Black Swan Pub on Call Lane have released a brand new food menu, and hosted a tasting session to introduce it. Specialising in traditional British food with a contemporary twist, the new menu was set out to compliment the existing theme by adding a number of innovative options.
Upon entering the venue, I was greeted by a friendly maître d’, inviting me to proceed to the bar for a beer tasting, and was told to select three of the locally sourced ales on offer, which were served in small 1/3 pint glasses and presented on a wooden plank. As someone who rarely enjoys beer, I was pleasantly surprised to find that some of the options had an interesting fruity and smooth flavour, and the Ilkley Tribus was a personal favourite.
For the purpose of the food tasting, the starters were served in the form of canapés, allowing me to taste a number of different dishes including a pearl barley and leek risotto, a confit duck cube, a delicious salmon crusted scotch duck egg and a delicate venison carpaccio. The confit duck practically melted in your mouth, allowing it to seamlessly blend with the celeriac sauce and apple salad, creating an exciting explosion of flavour.
The starters were a delicious tease, leaving us even more intrigued for the main course. We were given a selection of meat, vegetarian and fish dishes, which were all equally sophisticated and elaborately presented. The fish tasted fresh and tender, while the pork belly was light and without a greasy or heavy feel to it. The vegetarian option was a spinach and ricotta gnocchi, served with artichoke chips and puree, which pleasantly surprised me. The menu uses the same ingredients in a number of forms – for example, the fish features butternut squash served three ways: pickled, boiled and in a sauce. The use of the same ingredients allows for a unanimous flavour combination without making the food taste bland.
By the end of the evening, I was more than ready for dessert. There were a platter of options – a beautifully golden rhubarb crème brûlée, a creamy chocolate tart with honeycomb and vanilla ice cream, and a poached pineapple garnished with the combination of chilli and raspberry ice-cream for the more adventurous eaters. Whilst all of the desserts were incredibly tasty, the rhubarb crème brûlée stole my heart.
To end a wonderful evening of good food and relaxed atmosphere, served by friendly staff, we were offered a shot of their homemade espresso martini. This cleansed the palate nicely as we congratulated the chef for his impressive work. I will definitely be coming back to the Black Swan again – especially to try their ‘Two-for-Tuesdays’ gourmet pizza deal that sounds too good to miss!
Image: Trip Advisor.