Tonight, Ian decided to take us out for a lovely meal in the village of Little Hucklow in Derbyshire. The venue was "The Blind Bull". Back in 2012, I walked through the village and noticed to my sad disappointment that "The Old Bull's Head" was apparently closed forever. Although it is not the basic country pub it once was, the renamed premises prove that resurrection is possible.
It is now home to one of the best gastro pubs in England. There is also pleasant accommodation just across the road in what was once a piggery.
Please don't ask me what the bill came to but fortunately, I didn't have to pay it. It was Ian's special treat. We had three courses and every mouthful was delightful. Each dish was prepared with skill, love and attention to both presentation and taste.
For my starter I had lovage soup and an egg coated in crusty breadcrumbs. Lovage is a herb and its taste was rich and earthy. I had never tasted it before. Here's a typical main course menu currently shown on the pub's website - not in fact the same menu that we were asked to choose from:
Pork, Wild Garlic, Turnips, Pork Sauce
Monkfish, Worcester Cabbage, Hash Brown, XO Sauce
Gnocchi, Asparagus, Braised Shallots, Burrata & White Truffle
Root Vegetable Ribollita, Charred Purple Sprouting Broccoli, Spiced Almonds
For my main course I had venison with accompaniments including spring greens and for dessert I had a kind of homemade ice cream sandwich with peanut butter biscuits. Ian had also ordered a bottle of fine South African chardonnay.
To get a sense of The Blind Bull's passion for serving very good food, here's an extract from the website blurb: "Food is central to The Blind Bull. So getting the best possible ingredients from our local, independent butchers, fishmongers and grocers is our first priority. When we can’t harvest straight from our garden, we aim to source 80% of our ingredients from within 10 miles of your plate. And you can be certain that our seasonally grown produce has been chosen with care and prepared with love."
I wouldn't dispute any of that. It was a truly great, faultless meal. The service was excellent and we drove home through the dark Derbyshire night feeling well sated. Thank you Ian!
Photo I took of the derelict Old Bull's Head back in 2012
What a remarkable change to the external appearance of the pub. Well done that girl. The meal sounds excellent and I expect a bank account took a terrific hit.ReplyDelete
Yes indeed but not my bank account!Delete
Looks like the new establishment maintained the appearance and cleaned it up a bit. And the tab undoubtedly reflects that. And that's no bull. (You must have known that was coming.)ReplyDelete
It's great that the old place got a new lease of life.Delete
Sounds like a great place to eat and you're fortunate that some body was treating you.ReplyDelete
Food tastes better when you are not paying for it.Delete
The sand-blasted building looks terrific! How nice of Ian to treat! Your family has lots to celebrate with more babies on the way, Neil! Did they have a vegan menu for Ian?ReplyDelete
There were vegan options - yes but all they could offer on the desserts menu was a mango sorbet. He was a bit disappointed about that.Delete
"Gastro Pub"? or "Gusto"? In Australia gastro is something you get after eating dodgy fish or chicken (or anything else). Anyway, the makeover of that old building is fabulous and the menu sounds delicious. I like them sourcing the foods no more than ten miles from your plate.ReplyDelete
Yes. It is definitely "gastro" in England - short for gastronomic.Delete
Sounds like a very good place to eat.ReplyDelete
I hope your meal remained inside your alimentary canal this time.
Yes. It stayed where it was meant to be until it emerged this morning.Delete
Well, the premises certainly do LOOK better! It sounds like a wonderful meal and a worthwhile destination. Maybe Dave and I will make the trek. I wonder if the piggery accommodations allow dogs?!ReplyDelete
It seems that the piggery units are indeed "dog friendly" Steve. Little Hucklow is pretty remote and there is no passing public transport. I suspect that you would need a hire car.
That's certainly some resurrection! It looks a comforting and welcome place and the food sounds both interesting and tasty.ReplyDelete
That was the best meal I have had in years.Delete
She was a beautiful old building back in the day, but she's gorgeous now.ReplyDelete
And the meal sounds spectacular. It's barely 7AM here and I want some of that dinner!
You're a greedy Bob!Delete
We don't go out to eat very often but when we do, we try and make it count. Thus we go to gastro pubs similar to the Blind Bull a couple times a year, always in some far off city that we happen to be in at the time. We might go more often if we had such a place in our poor rural area but here, fine dining consists of McDonalds or Pizza Hut.ReplyDelete
The fact that you don't go often means those special meals are relished all the more.Delete
Yes it was.Delete
What a lovely thing for Ian to do for you. Sounds like a perfect evening.ReplyDelete
It was so kind of him. He gave us a wonderful dining experience we would avoided because of the cost.Delete
I love eating out in a place where the food is an experience. I also love a place with familiar faces and where the waitress knows your name. The latter is our local pub and it's lovely in so many ways but the quality of the food is lacking. You've reminded me I need to switch it up a bit.ReplyDelete
Give yourself and your master a treat!Delete
It looks and sounds a great place to go to for a meal as a special treat when there is reason to celebrate, and your family certainly has that.ReplyDelete
I don‘t know what lovage is in German and am going to look it up now.
I had only heard the name before. I did not know what lovage looked like.Delete
I have just been on owd Tinternet and T'web to see menu prices. I think I would be asking for the Marigolds to wash the dishes. It looks an amazing place. Did they serve real ales?ReplyDelete
Yes they did and bottles of Newcastle Brown.Delete
You're a week ahead with this one ;)ReplyDelete
It took a few moments but the penny eventually dropped!Delete