Recent Posts
  • Remembering Fawlty Towers and a terrine to die for

    Jun, 2018

    This time of year always reminds me of Fawlty Towers and the Wooburn Grange in Buckinghamshire. Not many people know that the outside of the hotel used in the famous sitcom was not in Torquay but the Wooburn Grange, and at the time I was manager there!

    This little quirk of history recently produced a funny moment for my oldest son while working at a sporting event. Standing by the side of a pitch, he was chatting with the television floor manager Tony about his first jobs in TV. Tony was about my age and explained that one of his first jobs in the 1970s had been on Fawlty Towers for the BBC.

    He and a few of his colleagues turned up at the venue, the Grange, on the wrong day and were greeted by a young Frenchman who offered them a drink and explained it was no problem still to take a look around. After telling this story, Tony was amazed when my son replied: “Tony, that Frenchman was my dad!”

    It was early on in my career, having only recently arrived from France, and I still remember back very fondly to those times, especially in the spring and summer months. Fortunately, none of the Fawlty Towers chaos rubbed off, BUT guests who stay with us and eat in the restaurant will sometimes talk with our head chef Pablo and get to sample his English accent, which is a little reminiscent of Manuel, Andrew Sachs’ immortalised waiter from Fawlty Towers!

    Pablo’s Recipe & Top Tip

    For this Bulletin, Pablo has offered up one of his favourite recipes, his salmon and crayfish terrine currently on our menu, and don’t miss the top tip: these ingredients will make a terrine to serve 12. Once you’ve put the ingredients together and made the terrine, the magic tip is to leave it in the fridge for at least eight hours before serving and eating. Happy cooking.

    • 300g crayfish, sliced
    • 200g fresh spinach
    • 15g unsalted butter
    • freshly ground black pepper
    • 200g salmon fillet, cooked and flaked
    • 200g prawns, cooked and chopped
    • zest of 1 lemon
    • 3 tablespoons lemon juice
    • 3 pinches cayenne pepper
    • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
    • salt to taste
    • 4 level teaspoons powdered gelatine or use 4 or 5 sheets of gelatine
    • 250ml double cream

    Amazing Summer Deals

    Remember to check out our amazing deals on mid-week stays and Sunday Lunch-Sleep-Breakfast, plus unbeatable prices for B&B and Dinner B&B.

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  • Summer specials at the Bull

    Jun, 2018

    We’re entering into a really busy part of the year when the Cotswolds area, including Burford, receives thousands upon thousands of visitors. The staff really enjoy this as there’s nothing better than a busy hotel and our Manager Kali and Head Chef Pablo have put together two really great offers, both of which have hidden benefits!

    The Sunday Stroll

    I love this deal and wish other hotels would do it. Arrive at the Bull for a delicious Sunday lunch, with the additional benefit of an early check-in. If you feel up to it you can then head out for a walk in the country – and remember dogs are very much allowed and welcome at the Bull.

    Then come back to us in time for a light evening meal, for which you receive a voucher towards the cost. Then a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast on Monday morning to set you up for the week! At £74.50 per person, based on two sharing, I think this is a great deal on a standard room, or you can upgrade to a superior for a little more.

    3-night Midweek break

    If you want something a little longer, and can get away during the week, our three-night stay could be just for you. This is available from Sunday to Thursday assuming three consecutive nights stay, bed and breakfast, with TWO nights’ dinner included in our restaurant or bar. And to get things off to the best possible start, you also have champagne on arrival.

    Knowing how good our food is, from £199 per person for the three nights including the two dinner allowances, I think this is great value and again I wish more hotels would do something like it!

    Book one of these offers now! We hope to see you soon.

    Jean-Marie Lauzier, owner, Bull at Burford

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  • 5-star guests leaving 5-star reviews

    Apr, 2018

    This month I wanted to return the favour and take a moment to thank all the people who leave great reviews for the Bull and its restaurant, whether on Tripadvisor, Facebook or anywhere else.

