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The Bull Inn (Bethersden, Kent)

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11 Reviews

Bethersden / Kent / TN26 3LB / Telephone: 01233-820534

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    11 Reviews
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      14.10.2011 12:15

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      Having heard this was under new management thought I'd give it a go. Menu OK but lacked much choice and variety. Main courses did not appear to be home made and again were a bit of a let down. Steaks were fine and a full plateful although the presentation was poor. Several deserts were unavailable and a definite no no was the fact that there was also no cheeseboard left either - a big mistake. The pub itself is pleasant, in a nice setting, and has a good atmosphere but think the management need to review the chef, the presentation and the food they are serving. May go back at a later date to see if it has improved.

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      14.08.2011 12:33

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      Where do I start.Debit/credit card facility not working, staff did not mention this on booking, could have been embarrassing if without sufficient cash (carry lots of cash not common nowadays?)* sticky table * no napkins* dead flies and wasps on window ledge next to table* flies buzzing around (maybe to be expected in the countryside?)* empty saltcellar* dirty cutlery needed replacingThis should have been a clue!* wife's starter had hair in it, sent it back.* main courses med veg tart was a cheap pastry case with shredded veg dropped in it. Nothing binding it together, Quality awful, sent it back.* steak pie crust was made from some kind of concrete I think, tried my best!* gravy on pie dinner not served separately and 'drowned' the mealOverall very poor experience, we will not be returning!

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      27.03.2011 21:15
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      Avoid if your eating

      Sunday 27th March 2011...
      With a new pub manager in place and a new chef we though we would give it a try!
      What a disappointment!

      Lovely pub and nice surroundings but the food... Oh dear!!!

      Four dinners order were.... 2 x Burgers, 1 x Streak pie and 1 X Spare ribs.
      Food delivered to the table.... chips with the burgers were a dirty brown colour, salad was soaked in oil and the burger bun was a hard topped bun with its base soaked in the oil used on the salad.
      Steak pie crust was so hard it was inedible. Though the mash was passable. Spare ribs were served with plain slices of bread! No finger bowl nor any napkins available until they were asked for.
      None of the food served could be classed as Home made.
      Complained to waitress and one Burger meal and the steak pie meal was removed from the bill.
      We thought with all the meals served being complained about the chef or owner might have made an appearance and apologised? But no one was seen other then the embarrassed waitress.

      AVOID or eat at your own pearl!!!!

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        16.07.2009 15:23

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        Very nice pub, very nice food, lovely atmosphere, great garden especially in the summer. We've been to this pub many times over the last 8 years, even had our wedding reception there in 2003 (took over the whole place) and love it. I notice someone else moaned about the ceiling and door frame height, well, I'm 6'5" and if you use a little common sense it's easy to avoid knocking your head particularly since it's blindingly obvious that the pub is very old and therefore is bound to have ceiling/door height issues. We've always found it to be a very friendly place and would recommend it to anyone with children and/or dogs of which we have both.

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        24.06.2009 21:39

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        Well done to the Landlord , You have a perfect balance keep up good work

        Friendly pub,Good food,Good service,Fun for the children.
        We popped into the Bull this week for a meal and have to say how pleased we all were with the reception that we recieved,It was a fantastic day and we sat in the garden which is immaculatly kept and has ample seating and space for the kids to enjoy the visit as much as we did.They loved the pond and the large patio area , and if the garden isn't your cup of tea then there is allways indoors which is clean and well presented with games provided for the children to play,there are two huge sofas in front of the inglenook fireplace wich must be really cosy in the winter months when the fire is alight.
        Our meal was well presented and tasted as good as it looked.The kids loved theirs and never left a scrap.
        All in all it was great value for money and an enjoyable experience we will certainly be going there again in the very near future.
        Well done the team at the bull and we will see you all again soon..

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        12.06.2009 16:24

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        A great English Pub Experience

        I have been using The Bull Inn for the last few years, both for entering my business clients and also for my family and friends. The place is always busy with a good cross section of people. The menu is what l would describe as traditional English "pub grub" eg Ham, Egg and Chips or Steak and Ale Pie. The staff create a lovely friendly atmosphere which is very comfortable for a business lunch or family evening dinner. The garden is very good, packed with benches, plenty of room for the kids to run around. They can also feed the ducks in the duck pond. To sum up, l think the landlord and his team have just about got it right in creating the best pub in the area. I would only hope that, like me, you give it a chance and enjoy a truely "English" pub experience in Bethersden

