July 19, 2022
The Black Bull – A Place to Breathe
If you are the type that when planning an escape from London wants to breathe, enjoy some beautiful scenery and some amazing food then this is the place, The Black Bull in Sedbergh.
Our journey started by jumping on a very early Avanti West Coast train from Euston. With free Wifi and comfortable premium train seats we settled in to enjoy the view over the countryside and in just over 3 1/2 hours we arrived at Oxenholme. We’d had a relaxing start with Avanti West Coast riding a smooth and comfortable journey to our destination.
With a 20-minute drive to Sedbergh from Oxenholme Station, we couldn’t believe how beautiful the scenery was. We arrived at The Black Bull where we were staying and thought ‘lucky us’. Sedbergh Market Town sits on the edge of the Lake District in the Yorkshire Dales and has an interesting main street with a pub where you can try one of the many gins on their long list. With bookshops, boutiques and craft shops, there’s plenty to do and see.
Having a hire car is recommended as there is so much to see. One of the most spectacular attractions on the doorstep is the beautiful Howgill Fells. Walk, run, watch the sheep or just relax and enjoy the magnificent scenery.
But before exploring we checked into The Black Bull which is a traditional pub but also has a very chic gastro side to it. With earthenware pots on the tables, the red and dark leather seats with the black stone wall make it a lovely cosy but smart place to sit for a drink or you could wander out to the extensive beer gardens. With sheltered seating for on those on not-so-warm days, it’s a fabulous spot, surrounded by succulent flowers and mossy ferns and spectacular views up to Howgill Fells it was a perfect place for a pre-dinner drink. Inside there is the fine dining restaurant – sophisticated and modern, inspired by Asian and Japanese styles. The most wonderful place to relax after exploring the Yorkshire Dales.
With rooms and suites following the style of Japanese Zen, we loved the clean-lined furniture, monochrome palette and calming style with the industrial-style lighting which gives a hint of luxury and a modern outlook. The bathroom was a place anyone would love to step in. Relaxing and beautiful, supplied with natural shampoos and conditioners and after a day of exploring we were excited to get ready for dinner and eager to try the famous menu.
We were given an extremely unique menu to study. It’s rare to see such courage and passion in creating unusual but well-combined choices, which ensured we spent the whole evening discussing what we had just eaten and what was yet to come.
First came a delicious serving of butter. Yes, butter. Served with a selection of warm homemade rustic bread the butter literally took over our conversation because once we took a bite it blew us away. We couldn’t believe butter itself could be so out of this world. It isn’t just ‘butter’ as we know it. It was made with love and we won’t ever forget such a simple but fantastic beginning to our meal.
Our next nibble dishes were just as amazing. A plate of maple pea hummus and one of scallop roe taramasalata with crackers to dip into.
These were followed by our starters. A plate of scallops and mussels sitting on a plate of Thai green curry was absolutely divine. Cooked perfectly and so delicious we would have liked more! Another starter plate came along with beetroot, Zhong, tahini and seawood. The presentation was spot on and the first mouthful impacted immediately with a powerful kick. It was gorgeous. Two different plates of starters with a lot of different ingredients, packed with flavour and you can tell how passionate they are in putting together those dishes.
With the nibbles and starters devoured we were getting really excited and curious to see what we would have for our main course. They were not something you would see on menus everywhere, so choosing a dish that had an ingredient I thought I was not a big fan of I bit the bullet and was pleasantly surprised. The plate came with wild turbot, smoked eels, courgette, elderflower and oyster. Besides being beautifully presented a portion of wild turbot was sitting with courgette to the side and a delicious sauce of elderflower. It was beautiful! So speaking of ’smoked eels’. Two breadcrumbed balls of smoked eel with black caviar sitting on top were served. I tentatively took a bite and wow, what a surprise, It was rather delicious!
One more main plate came and it wasn’t something we would normally have chosen although we wanted to explore and find out more about this unusual dish, created because they believe it works beautifully together. A vegetarian dish of Berwick custard, chicken of the wood, yeast and yoghurt which is so artistic and clever as the mushroom ‘Chicken of the Wood’ actually looks like a chicken. Combined with Berwick custard which we would never have thought to have in a savoury dish but it worked well and for any vegetarian would be an amazing choice too.
Besides all the beautiful dishes consumed we were still able to try a dessert or two – I’m a big fan of sticky toffee pudding and it was rather lovely served with a little jug of the sauce so you can pour all if you like or have a scoop of vanilla ice cream. We also chose a plate of heaven. This consisted of a berry mousse with crushed lavender meringue, with lemon curd dotted around the plate. It was a most delicious dessert. Absolutely perfect, both of us decided the lavender meringue was a winner.
What a fabulous dining experience. We were taken aback by how wonderful every dish was.
This place will change your mind about food combinations. They will keep you guessing and blow your mind with each mouthful.
So our stay at The Black Bull was wonderful, fabulous and fantastic. if you love to explore and are passionate about food then this is the place to go! It has everything…. and some.
A: 44 Main St, Sedbergh LA10 5BL
T: 015396 20264
W: The Black Bull
Written by India Morse for Luxuria Lifestyle London and International