The Black Bull in Sedbergh with its roaring fire, cosy pub, acclaimed restaurant and stylish bedrooms, seems to have gotten it all right.
Located on one of Sedbergh’s quaint streets in a beautiful old market town with rolling hills as far as the eye can see, The Black Bull attracts locals and returning tourists alike, all drawn in by this lovely pub’s warmth and charm.
This 17th century coaching inn has retained many of its beautiful period features, while some parts of The Black Bull have been updated, like the stylish dining room where we were to experience an excellent set menu during our stay.
Rooms at The Black Bull
Rooms at The Black Bull are all individually styled. Named after local Cumbrian fells, our room ‘Crook’ had the perfect balance of modern design versus classic countryside. With warm, ambient lighting set by the lamps for our arrival, we loved the chez longue, gigantic (and oh so comfortable bed), and the hotel’s dedication to local business – luxury British wool blankets from Laura’s Loom (based in Sedbergh) drape the beds, British wool carpets are from Wools of Cumbria and there are Petrichor toiletries in the bathroom which have been designed exclusively by The Sedbergh Soap Co. – especially for the Black Bull Inn.
The luxurious bathroom, on a raised platform with statement glass fronted doors featured the most incredible roll top bath and walk in rain shower (with curtains which could be pulled across with ease for privacy!)
The Restaurant at The Black Bull
The award-winning restaurant at The Black Bull is well worth the journey – even if you live a few hours away! With a menu which fuses together Japanese, German and modern European influences (combining the owners’ heritage), the ‘Taste of the Black Bull’ tasting menu with paired wines is a seven course extravaganza priced at £79 for the food and £59 for paired wines.
We start with brisket and pickles, silky soft line caught tuna served with mature soy and crispy tamworth pork and lime. Warm home made bread is absolutely delicious, smothered in seasoned cultured butter which is so addictive you can’t help but slather on double what you need.
The presentation of each and every dish which comes out of the kitchen is fabulous, but unlike some restaurants, everything on the plate feels necessary – bringing out the flavours of the main ingredient – there’s nothing ‘thrown in’ for decoration. We loved the palate cleansing celeriac with tiny caviar style balls of apple. Fresh and fruity, and perfect for getting the taste buds going, the wine it was paired with – a Hungarian Szolo enhanced the citrus notes beautifully.
Tender and juicy Lakeland teal came served with red cabbage and kohlrabi, and was simply divine, paired with a Cascina Zerbetta from Piemonte – rich and spicy with notes of deep black cherry.
The owners are passionate about buying local ingredients wherever possible, and our next course, the Howgill Hereford Beef comes from high up in Lowgill, renowned for its high quality. Perfectly pink and with incredible depth of flavour, we devoured this plate, using the meat to mop up the incredible XO sauce with its rich, sweet and salty ‘umami’ combination.
Usually, desserts are my least favourite part of any meal, but I loved the dark chocolate and coffee torte with yuzu crisps on top, accompanised by chocolate crumble and yuzu ice cream. A great mix of textures and flavours and not too sweet. As if we hadn’t eaten enough, our excellent tasting dinner was rounded off with Courtyard dairy cheese and Northumberland honeycomb, washed down with a few sips of Sauternes.
Sedbergh itself is a really lovely place to spend a few days. Known as England’s official ‘book town’, it has a wide range of shops and book cafes as well as being home to the Dales and Lakes bookshop trail. From Fairfield Mill arts and heritage centre, to the Burns Beck Moss nature reserve, there’s all kinds of activities in the area, including sailing, canoeing, fishing, cycling and of course plenty of Cumbrian walks. In addition, if you happen to be there on a Wednesday morning, you’ll catch the open-air market selling vegetables, meat, fish, eggs and lots more.
To book your room at The Black Bull, click here, and also be sure to check out their brilliant offers with three nights for the price of two including £35 to spend in the restaurant (available until 31st Jan) and their 20% off offer which is available until 29th Feb.