The Black Bull, Front Street, East Boldon

The Black Bull - Boldon.
The Black Bull - Boldon.
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When my Nan asked me to take her for lunch I immediately wondered where we could go to please both our tastes.

I wanted to try The Black Bull, East Boldon, because I’d heard good reports and as Nana E had never been there either, she agreed to my suggestion.

On poking my head through the door I panicked at first because it looked tiny and there were TVs everywhere showing the football.

However, taking a left, I saw the pub’s extension, which was TV-less and quieter, so we nabbed a seat in the conservatory and started examining the menu.

Choices varied from chilli con carne, Thai curry and burgers, to pies, steak and kidney pudding and fish and chips.

Eventually, with my stomach rumbling and mouth watering, I settled on crispy mushrooms (£2.95) to start and steak and ale pie (£5.25) for main course.

Nana E went for soup of the day (£2.50) which was tomato and basil, and chicken kung po (£5.60).

I placed the order at the bar and ordered half a Guinness (£1.55) for my guest and half a lime and soda (70p) for myself, the designated driver.

We didn’t have to wait long for the first course and as the dishes were placed in front of us I couldn’t wait to tuck in.

The mushrooms, unlike the usual frozen – sometimes greasy – button kind, were slices of large flat mushrooms. Lightly breadcrumbed and rich in flavour, I couldn’t finish them, but they were delicious.

Nana E praised the soup and said she’d never had tomato and basil before, but she would order it again.

The plates were whisked away by the helpful staff and we weren’t left sitting long before main course was served.

My eyes nearly popped out when I saw the plate of food put down before me. An individual pie, home made chips, peas and gravy – it was like being served tea by my Nan.

The pie was stuffed full of tender steak, the chips were golden brown and fluffy and the gravy was full of flavour – my only complaint is that I couldn’t finish it.

Nana E dug into her food too. A lover of sweet and sour chicken, she said the kung po was similar, but a bit spicier and more savoury.

She barely left a scrap, then leaned over to pinch one of my chips which she said were excellent (high praise from her).

After letting our stomachs rest I ordered dessert. I’m giving them a wide berth at the moment so I stuck to a coffee (£1.70), but as the meal was my treat, Nana E chose millionaire’s ice cream cake (£2.85).

A small mishap in defrosting the cake meant the ice cream was swimming around the bowl when it was served, but after asking if it could be changed, a fresh piece was brought straight out and devoured without complaint.

We left the pub singing its praises and discussing how Grandad T would like it. I’ve already been back since to try the Sunday lunch.

Drinks on offer at The Black Bull are just as traditional as the food. Lagers include Carling and Fosters (£2.65) and real ales on draught come in at (£2.85) a pint.

Monica Turnbull