High Street Sonning on Thames RG4 6UP
Tel 0845 200 8947
Mon-Thurs 11am-11pm; Sat 11am-11.30pm; Sun noon-10.30pm
The Bull Inn is one of those special pubs that simply brims with character. Built more than 600 years ago, this inn is loaded with history and charm. Happily set in the village of Sonning, just 100 yards from the Thames, this grade-II-listed building fits perfectly into its charming surroundings. It is therefore no surprise to learn that The Bull Inn is very popular - especially in the summer months when you can enjoy a drink outside in the shade of the village church.
This Fuller's pub has a loyal customer base who travel from near and far to soak up the atmosphere and relax in the traditional comfort of a proper pub; a log-burning fire, low-beamed ceilings... welcome to rustic heaven. The food is also an absolute delight - the changing menus are designed by owners Dennis and Christine who have been steering The Bull for over 14 years; the pride that they take in their work is evident to all.
The chef's favourite is the pork Roquefort, but I was tempted by the popular lamb shank served on garlic mash with carrots and lashings of gravy - Christine says she has been trying to take it off the menu for years but her customers will not allow it. Before the lamb we had tucked into garlicky mushrooms and a selection of freshly baked breads served with olives, balsamic vinegar, olive oil and sun-dried tomatoes. My guest proceeded with sea bass drizzled with a red wine, shallot and balsamic reduction, accompanied by new potatoes and salad. Portions were generous, prices reasonable and the quality exceptional - everything you could hope for. We forced desserts despite our already satisfied appetites but were glad to have tasted the luxury bread and butter pudding with Grand Marnier and custard, and the 'waffles to die for' with the full works. We finished with coffee and a stroll down to the river to walk it off, before popping back in and sipping one more for the road.
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