Lunch in style at The Bell, Alderminster near Stratford Upon Avon

Lunch in style at The Bell, Alderminster near Stratford Upon Avon

The Bell is one of those places whose names seem to make people smile and nod. We mentioned the hotel/restaurant/pub, in Alderminster, near Stratford-Upon-Avon, Warwickshire, a few times on our trip to Shakespeare’s England. Everyone had good things to say about it. Deservedly so, in our opinion.

The Bell

The Bell is set on a quiet road – the A3400, which runs into the pretty village of Alderminster. All that remains from the pub’s origins as an eighteenth Century coach house is an iron ring, preserved at the back of the building. Travellers would tie their horses here, while going inside to sup an ale or two. Although the decor of the pub/restaurant/B&B is underscored by tradition, there’s a distinctly modern, hipster edge running through the place. It was a pleasant, relaxing space, with a few elegant twists.

The Bell

18th Century travellers used to tie their horses at this ring.

Inside the pub

The pub’s fireplaces both featured a musky stack of logs, and hunting-trophy antlers. One was set against a feature wall painted in this season’s favourite shade: aubergine.

The Bell

The other fireplace (shown in the picture at the top of this post) came with beat-up leather armchairs, adorned with funky ‘gentlemen’s’ cushions.

The Bell

Quirky little touches popped up everywhere, like the jaguar-print wallpaper in the hall, and the eyes which peered over your shoulder in the ladies’ bathroom.

The Bell

The Bell

Back garden

The Bell is set on the edge of fields, which run down to the River Stour. There were plenty of places to sit on the patio, from rattan loungers to iron chairs. I imagine that in summer this would be a glorious place to while away a few hours, with the children roaming safely within view of the garden. A little shack, the ‘Baby Bell’, serves snacks in the warmer months of the year. On the Autumn afternoon of our visit, it was useful to have the outside space for the youngsters to burn off some steam while we waited for our food to arrive.

The Bell

The Bell

Restaurant

The Bell’s restaurant has won awards, including the AA Rosette Award for Culinary Excellence. We arrived early, and walked from the cosy pub, with its wooden beams and soft leather furniture, through to a light-filled, airy atrium, with high ceilings and a piano tinkling away in the background. I wasn’t able to take decent photos of the space, because within minutes it was full. The Bell clearly has a formidable reputation among the Cotswolds set. It was packed with diners, wearing smart/casual clothes and tucking into some delicious lunchtime grub.

The Bell

The Bell’s most distinguished local had made his mark on the gin.

The Bell

And that grub truly was delicious. D and I ate from the lunchtime prix fixe menu, available for lunch Monday-Friday, 12-2.30pm and dinner Monday-Thursday, 6.30-9pm. Three courses would have cost £17, two courses £14.50. While we waited, the waitress brought a plate of delicious artisan bread, including slices from a warm olive loaf that just melted in the mouth. I was driving, so I turned down the offer of paired wine with the meal. D opted for an Alscot Ale, brewed on the country estate which The Bell is part of.

To start, I chose crispy squid with sweetcorn salsa and sun blushed tomatoes. The squid was light and spicy, and the piquant salsas offset it perfectly.

The Bell

D is vegetarian, and ate carrot and coconut soup followed by a dill gnocchi, roasted butternut squash, coconut and butternut velouté. He said the gnocchi was light and delicious. I tried a smidgen of his soup, which had a delicate, subtle flavour.

The Bell

My main course was a triumph. Panfried rump of lamb with truffle mashed potatoes, seasonal vegetables and a red wine jus might sound like a straightforward dish, but the flavours running through it were memorable and complex. The mash was quite possibly the most delicious I’ve ever eaten, and the lamb was astonishingly tender. Afte such a filling main course, I hoped the crème brulée with homemade shortbread wouldn’t be too heavy – and it was a gamble that paid off. The brulée was light and almost fluffy, and the shortbread was buttery, with just a hint of salt.

The Bell

The Bell

Children’s menu

Like my main course, the children’s menu sounded straightforward, but the food was top-notch, and delicious. My daughter chose the 5oz rump steak, with crisp cut chips and garden peas. My son enjoyed tucking into battered goujons of light, flakey cod. Then, included as part of the £8.95 two-course meal, they picked ice cream over the second choice, a chocolate brownie.

The Bell

 

The Bell

Staying at The Bell

We didn’t stay at The Bell this time, but the hotel offers nine boutique rooms on a bed-and-breakfast basis. Prices start at £100 per night for a midweek stay in a double room.

Getting there

The Bell is around 30 miles south of Birmingham, close to Stratford-Upon-Avon. It lies on the A3400, which can be accessed via the M40 (if you’re heading from the south), or M42 (heading from the north).

We ate lunch as guests of The Bell. All views are my own. For more information see The Bell’s website.

Read more about our trip to Shakespeare’s England here:

Taking children to Shakespeare’s England. Is is a good idea?

A family afternoon at Warwick Castle

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The Bell

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9 Comments

  1. December 19, 2017 / 3:12 pm

    This looks such a cool place – I love the way they’ve kept elements of tradition, but given it a quirky update, while the food sounds utterly delicious. Definitely worth adding to my list of stopping places in Warwickshire…

    • Nell
      Author
      December 20, 2017 / 1:24 pm

      I’ve added it to my list of places we always need to visit when we’re in the area. A great find!

  2. December 19, 2017 / 8:19 pm

    This looks absolutely lovely. the food looks delicious and I could quite easily sit outside with a gin and tonic, and enjoy a snack from the baby bell. Definitely a place to bookmark for when we are in the area!!

    • Nell
      Author
      December 20, 2017 / 1:29 pm

      I think you’d love it x

  3. December 19, 2017 / 9:44 pm

    The food looks delicious here! I love English pubs with plenty of history and style. The Baby Bell is adorable too!

    • Nell
      Author
      December 20, 2017 / 1:31 pm

      It was very sweet. A good excuse to go back when the weather’s warmer!

  4. December 22, 2017 / 5:41 pm

    The food sounds and looks amazing. Squid and gnocchi, two of my favourites right there! Love the history behind it, and the decor is lovely too! 🙂

  5. January 5, 2018 / 10:32 am

    I love Stratford but hubby has never been. This place will be in our lunch list when we finally go as a family

    • Nell
      Author
      January 5, 2018 / 12:17 pm

      The food was amazing.

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