As you know, Adam and I often go out for dinner. Most of the time the places we frequent are good, although there are a few terrible meals out there. Occasionally though, we stumble across something truly exceptional. As The Bell at Langford had only been open a few days, I had no preconceptions when we were invited over to try the Cotswolds’ newest pub; we had a good idea though as the owners, Peter Creed and Thomas Noest, have an excellent pedigree gained in and around the Cotswolds.

Happily, The Bell turned out to be a real gem – exceptional food, the most charming, friendly service and a really great atmosphere. This is a pub for foodies, no mistake, and I think it’s my new favourite. Pete is just the most gregarious and friendly host; he welcomed us like old friends, and really went out of his way to make sure we had a good time.

To Begin

As it was a cold winter’s night, we decided to go all out on the eating front. We began with a garlic and bone marrow flatbread to share, whilst we poured over the straight talking menu of pub classics with a gastro twist. A quick word about the flatbread; The Bell has a woodfired pizza oven and makes a traditional overnight Neapolitan style sourdough pizza. This makes for some deliciously light pizzas with the trademark blackened spots around the edge. The addition of bone marrow is inspired as it elevates a standard garlic bread into a truly unctuous dish. Make sure you are hungry as The Bell also offers huge complementary chunks of sourdough bread which really hit the spot whilst you wait for the main event.

For proper starters, I chose the Cotswold rarebit, and oh my good lord was I glad. Probably one of the standout dishes on the menu, this gorgeous, gooey rarebit had a real kick to it. I never wanted it to end and made sure that I got every last drop out using the sourdough toast and pickles. When you visit {because you simply must}, you’ll want to order this; I defy anyone not to love it. Adam opted for the buttermilk chicken with aioli; plump, juicy chicken in a crisp, well seasoned coating. He thoroughly enjoyed it and tried to dip some in my cheese, but he wasn’t very successful. Mwahahaha!

The Bell’s Mains

As is so often the case, I was looking to satisfy my burger cravings, so choosing a main was a no brainer for me. The Bell Burger is a simple yet effective  dish – a homemade patty with American cheese served in a squishy brioche bun. It’s no Beefy Boys, but it’s not trying to be either. Pete explained that they were trying to better their favourite burger which kept things simple, but exceptionally tasty. I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

Adam went for fish and chips although from the size of the portion, it could well have been whale and chips. Unlike some pubs, the batter was crisp and golden, and the fish flaky, whilst the fries were well seasoned. The accompanying tartare sauce was well balanced, and the crushed peas added a bit of colour and texture. The rest of the menu is proper country pub food; local meats, seasonal game and interesting veg dishes.

Something Sweet

I don’t know about you but I often choose dessert before anything else on the menu. The temptation to take a sneak peak at the end of the menu is altogether too much and I usually spend the meal eagerly waiting for my sweet treat. The Bell’s pudding menu had too many delicious sounding choices so we ended up getting three desserts; 2 for the meal and one for the road. Adam chose a Pedro Ximenez poached pear with vanilla mascarpone and almond brittle. Sweet, light and with a bit of crunch from the brittle, this was the perfect way to end a rather filling meal. I went for my usual favourite, sticky toffee pudding with clotted cream; I am pretty fussy when it comes to sticky toffee but this was rich, with a fluffy sponge and gooey toffee. Mmm, I could eat another one just thinking about it.

At home, we tackled the epic sounding Chocolate Nemesis, served with tangy Neal’s Yard creme fraiche. It was a good job we saved it for afters as this was a dense, bitter chocolate love affair, packed with French Valrhona chocolate. Beautiful but you wouldn’t want a large piece.

Final Thoughts

In summary then, The Bell at Langford is everything a country pub should be. Warm, welcoming, log fires ablaze, and delicious local food coming out the kitchen. We’ve seen pictures of the Sunday roast and needless to say we’ll be booking up soon. Sadly our village local is nothing like The Bell; if it were though, I imagine we might rarely leave our village again.

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