The Bell, Outwood, Surrey
"The Bell, Outwood, Surrey"
Driving through the patchy fog that hangs on the marshy fields just south of Bletchingley it was a relief to reach the Bell. This inviting 17th century building has all the trappings of a country pub; plenty of beams to duck, flagstones to negotiate and inglenook fireplaces to warm by. Next to the entrance is a quarter ton bell that sits in a (alarmed) glass box.
I have known this pub for over 30 years and outwardly it hasn’t changed much in this time. I can’t remember who had it back then, but it was bought by Fullers a few years ago. It always served a decent pint, including Harvey’s Sussex Best Bitter which now seems to have disappeared in favour of Fullers’ brands.
Like many pubs it’s had its ups and downs. The food was good, and then indifferent, now it’s good again. Our group of four had liver and bacon which was tender and tasty, a curry which was ‘the best they’d had outside an Indian restaurant,’ the skate wing which was ‘cooked to perfection’ and four liver and bacon sausages – yes that’s right – which were ‘delicious, moist and full of flavour.’ All served with a decent amount of fresh vegetables and washed down with spot-on ESB and a respectable Pinot-Grigio.
We arrived early evening and were alone in the main bar, which was a good move as those with children were ushered to the restaurant-like area. A couple of hours later when we left the pub it was completely full, well it was Saturday night.
The Bell has a good balance of pub and dining, where drinkers aren’t marginalised. This is a brewery owned pub after all. In summer the pub puts on barbeques in the garden. But the Bell comes into its own in the winter and provides a cosy environment with good beers and excellent food – let’s hope the up stays up.
The Bell details