When the Dog opened a couple of years back, it seemed unsure of its identity. Was it a pub? Was it a restaurant? Was it a bar that also did food? Well, it seems to have settled down to be pretty much a restaurant, although one where you’re welcome to pop in and just have a drink.
It’s bright, modern and crewed by enthusiastic, friendly young people. And there’s a decent menu which changes a couple or so times a year. Many of the items seem fixed – the fish & chips and the steaks for example. But there are some seasonal changes, to which I was immediately drawn.
So, to start, there was a pearl barley “risotto”, creamy & al dente and including pearl onions, topped with a pigeon breast that was cooked slightly past the perfect medium rare. I liked this and reckon it’s something I’ll try and replicate at home. I followed that with a venison bourguignon that saw a return of the pearl onions and some long cooked and well seasoned Bambi. A rich stew, topped with three overly dense dumplings.
I could see that, across the table, I’d got the better of the starter ordering. My partner had ordered what was clearly a “throw it together” sort of plate. There was “burnt ricotta” – yep, a dollop of ricotta flashed under the salamander. It came with toasted ciabatta, some rocket, a slightly cooked tomato and a caper dressing. I mean, it was all OK – nothing offensive but to put the final nail in the coffin, it was all underseasoned. A flatiron steak was much more successful, coming with a generous helping of fries and a little salad.
At this level of cooking, desserts are often not worth the calories and we often don’t bother. Which is what we should have done here. However, the Alaska sounded worth a try. But it was an overly sweet and soft Italian meringue encasing a small blob of ice cream. The advertised strawberry jam was all but non-existant and the expected sponge base was nowhere to be seen. The “winter assiette” brought three mini-desserts – a decent enough crème brulee, a strawberry sponge cake was anything but light and a blueberry tart had to be picked up and munched,as the pastry was so hard the spoon couldn’t easily break it.