REVIEW: Dancing Man Brewery, Southampton
WHAT? A delectable weekend at The Pig In The Wall, Southampton’s branch of the iconic Pig hotel group, sent us wandering along the harbourside’s city walls – soon stopping at the historic Dancing Man Brewery.
We settled down to sample home brews and giant, meat-focused dishes at this two storey pub-cum-wedding venue, originally a freestanding medieval storehouse for wool exports to Europe. Owners promised to retain the building’s historical features when it was converted from an art house, most interestingly some graffiti written by French prisoners when it served as a jail in 1711 – which you can still spot if you look closely.
WHERE? A short walk from Southampton train station and overlooking the River Test, the beautiful brewhouse is the only surviving freestanding medieval warehouse in Southampton.
Equipped with seven fermenters, it aims to provide lovingly made beers with true character – their lager ‘Necessary Evil’ is a permanent fixture amid an ever-changing roster of flavours and strengths, such as the ‘Virgin Peary’ or ‘Electric Grapefruit Wizard’.
More than worth a mention, though, is the food – the restaurant and bar menus provide far more than a cursory sausage roll or packet of crisps to line the stomach. Sitting at a table, you can start with the likes of grilled sardines marinated in lemon, garlic and parsley with confit plum tomatoes, or a herb-baked Camembert for two.
Mains are divided into ‘Red Meat’, ‘White Meat’ and ‘Vegan’, the latter’s highlights including the ‘Nut Job’ lentil and walnut burger stuffed with red onion, plus a Moroccan-inspired chickpea and vegetable tagine. Carnivores can choose from the likes of Hampshire hog, a chicken burger, or huge, 100% prime beef burgers with various toppings.
Sirloin steak is 8oz (we ordered ours medium rare with the creamy tequila sauce – divine) and DMB favourite ‘Smokey And The Bandido’ must be tried – a deep dish piled high with smoked beef short rib, slow cooked in DM ale with roasted new potatoes, roasted pearl onions, smoked bacon lardons, DM ale gravy, grilled mature cheddar, sourdough and horseradish sauce.
Though defeated by pork and cheese, juices mopped up with crusty bread, we found it impossible to deny ourselves a few spoonfuls of the towering ‘PBP’ – a beyond indulgent peanut butter and pretzel sundae slathered with hot fudge sauce. Not surprisingly, there are some inventive dessert options involving, you guessed it, beer – the ‘Beer-a-misu’ is laced with Baileys and stout, while the beer brûlée has been spiked with DM ale.
WHY GO? A few hours spent among the venue’s hanging bulbs and fairy lights feels at once celebratory and homely, made complete by the owner’s adorable dog Mr. Watson trotting up and down the stairs at his leisure.
Perfect for a special date, birthday outing or indeed, a wedding party, we’re already planning a return visit and keenly advise anyone passing through Southampton to do the same – a gorgeous slice of history (and winterberry cheesecake!) it’d be tragic to pass by.
ADDRESS: Dancing Man Brewery, Town Quay, Southampton, SO14 2AR / 023 8083 6666
Amy was a guest of Dancing Man Brewery