Located in Frant Road, The Bull will be a familiar sight to those who live and work in the area. With its rustic charm, open fire and ageing newspapers adorning the walls, this Shepherd Neame pub has always been a popular drinking spot with the locals. Now new owners Adam Lengyel and Zordan Boni, are quickly gaining a great reputation when it comes to serving good quality food.
The Bull is a very traditional and inviting pub, but unlike many breweries, Shepherd Neame has given Hungarian chef Zordan a free rein when it comes to the menu. Despite his Budapest training, this is not a Magyar-themed menu, but instead traditional British pub favourites done exceptionally well. At weekends The Bull serves breakfasts from 9am which includes a full English [£8.95] as well as more sophisticated favourites such as eggs benedict [£8.50] or pancakes, fruit and yoghurt [£5.95].
And to appeal to local office workers, a separate lunch menu includes some very reasonably priced fish and chips [£8.50], bangers and mash [£8] and homemade beef burgers and chips [£9]. They even do Sunday lunch with a range of meats and vegetarian alternatives on offer
Under starters orders
But we were there for dinner, and after ordering a pint of one of the many local ales, as well as a glass of house rosé for my guest, we dived straight into our starters.
My eye was initially caught by the slow roast pork and celeriac purée [£6.50], but I decided to opt for one of my personal favourites: mussels in white wine and garlic [£7].
The starter was fabulously fresh, perfectly flavoured and as good a bowl of mussels as you’ll find anywhere in the town, but the array of colours of the chorizo, chickpea and crispy squid salad [£6] that my guest ordered did cause a touch of menu envy. It was beautifully presented – and by all accounts as every bit as delicious as it looked.
The main event
The dinner menu contains some great twists on usual pub fare, such as The Bull’s homemade burger served with salad, chips and coleslaw [£12.95], corn-fed chicken supreme [£15] and red Thai curry [£15].
But both my guest and I decided to sample something from the specials board – and we were not disappointed.
The venison wellington [£16] boasted a perfectly golden short crust pastry underneath which was a generous portion of rich meat. It came served with vegetables and an incredible gravy – which to do it proper justice definitely requires a basket of the homemade bread [£3.95] to mop it up.
My guest’s beef stroganoff [£12.95] was both beautifully presented and just the ticket for a damp Wednesday evening. The meat was tender and succulent and the piquant gherkins served with it provided a much appreciated kick to the taste buds.
The Bull’s USP
Although The Bull may be part of a pub chain, it still retains a great sense of individuality, which is primarily due to the great food being served up by Adam and his team.
Whether you want a quick bite at lunchtime or to linger longer over a traditional Sunday roast, mid-week meal then The Bull won’t disappoint.
Adam Lengyel and Zordan Boni with their staff
Chorizo, chickpea and crispy squid salad
Mussels in white wine and garlic