Situated in the heart of Ponteland Village, The Blackbird was originally a castle which was destroyed in 1388. In 1935, after many months of restoration work, The Blackbird was opened to the public. The Blackbird Ponteland bar area seats 55 guests and 35 guests in the main dining area. Upstairs is the Minstrel Gallery, a fantastic events space, available to hire for private functions and parties. Their aim is to create dishes brimming with tradition and imagination through an ever changing seasonal menu of country pub favourites combined with contemporary flair. I enjoy food with flair. Excitement brimming; bring it on! On arrival, around 8pm, The Blackbird is a wonderful sight in darkness. Lit up for all to see, it has a festive vibe that entices you in. Mark, our waiter on the night, gave us the menus and began by enlightening us on the remarkable history of the castle which was great to get to understand what went on there. He also handed us a manuscript of the castle’s past which I have to say added interest, meaning and charm to the experience. To drink, we went with Mark’s recommendation of the New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc named Maota Bay. It was beautiful. In fact, I would go as far as saying the best white wine I’ve tasted. It really was that good. Tropical, fruity and a racy acidity; wow I loved it. I could imagine how even more fabulous it would be sitting outside the castle with a glass in the summer. To start, I struggled at first as the menu didn’t specify dishes with allergens. Eventually, I went for the Treacle Cured Salmon, Horseradish Cream and Granny Smith Apple at £8.50. What a plate of food! I wasn’t prepared for its dazzling allure – it was so cute and presented magnificently. The salmon itself was breath taking. The horseradish cream mixed with the apple gel was a combination of tangy then sweet that really flexed my palate. Thoroughly enjoyed. My colleague ordered Chicken Liver Parfait, Toasted Grains, Honey & Red Wine Reduction, Onion Marmalade and Sourdough Croutons at £6.50. Such a colourful plate again, he was in awe by its beauty. He couldn’t have asked for a more contemporary starter. It was a triumph in every way.
For my main, I ordered Duck Breast, Roast Beetroot, Potato Terrine, Onion, Spelt and Barley Risotto, and Duck Jus at £15.95. Okay so first things first, this was food of the highest quality. I’d like to congratulate the chefs on providing a fantastic main course. The duck, combined with the jus, was just outstanding and all of the elements took the taste buds on a journey I didn’t know existed. My colleague went for the fillet steak and it was his best steak ever; each time it just gets better and better. It came with crispy onion rings, tomato, grilled mushrooms, chunky chips and peppercorn sauce. It was impossible to disagree with the quality. The Blackbird was surprising. The Blackbird was flying!
Finally, for dessert, I chose the Bread and Butter Pudding at £5.95. It had a soft, delicate texture. The apple acidic tang certainly got my juices flowing. The salted caramel ice-cream and the caramel sauce added sweet decadence to the plate. Yum! My colleague’s dessert Milk Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Crumb, Caramel Ice Cream, Toasted Hazelnuts and Dentelle Wafer at £5.95 was a seductive delight that tasted heavenly.
Overall, it was a night of beautiful company, beautiful service, beautiful surroundings and beautiful food. The night was truly beautiful.