THE TRADITIONAL British pub has not had the best of times in recent years.
Even before Covid struck many were struggling to survive, only for the pandemic to add to their woes, and once they re-opened the doors along came the cost of living crisis.
While many have been forced to close their doors, fortunately there are those which continue to fly the flag for that most British of institutions – and The Bell Inn at Ladbroke is certainly one of them.
It is the epitome of a great country pub. Having been taken over by independent pub group Freespirit early last year, it has gone from strength to strength.
Freespirit – which has a roster of five inns located across Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire – carried out a major makeover, tastefully combining the pub’s historic character with 21st century comforts.
That is of course all very well, but pubs – certainly not village pubs – can no longer survive on serving pints alone.
Today, it’s all about the menu, and the large, comfortable welcoming restaurant at The Bell serves food well worth making the trip out into the south Warwickshire countryside for.
The menu is centred around sustainable and seasonal local produce achieved through working closely with farmers, growers, wholesalers and fisherman. Steaks for example are a speciality at The Bell, with cuts of dry-aged short horn beef supplied by Carpenters Farm in nearby Warmington.
And the quality of the ingredients is transferred to the plate by chef Gil, the man pulling the strings at the heart of the kitchen.
Whether it be form the land or sea, it is evident this is a kitchen with skill and vision in abundance.
We started with beautifully sweet Scallops with Pea Puree and Pancetta, together with a flavoured-packed Mushroom & Gruyere Cheese Souffle.
That was followed by a simply stunning Roast Rump of Lamb, accompanied by rich buttery Dauphinoise Potatoes, Peas, Lardons, Baby Onions and a Red Wine Jus, and an equally impressive Sea Bream with Sauteed Potatoes and a Pineapple Salsa.
Wonderfully indulgent desserts followed – a Baked Toffee Apple Cheesecake and a Warm Banana Cake with Spiced Rum Toffee Sauce.
There is a small but carefully selected wine list – including a fine house Italian Merlot, together with a range of beers, spirits and cocktails.
And it would be unfair not to mention the excellent service – attentive but not obtrusive.
In these days when pubs are under greater pressure than ever, it’s reassuring to see
the likes of The Bell thriving.
Visit bellinnatladbroke.co.uk for further details.