If a sports bar and an American diner had a baby, let’s just say it would look a little bit like Black Dog Ballroom.
Having only ventured inside Black Dog previously for a few badly-played games of pool and the odd cocktail, I was intrigued to discover what potential delights had been cooked up when I was invited to try what the new menu had to offer.
A little different to my more recent reviewing adventures, Black Dog Ballroom offers a down to earth setting; the servers casual, friendly and the menu laid back with just a hint of ambition and a sprinkling of filth.
We took our seats in the low-lit dining space, adjacent to a handsomly stocked bar; poring over the menus under the buzzing edison bulbs.
We didn’t overthink it, we chose the most monstrous morsels our eyes had feasted on and prepared ourselves for some seriously naughty business.
Orders placed, we turned our attention to Black Dog’s colourful cocktail menu to distract ourselves from our growing growls of hunger. Regardless whether you’re here to dine or otherwise, I highly recommend you treat yourself to a tipple or 3; if you’re looking at something that’ll put some fire in your belly, the Caramel Rum Old Fashioned is wickedly sweet with enough of a kick to really knock your socks off; but if you’re a big kid at heart, I have a feeling that the Banana Colada is the one for you…
The Sharing Platter would ideally satisfy 4 or more diners, but being keen opportunists, we gave it a good going over.
Buttery dough balls, crispy and succulent chicken wings and pretzel pigs were particular highlights for me.
The Philly Pizza was deliciously dirty; chunky folds of dough stuffed with soft ricotta, hunks of beef steak, oozy mozzarella and caramelised fried onions. Served in hand-sized rolls, these pockets are halfway between carbicide and ecstasy when heartily dunked in the rich, creamy bowl of American cheese sauce.
I’m normally adverse to overloaded burgers, but my curiosity demanded to be fed by the explicit concoction which was the Big Dog.
Chunky, flavourful and a bodacious marriage of textures from crispy tator tot to succulent pulled pork, this burger demands your whole attention; and once you’ve picked this bad boy up, you won’t be putting it down (and you WILL need extra napkins post-demolition).
Sadly, as all of the food was brought out at once (a slight faux-paw…sorry), certain areas of the meal fell cold before we could get a real taste of them. The fries were only so-so, however the onion rings were a solid 7 whilst lukewarm, so I can only imagine their splendour when delivered piping hot and still crackling from the fryer.
Our final hurrah came in the form of an Oreo Cookie Cake. Taking on a mousse-like form, this rich chocolate slab is smothered in velvety caramel goo and topped off with a sweet scoop of salted caramel. Don’t make the error of sharing as we did or you’ll be spoon-duelling till closing time for the last mouthful.
There are a couple of Black Dog Ballrooms around town; Northern Quarter and their New Wakefield Street joint.
Find them here, great for groups, shooting some pool, pre-party stomach lining and post-party feeling-eating.