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“Chef's night off?”

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The Bull Inn, Stanford Dingley
Reviewed 20 July 2014

Recommended by Staff on a previous visit to try the Fruit de Mer at £80 for two sharing, we and our friends were looking forward to an impressive dish.

Unfortunately, what had started as a variety of quality ingredients had suffered badly at amateur hands on the planchette, then arrived at the table as an unattractive pile of blackened seafood. It 'arrived' because the waiter seemed to realise only on presentation that there was no room on the table, until we cleared room which had to encroach on our other diners, as our table was too small.

Around the pile were oysters, a prawn salad, some smoked salmon thrown randomly on top - all now cooking on the hot ingredients. Nothing else arrived until we asked for help with perhaps a side table "course you can" then pliers "course you can' then mayonnaise "course you can' then plates, tabasco, and a receptacle for the shells etc. all available on request, but nothing offered or brought to the table prior to the dish or without asking, even plates.

Our disappointment wasn't limited to the seafood. My wife chose the lamb which was very overdone. Just how Grannie likes it!

Poor cooking, poor presentation, and poor service from friendly but untrained staff. What a waste of great ingredients.
This pub needs a chef and someone managing front of house, both of which were obviously absent last night.

We had planned a pleasant evening with friends, and made the most of it. Certainly didn't want to add to our disappointment by taking this up on the evening, but also formed an opinion this was as good as we'd get, as it was probably (hopefully) the owners night off.

Stayed: July 2014, travelled with friends
3  Thank Jon D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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96 - 102 of 154 reviews

Reviewed 12 July 2014

The pub was lovely, nice atmosphere, very pretty and had a good menu. We had a really tasty meal there in the evening.
The room, very tired and dated, but worse of all it was not clean. It was dirty in most places, the towel rail in the bathroom was covered in dust, there were cobwebs all over, behind the bed head, under the bed. Luckily the linen was spotless. Breakfast was over priced and I would guess a different cook from the evenings.
A real shame as it could be great, with a bit of care and attention to the rooms, cleaning isn't expensive.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank swannic
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
anonbsd, Owner at The Bull Inn, Stanford Dingley, responded to this reviewResponded 21 July 2014

We just wanted to take the opportunity to respond to your comments regarding the cleanliness of the rooms. We feel that this is totally unacceptable and wish to inform you that we have just replaced our cleaners with a new commercial cleaning company with high standards of training and reliability in the hope that this will never happen again. All the rooms were redecorated less than six months ago, so I am sorry that you felt they were tired - new furniture obviously a huge investment, and something that we foresee doing in the future, and in the meantime the rates of £45-£69 per night reflect the amenities provided. There is, however there is no excuse for dust and cobwebs and we are confident that this problem has been dealt with.

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 8 July 2014

A truely idyllic place in a sleepy picture postcard village. Had an overnight stay plus dinner and breakfast. On the plus side: very good food (raye with Jersey royals - apart from the slightly burnt butter: really yummieh!) and a tastefully furnished room (I think, it was no. 2, very close the kitchen).
However, there are some negative points, too: the bathroom was not clean (we could cope with no soap etc.) and the whole room plus bath was totally overheated. After complaining we were told by a young guy in charge, the heating would be turned down, but it stayed on during the rest of our stay. To open the windows meant: to be next to an outside customer, for tables and benches are hardly a meter away (means: can be noisy in summer!). To undress, you had to close all curtains and stay in what had developed into a sauna by the time. Normally, we do not accept such a situation and we would move out, but we were tired and hungry after a day of travelling....
We never got an excuse for that, only an explanation (problems with the heating, early in the season etc.) by a kind waitress next morning. We do not know, wether she communicated this to somebody. So we were more than surprised when she gave us (still warm!) Danish pastries we had not ordered and which were not on the menu - DE-LICIOUS! We understood it as a friendly gesture, and it is due to this gesture that this place gets 3 instead of 2 points.

  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank DocLangue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 June 2014

We like country pubs who have really good food, decent beer and wine in a stunning location. When it's very close to home, what's not to like!
Been various times over the last few years, after the present owners moved there. Never disappointed. Top marks!!!!

  • Stayed: June 2014
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
Thank CountryLadyCalcot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 June 2014

When it's at The Bull Inn. We booked a room here several weeks ago to tie in with a wedding we were attending 5 miles away. We rang a week before the wedding to make sure everything was ok, it was. We arrive on the day, an hour before the wedding to drop off bags and check in to be told there was no room at the inn and that we had been double booked. They had taken the liberty of giving away our room and booking us into another b&b 15 miles away which we didn't have time to check in to until after the wedding at midnight. The b&b they chose for us was dreadful and cost us £80 extra in cab fares. I'm afraid I am therefore not in a position to comment about food or room quality, but you'll be taking a chance booking a room here.

Stayed: May 2014, travelled with family
2  Thank AngelaMaria111
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 May 2014 via mobile

Great family lunch, well looked after just the right amount of food and discreet service that delivered all good and drink at the right time. Would highly recommend.
The garden room was private with access to the secure garden that was safe for toddlers to run off their energy.

Stayed: May 2014
Thank StevenG2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 May 2014

Once again we visited this delightful pub/hotel, this time with friends down from London
A joy to see a young couple make such a success o this place
Excellent food service which would rival far more lofty establishments
Only downside this time live music in the afternoon, not really in keeping from a acoustic duo.
Can only recommend this as the best lunch in Berkshire

Room Tip: Local produce cooked really well Suggest the sunday lunch as favourite time to visit, but go before...
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  • Stayed: May 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank Mark T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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Additional Information about The Bull Inn, Stanford Dingley

Address: Cock Lane, Stanford Dingley RG7 6LS, England (Formerly The Bull Country Inn)
Region: United Kingdom > England > Berkshire > Stanford Dingley
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 2 B&Bs / Inns in Stanford Dingley
Price Range: £66 - £88 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — The Bull Inn, Stanford Dingley 3*
Number of rooms: 5
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
The Bull Country Hotel Stanford Dingley
The Bull Inn, Stanford Dingley Berkshire

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