The Blue Bell Inn
This gorgeous gastro pub in Rothley has all the charm of a village local and as dieting isn't on my list of resolutions, I was only too happy to tuck in.
This cosy pub ticks all the boxes for a warm and welcoming watering home. It sits quietly in a residential area of the village, just minutes away from Charnwood Forest and is a much-loved pub with the locals.
I managed to bag a table in the pub area, right in front of the wood fire stove which warmed my tootsies right up. The current owners have been running the pub for nearly four years now and they went on quite a journey to get it to the standard it is today.
I love the mismatched chairs, gingham napkins and train carriage booths, inspired by the Great Central Railway down the road. They come complete with high-back seating and space for luggage over the seats. Everything about this place is friendly, like the intimate pub area where you can choose to eat or drink, not to mention the staff which sounds a bit cliché, but they really are. It’s always a good sign when you hear the staff greeting customers by their name.
Towards the rear is the main restaurant which features exposed roof timbers, stone walls and views of the open kitchen. This area was a lot more open and spacious and comes with views of the terrace outside. The previous owners used this as a skittle alley which I am guessing had little or no use, so by restoring it and offering the pub a specific restaurant area, makes much more sense.
The mid-winter menu was bursting with delicious dishes beyond just sandwiches and burgers. They also serve steak, grills, pizza (ohh yes they have a wood fire pizza oven too). Food here is seasonal and changes every month and they also have a daily specials board so you’re more than likely to to be tempted by more than just one dish. There’s also a menu for kids and cocktails so it seems that absolutely everyone is welcome here.
For starters, I ordered the field mushrooms – two delicious morsels that came stuffed with ricotta, spinach and crunchy pinenuts.
For mains, I opted for the Thai red curry with chickpeas and aubergines which was hearty, wholesome and chock full of veggies making it a healthier choice than the burgers or grills…God it’s hard being good!
OUT AND ABOUT
If you’ve over indulged here, the good news is that Charnwood Forest is only a few minutes walk away so you can eat your fill and then walk it off – because of it’s proximity to the forest the pub isa good spot for dog walkers. If you’ve come with your little ones, you can explore the Charnwood Forest Garden Railway (CFR) located at Rothley station on the Great Central Railway, Leicestershire. Depending on what days you visit, means you may see a variety of different trains coming through the station.
THE MUDDY VERDICT
Good for: Casual get togethers, locals, I spotted a few business meetings taking place, ladies who lunch types, families, furry friends are also welcome. They also have live music nights which seem to be quite popular.
Not for: I really can’t think of anyone who wouldn’t enjoy it here.
££: Reasonable. £3-8 ish for starters, pizza start from under a tenner, mains from £11 and sides such as chips, seasonal green, garlic butter mushrooms, start from £3.25.
The Blue Bell Inn, 59 Town Green Street, Rothley, Leicestershire, LE7 7NW. 0116 230 2201