Muddy Eats: The Old Bull’s Head
The Old Bull’s Head has been high on my list of pubs to visit. It’s been flaunting the new season menu for quite some time so this weekend I decided to pop in for a visit.
The pub occupies a prime spot in the pretty village of Woodhouse Eaves (and a stone’s throw away from popular foodie establishments Gino’s Pear Tree and The Wheat Sheaf Inn). It’s the perfect place to head to after or before a family walk and is just as handy for dog walkers looking for a spot to enjoy a refreshing drink with their furry friend.
Inside it’s modern and bright and is more Farrow and Ball than cosy village local. The bar features cow-hide bar stools and cosy leather arm chairs, meanwhile the dining area is spacious with blush pink walls and log wall features. We popped in on a Saturday morning, just before midday and there was already a steady stream of customers. Luckily for us, the staff were happy to take our order a little early so it would be ready to serve at midday due to a ravenous little mudlet.
From our table you could see the glass fronted wine cellar (somewhere I could happily spend a few hours). Wine is taken pretty seriously here (in case the wine cellar didn’t give it away). The menu alone features seven whole pages dedicated to red, white and rose and they stock over 30 different varieties mainly from New Zealand, South Africa and Chile and for oenophiles, the pub even offers a Wine Club membership which has its own perks.
Food here is rustic. It changes twice a year (summer and winter) and also features a daily specials menu.
Chefs are given the opportunity to attend cookery schools in Europe and the results show – good old fashioned pub fare sits alongside delightfully tempting international flavours; think Thai-style chicken skewers and Lebanese-style beef kabobs.
We jumped right into mains and I ordered the veggie tart, this one being roasted butternut squash and beetroot. It came topped with Cropwell Bishop custard, surrounded with a more-ish Stilton & walnut crumb. The tart was bigger than I expected but worked out well because I finished off every last crusty crumb but the veggies in the middle were slightly overpowered by the Stilton custard so didn’t manage to finish them all off.
Mr Muddy went straight in for the breaded buttermilk and rosemary chicken burger. It came with Amarillo chilli mayonnaise and fries and he polished every last morsel. For the mudlet we ordered the cod goujons with fries and peas. He happily chomped away at it and hoovered up as many peas as he possibly could.
I spotted families who had bought there own activities and books for the kids to keep them occupied while they sipped a coffee at the bar. There is a small outdoor area to eat when the weather is good (no grass) but no playing equipment or area specifically for them. The children’s menu has a good range of options with vegetables and salad options also available.
OUT AND ABOUT
If you can call this place your local you’re lucky but if not, it’s well worth the visit even if it’s to drive through the pretty village afterwards. If you’ve consumed a little too much, walk it off in the nearby Swithland Woods or Beacon Hill.
THE MUDDY VERDICT:
Good for: Wine lovers or those who want to fuel up after a long walk but let’s be honest, for most of us, it’s less of the trekking or walking and more just for the food here. It’s dog, child and super friendly.
Not for: Those who want just pie and mash or a quiet, small, local village pub.
££: Starers and nibblers from between £3 and £17.50 (sharing platter) and all under £20 apart from the steak. Puddings from £6.95. Sunday roasts £12.50, children’s menu all mains £5.95 or a main and dessert for £7.95.