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        10.03.2009 18:19

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        get a chef that knows what there doing and get it back to how it used to be

        myself and my wife used to eat at the bull all the time until a couple of years ago as it always had a lovely relaxed atmosphere then it just went down hill..however being fair people we have been twice since and once recently and have to say i will NEVER go again..
        the food is diabolical..sounds lovely written on the menu but taste wise is just disgusting and comes across like its been cooked by someone that has no idea what there really doing.writing a nice menu is the easy bit..the service was standard and clinical....its a shame because its a pub thats crying out for someone that knows what there doing to push it forward because all the ingredients are there for a truly beautiful pub/restaurant, with a lovely garden and relaxing sofas in front of the fireplace.the restaurant is separated from the bar.what more could you want.they need to get someone in the kitchen that knows what there doing to push it in the right direction and it needs to be far more friendlier and welcoming whether the customers are regulars or not. we always used to go to the chequers inn just up the road as the food is superb....fresh and cooked perfectly by someone that does actually know what there doing...thats now closed so god knows where were going to go from now on

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        26.01.2009 08:43

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        The food at the Bull Inn Betherden is awful DON'T GO THERE!! we had a meal booked yesterday arrived not long before the kitchen closed (bad idea) they had run out of 2 things we'd asked for on the menu I had lamb it was disgusting 75% fat my sister-in-laws goats cheese was not cooked properly and was still hard inside. When we made a comment to the waistress whose response was an abrupt 'No one else has complained about the lamb today'. What a shame the chief may have done some thing about my fatty lamb if they had!! Don't go! avoid stopping if you don't want to waste your money on sub standard food! Try the Ferry at Stone, more expensive but worth the drive. Don't you just hate paying for bad food?

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        01.04.2007 17:23
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        A terrible experience at what used to be a very good pub.

        Terrible service, terrible food, terrible atmosphere, terrible staff and awful locals.
        Low door frames without any warnings on them meant that 1 member of our party hit their head on the way in to the pub. They were 6' 4'', not what you would call a giant. When the manager was approached about it, he couldn't care less, simply saying that he thought they were normal sized door frames and didn't need mind your head signs. He was approximately 5' 8'' and the door lintel was about 6'2''. He made no effort to see if the person was ok, no effort to help in any way or even apologise. He simply wasn't interested.

        Not a good start.

        We approached a waitress to get a cold compress for the rather large bump that had now appeared on the persons head and asked for an accident book to make a record of the incident. The manager then stood over the persons shoulder inspecting what was written in the accident book and was extremely reluctant to provide a copy of the form. Presumably as it had a correspondence address on it for his head office.

        We ordered the food and the first attempt the waitresses made to bring us the food was totally wrong, not what we ordered. Our food then arrived but one of the meals, prawns in tomato and balsamic vinegar, did not even cover half of the smallest plate the kitchen staff could provide. At £10 a pop, not good value at all. Much of the food was nearly cold by the time the vegetables were brought out.
        At no time were we asked if everything was ok or if there was anything else we wanted. Usually i find those questions annoying but when so much was lacking (sauces of any kind, vegetables and bread) it really was the least they could have done.

        Once the main courses were done we asked for the pudding board. Out of 8 dishes, 4 were unavaiable. This was 2pm on a sunday lunchtime. The 4 available were not particularly what we wanted so we decided for coffee instead, which was fine.

        In the meantime the person who had banged their head went outside to clear their head as they had a severe headache. Instead of enquiring how they were, the manager stood by and laughed as the locals at the bar made snide and derogatory comments about minding their head. This is simply appaling behaviour from a manager, not only did he not do anything to improve the situation, he passively watched and therefore encouraged his locals to make the whole experience worse.

        To illustrate just how low the ceiling was, 4 of the party were unable to stand up straight in the entrance to the pub and the lintles of the 2 entrance doors were even lower than this. Being from rural kent we are all used to very old pubs with low beams and ceilings and in these pubs there are ample mind your head signs as they recognise that they are dangerous. Not so here, they seem to just provide amusement to the locals.

        It was obviously a bad day for this pub as another table sent back 2 of their dishes not once but three times before the food was even edible.

        This used to be a favourite pub for family celebrations, safe to say it is no longrer.

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          09.03.2006 12:24
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          great for young family's in the summer

          A good family pub, nice little garden, really nice for the summer has that "old manny" feel to it...the food is reasonable, and you pretty much get what you pay for.

          The bar area is a little small, but the garden more than makes up for the lack of space.

          If you are looking for a nice family pub to go to in the summer and you have young children, this is the place for you...although next to a road, it is a very quite road and pretty safe.

