The Bull in Wrotham: restaurant review from Kent Life

It might have 'hotel' in its name, but The Bull in Wrotham is a pub at heart where you can enjoy some exceptional cooking...

It might have ‘hotel’ in its name, but The Bull in Wrotham is a pub at heart where you can enjoy some exceptional cooking...

The Bull in Wrotham might not immediately reveal its charms from the road, but behind the slightly austere fa�ade of this 14th-century coaching inn is a pub with food at its heart.

Proprietor Martin Deadman and his highly creative head chef James Hawkes have worked hard in their three years here to produce a menu that embraces all that is best of the top-quality, seasonal produce right on their doorstep.

The whole ‘deceptive appearances’ thing extends to the dining area, off the bar, with its dark red and cream painted walls hung with wartime memorabilia, simple pine tables and chairs and two big fireplaces with wood-burning stoves.

Even the menu hides its light under a bushel – who would dream that ‘Heritage tomato and peach salad with pine nut vinaigrette’ could be so stunning? But My Gorgeous Daughter can vouch for that: “The variety of tomatoes, the combination of fresh peach and a peach mousse, plus the most delicious dressing – it’s so much more complex than its description!”

And my smoked salmon starter with lemon and dill cream fra�che was exceptional, beautifully presented and had the surprise touch of an ice-cold elderflower schappes on the side – genius.

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Next up for MGD was “summer in a big white dish” as she christened her Loch Duart salmon on crushed new potatoes, while my perfectly cooked rack of lamb with fresh peas had the fab addition of goat’s cheese and a raisin pur�e – trust me, it works – and a sublime mustard lavender vinaigrette.

Puddings hold up the high standard, with MGD’s “phenomenal” bread and butter pudding with vanilla custard as light and fluffy as the last one she ate out with me was leaden, while my delicious raspberry parfait with lavender-flavoured biscuits contained the slightly unexpected addition of popping candy!

So if you prefer a simple country setting and like your food fun, quirky and a bit experimental, then this is the place for you – and do look out for jazz and opera nights, plus fish night on the first Friday of the month. 

Head chef : James Hawkes

Tell us a bit about you: I’ve been working in hotels for 25 years and for The Bull for five years – I started just before the new owners took over, which was both exciting and challenging as we completely changed the menu, sourced new local suppliers and tried and tested loads of new recipes.   Your signature dish? Roast fillet of beef, with oxtail ragu, pan-fried girolles and wilted garlic leavesYour must-have kitchen gadget? My PacojetWho would you most like to cook for?Shaun Hill

Tell us a bit about you: I’ve been working in hotels for 25 years and for The Bull for five years – I started just before the new owners took over, which was both exciting and challenging as we completely changed the menu, sourced new local suppliers and tried and tested loads of new recipes.   Your signature dish? Roast fillet of beef, with oxtail ragu, pan-fried girolles and wilted garlic leavesYour must-have kitchen gadget? My PacojetWho would you most like to cook for?Shaun Hill

Have you eaten here before? If so, then we would love to know what you thought. Why not leave your comments below?

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