The Black­bird, Bag­nor

Berkshire Life - - Front Page -

Lunch as we like it

This time last year globe-trot­ting Dom Robin­son, the clas­si­cally trained foodie mae­stro pre­vi­ously ex­ec­u­tive chef at Dubai’s Sup­per­club on the back of be­ing head chef for Tom Aikens, ar­rived in one of Berk­shire’s beau­ti­ful ‘hidey-holes’.

Come one and all, we say, the county lures and traps many of Europe’s top class menu cre­ators, but we did won­der how some­one who be­lieves ‘cook­ing be­gins and ends in France’ would set­tle at The Black­bird in Bag­nor, op­po­site a lit­tle stream and a short walk from The Water­mill Theatre.

One year on and you can tell the man is thriv­ing. He, his fam­ily, lo­cal peo­ple who still see this as their pub, and those of us who hap­pen to know about the gems down some lit­tle lanes on the out­skirts of New­bury, are still all ‘merci beau­coup’ for what has been a sen­sa­tional suc­cess.

The Black­bird, like Dom’s menus, is an eclec­tic mix which comes to­gether to cre­ate a one-off magic act you want to see again.

A bit ob­ses­sively, we were al­most side­tracked by the cut­lery, old and pay­ing homage to mostly Sh­effield past masters (‘Oooh, I’ve got a Map­pin & Webb din­ner knife’), the sim­i­larly gath­ered bone china plates and dishes, and pre-War but lov­ingly re­stored fur­ni­ture which makes you think ‘Nanna had one just like this’.

But in the end it’s the food that does the talk­ing. Look, there’s stuff like foie gras and veal as menu op­tions, but Dom has some­how also col­lected veg­e­tar­ian and even ve­gan fans. And this is how we know he loves mak­ing peo­ple happy. One of us did that thing where you can put the chef in a strop by ask­ing him to cook the lamb to browny rather than pink. Not a blink, and it ar­rived just as or­dered. Bon ap­petit! www. the­black­bird.co.uk 01635 40005 Open for lunch and din­ner, Wed-Sat plus Sun­day lunch.

The Black­bird at Bag­nor has a nest we can all

set­tle in, cour­tesy of the en­gag­ing pa­tron

Roast fil­let of lamb, feuille of braised shoul­der, stewed fruit and aubergine caviar, served as we like it!

Do­minic Robin­son

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