Black Dove Shawlands: a review

Shawlands has been the latest up-and-coming area since I moved to Glasgow in 2005. For years, we’ve been told it will soon be the coolest place for beers, food, and live music. Now, it actually seems to be happening, with concept restaurants and coffee houses opening weekly. There may be lots of new kids on the block, but The Black Dove was one of the first to kickstart the Shawlands revolution, bringing fine dining to an area more used to kebabs and curries than gels and pana cottas.

Living just round the corner in slightly less trendy Battlefield, my boyfriend decided Black Dove would be the perfect place for a Valentine’s Day dinner. “They’re doing a tasting menu!!” belted out the man who can’t resist anything over three courses. Although I’m a bit of a Valentine’s cynic, I agreed to go because I love a good feed.

So come February 14th, we headed to Black Dove. When we arrived, we were greeted by a man with one of the best moustache/beard combos I’ve ever seen. He was happy, expansive, and within a couple of seconds we had a cosy table in the corner. The space perfectly suits a Valentine’s date; split over two levels, every table has an intimate feel, especially as you’re surrounded by fairy lights and gas lanterns. We particularly admired the chandelier made out of wine glasses and wondered if we could use our own surplus glassware to make one for our house. (The conclusion: probably not, as I break about three glasses a week, and we need a store of them.)

The Black Dove

Getting started

We’d chosen the eight-course menu because if you’re going out for dinner, you should do it right. We didn’t go for the wine tasting as it was a ‘school night’ and I wanted to be able to write this up today. We did choose a nice bottle of white though and waited for our first course to arrive.

Our meal started with sourdough bread with bacon butter. Wow. Crispy on one side, soft and warm on the other, it was topped with smooth, baconey butter, the perfect way to ease us into our next course of oysters. I’ll admit, I’m relatively new to the oyster game so would probably have preferred them with just a bit of Tabasco and salt, but the bloody mary granita and shallot and red wine vinegar were pretty tasty.

Crumbey goodness

Next up was the course I was least excited about, roast baby vegetables, celeriac and tunworth puree, and black pudding crumb. Usually, I hate to admit that I’m wrong, but fine, I was wrong to assume this course wouldn’t be amazing. The baby carrots were buttery and soft and the beetroot on the side tasted brilliantly fresh. I love celeriac, and it contrasted perfectly with the black pudding crumb which added an interesting crunch to the dish. Bravo Black Dove.

By this point, we were half a bottle of wine in and really starting to enjoy ourselves. The staff are super friendly and really go out of their way to make sure you’re enjoying your meal and have everything you need. Add a great playlist of classics and modern tunes into the mix, and The Black Dove really is a lovely, cosy spot to enjoy your evening.

The Black Dove

Nothing to be crabby about here

Soon we were delivered this beauty; crab salad, peanut and lemongrass, and coriander emulsion. Not only did it look gorgeous, it tasted gorgeous too. The crab salad, peanuts, and lemongrass really worked together, with the lemongrass flavour held in a gel, adding a bit of zing to the dish. I’m not a coriander fan so I avoided it a bit but it wasn’t too overpowering and my boyfriend liked it.

Then we were on to the last of the savoury courses: pan seared partridge and Iberico pork cheek empanada with a special pepper and sobrasada ketchup (I had to Google it too) and purple sprouting broccoli. As you’ve probably gathered, these guys can’t put a foot wrong in the cooking department and again, it was delicious. The empanada was similar to a Yorkshire pudding, crispily holding in the flavours of the juicy pork cheek, while the ketchup went really well with the meats on the plate.

The Black Dove

Time to get spicy

Finally, it was dessert time. I wasn’t sure what to expect from a chilli chocolate shot with praline brittle, and if you don’t like spice, you may want to get a spoon and go slow with this. The shot starts off as gentle burn which grows as time goes on. Topped with a lovely, crunchy praline brittle and marshmallows, the dish was a great appetizer for the next dessert of “rhubarb and custard.”

And this was the star of the show. Rhubarb sorbet, rhubarb gel, rhubarb cake and a custardey tasting cream. Wow. The sponge’s texture was reminiscent of a lemon drizzle cake but with none of the stickiness. Little bits of fresh rhubarb gave a bit of tartness to the sweet sponge and sorbet, and the cream added delicious indulgence at the end.

Feeling envious? Try The Black Dove for yourself

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