The Old Bulls Head Woodhouse Eaves is a stone throw away from where I live, I often find myself cycling through it on my Sunday morning bike ride, or walking the dog over the fields to it. I must admit that when we stop off for a Sunday coffee, it has to be one of my favourite activities when walking the dog. I like going to the local pub and sitting outside with the pooch, and The Old Bulls Head Woodhouse Eaves is the perfect spot for just that.
The Old Bulls Head Woodhouse Eaves has had a complete makeover, not that I felt it needed it, but on entry, it definitely looks and feels more welcoming. The decor looks chic but cosy and there are little additions here and there, which completely makes the pub stand out from your standard local. I have eaten at this Gastropub previously on numerous occasions; for family dinners, date nights in my glad rags, and even plodded over the muddy field in my wellies with the dog and had a coffee outside. It somehow always suits any situation and works whether you want a snack or an all singing all dancing meal.
I was with husband ready for a rare date night at The Old Bulls Head Woodhouse Eaves after being invited over*. The first thing I noticed was that the dining area has spread across to the top of the bar area, I’m assuming the obvious reason was to get more tables in. The table sizes varied, catering to big parties and small tables too. The overspill towards the bar area, for me, as a local isn’t the best. I prefer having it quite separate because dining should be separate from those who have just come for drinks. There is a pillar in the way, but still, it felt too open plan. We were shown to our seats in the split area, it was super cosy and felt welcoming. We actually got there about 15minutes before our booking but were immediately seated which was great. The first thing we noticed was the music. Now, we did think perhaps the music automatically changes to something fitting for evening diners after 7 pm and we had just arrived a touch too early, but even so, the ‘chart’ music was not fitting for the ambience, I’m guessing they wanted to achieve. It might work in just the bar area, but as the majority of the venue is dining, I’d strongly suggest a more fitting musical catalogue.
Lobster & Tiger Prawn Pot – In Devon crab crème fraiche with toasted ciabatta bread – £7.95
Salt & Szechuan pepper squid With aioli – £6.95
I kicked things off with a prosecco, obviously, then myself and Nick went for a pinot grigio blush after both of us wanted to order some sort of seafood. The wine was all surprisingly extremely reasonable. I never normally do double of the same meat of fish in courses, but I actually felt completely mouthwateringly in love with the seafood choices! I had lobster and tiger prawn pot with delicious ciabatta bread, whereas Nick opted for some crispy squid. Of course, I had some of his and it was delicious. Both starters were well laid out and proportioned well.
Specials – Pan Roasted Red Snapper – £14.95
Roasted Pork Belly & Seared Scallops with potato dauphinoise, tenderstem broccoli, panko apple and red wine jus – £18.50
For mains, I went on to have another fish dish in the form of the pan roasted red snapper (off the specials board). As the same as the starter, it was the perfect amount. I believe Nick’s sauce from the roasted pork belly was a little bit of the salty side, but because it was in a separate dish it wasn’t going to ruin by overpowering the dish. I’m always happy with fish – this was particularly tasty.
Warm Belgian chocolate brownie with bourbon vanilla ice cream (v) – £6.50
Both of us were so full we ordered our pudding between us. We went for the classic Brownie but it was a bit disappointing. Not sure if we were meant to get a pot of cream or not, but it was very dry. Obviously, we discovered afterwards it should have had ice cream with it. Such a shame because I love a good chocolate brownie, but because this was rich it needed cream. In hindsight, I should have just asked but I couldn’t finish it anyway as it was too rich for me.
Overall? The Old Bulls Head Woodhouse Eaves still gets a thumbs up from me and I do feel that it has stepped up a gear since I last night. Previously I’ve had some okay visits and would question the price, but after visiting this time I feel the quality matches the price – apart from the pudding. The food is what I expected for the price wise, with a nice range from £5-£8 for a starter, £10-£25 for a main and £5-£11 for a pudding. I’m actually having my work Christmas party there next week in their new private dining room, which seats up to 24 on tables of 4 – so I will keep you posted on what the festive party menu is like! The nice thing I’ve always thought about The Old Bulls Head Woodhouse Eaves is that, yes it is actually a chain (so I’ve been told), but it doesn’t feel like it is. It comes across like it’s a standalone village gastropub with great dining and bar facilities. The decor really makes the place stand out, but would I eat here again? Possibly, at some point, but I wouldn’t say it is my favourite place to dine at. Having said that, the location for me for this kind of food is great, so no doubt I’ll be walking the dog over there for some mulled wine near in the bar!