THE Blackbird restaurant and pub in Bagnor will reopen as a “foodie destination” in October under the guidance of new head chef Dom Robinson.
Mr Robinson says his vision for The Blackbird is that it becomes not just a place to eat and drink, but also a hub for the community and people from the neighbouring counties and even London.
He said: “I want to go right back to basics and focus on doing everything as perfectly as possible.
“My cooking’s about keeping things simple, focusing on flavour and using the techniques I’ve learned 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.”
Mr Robinson, formerly head chef at Tom Aikens in London, has also previously worked as executive chef at Supperclub Dubai, as well as chef/co-owner at Etive Pubs.
His new menu features starters like a venison tartare with Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnuts and truffle, while mains include salt marsh lamb rump with courgettes, sea herbs and smoked sardine or a pot roast game of the day.
One of Mr Robinson’s specialities is his hand-cooked “lardy chips” that feature in many of his dishes.
He has also developed “bar snacks with a difference”, such as Scotch eggs made on-site using locally sourced ingredients.
For dessert, expect inventive twists on old favourites, such as a chocolate and blackberry fondant served with violet milk ice-cream.
There will also be a rotating selection of British cheeses.
Diners can choose to sit in the restaurant, venture outside into the pub garden or grab a bite to eat in the bar area.
They can also look forward to seeing The Blackbird’s charcuterie trolley – loaded with home-cured meats and pickles – make its way around the restaurant and bar.
The Blackbird will offer a range of menus, including an a la carte option, special Saturday and Sunday lunch and brunch menus and pre- and post-theatre menus for people catching a show at The Watermill theatre, a stone’s throw away.
Complementing the food will be a selection of ales, many sourced locally, and wines made with both classic grapes and new age varieties from lesser-known regions, as well as the traditional ones.
Mr Robinson 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.”