When Chris Rouse first opened the doors at the Black Dove, his wife had just given birth to their twins. He’s come a long way since then.
I was asked along to sample this year’s festive menu, which, at just £25.95 for two courses or £29.95 for three is an absolute steal - I’d suggest you get your booking in pronto, at these prices, with the quality on offer, table space will be at a premium.
There are five starters, five mains and three desserts on offer allowing for everyone to find something to their liking, even the vegetarians among you.
My starter of hand-dived Loch Fyne scallops in a scallop roe butter and served on a bed of Ditalini pasta was lush. Soft, seared pieces of seafood jewels - the scallops were sweet and succulent - this was a perfect dish.
Mrs Mac opted for the chicken liver pate, which was so smooth it almost slipped off the toasted sour dough bread. There was a lightness to it that you don’t often find in pates with no bitter aftertaste and just a hint of Marsala wine.
My slow-cooked chicken thighs with chicken mousse, heritage potatoes, sauteed kale and a chicken jus was a decent portion of essentially, a chicken dinner. Nothing wrong with that! The de-boned chicken thighs were tender and the crispy skin - the best bit - gave them so much more flavour. The mixed heritage tatties were cooked spot on and the kale added an extra dimension. Unfortunately, the jus was a tad on the salty side for my taste buds, and, oddly the same was the case for the gravy Mrs Mac had on her turkey dinner. I suspect the stock had been reduced just too far.
Back to that turkey - soft white meat wrapped around an apricot stuffing served with pigs in blankets, duck fat roasties and seasonal veg. The meat was tender, but there was only two smallish slices and Mrs M would have liked to have had an extra one. However, that being said, one has to remember the price point this menu is set at, so don’t expect plates piled high with grub! The baby carrots were fine if you like a fair bite in your veg, but undoubtedly the star of the dish was the super- crunchy roasties, which had a gorgeous fluffy inside.
I opted for the cheese board as my dessert of choice, while my other half went for the chocolate cremeux with a salted caramel sauce, popcorn and a banana ice cream. It was that good there wasn’t a spare word uttered other than the assorted oohs and aahs. My cheese board was one of the best I’ve had. With a selection of four cheeses, a soft goats, a cheddar, a blue and a med-hard French, accompanied by fruit bread, crackers and a homemade chutney - delish.