‘Black Dog NWS, the second addition to the Black Dog Ballroom brand, is located on New Wakefield Street in the burgeoning Oxford Road Corner area of the city, is a three floor New York Style speakeasy, diner, pool room, roof terrace, BBQ and basement night club, Underdog. The private members’ Ballroom boasts a pool table and a karaoke booth.’
That’s taken from the Black Dog NWS website. Sounds epic doesn’t it. Yet I’ve never been, despite visiting its original site in the Northern Quarter many times over. So when I had an invite to come down last week to see what all the fuss is about, myself and my girlfriend (Miss J from here on out) duly obliged.
Set in what looks like a New York meets Swedish pine emporium (and nothing against that as it gives a clean look to the place), you enter up the stair case from the entrance and meet a row of booths and tables, with a bar stretched at the end. Four pool tables feature on the other side of the room, and a roof terrace further up the stair case that’s perfect for when the heavens aren’t open. Once greeted, we were allocated a booth in a rather full restaurant. Adorning the walls next to us were skyline prints, almost making it look like you were high up in the world looking through windows.
Browsing the drinks menu we both opted for a cocktail. Miss J went for the Pokerface that combined Amaretto, strawberries sugar and lemon juice, whilst I had the Candy Apple (both £6.75) consisting of Bacardi Oakheart, passion fruit, pineapple, cranberry juice, apple juice and lime. Miss J’s was a rather good tipple, practically feeling like you were eating strawberries out of a bowl covered in amaretto. Mine on the other-hand could have been better. I hate to say it, but I just couldn’t taste the rum. A little too much juice maybe. On my part though, I was spoilt for choice with the menu, and could have easily gone for Gin City which combined Bombay Sapphire, peach, apple juice, lemon and sugar, or the Peach Punch Cooler (Southern Comfort, orange juice, peach puree, lime juice, lemonade top) and even a Bombay Blues which had Bombay Sapphire, blackberry, cranberry juice, lemon and sugar (all cocktails £6.75).
Whilst working our way through the drinks, the food menu was being exhausted. Ordering starters, we went for the Deep Fried Mozzarella Sticks that came with a salsa dip (£4.00) as well as Potato Skins with cheddar cheese, bacon and sour cream (£4.50). Hot, scrumptious, and just what you need to put you on while you wait for your mains! Speaking of mains, a Breaded Chicken Gourmet Burger with salad, Black Dog relish and garlic mayonnaise (£7.95) came swiftly out for Miss J, and she added Chorizo to hers too (75p), whilst the The Half Pound Hound Burger with bacon, Philly steak, cheese, onion rings and a side of coleslaw (£12.00) came stacked high for myself. Warm, both presented great on wooden boards, with the fries within a tin bucket, it’s almost as if you’re in New York (well one would presume if he ever makes it over there). We could have ventured towards the pizzas, bbq menu as well as the salads and sandwiches, but when two burgers grab your eye, there’s just no contest sometimes! Especially after enjoying the D.B. at sister restaurant Dog Bowl.
Dessert? No chance. Too full in the stomach after a filling main and some great little starters. The menu is what you expect from a New York style venue, with Knickerbocker Glory, Banana Split and American Style Pancakes (all £4) available. We skipped it, and went away feeling rather good. Good service too, nothing too much of a problem and the atmosphere was at a good level. I’ll be back again, and I’ll be trying something different next time too, which I feel is always a good sign.
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