Last week I got to try out the new Seasonal Tasting Menu at The Black Dove in Glasgow. Located on Kilmarnock Road just along from Shawlands Cross, this quaint Scottish eatery is in a great location alongside lots of other pubs and restaurants and plenty of direct transport links from the city centre.
Inside, The Black Dove has one of the most unique interior designs of any restaurant I’ve ever visited. There are bare brick walls, an open bar, plenty of mirrors and a wall sized image of the Isle of Skye on the far wall. Unlike most upscale restaurants I’ve visited recently in the city, they have cheery, popular (mostly 80’s and 90’s) music playing which brings such a different atmosphere to the restaurant. I find that often in restaurants music is slow, downbeat and so quiet that I feel conscious about talking to loudly. In The Black Dove, people were singing along, having a little dance in their seats and chatting away.
In terms of food, there are four menus: the A la Carte, the Seasonal Tasting Menu in both 5 and 7 courses, an Old Favourites Menu and a Children’s Menu. The A la Carte menu is designed in such a way that guests are encouraged to order two or three plates each. The concept of tapas style cooking is combined with Scottish cuisine and each dish is cooked fresh and served to the table on arrival and cost between £4.50 and £10.50. The Old Favourites is a small menu served all day Tuesday to Thursday and between 12pm and 7pm on a Friday. It consists of ten dishes such as Haggis Risotto and Roast Chicken Breast, each costing £5 for a lunch plate and £6 for a dinner plate. This menu is exceptionally well priced and if you’re looking to dine at The Black Dove but are perhaps on a tighter budget then I believe this is definitely the menu most suitable.
Paul and I each enjoyed a complimentary meal in the form of the 5 course Tasting Menu. Taster menus are fantastic for familiarising yourself with a restaurant’s style of cooking, and if you’re looking to eat out but not overindulge. The portions are pretty small, but there is a high quality of both ingredients and presentation. The 5 course version costs £25 and an additional £20 for a choice of matching wines whilst the 7 course version costs £35 and £25 for accompanying wines.
- Mini Savoury Doughnut – Our first course was a doughnut filled with slow cooked ox cheek and Parmesan, dusted in paprika sugar and placed on a bed of chorizo jam. The meat was tender and rich, with the cheese enhancing the beef flavour. The paprika sugar entirely threw off the meaty taste of the dish, adding a lightness and sweetness to it that was both unexpected but fantastic. This sweetness was added to but in an entirely more subtle way with the chorizo jam, which had a slight warmth to it.
- Tomato Tartare and Sorbet – I will be entirely honest, when this was presented to us I never expected the tomato sorbet to actually be a tomato sorbet. I’m not sure what I expected, but upon tasting it I was pleasantly surprised by how light and refreshing this dish was for the palate. By using different types of tomatoes the dish still had depth, but on the whole it was very light. This dish is the perfect example of why such menus are good for restaurants; as they allow the chefs to be creative and inventive with their cooking.
- Tandoori Marinated Salmon – Course number three was half a salmon fillet placed alongside a freshly prepared onion bhaji and on top of a mint and coriander chutney. Both the salmon and bhaji were slightly crisped on the outside but inside were tender and succulent. I would have described the chutney as a sauce but the taste of it was incredibly cool and fresh, the perfect accompaniment to the spices of the dish’s other elements.
- Pan Seared Duck Breast – I should disclose that I really am not a fan of duck, although I did enjoy the well cooked parts of this duck. The cep gnocchi it was served along was delicious as were the buttery Savoy cabbage and wild mushrooms. The duck and mushrooms both had very strong flavours that were toned down by the creaminess of the cabbage and the starchy gnocchi. A well balanced dish that is perfect for both dark meat and duck lovers.
- Lemon Meringue Tart – To top off this wonderful menu was my favourite dessert. Much like the second course, one of the things I enjoyed most about this version of lemon meringue tart was the creativity that went into the construction of the dish. First, there was a bed of molten meringue on the bowl, topped by separate servings of clotted cream ice cream, meringue sticks, the tart itself and raspberry puree. By dissecting the dish it allowed me to think more about what I was eating. The proportions of each element of the dish was spot on, and it was a great way to finish the meal.
Overall, I think this tasting menu is great for those who, first and foremost enjoy the foods on the menu. It’s a great way of enjoying lots of the foods you love at the one time and for a set price. For those who are looking to be more exploratory in their eating habits or those who are looking for an insight into the style of cooking that is available at The Black Dove, I also feel these smaller portions and variety of dishes would be a suitable option. From my taster session, I know that after trying ox cheek for the first time I would now return and try their Ox Cheek Steak Pie. With such a wonderful atmosphere, quality ingredients and a creative menu, if you’re looking for something Scottish with a twist in Glasgow then I cannot recommend paying The Black Dove a visit enough.
The Black Dove
67 Kilmarnock Road, G41 3YR.
0141 231 1021.