Top restaurant chef Dom Robinson to open gastropub

By Nicholas Robinson

- Last updated on GMT

Traditional: new Berkshire gastropub the Blackbird is set to be a community hub
Traditional: new Berkshire gastropub the Blackbird is set to be a community hub

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Highly acclaimed restaurant chef Dom Robinson, who has worked in some of the world’s most prestigious venues, is to open a new gastropub in Berkshire.

Robinson, who was executive chef of Dubai’s Supperclub and former managing director of Future Hospitality, will launch country gastropub the Blackbird, in Bagnor, near Newbury, in October this year with a focus on honest cooking and community.

The French-trained chef, who is patron of the new venue, has claimed to focus on flavour, seasonality and affordability.

Starters at the new gastropub will include venison tartare with Jerusalem artichokes, hazelnuts and truffle, while mains will include dishes salt marsh lamb rump with courgettes, sea herbs and smoked sardine.

Robinson’s love of the humble potato will also be featured on the Blackbird’s menu, with his ‘lardy chips’ playing a key role on many of his plates.

‘The Blackbird’s menu’

A selection of bar snacks has also been developed by the globe-trotting chef, who has created a range of Scotch eggs made from locally-sourced ingredients.

Meanwhile, twists on old classics will be a focus on the dessert menu, which is set to feature a chocolate and blackberry fondant served with violet milk ice cream.

Finally, there will be a rotating selection of British cheeses and a charcuterie trolley featuring home-cured meats as well as pickles.

Several menus will be on offer, including an al a carte option, special Saturday and Sunday lunch menus, as well as brunch and pre and post-theatre offerings.

Robinson said: “I want to go right back to basics and focus on doing everything as perfectly as possible.

‘Keeping things simple’

“My cooking’s about keeping things simple, focusing on flavour and using the techniques I’ve learned to get the best out of ingredients. You won’t see me messing around with gels or fermenting everything for the sake of it.”

A modern take on the traditional country pub has been the driving force behind the venue’s design. It is hoped this will entice members of the local community into the venue, which will also offer a range of local and global drinks.

Many of the ales have been sourced from local brewers and the wine list has been compiled using classic and new age grape varieties from lesser-known regions, as well as the better-known ones.

Robinson added: “What I love about the traditional British pub is that it’s something everyone can enjoy and it brings people from all walks of life together.”

The chef has been on a hard recruitment drive, posting requests for staff across his social media channels, including one stating: “Looking for heroes FOH and kitchen to work alongside me and my small team to create something truly special in Berkshire…”

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