HEATHER Taylor’s great grandad was such a regular of the Bulls Head, Heyside he had his own chair named after him – Thomas’s Chair. We hope he’ll looking down when they pour the first pint of Grandad Thomas’s Smooth Ale in the rescued Royton local. Carlsberg have brewed it in his honour in a collab with Heather, her husband James and business partner, Richard Brown.
They, of course, are the team behind Beastro in fashionable Spinningfields but the Taylor roots are up there in the Oldham hinterland.
There is sentiment involved but the trio feel for a contemporary community pub, serving in James’s words, “honest, passionate food, simply cooked from the heart”.
So another posh gastropub? “Not at all. It’s a free house, no, ties so we can pick the drinks we want and keep it as a proper local, but we will be converting the taproom into a 30-cover restaurant. We are also brightening up the lounge area so it’s welcome to all, including children."
We've had a sneak preview of the menu and it';s full of meaty treats as you'd expect (as well as catering for the vegans of Royton parish). Among the snacks you could choose from hand-raise Saddleworth pork pie or The Bulls Head egg, where Indian spiced pork sausage meat is wrapped around a pickled egg coated in breadcrumbs and served with chutney and lime pickle.
Our fancy turns to devilled kidneys – pan fried lambs’ kidneys cooked with shallots ancapers with a spiced madeira cream sauce served on toasted sourdough. Or maybe – Chicken Kiev, free range chicken breast stuffed with homemade garlic butter and covered in breadcrumbs, served with proper chips and buttered garden peas.
Heather will be be based at The Bulls Head, Richard remaining at Beastro with James shuttling between the two. “Promises to be a hectic summer,” he chuckled.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, May 30 Beastro are staging the latest in their Nose-To-Tail tasting events. This one centres round Beef. James Taylor has created an epic seven course menu and Richard has matched it with wines from Boutinot. £35 a head. To book pay £10 deposit here.
Bulls Head, Heyside, Royton, Oldham OL2 6NB. 01706 881409.