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            25.02.2006 20:07
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            n/a

            Every year, at Christmas, New Year and Easter time (plus at many other intervals during the year), my Nan comes to stay. This is because the rest of my family are no-good selfish ninnies who moved her to the back of beyond and then scuttled off to various parts of the UK and the world, leaving her to fend for herself in the Midlands (she's a Londoner, born and bred). The old dear is however nearly ninety and getting slightly bitter and twisted in her old age, and so these visits can be pretty gruelling, and so when she takes us all out for a meal on the last day of the stay, we feel we more than deserve it! This sounds mean, and berate me if you will, but one day, my Grandkids will be saying the same about me, its Karma! Anyway, as my nan is somewhat a typical Elderly Brit and hates any of that foreign mumbo jumbo (yes, pasta included), we usually go to a Kentish pub that will cater for her needs. And one of the places we have been to a couple of times now is The Bull Inn, Bethersden, near Ashford.

            This is a Shepherd's Neame 'Gastropub'*, based in a 17th century building on the A28 between Tenterden, and Ashford, Kent. It is decorated in dark wood with beams, giving a nice rustic'y look. The pub has a nice bar stretching around, and a couple of big ole' leather sofas for lounging on. Although I have to say I have never lounged there, that would mean sitting my Nan down too, and we'd never get her up again. The restaurant area is nicely separate from the pub, although this never gets very rowdy (but then no pubs are on the 2nd January!), but it's deliciously smoke-free, so you can eat your dinner without risking death by second hand smoke. I have never met the manager but the waiting staff are more often that not girls that I went to school with or people who live in my road. This may be giving the place an unfair advantage, when it comes to assessing the service, but I don't have any complaints, and Nan didn't either (which really is saying something).

            There is a good menu, with a range of starters, including the classics; prawn cocktail, garlic bread, and deep fried Camembert with cranberry sauce- which is what I always have, along with my mum and my sister.

            There is a standard menu and then a vast specials board. The standard menu includes pub staples like Steak and Ale Pie, Beer Battered Cod and Chips, and Liver and Bacon (my Dad's choice, each and every time), and such yummy dishes as chilli con carne with wild rice. The specials, on last inspection include a goat's cheese quiche and mushroom stroganoff amongst many others.

            The portions are hugely generous, there are always masses of chips where applicable and masses of anything else that may be included. There is one tiny eeny complaint from my Ms Palin Snr, and that is, that even thought she asked our waitress to give her far less chips than normal, she still got the same as the rest of us, which she found off-putting (she like many elderly people, finds it intimidating if there is too much food in front of her), and so she spent the majority of the meal trying to foist her chips onto moi!

            A basket of bread is put on the table as soon as you arrive and so you can carb it up while waiting for your food (the bread is deliciously soft, I dare you to resist!). On my last visit, along with Nan, I had scampi and chips, which may be considered boring by some (do not even suggest such a thing to Nanny Palin, its good English grub, proper food), but I had eaten out plenty over Christmas, and so I felt obliged to have something safe for a change. It was delicious. Dad had liver and bacon which I wouldn't touch, the name puts me off. Mum had the stroganoff (which I kindly helped her finish-top notch!), and my sister had the goat's cheese quiche (a sophisticated palate for a 14-year-old- no fish fingers here!).

            The dessert menu is fairly standard, no weird and wonderful inclusions, apart from a chocolatey cheesecake type fiasco called 'Lumpy-Bumpy' (what a coincidence, that described my appearance after the excess of Christmas!). There is ice cream, in vanilla, chocolate, strawberry and toffee, chocolate fudge cake, apple pie and the like. I cannot comment on the desserts from our most recent trip, as we were too full to indulge further, but in the past the chocolate fudge cake has been deliciously rich and gooey.

            There is the option to eat and drink outside in the pretty beer garden, something we, needless to say, did not consider in January. Car parking is ample, with disabled spaces available, and coaches and children too are welcome.

            My Nan usually pays the bill, and so I don't get a look in, but I believe it normally comes to about £80- tats 5 starters and main courses, a bottle of wine, and a half a bitter shandy (Nan). I don't think this is at all bad for the quality and quantity what we get. So all in all, the Bull Inn is a great eating experience. The service and atmosphere are friendly and quiet, the food and drink is lovely! All in all, a great place to eat, whether you are with xenophobic relatives or not!

            There is the option to eat and drink outside in the pretty beer garden, something we, needless to say, did not consider in January. Car parking is ample, with disabled spaces available, and coaches and children too are welcome.


            For more information on the location and specs of the pub, go to http://www.shepherd-neame.co.uk/pubs/pubs.php/bull_ashford

            *A gastropub is a British term for a public house ("pub") which specializes in high-quality food a step above the more basic "pub grub".
            en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gastropub

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          • Product Details

            The Bull Inn, on the A28 between Ashford & Tenterden is an ancient inn dating back to the 17th century (c1645) which has been extensively refurbished- one of our quality food-led houses delivering a 21st century mix of the traditional pub with a contemporary twist.