Two or three eponymous black sheep peacefully graze the neat grass outside the kitchen and bar, looking uncannily real. Attractive wooden tables and chairs complete with umbrellas to keep off any sun that might appear would be lovely to sit at when the spring eventually comes but for now we scuttled in propelled on gusts of wind and battering rain. Inside is cosy and welcoming, mellowly lit with comfortable chairs and a cordial atmosphere.
The kitchen and bar open from early in the morning for breakfast right through until dinner and does a great job in being all things to all people. You can pop in for coffee and a sandwich, light lunch with a glass of beer, or dinner in the evening; they showcase local produce for sale in their Pantry and even stock 6 O’Clock gin from Thornbury and local Bristol ale from Moor. Everything is provided for your comfort, we were charmed to see blankets on offer if you did want to sit outside, with a proviso that if that were not enough you could enquire about hot water bottles!
Leaving the offer above for a brighter day we set up camp at a snug table for two in the corner and looked through the evening menu. There’s a selection of small plates to start, and a good choice of main courses, including pizzas and burgers all with a slightly spicy twist which we liked. To start we chose to share chicken gyoza (dumplings with minced chicken, cabbage, ginger, and garlic), curried croquettes and tempura prawns with chilli dip. For the main course, having already tasted some of Moor’s great IPA, we ordered a Moor battered haddock butty with tartare sauce, crispy capers, chips and roasted lemon, and Korean friend chicken with sourdough bun, kimchi, pickles, siracha and yoghurt.
Sharing a starter is always nice and quite by accident we picked three that sat well together. The tempura prawns with their featherlight batter were the star of the show, and I really enjoyed the chicken gyoza, little envelopes of flavoursome chicken with just enough bite to be satisfying. Whilst we waited for our main course we took a tour around the Pantry, an Aladdin’s cave of interesting chutneys, oils, teas, jams, and rather jolly tote bags featuring black sheep.
The Korean fried chicken was excellent, crisply coated with honey, soy and sesame and so generous a portion that I had to leave most of the sourdough bun aside. The haddock was equally delicious with lovely crunchy batter, fat chips abounded, as well as the butty so by the end we were stuffed. But not too stuffed to add to our calorie intake by then sharing chocolate donuts with créme Chantilly and chocolate sauce – awesome!