Food review: Cock'n'Bull, Stourbridge - 3.5 stars
Funky, trendy, something a bit different – all ways to describe the Cock’n’Bull in Stourbridge.
If you’re thinking of trying somewhere you a bit of edge and a simple food menu, but with a vast cocktail list, this is probably the place for you.
The venue sits in High Street, so it’s a great place to nip to before heading into the town or further afield.
However, it does also provide its own entertainment so if you do end up enjoying yourself you could quite easily settle in for the night.
The Ultimate Zombie (for at least two I’d say) craft beers, bottles from around world and a wide selection wines – it’s a great place to take friends.
And that’s exactly what we did when a couple of mates, Dale and Jo, came down to visit my wife and I from Preston.
It was the usual scenario: the children had been happily shipped off to relatives for the evening so we were left wondering where to try.
My wife, Kelly, had previously popped into the Cock’n’Bull with a friend and enjoyed herself, so we all decided to head down before catching a comedy night.
The pub prides itself on its ‘filthy' burgers – filthy because they contain so many different ingredients, topping and sides. You can pretty much make your burger – Kick Ass Chicken or otherwise – as big or as small as you like.
Added to that its cocktail and innovative drinks menu, the quaint but nicely refurbishment venue is very welcoming and just gets you in the mood for a party.
Simple but effective is how I would probably describe the food menu. But it doesn’t pretend to be anything different, so it’s no criticism.
Despite being a chain, Cock’n’Bull uses locally-sourced products in its burgers, which are complimented by a range of signature homemade sauces.
These include peri peri, mango and chilli, Teriyaki sauce, kick ass sauce, chick'n gravy, citrus and herb, bourbon barbecue and katsu curry, so they really have tried to cater for everyone’s needs when it comes to a topping.
The pub offers a great grazers menu too, for anyone who just wants to share a few dishes with mates rather than ordering individual meals.
Things like Asian chick'n kebab (the ‘n’ is as much a running theme as the chicken), meatball marinara, halloumi fries, jalapeno poppers and nachos, but then there was also the more eye-catching offers like mac 'n' cheese spring rolls, cherry cola brisket and cheeseburger spring rolls.
As we were catching a show fairly soon, we decided a three-course banquet might be too much so we skipped any starters or sharers and just went for the mains.
Chicken or burger?
Chick'n Your Way allows the customer to choose their fries, sauce and side – or two sides for a little extra.
But it was the burgers that really stood out – and three out of four of us went for the same one. Not ideal for a food review, but you let you friends eat what they like.
The filthy burgers contain two free range Herefordshire beef patties, which are served medium unless otherwise requested.
There’s the Classic Moo, cheese and bacon, Raging Bull, P B J Burger, Bourbon Bull, The Godfather and the Filthy Cow for the real beef lovers out there.
However, it was the Kick Ass Chick'n burgers that grabbed the attention of Jo, Dale and Kelly.
The chicken is marinated for 24 hours in buttermilk, coated and seasoned in a secret recipe crumb, and fried in rapeseed oil to order. For the more health conscious, the burger can be grilled instead.
If the clean plates were anything to go by, it’s fair to say everyone enjoyed theirs. Some felt there was a little too much batter on the burger and took a lot of it off, but other than that the chicken was moist and there was plenty of it too.
Served with sweet potato fries and one of their homemade sauces, it made for a really appetising burger and chips, with a twist, of course.
Dale enjoyed his so much he even lapped his up with an extra burger for good measure. The chips were also slightly cold too but other than that everyone thoroughly enjoyed it, especially as Jo and Kelly could then get down to the real business of finishing off their Zombies.
The Ultimate Zombies contain a blend of dark, light and spiced rums, passion fruits, pineapple lime and Ticki Fire. Probably as good as the meal, or at least the empty drinks bowl alluded to that anyway. A lot of women were ordering them for good reason.
For those who like to experiment a little more, there’s also the Kick Ass, Pho King Chick'n, Sweet Dreams, ABC, Buffalo Blue and Dirty Bird to choose from, as well as grilled Halloumi Burger for veggies.
I decided to throw caution to the wind and try the curried chickpea pitta instead. The pitta came fully-loaded – they really could not have fitted anymore in had they tried – so that was a nice sign.
One thing that always happens whenever I prepare a pitta at home is it just falls to bits as soon as I fill it or bite into it.
I’m sure there’s a trick and it seems the good people at Cock’n’Bull have discovered it because, from the first mouthful, it retained its shape.
It might sound like such a small things, but knowing I was going out after it was nice to know I would not be covered in food.
More importantly, however, the food itself was really nice too. It did have quite a kick to it, nothing too overbearing but just enough to make your tastebuds stand up.
The filling had a thick consistency and every now again you’d get a bite of whole chickpea coming through. It was pretty filling for its size but a very nice meal and something that was certainly a bit different.
Ice cream and cheesecakes were about as far as the dessert menu went but, again, it’s not what the venue is all about.
Behind the bar
There were, however, a range of milkshakes to choose from – vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, butterscotch or peanut butter.
And then there were caramel pretzel, Too Berry & Beyond, Candy Crusher, Choco Pop or The Bubble-Bull flavours, described as ‘Freak Shakes’.
But it didn’t end because customers could also 'Go In Hard' on their shakes by adding butterscotch & spiced rum, peanut butter & bourbon or strawberry & amaretto.
The cocktail list was too extensive to go into. The 'new school cocktails', however, included Bittersweet Symphony, which contained elderflower liqueur, grapefruit, Aperol and agave; Gin Garden, gin, strawberry, cucumber, mint, ginger beer and elderflower; Kentucky Sweet Tea, bourbon, apple juice, tea-infused syrup, ginger beer and lime; and Rockstar, whisky, passionfruit liqueur, lime juice, passionfruit puree and vanilla syrup.
They sounded and looked amazing, especially as all the drinks were made by experienced bartenders.
Cock’n’Bull is open seven days a week, starting at 10am for breakfast or brunch, through to lunch specials available to eat in or take away.
Heading into the evening, the atmosphere becomes vibrant one with food served until 9pm.
The bar remains open until 11pm, or 12am Friday and Saturday, with the back drop of tunes taking in a mixture of genres. Definitely somewhere worth trying out.