Hotel Review: The Bull Hotel, Bridport in Dorset
As summer approaches every year, my mind slides into beach mode. I’d always rather be parked in the sun than sat inside, Pimms in hand. My favourite type of weekend is one spend by the coast, ideally taking in a little history and some fine food and drink.
So last weekend with those early rays, I dropped sticks and trotted down to Bridport – the Dorset town near the picturesque port of West Bay – where David Tennant starred in TV hit Broadchurch.
After some pottering in the shops, with such an early start my mother and I were famished by lunchtime, so headed to upmarket hotel and gastro pub The Bull.
Originally built in 1535, The Bull Hotel has a rich past, retaining much of its historic charm and character today. The inn was the scene of a murder during the Monmouth Rebellion, when Lieutenant Coker of Mappowder was killed by Colonel Venner, an officer of the Duke of Monmouth in 1685. Its cocktail bar now takes Venner’s name. The Bull became part of the Trafalgar Way during the Battle of Waterloo. In September 1939, just after the beginning of World War 2, a uniformed King George VI paid a visit.
The décor these days shows no signs of ageing however, with bright geometric prints offsetting a chic grey and navy palate in the bar and restaurant. We were in luck and found a table in the sunny courtyard, with its pretty fairy lights and white walkways.
Starters were fresh and perfectly sized – my vine plum tomatoes and Laverstoke mozzarella salad hit the spot without filling me over the edge, as did Mother’s parma ham croquette with roasted red pepper salsa.
Our mains were standout also – my pan-fried sea bass with artichokes was plated beautifully and the pickled walnuts packed a punch, alongside tomatoes and spinach. Mother’s chicken supreme was complemented by truffle mash – two words that will always be best friends.
As indulgence was the order of the day, desert was on the menu. Summer berry pudding was elegant and light and sorbet trio cleansed my palate pleasingly.
And stepping out into mid-afternoon sunbeams just couple of hours later, we felt sated and satisfied. Like royalty in fact, which was fitting as we were told by the wonderful staff as we left that in 1834, Princess Victoria spent a night at the Bull Inn, along with her mother.
Address: 34 East Street, Bridport, Dorset, DT6 3LF / 01308 422878