    I am very proud of our staff, who work very hard to make your stay at the Bull as comfortable, enjoyable and delicious as possible, so naturally it’s extremely gratifying for all of us to hear that you’ve had a great time.

    In the past week, for example, we’ve had a review by ‘Inspector1’ (whose name immediately got the pulse racing) who announced on Tripadvisor that he had enjoyed “an excellent stay at The Bull” and wrote of “a pleasantly warm and well equipped room. A hearty dinner, too, followed by a substantial breakfast. A quintessentially English experience!”

    Another guest from Wales wrote: “So glad we chose the Bull. Weather was not so good but room was warm, welcoming and very comfortable. Bathroom had warm towel rails with huge fluffy white towels, lovely toiletries. Meals were exceptional especially the breakfasts which had such a variety of choices, one of the best we’ve ever had.” That was nice to read as we pride ourselves on our breakfast.

    “Worth the drive from Yorkshire every time”

    Trudy from Birmingham commented: “Can’t recommend the hotel highly enough. Lovely old room with bathroom, excellent restaurant and friendly, helpful staff.” Trudy, I must apologise if the central heating sounded like a ‘motorbike’ at times – thanks for letting us know, we will definitely look into it!

    Meanwhile, on Facebook (where we average 4.7 out of 5 in reviews) Faith Harvey recently wrote: “Our favourite place. We keep coming back here because of the amazing staff and service, as always. Worth the drive from Yorkshire every time.” We are extremely proud and pleased to have so many return guests, and many are taking advantage of our special spring offers.

    Reviews like these warm the heart and also make us want to improve even more. We don’t turn a blind eye to the occasional negative comment: parking is at a premium at the rear of the hotel, as pointed out by some reviewers, but in 99% of cases this is easily overcome, either by parking on the street outside the hotel or in the free public car park a couple of hundred yards away.

    Dogs welcome!

    And finally this time, as a dog lover, I can confirm that we DO welcome dogs at the Bull and our charge of £10 per night for a dog to stay is relatively low compared with other hotels. Understandably, dog are not allowed in the restaurant, however we can always set our guests up to dine in our bar, which has recently undergone another transformation!

    We look forward to welcoming you at the Bull – we have a number of special offers currently on for staying and eating, which you can only book direct through our website. Please take a look, get in touch with our friendly staff and hopefully you’ll be the next to leave us a 5-star review!

    One last thing: for all our latest offers and news, sign up to our newsletter.

    Yours,
    Jean-Marie Lauzier, Owner

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  • A perfect Cotswold Mother’s Day treat

    Mar, 2018

    I have just been reliably informed by our manager Kali that we still have a few tables spare for Mother’s Day, which can only mean that not enough people have heard about our special menu!

    Head Chef Pablo has just changed the dinner menu for springtime, and at the same time he came up with a lovely Mothering Sunday menu, either two or three courses. You can take it from me that any of these choices will leave you – and more importantly your mother, daughter, wife, grand-mother etc – extremely happy with whatever you eat.

    And for an extra-special experience, why not treat that special person to a night away too?

    For this, you can either ring us up on 01993 822220 and ask about availability for the Saturday and/or Sunday night (I’m sure our reception staff will also do you a good package including the Sunday lunch), OR you can look at the Sunday Stroller that we already have in our current special offers.

    If it were me, I would start with the fantastic fish platter, which I wrote about in my last Bulletin, and then I’d either go for the salmon or the pork. Or maybe the chicken, or the beef. Or the risotto! And I am not really a pudding person so would go for the cheese board, but all the desserts are made in the kitchen and absolutely delicious.

    Make sure you ring soon or you’ll miss the last few tables..

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  • The perfect spring starter

    Feb, 2018

    I love Burford in the springtime. The trees, shrubs and hanging baskets that line a large part of the high street come into full bloom and the hustle bustle returns to the town.

