Slow-Roasted Pork Belly @ The Black Boy, Shinfield 18/01/2015

Slow-Roasted Pork Belly @ The Black Boy, Shinfield 18/01/2015
This roast dinner was selected from my to-do list by the
random number generator.  I like to use
the random number generator wherever possible in life to enhance
decision-making.  Sometimes it makes a
good call – other times a dubious call, but one has to follow the instructions
of the random number generator – there is no over-riding it.
What I wasn’t willing to leave to random choice was my
choice of dinner.  Beef sirloin, chicken
or slow-roasted belly of pork.
There was only one choice, despite that fact that it was
advertised as coming with a red wine jus. 
I am a gravy man.  I hate
jus.  I do have to pronounce this
carefully – I had to delete a Facebook friend once for anti-Semitism.  I really cannot believe people still have
such views.
Anyway, before I go too far off topic, my choice was
pork.  Slow-roasted belly of pork.  It sounds good doesn’t it?
I have always liked The Black Boy.  Welcoming with a good menu, a reasonable
choice of drinks and reasonably-priced (at least for down here), a good garden to sit in – a good ambience.  They serve food from midday until 9pm on a
Sunday – we arrived around 4pm and it was busy. 
I would suggest if eating at a more traditional time then booking in
advance would be wise.
The food took around 25 minutes to arrive – it was nicely
presented with a substantial chunk of pork belly on top of a bed of mash, with
a moat of red wine jus around it.  The
vegetables came on a separate serving plate.
The vegetable offerings were carrots, broccoli and red
cabbage.  The carrots and broccoli were
fairly indistinct – seemingly steamed, quite soft and plain.  The red cabbage on the other hand was
notably-tasty, especially when mixed with the mash and jus.
I was saddened that there were no roast potatoes, though on
reflection this was probably a wise move given how so many places seem to get
them wrong.  My fellow-diner had roast
potatoes with his chicken roast and advised that they were a little burnt.  My mash on the other hand was excellent –
just the slightest hint of apple and again, went really well with the jus.
Finally to the piece of no resistance.  The pork belly was substantial in size and a
succulent, juicy piece of pork.  It was
really, really good.  But not only that,
it was topped with crackling that was crunchy but edible, and so, so tasty.  Writing this right now is quite difficult as
I just want repeat the experience yet all I have in front of me is fruit salad
or salad salad.
 
And the jus?  I have
to admit that it was really nice.  There
was just enough, it soaked into the mash nicely and accompanied all parts of
the dish with additional flavour – though the pork belly was so succulent that
it didn’t need any liquidity.
I may need to review my antipathy towards jus.
This really was a very good roast, one worth making the
effort to get over the M4 for.  I made
the right choice, my friend very much enjoyed his chicken dinner and my other
friend was raving about his plate of chips.
A suitably impressive score of 8.2 out of 10.
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