Date With Destiny

A chance meeting over a quiet pint, led to the perfect match between an award-winning chef and an award-winning gastropub. Kate Bowyer talks fate, destiny and delicious dining with Nick Evans, the new head chef at the Black Bull

Starting as a coaching inn in 1555, the handsome stone-built Black Bull in Old Langho, still offers irresistible temptations for the passing traveller and dedicated foodie alike.

One such foodie is chef Nick Evans, who has spent 30 years’ working between North Yorkshire and Lancashire, including five years living in neighbouring Salesbury, while head chef at Michelin-starred Northcote.

“Two years ago, I was having great fun taking a little gastropub in mid-Wales, near where I grew up, from nowhere to number 30 in the UK’s top gastropubs,” says Nick. “But myself and my wife, Charlotte, sorely missed the countryside, walks and our good friends up here.”

Moving back up north last December, Nick popped into ‘a nearby pub’ for a pint and became enchanted, by the Black Bull’s lovely, flagged floors, exposed stone walls and soaring original beams.

Nick, settles into a cosy booth next to a roaring fire and explains what happened next: “I bumped into Gordon Cartwight, whom I’d worked with over many years in previous chapters, and who is now the Black Bull’s general manager. A couple of pints later, I’d been offered the job as head chef – total serendipity.”

It has also proved the perfect culinary match, with the Bull’s authentic pub classics, given a refreshing modern twist, garnering many loyal fans and awards, including Pub of the Year finalist at the 2023 Great British Pub Awards.

“My goal is to build on the Bull’s strengths – a great dining experience with a superb choice of locally sourced dishes, like our legendary Sunday sharing boards,” says Nick. “We are putting the Black Bull at the forefront of the Ribble Valley’s reputation as a destination for exceptional food, service and atmosphere.”

Nick has even taken inspiration from his own unconventional, job interview: “As a firm believer in seasonality, I’m connecting with local suppliers, such as Giles Shaw at Wellgate Fisheries in Clitheroe. He popped in for Sunday lunch, and now he’s our fishmonger, buying the best fresh fish direct from the Fleetwood quayside for us. Fantastic!”

Surrounded by rolling hills, I can see why the Black Bull’s large garden terrace was the only Lancashire eatery to be named in OpenTable’s Top 100 best outdoor dining pubs 2023. With no need for pets to stay outside, the Bull is also enthusiastically dog-friendly, including an exclusive doggy menu, another enticement for Nick, Charlotte and their Labradoodle, Hamilton.

Not that I need further encouragement to return – there’s a roasted seabass fillet on the menu with my name on it.

The Black Bull
Old Langho Road, Old Langho BB6 8AW
01254 248801



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