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What it’s like at The Bull Inn in Limpsfield

PUBLISHED: 16:30 11 February 2019

The Bull Inn (SMS Creative Photography)

The Bull Inn (SMS Creative Photography)

SMS CREATIVE PHOTOGRAPHY

When their village pub was put on the market, the residents of Limpsfield decided to take things into their own hands. We visit The Bull Inn

The tranquil village of Limpsfield, with its chocolate box pretty properties, feels like it’s in the middle of nowhere - and yet one look at a map reminds you that it’s actually sandwiched between the M25 and A25.

You’d never know while you’re visiting, however, as it remains staunchly untouched by that relentless bustle. At the heart of its peaceful community is the 16th century, The Bull Inn.

This story could have been very different had a group of enterprising locals known as Enterprising Limpsfield not set about securing it for future generations, when it was put up for sale in 2017 by its previous long-term landlady.

Limpsfield had already lost its village restaurant to flats a few years ago, and villagers were damned if they were going to lose the pub too. So, they bought The Bull in May 2018, following a successful local community fundraising campaign. Having watched the tale unfold from a distance, I couldn’t wait to visit when it reopened in November.

Arriving out of a bleak winter evening, the place immediately looks super stylish – fresh, modern and yet, somehow, as if it’s always been this way. With its striking blue walls, its packed full of character. We’re welcomed by assistant manager Dylan Nel, who is a credit to the establishment throughout. I order a pint of Titsey Brewing Co’s Leveson Buck, which is produced only a few minutes down the road, while Sylviane picks a Spanish tipple from the enticing wine list. There’s space to settle on stools at the bar, as well as comfy looking chairs for people just looking to enjoy a drink with friends, but we head straight to our table.

The excellent starters set the tone (Photo by Matthew Williams)The excellent starters set the tone (Photo by Matthew Williams)

We find an exciting menu. Head chef, Tommy Pring, we’re told, trained with Gordon Ramsay and has tackled the challenge of melding his fine dining roots and tasty pub treats with gusto.

Our starters showcase that his team are just as confident in both worlds. My pigeon breast and confit leg bon bon with pickled shimejii mushrooms, apple and autumn squash velouté looks a picture and tastes divine. Sylviane’s black pudding scotch egg with homemade piccalilli sweeps us towards the rustic. It’s a plate of food that leaves you wondering if you can get an extra one to take home with you, and Sylviane has to fight me off with her fork.

For me though, the star of the show is the duo of Chart Farm venison roast loin and braised shoulder pie. One minute you’re enjoying beautifully-cooked venison with a moreishly deep sauce and spikes of fruity sharpness, and then you remember there’s still a perfect little pie to cut into. Heaven.

Sylviane can’t resist the intriguingly named Gabriella’s ‘Baccolo’ Hungarian goulash. Named after the deputy head chef Denes Miko’s mother, as it’s based on a family recipe, this is a very tasty winter warmer.

To finish, I can’t resist the blackberry and lavender soufflé with honey ice cream. It’s a faultless end to our meal.

All the while, life calmly bubbles around us. There are villagers enjoying a quick drink after work; there are diners enjoying a course or three; and there are others chatting over coffee and the papers.

It’s early days, but The Bull Inn is ticking all the right boxes. It’s not the first community pub in Surrey, but it feels like they’ve hit on a blueprint that others may soon follow.

The Bull Inn, High Street, Limpsfield RH8 0DR; 01883 713469; thebullinnlimpsfield.com

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