Famous for being the final dining experience of William Shakespeare before catching pneumonia, The Bell Inn remains one of the most renown pubs in the Warwickshire region. Welford-Upon-Avon is a village of exceptional beauty, the Bell Inn being the jewel in its crown.
Pictured below is one of the thatched cottages common in throughout the village.
However, there is no air of finality at The Bell Inn. Each time I have visited, Colin has greeted me with the warmest of welcomes and sat me at my favourite table, by the fireplace. Seated under 400 year old oak beams, one is transported back to what must have been a glamorous 1616 dining experience.
The scene has been set, it was time to dine.
Food ought to be edible joy. One ought to take a bite and feel relief and perhaps a slight ecstasy. But this occurs, alas, only rarely. The Bell Inn evoked such joy in my mandibles. The deli sharing board for two, pictured , began a journey on a canal of flavour stopping only at total satisfaction (a place I seldom visit). Honeyed chorizo; tzatziki; prosciutto crudo; salami; cream cheese peppers; olives; breaded mushrooms; halloumi chips and rustic home made bread. I amquite sure ‘deli’ in this case is short for ‘delightful’.
I was also fortunate enough to try the Ploughman’s lunch, pictured right. The ‘Bell-Roasted’ ham was once more a taste sensation but for me the true gem of this restaurant is their combination of homemade chicken liver pate, red onion relish and rustic bread. Alone, they are impressive but combined, they become a force with which to be reckoned.
The reader may have noticed the encroaching darkness in the photographs. For this reason that I dare not attach evidence of the remaining two dishes.
A steak and mushroom ie is designed to warm the heart and soul. There is nothing better for you than homemade short crust pastry. Of course this is on a metaphysical level. In reality there are a great deal many healthier options. Nonetheless, this meal, humble though it appeared, fulfilled me on more than one level. One can be said to have achieved something when their cuisine not only appeals to the stomach but also to the mind. We have all experienced that Easter Sunday meal which makes us feel like children again. We cascade back through the years and are made to feel once again, however fleetingly, that innocent happiness which used to rule our days before we became self aware. This steak and mushroom pie does not quite attain such lofty heights, but it is close.
I’ve eaten lasagne twice at the Bell Inn and both times was more than satisfied. My dearest Claudia rightly pointed out that it is not Italian lasagna, but then again we are neither in Italy nor in an Italian restaurant. Just as language is a tool of the people, so too is food in a traditional English pub. Please do not take my meaning to apply universally and butcher innocent dishes.
A variety of visual aids were provided during our dining experience. Portraits of horses, country scenes and even novelty painting of uniformed dogs surrounded us as we ate. All of these are available for purchase. My own favourite is pictured above. Like my grandfather before me, I have an affinity for painted representations of horses. There is something majestic about these charming chargers.
If you seek a unique dining experience in a town of resplendent beauty, The Bell Inn is the place for you. Free parking is a bonus. Equally enjoyable is the walk around the town post-dinner to give one the illusion they have burned off some of the calories consumed. Come one come all, and tell Colin: Cedric sends his regards. (But not in a menacing way)