As autumn falls upon us Bounce Magazine visits The Bull Inn in Barton Mills for what we would consider to be one of our best reviews yet…
The Bull Inn is a fabulous, quirky, modern day coaching inn with a pub and award winning dining room, based just 14 miles from Bury St Edmunds. It boasts individually designed & themed bedrooms with amazing and unique decor, and The Bull is proud to have just been named the ‘funkiest B&B by the AA in the whole of Great Britain’.
What’s ironic is that this historic inn is actually over 500 years old and even gets a mention in the Doomsday book. Although looking at the establishment now, you would never know it as its appearance has been cleverly refurbished since owners Cheryl Hickman and Wayne Starling took over in 2007, assisted by Cheryl’s sister Sonia Hickman and her partner Stephen Smith.
Our culinary delights and menu was kindly put together by Chef Louis, a passionate and hard working individual who has an amazing take on food with such creative ambition that simply shines through his dishes.
Louis had put together the following sample menu for us, which was great as by looking at the full menu it would have been difficult to make a selection!
BLYTHBURGH FREE RANGE PORK FILLET
House rub wrapped in bacon, chorizo, sweetcorn puree with truffle infused crackling
Summer berry coulis, lambs leaf & caramelized walnuts
ROAST CHATEAUBRIAND 16OZ
Triple cooked house seasoned chips, Cajun onion ring tower, chefs peppercorn sauce, and side of sautéed spinach with lemon, garlic and chilli
PAN FRIED SEA BREAM
Sautéed new potatoes, Norfolk marsh samphire, tail on king prawns and carrot and coriander puree
DARK CHOCOLATE TART
A thin layer of peanut butter, oreo biscuit base and passion fruit sorbet
MATT’S HOMEMADE STICKY TOFFEE PUDDING
Rock salt caramel and toffee ice cream
Now where do I start? After seeing this exquisite menu, and the grin on my partner’s face, I couldn’t wait to settle in my seat, situated in the cozy and contemporary dining room, as I sipped on the gorgeous French Martini cocktail that was handed to me upon my arrival.
The starters made an entrance and what an entrance it was. I have not often come across food that looks too good to eat but this was something else, like Picasso’s pieces on a plate. As we sliced through the tender pork and bacon fillets and watched the cheese ooze out of the Brie fritters, I was already thinking about how the main course could better this.
But it did, firstly never have I seen such a wonderful cut of steak, so tender, beautifully cooked and presented with a huge stack of Cajun onion rings towering over the dish, with triple cooked chips stacked like a game of Jenga. The second dish looked as if it had been pinched straight off a cooking show, the taste of the salty samphire mixed with the sweetness of the puree perfectly complimented the dish, creating something flavourful but not overpowering.
I must confess at this point (as my dress started to tighten), my mind wandered to chocolate, though I was worried about how I could possibly eat anything more. However, as the sticky toffee and chocolate tart appeared there were no time for words, just forks, armed in our hands ready to take on these sweet treats. Away we went.
After our meal we were so pleased to have a detailed chat with Louis and Sonia. It was apparent to see how this eatery has become so successful. They work as a team! With the driving force of Cheryl, Sonia and their partners mixed with happy, passionate and skillful staff we could see the combination for successful business.
This has definitely been one of my favourite reviews to date and anyone visiting The Bull in Barton Mills will certainly not leave disappointed.
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