New Michelin starred addition to 2019 guide serving classic dishes
The Blackbird is one of only two entries to the 2019 guide that are pubs to receive a Michelin star for this years’ guide (the other one being The White Swan). The food is classic cuisine and there is obviously good cooking here. The venue sits in the pleasant setting of Bagnor and has a traditional English tea feel to the interior. As this is a very small team in the kitchen, there is just the one menu (a la carte), so there is no set lunch menu here. As such, I would come here in the evening owing to the price being exactly the same and I can picture the decor being a lot more appealing being candlelit at night. Competence of classic food here is assured.
To begin, there were no canapes or amuse bouche, just good homemade bread. The first starter was a cheese tart (made with brillat savarin – a triple cream brie) with onions, grapes, walnuts and celery. All these were very good with each other and although the pastry was thicker and more crumbly than is my preference, it was well made. The poached and roasted foie gras came with ventreche (pork belly) which was micro thin and was wrapped around the foie gras, surrounded by a creamy foam made from the cooking juices – this was very good, no question.
The first main was onglet of beef (from the diaphragm) and served with another very good reduction and served en crepinette (pressed like flattened sausages) but with a raclette cheese slice wrapped around holding all together in place. The second main was a very nicely done mushroom and truffle tagliatelle with parmesan and port reduction which was a winning combination and with nicely light pasta. Creamed cavolo nero was the side and although the cream was hard to detect.
Final courses consisted of a selection of cheeses that were fine but with crackers that both at the table didn’t take a shine to. The dessert was bavarois (thickened milk with egg and gelatine) of malted milk, poached pear, hazelnuts and Frangelico. This was as pleasant as it sounds, the pears being good quality and just what the cream and fat needed to balance things nicely.
The service was fine and it was good to discuss things with Exec Chef Dominic Robinson afterwards briefly who is clearly driving everything together himself and leading from the front and has high aspirations. The bill came to £96 for two with no drink, so this is not the cheapest pub lunch you can have, but neither it is an average pub lunch by any stretch, this is far more skilled cooking. There were some appealing dishes on this visit and it appeared to sit very comfortably in the 1 Michelin starred family when all was said and done.
Food Grade: 74%
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