Ryde, like other Island towns, has tentatively peeped out from behind its hands, dusted itself down and regrouped in the wake of the post-Covid-19 lockdown. For the moment, we are allowed to dine in, with certain restrictions. And that is exactly what we did one Sunday at the Blacksheep Bar.

Anyone familiar with the venue will know that it serves good cocktails, has a trendy basement club lounge and a decent outside space fronting onto Union Street. It's a drinking bar, complete with sports on the big wall-mounted televisions. There's also some food to be had, and during the daytime this can be a comfortable casual environment for a leisurely meal.

The bar has a regular menu of burgers, snacks and even a vegan section (which mysteriously includes halloumi). But we were there for the Sunday roast. Well, Matt was. Cat was hungover after a session on the booze.

Matt chose big, tasty slices of stuffed and rolled pork belly full of herb-rich stuffing, with steaming hot roast potatoes and six vegetables including delicious buttery leek.

Isle of Wight County Press:

Cat enjoyed her pulled pork loaded skinny fries.

The big, fluffy Yorkshire pudding was impressively fresh. If the plate had had a bit of crackling, more gravy and maybe some apple sauce, it would have been elevated to exceptional status. As it was, even without the trimmings Matt was satisfied with this very good example of a basic Sunday roast well-executed. Excellent value if you buy two for £15 — even one for £9.75 is not too bad.

In lieu of the standard hangover recovery package of a Full English, Cat fortified herself with an alternative pig and carbs combo — pulled pork loaded skinny fries, which she had with a long glass of coke and orange juice. The sweet drink provided the right mix of sugar and vitamin C. The chips were standard; the sticky pulled pork warmed by its potatoey substrate. Pleasant, in a simple sort of way.

We were happy to be back in the convivial atmosphere of the Blacksheep Bar. The cheerful staff welcomed us in, and although they were clearly hard at it in the very busy bar, the meals came out in good time and we got full table service throughout. It's a good place for a casual meal: take your mates and have a drink afterwards.

Matt and Cat's bill

Sunday roast £9.75

Pulled pork fries £6

Total: £15.75


Three stars: a decent place that we’d recommend.

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