Pulse food writer Emma Norris reviews The Bull Hotel in Olney

After the gradual easing of lockdown 3.0, my first long-awaited restaurant visit was a trip to The Bull Hotel in Olney. Booking in on the same week (on an online system that is incredibly easy to navigate), I was a little concerned I might miss out on a table – thankfully, there were still a few slots left for their covered outdoor seating-area.

The sunshine may have been on my side that sunny Saturday, but even if I hadn’t been so lucky, their heated marquee would have provided ample cover from the typical British Spring weather. Checking in on the NHS Test and Trace app was mandatory, sanitiser was provided on entry and tables were meticulously spaced to ensure customers felt safe and covid-secure. Their food/drink menus are accessed through scanning a QR code on your Smartphone where you can also place your order – as I have a nut allergy, I did speak to the wait-staff to check through my desired choices, and they were incredibly helpful in choosing allergen-safe options.

Although the tipple of choice was Prosecco (it was a celebration after all!) the cocktails that were being provided to other tables did give me a bit of drink-envy – the Espresso Martinis looked particularly tempting, and would definitely be a solid choice for my next visit.

For a starter, the plant-based Mediterranean Mezze board was really tasty and was a steal at £6.50; it provided an ample portion for two people (vegans and meat-eaters alike!) but, of course, we had to get some nibbles too! The stuffed cherry peppers (£4) were good, but the real star of the entire meal had to be the tempura Cypriot halloumi fries with sweet chilli dip for only £4.50 – the batter was light and grease-free, but the fries were warm, slightly melted and – in my opinion, best of all – huge. 

We were incredibly tempted to place another order for some more to pair with our mains, but were ultimately glad we didn’t, as the mains were certainly sizeable. I opted for the BBQ baby back ribs which were great, but perhaps a little on the pricey side at £18. They were, however, great quality, served alongside skinny fries, cabbage ‘slaw and chargrilled salted corn. My friend chose the Southern-fried chicken burger and sweet potato fries for a more reasonable £15 – which was fantastic.

The only negative was that our eyes were bigger than our belly – both of us were too full to even share a dessert. We had originally opted to try the chocolate brownie infused with Caribbean rum and vanilla ice-cream (£7), which looked delicious when we saw it being served to the neighbouring table.

Ultimately, The Bull Hotel is well-worth a visit – even just for those halloumi fries. Just make sure you’re hungry! www.bullhotelolney.co.uk

> If you would like Emma to review your restaurant email mk@pulsemagazine.co.uk

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