Chef Dom Robinson has just opened The Blackbird, a traditional country pub in Bagnor, the hamlet near Newbury in Berkshire, following a refurbishment.
The Blackbird has seen Robinson accomplish a life-long dream of owning his own restaurant, having previously worked with the likes of Tom Aikens, Anthony Demetre and Adam Byatt.
His approach to the menu is ‘back to basics’, ingredient-led using seasonal, locally sourced produce and classical techniques. Robinson explains, “I am dedicated to doing everything as perfectly as possible. My cooking is about keeping things simple, focusing on flavour and using the techniques I’ve learnt to get the best out of ingredients. You won’t see me messing around with gels or fermenting everything just for the sake of it.”
The food offers diners an authentic British gastro-pub experience; wholesome, honest cooking at affordable prices made memorable with unique ingredients sourced from an excellent network from local suppliers.
The concise, seasonal menu currently proffers starters including ravioli of Kennet crayfish with buttered leeks and venison tartare with Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnuts and truffle.
Stand out mains include Lydney Park wild boar with choucroute and russet apple, Charolaise beef cheek with parsley snails and mash, and roast sea trout with pomme fondant and grapefruit butter sauce.
French techniques shine through in the dessert selection, with tarte a l’orange with chocolate sorbet and chocolate fondant with mulled quince and pistachio ice cream.
Sundays at The Blackbird offer a Sunday pub lunch not to be missed, with main dishes falling into two categories; ‘roasts’ with all the trimmings, and ‘not roasts’; offering a fish and vegetarian alternative.
Complementing the food is a carefully chosen selection of ales, many sourced locally, and wines made with both classic grapes and new age varieties from lesser-known regions.
Robinson has also ensured that the food and drink has been priced so it is affordable and accessible to locals and visitors alike. He said, “What I love about the traditional British pub is that it’s something everyone can enjoy and it brings people from all walks of life together.'
(image: RJA photography)