Oh yes oh yes oh yes. I am back!!! It has been months and my blog has suffered. Times have been rough for the entire nation/world with Covid and all that it entails. I am a member of a few chefs forums and what I read could make most people weep. The industry is buggered, Eat Out To Help Out didn’t seem to help too many people, customers changed the day they ate out and kitchens were still desperate. I am so lucky that I am not in the hospitality industry in any way except eating and writing but my heart goes out to those at the sharp end.
Now – my message to all new delightful readers – here is the principle of this blog. POSITIVITY. That is it. If you are a talented food provider and your food is great you get a write up. If, however, your food is ummm rank then I won’t write about it. This is a reference site to great food.
My feeling has always been that this blog is not about the huge chains (which are dropping like flies anyway) but more about the passionate individual selling his creative cuisine to grateful punters like me. Locally look forward to reviews of Henry and Joe’s (@chefhenrysteve and @josefbyrne henryandjoes.co.uk), The Harrow at Little Bedwyn (the-harrow-at-little-bedwyn.com. Roger Jones @littlebedwyn and @rogerjoneslittlebedwyn) and many others depending on if I have any disposable income. Interestingly, I notice several Johnny-Come-Latelys have jumped on my positivity principle (Jay Rayner you know who you are, others are also copying). Scathing, sharp, witty, nasty reviews are far more popular but I have almost totally resisted falling to this level. If someone, or a family, have put there all into their passion of providing fantastic food, nurturing and enveloping you with love disguised as great tasting dishes, who am I to trample on food that I dont like, I do not want to rain on their food parade. Nothing worse than a soggy bottom (gosh that was bad).
OK, so I started with the Gazpacho, I should say, and I have no reason to know why this is, that the pub seems to have a Spanish slant. Why is that Chef? Curious for a friend.
Gazpacho is a wonderful dish that I have made, indeed I enjoyed making all the different elements that go into it, but you have to admit, at the end it just looks like tomato juice. Genius. You order it. Tomato juice. It arrives. Tomato juice. You offer a bit to your fellow bubbled diner. Tomato juice. You taste your first spoonful. AMBROSIA. Zingy fantastic ambrosia. Punchy and exciting. Indeed that exciting zinginess then crawled across the table and jumped into the steak tartare that Ed ordered. Yes I know he was hoping someone would ask him why he was eating raw meat but honestly, who would be at The Blackbird who didnt know their food. Oh my, delicious fillet of beef chopped into a scrummy patty with an egg yolk pleading to be stabbed. Oh and it was served with the most amazing light and crunchy toast that wasnt at all dry, utterly awesome. That toast also accompanied my first course which was ‘leek and potato soup’. Now the reason for the quotes, dear follower, is that this was the misnomer of the week. Such a confusing moment as I took the spoon to my delightfully pursed and expectant lips. I saw the hazelnuts and approved. I saw the rich colour and approved. Then bugger me sideways I sipped from the spoon. Umm excuse me, where are my more expected flavours, umm leek and potato? WTF is going on here?? Someone has exploded my mouth and even more my gullet by pouring the richest most amazingly flavoured cheese down my throat. There is rich cheese, there are hazelnuts, omg there are mushrooms. Sod the leek and potato, we have moved on to another level. Oh and the bread, not dry crisp but light crispy. I even took a photo of it. Butter? Never occurred to me and that is saying something. In real life EVERYTHING I eat is actually a butter vehicle. Not this time baby, it has literally just come to my attention now, whilst writing.
Ok you very patient little feeders and voyeurs (in a food voyeuristic way). Ed had the pork. Such a small sentence to talk about what is actually an enormous explosion of flavour, such good deep intended flavour. I think the official description is the very understated pork cutlet with choucroute, mashed potato and apple. So this description is rubbish. Chef, you can do so much better. The pork, oh my such flavour, on the marginally rarer side, perfectly cooked served with what tastes like the lightest whipped potatoes, seriously dont get me started on the unmentioned nectar of the gods also known as GRAVY (hahahahaha). Yes to the apple and oh yes to the choucroute.
Right, now for what was going to be the star of the show. My raison ‘d’etre for booking. What I had originally planned the whole trip round. The cheese souffle with Comte and walnuts. What is there not to like? I am really pleased that I had chosen two starters but maybe they shouldn’t both have been so cheesy as I was stuffed. No complaints here, totally delicious and, for a change, no plate envy and no fork related injuries. To be fair Ed is incredibly well trained in not eating before the photo and sharing so I can try everything. He also knows NEVER to order the same as me. The souffle was great but mate, I was SO full. Even better there is a whole deli full of the best quality items to take home. This is such a great destination.
Whoop whoop whoop, I am back with my blog. So this is The Blackbird, Bagnor and tomorrow I will be looking at The Harrow, Little Bedwyn. A wonderful takeaway of the best order. The perfect way to pull at the weekend.
If anyone else wants a review let me know and I will visit as finances permit but please don’t be offended if no posts emerge, I ONLY post food of excellence. After all, that is all you want to know about isnt it? Think of me as your best food buddie, I will never big up food that doesn’t deserve it and am your best critical food friend. Maybe this is a signposting site not a critical one. By visiting you can be directed to food excellence.
Having realised that I ate two delicious and incredibly different soups in one meal I am curious – what is YOUR favourite soup?
In other news I have just discovered that scallops actually IS pronounced scollops. Mad. Mind blown as my nephew Ed would say. You may find him on this blog, he lives nearby and walks me regularly, you could say I am his bitch!
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