Wednesday, 29 November 2017

The Bull Bracknell Review*

When I received an invitation to go and review The Bull Bracknell it didn’t take me long to say yes! I didn’t know much about it, but had been past when I went to The Lexicon when it first opened. I mentioned it to my Dad, as The Bull kindly offered to gift me and a plus one with a three-course meal, and he told me how he used to go to the original The Bull pub years ago, when he worked in Bracknell! So he was really interested to see what they had done with the place.

The Bull is one of Bracknell’s oldest and most loved buildings, but it has been given a new lease of life with the help of the premium pub company, Young’s. The brand is known for serving seasonal British food and drink, from craft beers and classic gin and tonics to fine wine. The original part of The Bull is a Grade II listed building, which stands at the heart of the town centre. However, it doesn’t look like the old, slightly run-down pub that it used to be. Instead, it has undergone an extensive refurbishment to restore it to its former glory, as well as having the addition of a modern, light and airy extension to the rear.

I’ll be completely honest and say that I wasn’t expecting that much from our visit – standard pub grub and a dark and dingy interior were what I had in mind. So I was incredibly pleasantly surprised when we stepped inside the newly refurbished building. I could automatically feel the warm and cosy atmosphere of the old pub, as I made my way with my wheelchair round to the extension at the back. They even had a wheelchair lift to get me down a few stairs between the old and the new! Going into the new part of the pub, the high ceilings, made from original wooden beams with impressive arches and exposed brickwork, struck us. It didn’t look like it should work, but it totally does! We were shown to our booth, where we made ourselves comfortable and browsed through the menu.

As I mentioned, The Bull had kindly offered myself and a guest a three-course meal to review. But we decided to bring my Mum along as well and pay for her meal separately. We started by choosing our drinks – my Dad went for a Hogsback TEA, I went for an orange juice and lemonade and my Mum had a Diet Coke. The staff were very attentive and helped us with any questions we had about the items on the menu, and we had soon placed our orders.

For our starter, we decided to go for something we could all share – a selection of artisan breads, garlic butter, extra virgin olive oil and sweet tomato relish, coming in at £6.25. Our eyes lit up when they brought the board out – just look at those chunks of bread! I’m not usually one for chutneys or relishes, but the sweet tomato relish was insane. Unfortunately, there was too much bread for us to get through, but what we managed to eat was so good.

We didn’t have long to wait for our main courses, and boy did they smell and look good! I had trouble picking because everything looked so amazing, but in the end I went for a seasonal game short crust pastry pie, buttered Chantenay carrots and creamy mash for £13.95. I don’t really eat a lot of red meat, and had never tried game before, but I’m a sucker for pie and mash (especially mash) so knew I needed to try it. And I’m so glad I did. The meat inside the pie was tender and so incredibly flavorsome, and it came with this amazing gravy in the cutest bull jug. And the mash – oh my goodness, I don’t even know how to describe the taste of it! It was so creamy and I’m not sure what they put in it, but it just tasted amazing.

My Dad chose the 28 day aged Angus sirloin steak, triple cooked chips, roast shallot and mustard butter and watercress for £22.50. He’s not always the easiest person to please, so I was interested to hear what his thoughts were on the meal. All I could get out of him was him constantly saying, “This is the best steak I’ve eaten in a very long time!” So, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a glowing review from Dad! I did pinch one of his chips, and they were so crispy on the outside and then soft and fluffy on the inside – yum! My Mum went for a classic fish finger butty, pickled egg tartare on sour dough for £7.50. We were fully expecting them to bring out a couple of pieces of bread with a couple of little fish fingers in it. But oh no, that’s not how The Bull does a fish finger butty! It came with soft fluffy sour dough and proper fillets of fish cased in batter. My Mum was very impressed!

I wasn’t able to eat all my pie (partly because of my digestive problems and partly because it was so big!) but I managed to save a bit of room to share a pudding with my Mum. We chose Immy’s 3 ways chocolate brownies for £5.50, not really knowing what to expect. Out came this chocolatey goodness, which consisted of a layer of brownie (with lots of rum!), a layer of chocolate mousse and a layer of chocolate ganache. On top was some passion fruit cream. I expected it to be really sickly, but because there were the different layers and it was dark chocolate, it was really nice. My Dad opted for a couple of scoops of Jude’s ice cream – they had an amazing range of flavours to choose from, which is always good. He also had a cup of coffee, which came with the cutest little milk urn! Again, he did nothing but rave about the quality of the coffee, which says a lot, as he’s definitely a coffee snob!

Overall, all three of us were absolutely bowled over by The Bull – the food, drinks and staff were all fantastic, exceeding our expectations ten fold. We spent the rest of the day talking about how brilliant it was, told all our family and friends to go and check them out, and will most definitely be going back again very soon! Big thank you to The Bull team for treating us to such a lovely meal.

Have you had a meal at The Bull? Or have I been able to tempt you into going? I’d also love to hear about other restaurants you would like me to review for you!

*The Bull team kindly gifted me and a guest with a three-course meal, however we paid for the third meal ourselves. All opinions are my own and I would only review places I would genuinely visit and that fit with my blog.

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