Third Time Unlucky

This weekend we paid our third visit to The Bell at Ladbroke, Banbury Road, Ladbroke, CV47 2BY. Our first visit was last on a Sunday in April last year. The food was tremendous, I had some amazing pigeon as a starter and the Gin Whisperer had Tuna Tartare which was absolutely divine. Next time we stopped for burgers on a beautiful summers day and sat out in the garden, burgers were just as good as our Sunday lunch experience. 
This time we visited with friends. Between us we chose Pigs Cheek, Tiger Prawns and Scallops for starters and Blade of Beef, Pie of the Day which was Steak and Fillet Steak.

Bell at Ladbroke Blade of Beef, Pigs Cheek and St Clements Tart

The Pigs Cheek was nice, served with a parsnip crisp and some wilted spinach. It also came with potato which wasn’t mentioned on the menu but was also nice. There was only one piece of cheek which surprised my for the price of I’m honest. The red wine sauce was a little thin for my liking and a bit salty. The Gin Whisperer had the Tiger Prawns which were delicious, served in a Thai green curry sauce.

Next up I had the Braised Blade of Beef. I found this a little disappointing. The beef was shredded and rolled in what looked like Parma ham. It was accompanied by parsnip, carrot and dauphinois potatoes and then rather disappointingly the same spinach and red wine sauce I’d had with my starter. I found the beef itself a little dry and left some of it which I never do, the dauphinois were very nice though. I just thought it was a bit lazy to serve the exact same sauce and spinach as with the starter.

The Gin Whisperer and a friend both ordered fillet steak, one rare one medium rare. The steaks that looked amazing both, disappointingly, came medium and if you’re charging £26 for a steak you should at least be able to cook as requested. Our other friend enjoyed the pie and managed to polish off the rest of his wife’s steak. The mushroom sauce which accompanied her steak looked delicious.

For dessert I went for the St Clements Tart which we served with raspberry sorbet and it was divine. There was a huge mix of textures, the tart itself had a creme brûlée type sugar topping, the filling itself was lovely and citrusy, the sorbet was topped with sugar coated slivers of lemon and orange peel, absolutely delicious! 

Altogether we paid just over £180 for 4 starters, 4 mains, 3 desserts, 2 bottles of wine, 3 glasses of dessert wine, 3 coffees and a brandy. Service was ok, the owner as usual was very attentive when he could be but the rest of the staff were only ok. 

Our friends loved the experience but we were just a little disappointed that this visit hadn’t lived up to our others. It won’t stop us visiting again, I will just be more careful what I choose from the menu next time!

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