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The Canal Inn
Ambergate, Derbyshire
01629 534888
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Burger And Pizza Night At The Canal Inn, Bullbridge, Ambergate

Published On Sunday 24 Mar 2024 by Sticky Beak
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The Man and I have fiiiiiiiiiinally got around to visiting The Canal Inn at Bullbridge to sample their Thursday night offering: Pizza and a pint for £11 or Burger and a pint for £12. It’s only taken us a year!!!

The Canal Inn stands in a fab position on the outskirts of the village and, thanks to several housing developments, has an increasingly large, local customer base. I was glad to see that there is plenty of on-site parking, because the road isn’t especially wide even though it’s fairly busy. Having parked up, I took a moment to appreciate the beer garden: this is a lovely size and each table has a parasol which will be perfect in summer…assuming we get one, which we’d better do, given the crappy winter we’ve had!

Stepping inside, The Canal Inn is a really nice, traditional local and plenty of folks were already enjoying a relaxed, post-work pint. The star of the show, though, was a cute terrier dog who’d perched themselves on a stool; prime position from which to view their humans’ snacks. Dogs are permitted throughout the venue and we had several accompanying their humans in our side of the restaurant – all very well behaved.

I’m not a huge fan of beers and lagers (especially with my evening meal), so I asked what other options came with the offer. Wine is sadly not included, but you can have soft drinks or a short with ‘pump’ mixer: I opted for a vodka and Lemonade, which came with ice and a straw. Having settled in, I took a bit more notice of my surroundings and was pleased with the seamless mix of modern and traditional.

Wooden floors were laid in a gorgeous herringbone pattern and the wood theme was carried on by the tables, which had sturdy metal legs. A large, wrap-around banquette was in a deep green tone that complimented the brown, mid-back chairs and grey upholstery on the stools. The calming, natural palate continued with the putty hued walls and the wheaten curtains. Dividing the two halves of the restaurant (split by the bar) was a space filled with beer barrels and garlands of Hops; a quirky, but lovely, decorative touch that ties in perfectly with the onsite micro-brewery,14 Lock. Background music was at a perfect level to be conducive to conversation and providing entertainment, simultaneously.

The Thursday night menu is written on both sides of a small, blackboard that the team passes from table to table as required and, yes, it’s a compact menu…but not an untempting one. There are a trio of burgers to choose from: Smashed Beef, Cajun Chicken or a ‘Moving Mountain’, vegan and vegetarian-suitable one, and all come with Fries and Coleslaw. You can upgrade your fries to loaded ones for a quid, which His Nibs did, and choices include Cheese, Jalapenos, and Ham. All the sides – Fries, Chips and Onion Rings – are priced at £4, so we ordered a portion of Onion Rings to share. I went for the Pizza, a thin-crust offering that comes as Margharita as standard, to which you can add up to 3 toppings from a choice. I had Chicken, Olives and Sun-dried Tomatoes on mine.

We’d booked a table fairly early, so there were only two other ones taken, but as the time got to 6.30-7pm it got busier and busier until all the tables were filled. I should just say that they all had ‘reserved’ signs on them, so clearly this is a popular evening at The Canal Inn!

A couple of orders went past our table and they didn’t half look good – our tummies rumbled in anticipation and it (thankfully!) wasn’t long before our meals were being placed before us. I was surprised by how large the Pizza was and His Nibs commented that his burger patty was at least 4oz, maybe even 6oz. 

Both meals were hot, and you could tell that they’d been cooked-to-order, using fresh ingredients. The burger had a classic garnish of Tomato, Lettuce, Relish and Cheese which all partnered the deep, meaty taste of the beef beautifully. Equally delicious was the chunky, colourful, creamy Coleslaw that came in a separate pot – you certainly get a good portion of everything: the loaded Fries were plentiful (so were the toppings) and we got at least a dozen Onion Rings for the £4. Ah yes, the Onion Rings; often a contentious side dish thanks to portion size, quality of batter, and flavour. I’m pleased to say that they were of varying sizes and the batter was light and super-crispy, with no greasiness at all. Perfect.

All of the toppings I’d chosen for my pizza were clearly in evidence so, again, you don’t feel short-changed. I liked the fact that the pizza had been cut into pieces for me, it meant that I didn’t have to faff about at the table. If I had one criticism - and this is purely a personal thing - I would’ve liked a salad to be available as a side order; when I have pizza I usually like to pick at a cool salad, too. I’m sure if I’d asked, the Canal Inn team would’ve done me one but, on such a busy night, I didn’t want to be a ‘Karen’!

One of the team, a young lass, came over to check we were happy with our food and very happily took away our empty plates to the kitchen. It hadn’t been our original plan, but we found ourselves ordering desserts – I bet you’re all shocked at that, eh?!! The lovely gent informed us that the Apple Pie was unavailable, but that there was a Treacle Tart on the menu instead; that was me sorted out, now just The Man Bird to go. Eventually, he chose the Dark Chocolate Cheesecake with Passionfruit Sorbet, though he had been tempted by the Chocolate Brownie. All desserts are £7 - I love the pricing at this Bullbridge pub, it’s nice and easy.

You get a good wodge of dessert, too, at The Canal Inn. There is something mega comforting about a properly done Treacle Tart, and this one took me right back to the happy, carefree days of my childhood with its sweet, sticky filling and crumbly, buttery pastry. I chose to have it with Vanilla Ice Cream rather than Custard, but I’m sure it would’ve been just as scrummy with a warm companion as it was with the cool Ice Cream.

Just recently, The Man is getting a bit more adventurous with his food but, even so, I was still a bit taken aback when he tried the Passionfruit Sorbet; after all, it isn’t a subtle flavour! His Nibs was getting stuck in to the sorbet, saying how much he liked it and that it actually went really well with the intensity of the dark chocolate. The cheesecake texture was so smooth and dense that it wasn’t dissimilar to a velvety ganache when it was in his mouth; pinching a spoonful, I can confirm this!

Our total bill came to £42 for the two of us which, considering we’d ordered an upgrade, a side and had desserts, we thought was great – especially given the portion sizes and quality. Service had been friendly and professional throughout and the tables were cleaned thoroughly after they’d been vacated. 

The Canal Inn at Bullbridge is open 7 days a week and serves lunch between Noon-5pm and dinner from 5pm-8.30pm.

Hot Wings happily given to this Bullbridge venue; we’ll certainly be back! If you find yourselves particularly smitten with this gorgeous Derbyshire venue, then why not stay in one of the six ensuite rooms, or even go for the superior suite if you’re feeling fancy! To book a table ring 01629 534888 or visit the website www.thecanalatbullbridge.co.uk

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