On Monday I experienced quite possibly my most personally favourite night in a long time. It featured my two most favourite things – Food and Game of Thrones. I went to try Black Dog Ballroom’s brand new food menu and… oh three things – my girlfriend was there too. Sorry.
To be fair the Game of Thrones aspect of the evening was a welcome surprise, and so I will get on to that at the end – what I would like to talk about here is the new food menu at Black Dog and let you know what to expect.
Available in both the Northern Quarter and New Wakefield Street venues, the food at Black Dog has always been comfortingly reliable – with a varied menu of snacks to chomp on while having some beers, or larger dishes such as pizzas, burgers and sandwiches for when you’re famished.
Well I can tell you now, three days after eating at Black Dog, that I’m still pretty full – and although you could attribute this to a certain degree of gluttony – something I’m always guilty of, it’s also down to both the portion sizes and just how delicious we both found the food.
We started off where most meals begin; the starters. In a bid to try as many of these dishes as possible we opted for the Sharing Platter (£12) as well as a portion of the Carbonara Mac & Cheese (£5) because my girlfriend loves it more than she loves me.
Coming served up on what looked like a satellite dish, the Platter was absolutely huge and for £12 – is fantastic value for money. Piled high with nachos (smothered in lovely guacamole, salsa and sour cream), chicken wings, fries, pigs in pretzels, garlic dough balls, onion rings and chicken breast tenders – it was a struggle for us to finish off – made even more impressive in the fact that both of us were proper hungry when we arrived.
I should give a shout out to both the Chicken Wings and the Pigs in Pretzels – both were my favourites – especially the wings, which were spiced to perfection and had a satisfyingly crunchy coating. The Mac & Cheese was also excellent – it wasn’t exactly what I was expecting – but was all the better for it. I sometimes find Mac & Cheese to be a bit bland but Black Dog added loads of crispy bacon, spring onions and melted cheese on top and it kept us coming back for mouthfuls – not that we could finish that either!
So by now we were both suitably stuffed. I would say not to tackle the platter unless there’s at least three of you or one of you is Meat Loaf. Just look at the pictures – this is immense.
After a well-deserved rest and brow pat-down, we were served our mains. There’s a comprehensive menu of pizzas and burgers (plus more) here so we opted for one of each – I went for The Philly (£12) – a rolled pizza stuffed with ricotta cheese, beef and a cheesy dip, while my girlfriend went for the Big Dog Burger (£15) – a truly huge offering of beef, pulled pork, bacon, cheese, salad and even tater tots – all piled high and skewered by a knife – well, sword – with chips and slaw on the side.
If we had expected the platter to be as big as it was we would definitely have ordered more conservatively, but as it was, we were facing an uphill battle with these truly huge offerings. We did our best though and to be fair, even though my girlfriend was less mobile than Jabba the Hutt with a stitch, she just couldn’t stop going back and picking away at the burger.
It must be said that a few years ago everyone was going burger crazy in Manchester, and now that all the hype has calmed down, there’s only a handful of truly good burgers left in the city. We were both very impressed with what Black Dog had to offer – and even though the Big Dog was huge, it is great value for money and tasted great. It’s definitely a ‘knife and fork’ burger, but it’s all the better for it – in particular the beef was perfectly moist and flavoursome, and the pulled pork was a winner.
The pizza, resembling a space station from 2001, looked a bit weird but was a great take on the famous Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich. I was surprised to find it slightly sweet, which perfectly complemented the beef and ricotta cheese but also the tangy (and slightly spicy) hot cheese sauce dip which was the perfect accompaniment to each slice.
By this point we were way too full to try any of the desserts, and looking back now – there’s still plenty on the menu that I would like to try. As a product of an Oldham household, their Spam Fries (£4) sound amazing, as does their Oreo Cookie Cake (£5).
In addition to the fantastic food, Black Dog NWS was also hosting a Game of Thrones Quiz that night, featuring Game of Thrones inspired cocktails and a viewing of ‘Battle of the Bastards’ from Season 6. They will be screening all of Season 7 – starting off with episode 1 on the 17th July.
We were both very impressed with the cocktails – I had a Highgarden G & T which came with a mint salt spray, lavender and a lovely rose and was fresher than an explosion in a Febreze factory, while my girlfriend went for the ‘White Walker Collins’ – a bright blue concoction of gin, winter berries, blue curacao and lemon sherbet which she proclaimed one of the best cocktails she’s ever tasted.
We didn’t win the quiz, which was a shame but we had a brilliant night. The service was excellent – they were fast and friendly and even offered to box our leftovers up to take home, and as mentioned – the food was excellent. Black Dog has always been a destination for some drinks with friends, a few games of pool or a boogie, but you should probably add having some food to that list – you won’t be disappointed and your wallet won’t take a battering.
Black Dog Ballroom NQ, 52 Church St, Manchester M4 1PW
Blackdog Ballroom NWS, 11-13 New Wakefield St, Manchester M1 5NP