Have you ever had a bad day? I bet you have. Lost your keys, stepped on some lego, got a parking ticket that kind of thing, right? Well, try this one on for size; I know a girl, let’s call her ‘Sophie’, who works in marketing and she had a big launch that she was responsible for. It was the start of a big rollout so it was pretty important that everything went well. In the morning, she woke up early full of energy and passion for the day ahead and jumped in the car. The journey should have been a couple of hours or so and in her enthusiasm, she started to push it a little but unfortunately, she hit a pothole which turned her wheel egg shaped. Disaster. She was going to be late, but she can deal with that. One quick call and the recovery guys had picked her up and she was back on the road, without a car admittedly but they dropped her off at the venue and organised a rental for her to arrive later. Crisis averted? Well, not quite. The printers called to say that the card she wanted wasn’t available, then it got later and later the launch got closer and closer but still no car.
And then it started raining.
Now, I’m not being melodramatic here when I say it was an Old Testament, Wrath of God kind of rain. The sort of rain that gives children nightmares. The rain became a small leak, the small leak became a big leak, and the big leak turned into a running down the street in the (aforementioned biblical) rain trying to find a plumber to fix the leak. Now that, my friends, is a straight up professional nightmare. It’s a good job then, that ‘Sophie’ had an amazing team who covered all the bases; the leak was plumbed, the car arrived, the launch went off in spectacular fashion and the guests were none the wiser. I think everyone deserved a Malteaser after that, don’t you?
Now, I’m not saying that’s what happened when Mrs P and I went to the launch of the new Summer menu at The Black Horse in Woburn on Monday, but the staff did look really, really pleased once the dinner was finished.
But how was dinner? Well, now that you mentioned it, it was pretty bloody brilliant. We started with free bubbly (always a winner with Mrs P) and moved on to a few communal tables pausing to admire the new and improved decor as we moved through the pub. The modern and classy style is reflected in the smart upholstering and new paint work which gives you a real understanding that the place is cared for and looked after.
The Black horse has long held a reputation for solid cooking and reliably consistent good quality. Neil, the sous chef, recently came second in the Milton Keynes Food and Leisure Awards chef of the year category so with good ingredients, you know you’re in safe hands. We had a few picky bits to start off:
And I was almost over come with excitement when I saw whitebait had been included on the board. Chunky humous, tomato pastry bite things as well as a bit of dressed watercress were other noteworthy highlights. Mrs P bemoaned the lack of butter for the warm bread but I
ignored didn’t quite catch what she said and carried on smoothing more humous onto my mini loaf.
A selection of starters appeared next and here, the crab was the clear winner. Smooth and rich, this is what I will be ordering when I return. The rest was good if not as good as the crab. The bean salad was a little bland and both Mrs P and I both left some – but I think that’s an easy remedy and just needed a bit of zest for perkiness. For me, the saffron aioli was very strong and overpowering whereas Mrs P considered it spot on.
Cod and prawn thai curry was easily the best dish we were presented with. The fish was cooked perfectly and the prawn was bouncy and sweet without a hint of rubbery nastiness. The curry was full of those contrasting flavours that characterise thai cookery, with sweet, savoury, fresh and warm all combining to a great dish. This was Mrs P’s love for the evening, I came a distant second.
The rest of the mains were represented by a tomato tart tatin and the slow roasted lamb. I wasn’t expecting to like the tatin but I have to say that it won me over. Full of roasted tomato umami, (do you get umami from tomato’s? I’m not sure.) I can see that a big one of these would go down very easily thankyouverymuch. The salsa verde over the lamb was another hit of powerful flavours. With an extra emphasis on the mint, it’s the kind of sauce that roast lamb is crying out for.
Even though the pudding was attacked by the dreaded shadow monster it was still tasty. The brittle was good and the cherry parfait was very moreish, the chocolate mousse was smooth and coating the mouth with pleasure along with the strawberry cheesecake. All good things and particular shout outs go to the cherry blobs – lovely. I can assure you that you’ll be happy with any one. But now I’m sorry that I have to be the bearer of bad news; the treacle tart was not good. The base while thin, was as hard and chewy as a frozen maoam. Sorry boys, D- maybe next time.
I refuse to let that ruin what was otherwise an excellent evening though. I am full of warm words and good feelings for the Black Horse, the wine list is well priced and easy to drink and they have connections with other pubs over in Salford and Bedford, both with excellent pedigree.
In conclusion, the best compliment I can give The Black Horse is this: after the meal, Rob, the manager came and sat down next to me. ‘I know you, I’ve seen you in here a few times’, he said. I had to agree that I had. ‘So, why haven’t you blogged us before?’ Well, here’s the thing Rob, I replied; I never blog with friends or family because it always ends in disaster. So the reason that we keep coming back with the family is because The Black Horse is one of our secret little places where our reputation for knowing where to find good food will be secure. But I guess it’s not so secret any more is it?!!
Don’t miss our collection of favourite Milton Keynes pub gardens, which features The Black Horse in Woburn.