Review | Black Venus Inn, Challacombe
It is not often that you can walk into a restaurant, and then walk out later totally satisfied in every way. Now I am fairly hard to please and it takes a lot to keep me really happy. However The Black Venus Inn at Challacombe managed, miraculously in my view, to tick all of my many and varied boxes.
Marc & Liz Birch are at the helm of this family run business, with daughter Louise & her mum running front of house. Darren their son is the culinary genius leading his small, but talented team in the kitchen behind the scenes. This classic English character pub is cosy, busy and warm and is situated in a gentle dip amongst the rolling hills, a mere stone’s throw from the Somerset border.
First thing you need to realise when entering the Black Venus is that there are no menus. Well there are, but they are just not on the table. In fact, the entire range of dishes on offer are to be found on various blackboards dotted about the premises. And it was to these that my eldest daughter & I went to choose our meals for the night.
I commenced my culinary journey with the Special Chefs Starter, ‘The Black Pudding Stack’, layered with leeks and bacon with a wholegrain mustard sauce.
If that sounds rather delicious then you would be on the money. It was without doubt a delightful and mouth-watering treat.
The lovely salty taste of the bacon woven in amongst the juicy, tender leeks made a fabulous addition to the star of this dish. Attended by a flavoursome lake of wholegrain mustard sauce and lovingly decorated with red mustard frills, this starter was a real treat. Who would have thought that Black Pudding could have looked so beautiful?
My daughter Becky, on the other hand elected for the Seared Scallops, again served with black pudding and the delightful addition of a carrot puree. Her verdict on that dish was that the Scallops were ‘very light and soft and cooked to perfection.’
Part two for me came in the form of Chicken breast stuffed with brie, wrapped in bacon with a wholegrain mustard sauce (my choice, and worth repeating). In my opinion, the chicken was tender, and perfectly cooked. Again, the bacon wrap was a great accompaniment, cleverly complimenting the warm, soft brie core of this main offering.
The bed of buttery, slightly salted crushed new potatoes was seasoned with black pepper. This combination of basic but important flavours was really tasty and delicious and completely hit the mark. The neatly arranged broccoli also received the thumbs up from me, as it was neither under or over-cooked.
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