Dickens’ description of Ye Olde Bull’s Head in The Uncommercial Traveller is as follows:
“Take the old-established Bull’s Head with its old-established knife-boxes on its old-established sideboards, its old-established flue under its old-established four-post bedsteads in its old-established airless rooms, its old-established frouziness up-stairs and down-stairs, its old-established cookery, and its old-established principles of plunder. Count up your injuries, in its side-dishes of ailing sweetbreads in white poultices, of apothecaries’ powders in rice for curry, of pale stewed bits of calf ineffectually relying for an adventitious interest on forcemeat balls. You have had experience of the old- established Bull’s Head stringy fowls, with lower extremities like wooden legs, sticking up out of the dish; of its cannibalic boiled mutton, gushing horribly among its capers, when carved; of its little dishes of pastry — roofs of spermaceti ointment, erected over half an apple or four gooseberries. Well for you if you have yet forgotten the old-established Bull’s Head fruity port: whose reputation was gained solely by the old-established price the Bull’s Head put upon it, and by the old-established air with which the Bull’s Head set the glasses and D’Oyleys on, and held that Liquid Gout to the three-and-sixpenny wax-candle, as if its old-established colour hadn’t come from the dyer’s.”
Despite Dickens’ wicked criticism, Ye Olde Bulls Head Inn has survived more than 500 years. I’m happy to report that a pleasant sea breeze freshened my small, comfortable room, and today the food is superb.
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