Review: The Bull Inn, Woolpit -'Good pub grub in an upgraded and stylish setting'
- Credit: Liz Heath
Our food reviewer Mark Heath and his wife Liz visited The Bull Inn in Woolpit for a Saturday lunch. Here's what they made of it....
Lovely Woolpit, Suffolk village of the year 2001, former home of wolves - hence the name - and current home of some beautiful, historic houses and buildings, plus a spectacular church and a couple of celebrities.
But ask anyone in the county what they know about Woolpit, and I guarantee you'll get one of two answers, maybe even both.
One, the Woolpit Whiff. Thankfully, that pungent miasma has long since vanished.
Two, isn't that the place where they had the green children? Yep, it is - and it's even immortalised on the village sign. But that's a story for another time.
My flabber would be gasted if anyone replied to the above by saying 'ah yes, great food there.'
But, perhaps, that could be about to change. For some time, Woolpit has been served by two pubs. One, the upmarket Swan, has yet to fully re-open in the wake of the Covid pandemic, which is sad indeed.
The other, The Bull, has never really appealed to us when we've driven past or, on one occasion years ago, ventured inside.
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However, over lockdown The Bull has added an extensive - and very smart - outdoor seating area, plus upgraded the restaurant area of the pub. A few whispers from friends were all it took to get us there for a look.
And it has to be said that first impressions are good. The improvements have been done very nicely, and the outside area especially is a very pleasant place to sit, chat and dine.
So, is the food up to the standard of the decor and demeanour? Happily, I can report back in the affirmative.
We visited for a Saturday lunch and chose a spot outside on the patio. We're being all healthy and virtuous at the moment, so it was two diet cokes, rather than the traditional lager, with which we armed ourselves to peruse the menu. I had already noticed a fine range of beers and ales on tap in my brief wander through the bar area, however.
To start, Liz went for the Spanish meatballs, while I opted for the pitta and harissa hummus from the specials board.
My choice was well-presented and very tasty. Nicely warmed, fresh pitta bread, sliced into good-size portions for me to dip into the home-made hummus. It was very moreish, and quickly polished off.
Liz's meatballs, too, were a success. A combination of beef and pork - as any self-respecting meatball should be - they came bathing in a bravas sauce, topped with cheese and accompanied by crusty bread.
The sauce was rich - in the right sort of way - and packed with flavour, tomato sweetness and a touch of spice. Very good.
Onto the main events then, and here my better half went for the chicken and chorizo penne, while I went for the cheese burger. Heath rule number one: When reviewing a pub, try the burger.
Again, Liz's dish was impressive fare. A plentiful amount of well-cooked pasta, entwined and topped with goodly chunks of moist chicken and chorizo, mixed with some more of that bravas sauce. This was good, hearty, pub comfort food - with the added nice touches of being able to choose your level of spicing, plus getting your own bowl of parmesan.
In contrast my burger was, well, fine. A perfectly acceptable burger, with some nicely cooked and salted fries. The bun was very dry though, which slightly spoiled it for me, even if the patty's juices were a dribbling all over it. A 7/10, which could have been more.
Anyway, by now, with two dishes under our rapidly expanding belts, we'd come to the traditional 'can you manage a dessert?' conversation.
As ever, when the menu offers sticky toffee pudding - or simply STP, as we call it - the answer has to be yes, even if it's a shared effort.
And it was definitely worth the effort in this case. A large but light portion of sponge, swimming in sweet, treacly sauce and topped with clotted cream ice-cream. Praise be, it was good.
As was our whole meal, all in all. Good pub grub, in an upgraded and stylish setting.
Cost-wise, for two courses each, a shared dessert and those virtuous unleaded colas, the bill came to just over £50, which was very reasonable.
Worth noting too, for a pub in the West Suffolk countryside, that the Bull boasts a large and newly-finished car park if you're driving there, as most will be.
We'll certainly be back.
Our food reviews are always independent. They are the opinion of the reviewer based on their experience of the venue when they visited. The establishment is not aware of our visit, is not informed we intend to write a review and bills are paid by the reviewer. The choice of places reviewed is also independent and is not based on venues which do or do not advertise in our publications.