On Sunday we had tickets to see John Legend at Nottingham arena (swoon) and wanted to grab a bite to eat with friends before the concert. Off I toddled to make a reservation in the city centre, only to discover that everywhere we fancied dining was either shut on a Sunday or stopped serving at 3pm!
On to Plan B and I decided a little drive to a country pub wouldn’t hurt us – enter The Black Bull in Blidworth
We arrived at 5:00pm after a rainy journey (perfect Sunday lunch weather if you ask me!) and headed to the bar for a drink whilst we waited for our friends to arrive. There’s some high tables and chairs near the bar, but we opted for the comfy Chesterfield sofa over by the log burning stove. It wasn’t lit when we visited as it was still quite warm but I imagine it’s a lovely cozy place to sit and chat over a glass (ok, bottle) of red in the colder months
When our reservation time came round we were shown through to the dining room. As we were dining relatively late for Sunday lunch (they serve 12:00 – 7:00pm on a Sunday and we sat down at 5:30pm) a few of the dishes had understandably sold out (grouse with rösti, blackberry & basil I’m looking at you!) Luckily everything else on the menu sounded great too and the waitress took our orders
For my starter I went with the coronation chicken terrine. I love coronation chicken and this terrine lived up to my hopes – packed to the rafters with chunks of chicken which had remained moist and tender, the terrine had the perfect balance of curry flavour, coriander & sultanas, and was topped with crunchy peanuts and served with a grilled apricot that added just a little sweetness. To accompany the terrine was a freshly baked warm bread loaf which was light. as. air. I even made the husband try some (like he was going to argue) just so he could agree with me how light it was! It was a strong start…
Out of intrigue my main just had to be the pork belly / lobster taco / carrot / fennel. The pork was unbelievably tender and golden all over, and had the kind of amazing light crisp skin that was full of flavour – thankfully not the kind that welds your teeth together as I’ve experienced more times that I’d care to admit… It was topped with braised fennel that gave a wonderful, subtle aniseed flavour. The soft mini-taco was full to bursting with warm juicy lobster in a creamy, herby mayo (so much so it had to be held together with a peg to avoid spilling it’s contents!). A whole roasted carrot & a smooth tangy puree sat alongside the pork & lobster. At first glance I did think the puree was a confit egg yolk but on tasting I want to say it was apricot as it had a slight sweetness and sharpness (but I forgot to ask to ask what it was) There were lots of different flavours on the plate but they worked well together
My friend had the same main as me but when it arrived ordered extra veg on the side as he felt that the dish was a little small – I agree that it could have handled something else, or maybe if they advised that you could order extra sides, but for the price you are paying I think it was just fine
The roast that the husband had looked amazing, and from the slither of medium rare beef doused in gravy he let me try, it tasted amazing too!
All four of us chose the same dessert of chocolate / honeycomb / ‘aero’ and it was divine! Dark chocolate mousse and parfait were topped with a chocolate dust and homemade honeycomb – it was rich, sweet, creamy and crunchy and the perfect end to our meal
When I suggested eating here there were some dubious looks and some questions – ‘why drive 50 minutes away to go to a pub’, ‘why pick this place’ – but after we’d eaten all those doubts were gone (and I was in good books – hurrah!) Everyone loved their food, and we could all safely say that The Black Bull isn’t just your run-of-the-mill pub
Their Sunday lunch menu changes weekly and is 2 courses for £14.95 or 3 courses for £17.95 (you can have just a main course for £11.95 but why would you deny yourself a starter and/or dessert?!) The dishes were smaller than those you might get at a rustic-style pub but that’s reflected in the price and I think it was an absolute bargain. The chefs are trying to think outside the box with their flavour combinations and their effort really comes across – I’d happily eat here any day of the week
And if you don’t fancy having the argument over who’s going to be designated driver, The Black Bull now has guest rooms to stay in – problem solved!