Gingey Bites: The Blue Bell Inn, Rothley

Gingey Bites is a five ft nothing food blogger from the Midlands who loves local produce and eats out too much! Check out her blog.

I love a good country pub but it’s rare to find one which ticks all the boxes. The Blue Bell Inn recently opened in the pretty Leicestershire village of Rothley after a fairly exhaustive renovation project. When I heard it was owned by the people behind the Curzon Arms in Woodhouse Eaves, I knew it’d be good.

So last week I headed over there for an early dinner with a couple of fellow foodies and was totally impressed. In fact, the hubby and I are going back next weekend!

Décor is country chic with a slight vintage feel to it and as you first walk into the pub you don’t immediately realise the size of the dining area at the back (housed in what appears to be an old stable block). As we walked to our table, we passed an open kitchen and wood fired pizza oven – both smelling delicious, plus a lovely looking garden area. The menu is very seasonal and changes monthly. It’s definitely gastro pub territory and includes a wide range of cuisine. You can have a pizza or roast or stew from their wood fired oven or go for something from their main menu.

To start I opted for sea salt and pepper squid with mango and chilli salsa. The squid was very tender although I’d have preferred the batter to be a little crispier and the salsa suited it well. My dining companions opted for asparagus, spinach & fried duck egg on sour dough, béarnaise and pulled pork, fried onions, baby gem, sesame toast. I heard no complaints across the table and everything smelt delicious.

For my main (and all round winner of the night) I had the Smoked & braised Hereford beef rib, potato salad, smoked butter corn on the cob. 12 hours of braising and smoking lead to what can only be described as … heaven. That beef rib was fall of the bone meltingly tender and I wolfed the whole thing down, despite its huge size! The corn on the cob is cooked in the butter but I asked for some on the side so I could slather a bit more on – a great move. The potato salad was very mustardy and the sharpness cut through the rich beef well although may be too mustardy for some people.

Around the table we also had pan fried devilled scallops, cucumber & mooli salad with lime yoghurt, which interestingly came with a side of skinny fries and fish & chips (sustainably caught, beer battered fish) which, just as it should, came with chunky chips.

We were there early on a Thursday night and were impressed to see the place so busy. Although the service was a little slow we didn’t mind as the staff were very friendly and were there having a good old gossip anyway. For two courses (but no alcohol) we paid around £20 a head and overall, I definitely think the Blue Bell Inn is a great addition to Rothley and the surrounding area. The décor is gorgeous and the food is wonderful. I really can’t fault the place and urge you to try it!

Alex Ryder
The author:

Alex is a Midlands girl who now lives in Bristol. She writes food blog Gingey Bites and loves nothing more than eating out and experimenting in the kitchen. When she's not doing that, she works as a freelance marketeer and can often be found up on the Downs walking off the pot belly!