The Bull Inn is a great country pub. It has a great pub name, serves great pub food and has great pub owners. This greatness made us book it for dinner the day after Boxing Day – aka the day before the Grandparents flew back to Jersey.
We had pre-booked a large round table in the corner of the room, but before we headed towards it, sat at the bar for a festive mulled wine. The menu was packed with 14 starters, nine mains and six sides. From this, I chose – with difficulty – Pan Fried Scallops with Pea Puree & Black Pudding to start (£10), followed by Whole Roast Cornish Sole for main (£20).
Before I get onto the scallops, I’d like to mention the bread – something I rarely do unless it’s exceedingly good…or particularly bad. Sadly for The Bull, this bread was bad. I couldn’t even spread the butter without it disintegrating into a million crumbs. It was stale, end of story.
The scallops were large and nicely cooked, but the whole dish had received a far too generous helping of salt, which the black pudding had absorbed on a grand scale. A real shame as it was so close to perfect.
The mains fared much better. I loved my Sole, which was massive and came with a surprise coating of generous pieces of crab meat and lobster. It came with a large portion of delicious, triple cooked chunky chips and the chef’s salad. I devoured the chips, ignored the salad and instead, tucked into Mum’s Seasonal Veg, which weirdly turned out to be a lovely bowl of steamed spinach (£3).
For my already full stomach, pudding could only be ice cream – two scoops of Rum & Raisin and one of Mint Choc Chip. Each scoop was creamy and refreshingly cold. Just as ice cream should be.
Despite its greatness, The Bull Inn made a few, avoidable mistakes when we visited on that dark December night. Please don’t let that put you off though, I’ve been before and always enjoyed it, so give it a well deserved LLE Rating of 7/10.
The Bull Inn, Stanford Dingley, Nr. Reading, Berkshire, RG7 6LS