Birthdays aren’t as much fun as they used to be, especially if you’re pushing 40, but you can still make sure there’s a treat for you on the day of the year that belongs to you.
I had no real plans to celebrate my thirty-something birthday last week, but after a stressful day at work I needed a nice meal and a couple of pints to wind down a bit.
A friend of mine raved about The Black Bull in Polmont so I decided that was the place that would provide my birthday meal and it proved to be an inspired choice. I’d actually been in the pub before and had a really good night.
The restaurant part has been run by David McAtee, who hires the kitchen off the brewery, for the past four years. It’s got a traditional feel to it and is very comfortable and clean, much like any good local pub.
It was half full on Tuesday which is a good sign and we managed to get a seat in a booth next to the window so we were off to a flier.
Anyone who has read a review of mine before will know that if there is bruschetta and cheesecake on the menu I have to order them. My smile widened when I spotted both on the menu.
The bruschetta came just the way I make it at home, with melted mozzarella on top and balsamic glaze drizelled over it. The only thing missing from the way I do it was pesto, but it wasn’t a deal breaker. It was still delicious.
My treat for my birthday was that I got to eat exactly what I wanted, and since I have a self-imposed ban on chips and burgers, that’s what I ordered. But not just any burger - the Black Bull burger with a big lump of black pudding in the middle.
It was delicious. Big and thick with sauteed red onion and melted cheddar accompanied by golden, crispy thick chips that had me questioning my banishment of this much maligned fine culinary delight.
To top my night off the white chocolate cheesecake was superb and sat atop dazzlingly colourful Jackson Pollock-like fruit coullis and a lump of ice cream. The birthday boy was very happy.
My girlfriend Karen had the mini haggis, neeps and tatties for starters and the steak pie for a main and loved both, being particularly impressed by the lack of fat on the juicy, tender beef. She didn’t have room for a pudding.
I have no hesitation in saying that if there’s better pub grub elsewhere in the district I’ve yet to find it, and I’ve done the rounds.
The Black Bull will take some beating though.
The Black Bull, Main Street, Polmont, (01324) 716610