Every time I walk past Blackhouse on East Parade my mouth salivates at my mere proximity to the deliciousness that is contained within these four walls. Sadly, for most of the year, the price of such succulent delights are out of reach - bills, rent and everyday food must take precedence. But come January = the very time of year when most are tightening their belt and denying themselves the pleasures of the tastebuds after the excess of the festive period - I rub my hands with glee at the thought of an annual trip to Blackhouse. For in January, Blackhouse run a 50% off all food promotion - making the usually top price restaurant a much more affordable option for the likes of me. Three courses, a bottle of wine and after dinner drinks (and a generous tip) all for £70? That's a price not to be sniffed at. Put a reminder in your calendar now to book a table - you will thank me next January.
I started with mussels in cider and chorizo - an unusual flavour combination but one which was well thought out. I'm not sure anything will beat the weissbeer steamed mussels I had at The Mustard Pot in Chapel Allerton, but cider comes a close second, and the smoky, spiciness of the chorizo was the perfect complement. I'm tempted to recreate this recipe as part of my 24 before 24 challenge.
Paul went for the chicken skewers - but raved about the ginger kick in the chilli sauce - another one for the virtual recipe book methinks. I was hoping he was going to go for the duck spring roll so I could snaffle a bit, but it was probably for the best that I didn't fill up completely before the main course...
I am still dreaming about this steak, over a week later. Blackhouse is, after all, a steak restaurant - so you would expect perfection. But this? This was something more. Buttery soft meat, browned just enough for the perfect medium rare, paired with a thick and creamy peppercorn sauce. Be still my beating heart. My vocabulary isn't good enough to truly do justice to this steak.
Paul went for the ribeye, which got similar accolades from his side of the table. And it remains my dream to try the wagyu beef steak - but that's one for a minor lottery win, I think.
We finished up with sticky toffee pudding and an after dinner cocktail made of vanilla vodka and limoncello. Limoncello is truly my weak spot - sharp and sickly sweet.
The food is heaven, but the whole experience at Blackhouse is wonderful. Brilliant service, a buzzing atmosphere, sleek and modern decor all add up to the perfect eating out experience. And in the evenings, a pianist plays lounge versions of well-known favourites. I'm not always a fan of live music in places where I want to have a conversation (The Hop, I'm looking at you...) but they hit the right balance - enough to create a sexy, chilled out mood but not too much that you can't enjoy the fabulous company of your fellow guests. Good news for us, but maybe not so much for the couple next to us who didn't say a word to each other the whole time they were there. Awkward.
As you can tell, I haven't a bad word to say. For a special occasion it would definitely be worth paying the full price - I would bet you your bill that you are guaranteed a good time. Apart from the walk downstairs to the toilet in inadvisable high heels...