There’s been a bit of a buzz locally as we have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Geetie Singh-Watson’s new organic pub in Totnes. But the wait is over as The Bull opened its doors to the paying public a couple of weeks ago. On a cold, wet and windy night we set forth with some friends to see what this newest hostelry has to offer.
This is Geetie’s 4th organic pub and she seems to have hit the right balance between sustainability, ethical working practices and hospitality. First and foremost she wants this pub to be a “decent boozer” and to be at the heart of the community. The decor is as I would have expected – pared back, utilitarian and understated: where upcycled and recycled furniture is the order of the day. A nod to Christmas was visible in the form of branches of festive greenery hung over the wall lights, and a few little trees, but little else. Which to a girl from the Welsh valleys (where it’s the norm to adorn your house with as many flashing decorations as you can muster) was a little disappointing!!!
The menu, led by the best of the (organic) ingredients available at the time was reassuringly small. A few bar snacks (including Welsh rarebit and Beetroot eggs), 3 starters, 3 mains and 3 puds. Between us we plumped for Foccaccia with Zaatar, Pork terrine and Beetroot salad. All were simply presented (no Masterchef faff and finery here) but full of flavour and the sort of food you can imagine serving up to a gathering of friends around a scrubbed kitchen table with a roaring fire in the grate.
For mains the Slow-cooked lamb with spiced chickpeas and green sauce was a clear winner. A large slice of soft and melting lamb shoulder sat atop a bed of earthy chickpeas and leeks which were braised to silky perfection. The dollop of punchy salsa verde on top provided the acidity needed to cut through the fattiness of the dish and all agreed it was a hearty dish much welcomed on a cold wintry night. My friend had the vegetarian dish – a thick slice of celeriac topped with fennel and tomatoes on a bed of white beans. Like the decor there was nothing extraneous on the plate – just simple good food cooked with honesty. As with the food all the drinks are organic too which made for an interesting time choosing our wine. But the Merlot we choose was rich, robust and very moreish …
It seemed rude not to have pudding but after such substantial mains we thought it prudent to share. The Chocolate mousse cake was light and fluffy : a bit like eating a chocolate cloud : and came with a lovely addition of sour cream. The Coffee panacotta was pronounced to be equally as delicious but I didn’t manage to get my spoon in that before it was all gone …
It will be interesting to see how this establishment develops. Already it seems like a very cool and happening place to hang out and as she says on the website “The pub is for everyone; the community, the traveller, our brigade and our suppliers.” Cheers to that.