How to make: Venison Tartare

By Rebecca Weller

- Last updated on GMT

Dish Deconstructed: How to make Venison Tartare from the Black Bull
Dish Deconstructed: How to make Venison Tartare from the Black Bull

Related tags Top 50 gastropubs Food Chef

This week’s Dish Deconstructed showcases a Venison Tartare starter from the Black Bull in Sedbergh, Cumbria.

Chef patron Nina Matsunaga​ told the Morning Advertiser​ the dish boats an “unusual mix” of ingredients showcasing British seasonal produce “at its best” alongside smoky flavours for a “refreshing” flavour combination.

She said: “[Venison Tartare] is a stand-alone dish as a starter within our most recent tasting menu.

“It is inspired by our use of forced rhubarb in several different ways and our use of wild garlic, both of which are highly seasonal.

British inspired 

“But it can also be adjusted through cleverly fermenting or pickling both ingredients.

“The flavours are quintessentially British inspired, seasonal and modern, which is a particular focus for us.”

The chef patron, who co-owns the Top 50 Gastropub​ with husband James Ratcliffe, advised the dish pairs well with a glass of chilled Claus Preisinger Puszta Libre! 2021, an Austrian blended red wine made with Zweigelt, St. Laurent and Pinot Noir.

“[This wine] is a light, juicy, easy-drinking red, ever so slightly spritzy, and very refreshing with no added sulphites.

“The forest fruits and earthiness in the wine work very well with the venison, and barbecue flavours”, she added.

Extra flourish 

In addition, Matsunaga advised the plate would also work well with different meat option such as beef or lamb.

Price wise, Matsunaga advised it costs around £3 to create in the detailed serving size and would retail at around £12.95 per portion on the tasting menu.

While the dish cannot be assembled ahead of service to maintain freshness and quality, the main components will last three to five days, and the vegetables and mayonnaise can be sliced and made ahead of time.

For an extra “flourish”, Natsumaga said the pub, which is finalist in the 2024 Great British Pub Awards​ in the Best Pub For Food category, adds a pinch of wild garlic salt to garnish the dish after assembling to provide a little “umami flavour”.

Pictured: Nina Matsunaga (Credit: Amanda Farnese-Heath Photography)
Ingredients (one serving as a starter):

For the tartare:


  • 60g venison loin or fillet (any deer will suffice but we used roe)
  • 1 tsp finely diced shallot
  • 1 tsp finely diced rhubarb (ideally forced but garden will do)
  • 1 tsp pickled rhubarb or rhuboshi if available
  • 1 tbsp smoked oil
  • 1 tsp pickling liquor or cider vinegar
  • Salt to season
  • Puffed rice to garnish


  • Torch the venison with a butane blowtorch until blistered and charred on all sides, alternatively sear on very high heat on all sides
  • Dice into small pieces and mix with everything apart from the puffed rice

For the compressed fennel:


  • 20g thinly sliced fennel per portion
  • A pinch of salt
  • ½ tsp vinegar
  • ½ tsp extra virgin olive oil


  • Place all ingredients in a vac pack bag and compress for 55 seconds

Smoked oil emulsion:


  • 250g smoked oil
  • 50g anchovy oil or vegetable oil
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • A pinch of sea salt
  • A splash of water


Add the eggs to a food processor and start mixing the egg yolks until thick and ribbony

Slowly add both oils until emulsified then add the vinegar and salt to taste (if the emulsion is very thick add a splash of water to loosen it)

To assemble the dish:

Place the fennel on the plate first then pipe some smoke emulsion onto it.

Add the venison and finally garnish with the puffed rice and garlic salt if using

  • See the previous Dish Deconstructed here​​
  • To take part in the Morning Advertiser's Dish Deconstructed series please contact

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