The Bell Inn has a beautiful beer garden, which you can read about in a previous post. In fact I ranked it my number one beer garden in the county of Leicestershire in my recent review of local beer gardens. So it is worth visiting for that alone. However, it is also a very pretty pub that puts on a great home cooked menu.
|I love a bit of timber and a low ceiling.
The chef changes menu elements regularly to keep it seasonal and fresh, but on the whole it appears you have a choice of around four starters, a selection of meat roasts for the main with a couple of additional choices and a good array of desserts to finish things off. The menu costs £10.50 for one course, £14.50 for two or £17.50 for the full shebang. My party all agreed that this was good value for the quality of food on offer, but we all found two courses to be more than enough, so be warned!
To start, one of my party chose the Chef’s Smokies – smoked haddock in a rich cheese sauce. Served with a chunk of crusty bread this was unanimously voted the best starter by our whole table after much deliberation and tasting. I would quite happily head down to the Bell just to have that dish as my meal to be honest, I enjoyed the fresh and smokey flavours so much. Total luxury.
I took on the chicken liver pate with toast points which was made onsite and came with a rich, viscous fruit sauce/jam/side which complemented the pate perfectly. Nice to see melba toast made the way I remember it from my childhood also – bread toasted with the crusts off and then cut in half and toasted again, the way it should be.
The Boy went for the soup of the day, which was a tomato and spinach affair, again with a great homemade, fresh flavour. I find it very hard to get excited about soup, but there you go. For all you soup lovers I’m sure it would have hit the spot.
For mains, The Boy took the roast meal. He was a little disappointed, having opted for turkey, that it was a couple of thin slices – he was hoping for a little more meat than that. However the stuffing square was rich and dense and full of sausagemeat so this kind of made up for it. The Yorkshire pudding was a great size, but as you can see from the picture was a little too far over the cremated fence to be truly enjoyable. It probably would have made an excellent firelighter though.
Myself and our guest both opted for the Sunday Pie – the seasonal special when we visited in late Spring. This was steak and kidney at the time and a great hulking thing it was too – I could not finish it as it felt like there was about two tonnes of meat inside. It was well seasoned and had a lovely thick gravy which was massively enjoyable on what was quite a fresh day!
I note from their website that they are currently doing Summer Salads as their changing dish on a Sunday and vegetarian options are available for all mains.
Along with our main courses came an absolute mountain of vegetables. Roast and new potatoes, carrots, broccoli and a piping hot cauliflower cheese – more than enough for the three of us. The roasties were good and crispy on the outside as you would hope and the carrots were al dente and full of flavour. My only criticism was that the new potatoes were so undercooked that it felt like they had barely seen boiling water at all, which was a shame because I’m not a big raw potato fan. Not sure many people are.
So I would heartily recommend dining at the Bell Inn, although there were certainly key areas for improvement of the food, overall we came away with a really good impression and I would be happy to go again if we were in the area. I guess that means a 7 out of 10, or maybe a 7.5.
Disclaimer: The Bell Inn were not aware of my visit, or that I write a blog and we paid for our meals in full.