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By Talya Honebeek

Sedbergh in Cumbria may be best known for being England’s official book town, but The Black Bull restaurant makes it well worth a trip for foodies too.

Located on the very edge of the Lake District and within the Yorkshire Dales National Park, The Black Bull is a contemporary coaching inn and dining room serving award-winning food.

Nina Matsunaga, the Black Bull’s head chef and co-owner, has German and Japanese heritage. While her husband James Ratcliffe was born and raised in Cumbria.

The result is a menu which cleverly fuses British, European and Asian flavours using a variety of local producers located within 20 miles of Sedbergh.

Read next: ChefNina Matsunaga on the meal that changed her life

Exterior The Black Bull
The Black Bull is a pub and restaurant with rooms. Credit: The Black Bull

When we visit we were immediately greeted by the host at the bar, which we noticed has a dog-friendly dining area and an inviting fire for colder days. 

As we were taken through to the main restaurant, it gave us Scandinavian vibes with its warm, earthy tones and modern take on traditional country interiors.

Once seated in a comfy booth to the side of the main dining area, which gave us the perfect vantage point from which to watch the world pass by, we started with a glass of rosé and some warm bread with super soft and spreadable butter.

The Black Bull Sedbergh restaurant
The chic restaurant. Credit: The Black Bull

This was followed by our starters, which were both beautifully presented, as is all the food here.

We opted for Mansergh Hall Pork Belly, Lo Bak Go (Turnip Cake) and Mustard Seed (£8.95) and Torched Mackerel, Sudachi, Sweet Potato and Kimchi (£9.50) – the latter being a particular highlight of the night.

beef at The Black Bull
One of the beef dishes. Credit: The Black Bull

For our mains, we decided to try the beef two ways, ordering British White Beef Fillet, Parsnip, Damson and Bone Marrow (£24.95) and Howgill Hereford Beef Pie, Seasonal Greens and Mash (£15.95), as well as a side of Potato & Celeriac Anna, Black Garlic and Parmesan (£3.95).

Both main courses were good, with the beef fillet cooked exactly to our preference, but we were surprised to find that it was the vegetables that really stole the show — if only kale always tasted this good!

Chocolate Cremeux dessert The Black Bull
The Chocolate Cremeux. Credit: The Black Bull

For dessert, we shared the indulgent Chocolate Cremeux with Hazelnut, Praline and Pear (£6.95) and the Lemon Cheesecake with Honeycomb, Meringue and Yoghurt (£6.95), the latter of which was a fairly new addition to the menu.

The Chocolate Cremeux was just as rich and indulgent as we had hoped. The pear balanced it out perfectly, while the refreshing taste of citrus was welcome at the end of our meal.

We opted for a bottle of the Olivier Coste Rosé, but if you want wine pairing, there is an extensive list of white, red, rosé wines, as well as champagnes and other sparkling options to choose from.

cosy bar The Black Bull
The cosy bar area. Credit: The Black Bull

The service was absolutely spot on all night, and our server Cami was especially friendly and attentive from the moment we arrived to when we left.

For some seriously tasty food showcasing the finest seasonal produce between the Lake District and the Yorkshire Dales, book a table at The Black Bull in Sedbergh.

If you’re staying in the area, you can also book a room at The Black Bull. Prices start from £125 a night and range from classic doubles to luxury suites. Dog friendly rooms are also available.

Best for: Lunch with friends, dinner dates, pubs with rooms in the Lake District

The Black Bull, at 44 Main Street, Sedbergh, Cumbria, is open Wednesday to Sunday for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Times are subject to change

Prices start from £15.95 for a main on the à la carte menu

Book a table at The Black Bull in Sedbergh here

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