing’ at The Black Dog, and of course, we both found a ‘pudding pocket’ so we could experience the full, three-course hit! I had been eyeing up the Dessert Shots all week and opted for the Lemon meringue pie, Peanut butter and jelly sandwich and Raspberry and white chocolate cheesecake – all of which were gorgeous. Predictably, Phil went for the Chocolate Marquise with salted caramel and hazelnut praline, which was also amazing (I managed to steal a spoonful when he wasn’t looking!).

Our bottle of red was superb quality and great value too. I strongly recommend the Echeverria Chilean Merlot, the perfect accompaniment to those magnificent, meaty main courses.

The ambience and music are also great at The Black Dog, and our table by the real fire was the perfect way to celebrate Autumn dining at one of our best, local restaurants that pride themselves on doing things a little differently.

Five stars from us.

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