There’s something about a whole roast chicken arriving at a restaurant table that’s splendid.
A sense that you’re feasting rather than simply dining.
A sense that you’re eating somewhere generous.
The knowledge that you can tuck into not only a plump and tasty breast, but also those sticky bits that seldom appear on our plates when poultry is served at restaurants – the wings, for instance.
Here, at the Dark Horse, the bird came Cajun spiced and glazed with a well-balanced BBQ sauce so that it shone like a schoolboy’s most cherished and burnished conker.
Neither the spicing nor the glaze overpowered meat that was moist and flavoursome.
And, yes, the wing I snaffled was all I’d wished it to be.
Pigging out on pork
I was at the Dark Horse by invitation to sample a range of its smoked meat platters.
This was serious stuff – unsurprising, perhaps, since the bar-restaurant sends staff to the United States to learn about BBQ techniques.
The Piggy In The Middle Platter was a symphony of porcine loveliness – a sticky rack of ribs, rich pulled pork and smoked ham hock of great beauty.
All was counteracted by a fruity apple sauce.
Take The Bull By The Horns featured southern spiced beef ribs, burnt ends and Texas smoked brisket, all skilfully spiced and smoked.
The variety of textures and flavours of all the various meats served suggested a kitchen that’s well-versed in the skills of BBQ and which takes great care.
Accompaniments such as battered deep-fried pickles, BBQ beans and battered onion rings in a different league to most encountered in restaurants worked well.
A concluding pancake with maple syrup, toasted pistachios and pistachio ice cream wasn’t strictly necessary, but was hard to resist.
A range of craft ales and wonderful rye whiskey helped leave me deeply satisfied.
The Dark Horse
145 Alcester Road, Moseley, Birmingham B13 8JP. 0121 449 6300.