Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Date Night at The Bull

When we were exploring Frome last year, my ears perked up when I overheard an American accent.
I struck up a conversation, as you do, with the usual queries.
Where ya from?  Why ya here?  How long ya stayin'?

When I told her that I live in London she looked at me almost with pity and said 
"Oh, that's not England."

Now you know I love London, but I definitely see her point.
London is its own special world.  But, the rest of England is something truly special.
If you live in this metropolis, it should be a rule that you get out of the city
at least once a month to explore England and the rest of the UK.

So we've decided to put a new twist on Date Night every once in a while.

Option 1. Travel an hour via bus and tube to an expensive restaurant in Central London before fighting our way back home hoping not to miss the last bus.

Option 2. Drive the car thirty minutes outside of the city to an idyllic little village for a cozy dinner in front of the fireplace and an overnight stay in a historic inn.

Um, I'm gonna go with option number 2.

Wrotham (pronounced root-em) is a tiny village in Kent just south of London.
The small town with a population of less than 2,000 has three pubs all within a hundred yards of each other,
one of which is The Bull Hotel.
We were lucky enough to get the perfect invite for our date night with a twist.

The Bull dates back to the 1300's as a coaching inn offering respite to weary travelers along the Pilgrim's Way.

"With an eclectic past, including being the headquarters of a renowned gang of smugglers, as well as a favourite watering hole for Battle of Britain pilots, the 600 hundred year old Bull is now a beautiful four star country retreat as well as a gourmet dining destination with an AA rosette for culinary excellence. "
The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

We were greeted at reception by the proud owner Martin Deadman.
He and his wife Lygia purchased the 14th century coaching inn in 2008
and have lovingly refurbished the historical building.

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

Our room was absolutely adorable.  Pretty in pink with exposed beams and a hardwood floor that slanted just enough to add some charm.  I've declared that leather loveseat as the comfiest couch in England.
Our en suite even had a nice big tub.

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

 We dropped of our overnight bag and went out for a walk in the sunshine.
My breathing patterns change when I get out of the city.  The colors, the sounds and the smells.
Everything is more focused and the world slows down a bit.

The promise of a story is behind every tree, stone and building.
My fellow American was right.  This is England. 

But, let's get back to our date night and the most important part... dinner!
(Er...second most important.)

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

I counted three fireplaces in the heavily beamed ground floor restaurant and bar area.
The space is open and clean but still maintains the charm of a historical pub.
Before dinner, we took our books downstairs to the bar and found a sofa to snuggle up on for a read.
Between the warm fires, the decor and the friendly bar service we were quite cozy.

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

Soon it was time for dinner prepared by the head chef, James Hawkes.
James has been with Martin from the beginning and they really want people to visit the Bull for the food.
They offer a modern British menu using locally-sourced fresh ingredients.
The service was friendly and casual, without pretension, but with much pride.
It was obvious that they were happy to be serving us great food.

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

My appetizer was Poached Pear, Stilton and Walnut Salad.  The sharp, rich taste of the cheese went perfectly with the crunchy candied walnuts and sweet pears.  I could have easily ordered a second serving.

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

Matt chose the Ham Hock Terrine, Piccalilli and Toast as his appetizer.
Piccalilli is a pickled relish of chopped cauliflower and other vegetables with spices.
His dish wasn't quite as pretty as mine but he cleaned his plate, too.

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

I'm definitely a meat and potatoes girl so for my main
I chose the steak with lemon garlic butter, served with chips and a salad.  The steak was perfect, tender and juicy.
As far as I'm concerned, potatoes are the food of the gods so of course they were terrific.
The salad was topped with roasted peppers which I'm not too keen on so Matt finished that off.

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

Matt's choice was the Fillet of Line Caught Cod, Braised Leek with Fennel Seeds, Tarragon Crushed New Potatoes and Mushroom Puree.  That's quite a mouthful for a simple and elegant dish.
The fish was firm and flaky and the flavors were spot on.

The Bull in Wrotham, Kent

We shared two scrumptious desserts, the Zesty Lemon Posset with Winter Berry Compote (not pictured) and the Dark Chocolate Flourless Cake with Blackcurrant Sorbet (topped with yummy honeycomb).  Both perfection.

Our lovely dinner was accompanied by a few glasses of wine from their extensive wine list, although we had it completely backwards.  I had a white with my steak and Matt had a red with his fish.  We're such rule breakers.

After dinner we spent some time in the bar people watching.
They often feature live music and it's obviously a very popular place with the locals.

We had a great night's sleep and woke to the lovely sound of church bells.
Breakfast was included with the stay and was just okay.  Not nearly as special as dinner.

Then it was time to head back to London refreshed from our littlegetaway.

The perfect date night.

 Which would you pick, Option 1 or Option 2?


 *We were guests of The Bull for the purposes of review.   All photos, writing and opinions are my own.
As always, I promise to be open, honest and transparent with my readers.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to ask.


  1. Sigh. I wish I could make getting out of London a once-a-month rule. I'd love to see more of England! I guess when you've got kids it's a bit harder though - there's always sleepovers and school/sports-related activities. We'll be lucky to get out once or twice in England for the whole year! :o(

  2. Option 2 looks pretty fantastic to me! :)

  3. That looks like so much fun and it is really the only option available I think!

  4. That is super cute - I feel like it totally epitomizes why I love England so much. That bedroom is so pretty!

  5. I choose option 2! I love the English countryside and constantly pinch myself in amazement at how beautiful it is!

  6. I feel the same way. I can't believe I get to live here. And it's been so pretty lately!

  7. It was a cute little place. I love finding these little gems. 

  8. It is pretty obvious, isn't it? I'll take Door Number Two, please!

  9. It was a nice little getaway. :D

  10. I agree, London is amazing, but I don't think of it as England, I think of all the tiny little villages and cliffs as England, it's funny peoples different perceptions. I've loved living in Yorkshire but now I'm ready for some London action!

  11. Definitely option 2 :) It seems like each little village has something very unique just waiting to be discovered. Looks like a fun (and tasty) get away!

  12. Selena, option 2 was definitely the best decision! What a beautiful little town--and so close to you. You have me drooling over all that good food, too!

  13. I would totally pick option two. And my mouth is watering just looking at those photos!

  14. Without a doubt, options 2. What a lovely series! I can't wait to be feeling more settled in London so I can start to explore more of the country. This is farther than a half hour car ride, but if you are ever looking for a weekend's trip away, you must try the Lamb Inn in Hindon. We have been twice now and it is the perfect quintessential English countryside getaway: http://www.boisdale.co.uk/lamb-at-hindon/

  15. I choose option two as well!! No contest! The food looks to delish! I would have chosen the steak and potatoes too! Love seeing England though your eyes and words!

  16. We get the best of both. Amazing London and then the rest of England. And oh, the coastlines! Don't even get me started. So amazing!!

  17. Thanks so much for the recommendation! It's going on the list. Loving your blog, btw! So glad that you commented. :D

  18. Option 2 is the winner. A night out in London is always fun, but a pub in the country is much more my speed. 

  19. Overnight date nights are always the best. Nice to get away even for an evening. 

  20. Hi, Amy. You gotta love a good pub meal. And I love to cosy up by a fire. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It makes my day :D

  21. I'm telling you, Gay! You need to come visit!!!

  22. You're seriously on my bucket list! ;-)


Thanks for commenting. I love to hear from you!