    Outside the hotel our tables and chairs become very popular with people wanting to stop by for a morning coffee, lunch or a drink from the bar and the whole place just starts to feel alive again.

    In the kitchen it also typically brings a new emphasis and our head chef Pablo will be bringing out a new menu in the next week or so for lunch and dinner in our restaurant and bar.

    One of our more popular starters at this time of year – in fact it’s popular all year round – is the fish platter, pictured above. It’s a lovely combination of flavours: four peeled king prawns cooked in sweet chilli sauce, gravlax, smoked salmon, herring rollmops, red apple, crayfish in marie-rose sauce and tartare sauce.

    The two sauces make all the difference so here’s a tip from the kitchen: For the Marie-Rose you need ketchup, mayonnaise, brandy, tabasco and Worcester sauce. And for the tartare, Pablo uses mini capers, smoked salmon, cornichons, gherkins, red onion, mayonnaise and a dash of English mustard. The taste combinations are wonderful and it makes for the perfect spring starter.

    Keep you eyes peeled for our new menus and also our latest offers for weekend and midweek stays, with dinners included. Our guests have been raving about them all winter!

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Categories
  • 02 Aug 2017

    A 50 year love affair with Cotswold hotels

    Written by Jean-Marie Lauzier

    Sometimes people ask me how a Frenchman and his wife come to own a hotel in Burford, and I tell them there’s a short answer and a long answer.

    The short answer is that – a few little business detours aside – being a hotelier and restaurateur is all I have ever really known, ever since starting as a very young apprentice (see picture above) at Les Violettes in my home town of Montpellier.

    The longer answer goes into a bit more detail about where I worked along the way, and without boring you with all the details there were some wonderful places. After I finished off my apprenticeship at Maison Trois Gros in Rouanne, I ended up as first head waiter at Le Gavroche at 24, in London working for the Roux brothers, Albert and Michel (Snr). It was wonderful. Michel Roux Jnr (he of Masterchef fame) was there too, but mostly playing with the pots and pans in the kitchen while his father and uncle worked! I wonder if he remembers..

    A few hotels and clubs later I went into business with Jack Greenhalgh, the father of my first wife, and together we acquired three hotels in the Cotswolds – the De la Bere (now Ellenborough Park) on the outskirts of Cheltenham, the Close hotel in Tetbury and the Petty France, outside Tetbury. And so began a chapter in the 1970s and 80s where a lot of hard work would bring wonderful rewards and quite a reputation for all three, especially the Close when it came to food.

    A long time passed between selling those first three Cotswold hotels and acquiring the Bull at Burford eight years ago and, as I said in the first Bulletin, a LOT has changed since then.

    When we opened the Bull we set out to make it a fine dining experience morning, noon and night. We won awards and rosettes but over time we found that the locals and tourists wanted something a little more modern and accessible. We continue to tinker with the food and beverage, and I think that over time we’ve hit on a nice balance of delicious food, made on site with local produce which offers a lovely variety.

    And for the month of August we have a special School holiday special offer where for each adult main course ordered, one child eats free on our kid’s menu. We didn’t do that at the Close!

    Pablo’s Top Tip: The Perfect Poached Egg

    I was recently asked by a guest after breakfast the secret for cooking the perfect poached egg! In consultation with our head chef Pablo I can pass on these words of wisdom:

    Crack each of your eggs into a cup. Get a pan of water so it’s simmering nicely and add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar (this helps the eggs cook faster). Stir your water to make a whirlpool effect in the pan (this will help the eggs bind together and not go everywhere in the water). Then gently tip the egg into the water, white first. Cross your fingers! After three minutes remove the egg with a slotted spoon. Depending on who they’re for cut the rough edges off and serve!

    In the next Bulletin maybe we’ll do the Hollandaise sauce?

    Yours,

    Jean-Marie Lauzier, owner, the Bull at Burford

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