Monday, 25 April 2011

DINNER AT THE BULL

I have written before about this fine 'dining pub', and Easter Saturday brought a welcome return, this time for dinner. The pub is in the village of Wimborne St Giles, which is near to Blandford Forum, where my in-laws live. That is as much as I can tell you, for it truly is in the middle of nowhere. Driving through the sun-drenched countryside, which could have come straight out of Thomas Hardy or Wordsworth (sheep grazing quietly, lambs gambolling, daffoldils daffing and so on), it could have easily been an evening in mid-summer, so glorious was the weather.

The Bull is tastefully decorated, inside and out, in muted Farrow & Ball greens, and is elegantly furnished from India Jane (the owner of The Bull has a connection with this upmarket interiors shop).  There is a snug area with comfy leather sofas and glossy magazines, and a conservatory extension, with a view over the large garden. At 7pm, there were families in the garden, enjoying a drink in the fine evening sunshine, and a few dinners inside, though the place quickly filled up. The staff are welcoming, and it was particularly flattering that the pretty, dark-haired young woman behind the bar (who is also marshalls all the waiting staff) recognised us. Armed with menus, we strolled through to the conservatory where our table was waiting for us.

The Bull specialises in robust, homely food, made with local ingredients. I have never had a disappointing nor mediocre meal, though I have come out of the place thoroughly overfed! Reading through the dinner menu, I longer for a 'tasting menu' - because I wanted to try a bit of everything. It all sounded delicious, and it was hard to decide. In the end, I opted for Parma ham with deep-fried aubergine, rocket and olives as a starter, and white risotto with bream, breadcrumbs and homemade pesto as a main course. My companion, meanwhile, selected smoked trout with new potatoes and horseradish, followed by honey-roast shoulder of lamb with Israeli couscous (giant couscous) and roasted vegetables. We had a glass of Cloudy Bay sparkling wine as an aperitif - because we were celebrating.

The first course arrived quickly and both dishes were delicious, beautifully presented and not overly fussy. But the star of the show was the bream with white risotto: simple, in the use of only a handful of ingredients, yet utterly wonderful. I decided there and then I would recreate the dish at home, with seabass. My companion's lamb was sweet and succulent, with Middle Eastern flavours, perfectly cooked. Another dish to inspire Demon Cook in new cooking adventures....! To go with our food, I had a glass of Touraine, while companion chose a Cote de Mount Ventoux. A glass each was sufficient.

We didn't really need pudding, but, as my father always says, "just because you've had the main course, doesn't mean you can't read the menu again!". The puddings, of course, were irresistible, and, unable to resist, we had vanilla pannacotta with fresh fruit salad, and nougat parfait. Very naughty, but very nice.

The Bull is open for lunch and dinner every day, and there are rooms available, if you want to stay the night. Special events, such as wine-tastings and local food festivals, take place throughout the year. The Bull's sister pub, The Anchor at Shapwick, is also worth a visit, for more "pubby" food. It is located close to Badbury Rings, Wimborne, and Kingston Lacey.


The Bull Wimborne St Giles
The Anchor at Shapwick

1 comment:

  1. Totally agree with this - amazing food!

    ReplyDelete