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THE BLACK HORSE


An imposing yet attractive edifice of red brick sits tall and strong along the edge of Earlham Road. Tis old coaching inn offers respite to the weary traveller in need of a nice pint and a smart meal.


ATMOSPHERE Formerly an old fashioned wood panelled pub, Te Black Horse underwent refurbishment at the tail end of 2015 when it came into new ownership. Te pub was brought right up to date, from a drinking establishment into more of a dining experience. Te décor is stylishly presented and very in fashion right now, with mushroom grey offset with brass light fittings. It brings brightness and modernity to an old building. Te large space still feels intimate, with different bar areas set around the long, high vaulted dining room. Feels like someone took over Gaston’s Tavern and removed almost all the antlers. A pair still adorn the chimney breast. I use antlers in ALL of my decorating. Just the kinda guy I am.


THE MAIN EVENT Seared scallops were a nice way to begin, the soft morsels a lovely vehicle for a lot of different flavours and textures. Te sweet pomegranate jus, the peppery crunch of rocket leaves and the small, juicy slices of apple were an enticing start to my meal.


Our other starter was a delicious soy broth with a great slab of tea stained tofu. Te understated flavour of the tofu allowed the much stronger soy and


26 / APRIL 2017 / OUTLINEONLINE.CO.UK


sesame to dominate which was not a bad thing at all! Te rich broth benefitted from the fresh green pak choi to offer a cleaner bite. An enjoyable dish that also comes as a main course.


THE MAIN EVENT My main was a familiar dish reimagined: belly pork. Te most striking aspect of it was the great jutting sheet of crackling rising six inches above the plate. It reminded me of a sail from a boat. Tis plate wasn’t carried by a waitress to our table but sailed there, propelled by the gusts of wind from envious diners’ sighs as it majestically passed by. Paper thin and glistening, it gave a satisfying crack as I broke it between my hands, and shards of crackling flung in every direction, some towards other tables and some towards my vegetarian girlfriend… sorry. A rectangle of deliciously soft and flavoursome belly pork crowned with soft fat, another rectangle of apple slices, black pudding and a puree of cauliflower. All the familiar elements there but interestingly deconstructed. I enjoyed combining different elements with each forkful.


Our other main was a wholesome risotto with pearl barley. Tis simpler dish was a stark but welcome contrast to the explosion of flavours in our starters. Te moderate portion size was perfect, as risotto often grows samey in large doses. Tere was a sunny, seasoned egg yolk perched on top- next time we’ll ask for an extra one.


PUD A subtle coconut pannacotta with a mint and mango sorbet is a great dessert to follow the tofu starter, cooling and flavourful.


OVERALL Te menu is small which I often take as a good sign. It gives the kitchen the opportunity to focus on crafting dishes and send each one perfectly on its way. Te food was lovely, each dish well thought out and presented beautifully. Portion size was modest and by the end of three courses I felt comfortably full. If you’re looking to eat until you roll home (which has its appeal!) this isn’t for you, but if you want to enjoy a pleasant meal in a smart space it may just be. Te price wasn’t unaffordable but for anything more than a pub classic main meal it may be more of a place for a special occasion.


James MacDonald


VENUE FODDER VALUE OVERALL


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