In one of those strip malls where all the signage is yet to be more than a temporary banner over the entrance is the Bull & Bear.
Quite a good looking wooden bar fittings and cool dark and relatively OK space.
Two pints of Guinness were in fair to good condition.
Went for the Brit side of the menu. I'm sorry, but the food (although other people's more mainstream US-style stuff stuff looked better) was poor. We opted to share a Scotch Egg for starter, and my wife had steak & mushroom pie and I had the lamb chops.
First problem, the bloody Scotch Egg was hot (had just been cooked). This is wrong. The anthithesis of how a Scotch Egg should be served: which is cold cold cold all the way. In the same was a Melton Mowbray pork pie, anything else is just plain wrong, and the flavor of hot sausage does not allow the seasonings to shine through the taste as they should. Of course, I never thought to ask. Also it had been cut into 4 longitudinal sections two of which were "avec ouef" and two were "sans" [apart from a sliver of white]. A small point but . . . the whole point is the juxtaposition of boiled egg and pork. Therefore 50% of the thing was effectively ruined in the cutting up.
Maybe a small point, but it's things like that that make all the difference. Does anyone think of the point I just made? Or just leave it in one whole egg-shaped piece and let us punters do it ourselves.
Mains went wobbly. The steak and mushroom pie's puff pastry was not well cooked. And the mushrooms were not seen although they may have been there in trace amounts liek gold dust in a long-since panned out sluice. But the problem with both the pie and my lamb chops was a truly awful gravy slathered over both things. The gravy was a particularly unpleasant flavored one and ruined three perfectly good (cooked rare as requested) lamb chops.
We had good service, and noted a couple of other Brito-American voices (like ourselves) but the food defintiely was a "Thumbs Down."
As said, service was OK if a bit overstressed (there seemed only one waitress for a good number of tables in play).
I gather they have Hold Em poker tourneys which might be interesting. Also Karaoke and a DJ at times.
Other minor things (which added up) mushy peas were on the menu but "we haven't had those for months" I was told and made to feel a bit foolish for asking. Ditto a Belgian Beer on advertizement "We stopped carrying that but it was REALLY GOOD." O K .
The Red Lion in Shepherd continues to be the standard bearer for a "Brit fix" in Houston for me. The Black Labrador gets a slight mention for waitress-cuteness-quotient but otherwise I didn't think all that much of it.
I have heard rumors of a place over by the Bay (Bayview Duck Restaurant in Bacliff). It's a long way for me to go but it sounds like worth a check out - can anyone perhaps confirm the need to do so, or save me some gas and energy?? British ownership and perhaps a firm hand at the helm of the beer pumps?
But I have leapt on this hope-for-something-better-next-time bus before.
Thanks for reading.
The Bull & Bear Tavern & Eatery
11980 (north side of) Westheimer Suite A, Houston, TX 77077
Between Dairy Ashford & Kirkwood
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