The Bell at Coleby makes a perfect destination for pub goers and diners. Situated in the beautiful and welcoming village of Coleby, an award-winning Best Kept Village, along the cliff edge, astride the A607 road to Grantham, The Viking Way runs through the core of the village, offering spectacular, panoramic views across the cliff ridge to enjoy the perfect place to rest and refresh.
It is a picture book English pub, with plenty of beams and an open fire which provides a focal point. It’s a setting which will impress not just locals but will enchant any visitors too.
Head chef and owner Paul Vidic has an admirable track record in the industry, having also worked at both the Brownlow Arms in Hough on the Hill and The Wig and Mitre in Lincoln but it is at The Bell where his reputation has flourished with regular diners and visitors alike.
The entrance at the rear of the pub has a well laid out patio area which on a warm evening would be very inviting for drinking and dining al fresco, but the cosiness of the bar was far more appropriate on this night. Paul was welcoming diners, many by their first names, and offered us the option of loitering with a drink or going straight to our table.
We were offered the restaurant’s regular menu and a printed specials menu, presenting us with a very good variety of dishes to choose from. An impressive a la carte menu which changes regularly throughout the season is complimented by extensive Early Bird and Sunday Lunch menus. Paul sources local produce wherever possible to support local suppliers and guarantee the freshest, best quality ingredients.
Our starters and main courses ordered, we didn’t have to wait long for my Chef’s chicken liver pâté served with red onion marmalade and Melba toast to arrive while my opted for beer-battered tiger prawns with a green chilli, lime and coriander dressing. The pâté was soft and delicate but packed a zesty punch on the palate, which I thoroughly enjoyed. The prawns were deliciously meaty and perfectly cooked. Other tempting dishes included the Bell at Coleby double baked cheese soufflé with smoked haddock and leeks and breaded soft shell crab on Asian spiced slaw, wasabi, soy and orange dressing. Both our starters were quickly consumed.
The menu listed ten main courses with an interesting mix of meats, game, fish and one vegetarian option all served with a cocktail of buttered vegetables and chunky pub chips or Boston new potatoes. I opted for Norfolk lobster linguine with garlic, soft herbs and chilli butter. My partner chose roast rack of lamb, gratin Dauphinoise, buttered spinach, with rosemary pan juices. I love fish and the lobster was beautifully cooked, delicately flavoured and generously portioned with a kick of heat from the chilli butter. The lamb was equally succulent, served pink with the gratin Dauphinoise declared an inspired accompaniment. Two empty plates returned to the kitchen.
Puddings are all home made and offer a roll call of classic desserts. For those with plenty of room there is sticky toffee pudding with butterscotch sauce and caramel ripple ice cream and lighter choices include crème brûlée. We finished our meal by sharing a selection of cheeses served with house chutney, grapes, toasted hazlenuts and biscuits. My favourites from the five were the Smoked Brie and the Colston Bassett Stilton.
Paul often appears from the kitchen to talk to diners and his satisfaction at seeing happy diners was evident. It is lovely to see someone care so much about his guests and value their opinions – Feedback and knowing your customer is essential in any business and Paul’s own recipe for success is undoubtedly why The Bell at Coleby has remained so popular over the years.
Venue: The Bell at Coleby, Far Lane, Coleby, LN5 0AH.
Parking: Ample free parking on-site.
Verdict: Fabulous, food, service and location.