The Bull Hotel and Restaurant, Wrotham
The Bull Hotel and Restaurant in Wrotham village has a number of accolades under its belt: Michelin listed and 2AA Rosette. However, the owners have never rested on their laurels. A few years ago we attended the opening of the upstairs bedrooms which revealed beautiful design and attention to detail. Their latest venture is the launch of ‘The First Real Smokehouse menu in Kent.’
Following the huge popularity of the outside smoker and BBQ last summer the reasonably priced menu now runs alongside the evening a la carte menu and is available everyday lunch and dinner and all day Saturdays and Sundays. It is perfect timing for the summer season offering a wide variety of premium meats, cooked over ethically sourced wood and charcoal, together with traditional BBQ sides.
There is a selection of nibbles available from the smokehouse menu to accompany your first drink including char grilled chorizo, pork scratching and marinated olives. We thought it would be interesting to mix and match the menus so started our meal with the smooth, rich chicken parfait served with caramelised onion and saffron fruit bread (£7.50). I chose the beautifully presented smoked salmon beetroot gravlax which was accompanied by a crunchy crab cake and beetroot horseradish purée. It was complemented perfectly by the shot glass of elderflower thyme spritzer (£7.50).
The Bull has a comprehensive wine list featuring some excellent Old and New World wines. They are also increasing their selection of artisan beers and hoping that nine will be available over the summer. We chose two punchy, red wines both available by the glass: Tres Palacios Carmenere Reserve 2012 and Chateau Armandiere Malbec Ancestral.
For main course I plumped for the whole barbecued sea bream; a generous portion of juicy fish with a tasty, crisp, New Orleans style skin accompanied by blackened leeks (£22.00). My partner (in the interests of readers!) tried a selection of almost all the barbecued meats: fruity, chilli chicken wings, 8 hour smoked brisket, 10 hour smoked pulled pork, Welsh wagyu beef Denver cut, smoked ox cheek and the char grilled chorizo sausage. He thoroughly enjoyed all the meats and loved the amazing smoky flavour. His favourites were the first three in the list. Prices for full sized portions of the individual meats range from £7.00 to £18.50. The popular Bull Burger, rump beef, smoked cheese, mayo, smoked bacon and hand cut chips costs £11.50. We tried the sides of red and green slaws, the skin on chips and the smoked baked beans. The green slaw was my favourite – a hot Thai style which perfectly complemented the fish, whilst the red slaw made from red cabbage and pepper was a spicy barbecue flavour. The sauces available deserve a mention – the home made ketchup being the best I have tasted and the hot sauce had a real kick.
After the powerful, smoky meats the light dessert of thinly sliced roasted chilli cured pineapple, tarragon lime sorbet and a grapefruit jasmine shot was perfect. My choice of the traditional crème brulee served with a passion fruit and elderflower shot was also a winner (so much so that my partner ate a considerable amount!)
The Bull often has live music and events which make for a really relaxing evening with excellent food. Why not pop along and enjoy the tastes of summer?
Tel: 01732 789800 Fax: 01732 886288
The Bull Hotel, Bull Lane, Wrotham, Kent. TN15 7RF