New menu of delights for the autumn
In my last Bull Bulletin I celebrated the fact that the Bull at Burford had been welcoming guests as a Cotswold inn since 1610! This time is slightly less grandiose but I wanted to let everyone know that our head chef Pablo has published a new menu this week, featuring many of the old favourites as well as some new wonderful dishes.
So what would I eat? A couple of my favourites from the lunch menu would be the sharing platter of whitebait, bravas, crispy aubergines and chicken skewers and also the fish platter of smoked salmon, dressed crayfish, pickled herring, mackerel pate, smoked gravlax and salmon tartare.
A lot of our lunchtime eaters go for the fish and chips, which is excellent with homemade tartare and chunky chips, and also the selection of sandwiches, which are all served with mixed leaves and also French fries.
On the dinner menu, among the starters I love the fish platter, which I could eat every day, the scallops and the beef cheek croquettes and from the mains I often go for the fresh fish, which comes in from Brixham every day.
Something a bit special
If I were to go for something a bit different, especially as the autumn draws in, it would be the venison which is wonderful. The steak is always good too and we’ve had great compliments about the curry, although I must admit that I’m not a big curry eater so I just smell the lovely aroma as it wafts past.
I’m not a big dessert eater either, but we get compliments on those all of the time! In fact someone ordered three last week!
What I can guarantee is that there is something to suit everyone’s taste and budget, including gluten free and vegetarian options right through the menu, which we’re also proud of.
We look forward to welcoming you in our bar, reception lounge or restaurant, or even outside if the sun comes out again. And remember, you can get even better value on our food by taking us up on one of our Cotswold Special Offers and our Burford dinner bed and breakfast rates.
Celebrating 408 years of history at the Bull
I find reviews fascinating. The vast majority of people who come and stay with us know what they’re going to get: a warm friendly welcome, great service, accommodation comfortably in the 3-star bracket, lovely food probably a bit above that and the odd creaky floor befitting a building first officially documented in 1473! Their reviews of the Bull and of Burford are based very much on those expectations.
Every now and then we welcome a guest who is clearly more used to ‘modern’ than ‘historic’! Usually they leave days later totally won over by the charms of our historic coaching inn, but for others floors and walls simply need to be at a right angle, and I can’t do anything for them!
Did you know: we moved in 1610!
I recently stumbled over some historical dates and information and thought I’d share them. A house is first documented at 105 High Street from 1473, when the prominent Burford merchant John Pinnock left it first to his son and granddaughter, and then to the parish church.
Having been used during the reformation as a butcher’s shop, in 1610 John Silvester moved the existing Bull Inn from 111–113 High Street to 105 High Street and set about renovating certain parts of the building, including the 17th-century fireplaces and panelling.
So as an inn, the building has been receiving guests ever since 1610 – that’s 408 years! Famous visitors have included Lord Nelson and Lady Hamilton (the Trafalgar Suite is named in memory of their stay) as well as King Charles II and his mistress Nell Gwynne. And a few more in recent years.
The only red brick building in Burford
The striking brick and stone façade (the Bull is the only red brick building in Burford High Street) was added in the 18th century, probably around 1715 by the innkeeper William Tash. Half a century later, in 1768, £196 was spent on further building work.
The inn was sold by the charity trustees in or after 1820 and by 1910 was owned by Clinch & Co. of Witney. The building suffered a fire in 1982 but it remained open as an inn until it was condemned for fire and safety reasons in 2007, at which point we bought it and took on and completed a major renovation project!
Nine years after we re-opened it, the Bull is now once more a thriving inn with a friendly welcome, comfortable rooms, wonderful food and happy guests. But remember, no building over 600 years old doesn’t have the odd squeaky floor!
Remembering Fawlty Towers and a terrine to die for
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.
Summer specials at the Bull
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
5-star guests leaving 5-star reviews
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.
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.
Jean-Marie Lauzier, Owner
- Bull At Burford News (12)
20 Jun 2016
Written by wpaccessin1
The Bull offers standard to superior accommodation on a Bed and Breakfast basis, as well as tailored family friendly set-ups with interconnecting rooms.