The Blue Bell Inn were reviewed by The Sunday Sun on 12th July 2009.
IT’S three years since I took She Who Must Be Fed to the delightful Blue Bell Inn, at Kip Hill, Stanley.
Back then, we were so impressed that I made it joint-winner of my Pub of the Year Award in 2006.
Quite a few miles have been clocked up on the old Eatsmobile since then, and many more delicious scrans have been downed in the interests of bringing you the very best recommendations.
But the fond memory of our last visit was enough to send Mrs Eats scurrying for her handbag when I suggested a return trip at the weekend to see if the Blue Bell still lived up to its reputation for great food and friendly service.
And I am happy to report that it definitely did . . . if anything, it was even better than we remembered. Owner Eddy, who runs the pub with partner Stuart, was as welcoming and wacky as ever.
His quirky sense of humour sent She Who Must Be Fed into fits of girlish giggles as he sat down at our table for a chat while we made our selections.
Eddy treats all his guests this way and is a stickler for detail. When he thought, wrongly, that Mrs E had not been provided with cutlery for her potato skins starter, he was most disgruntled and before we had time to correct him we were being brought knives and forks by three different servers.
Small wonder then that with these high standards everything in the pub is immaculate. This includes the bright and airy dining area to the spotlessly clean loos and friendly, attentive service.
But food was what we were really after and I was surprised and pleased to note the Sunday roasts had gone up just 55p since our last visit, from £5.95 back in 2006 to £6.50. There is a full range to choose from with beef, lamb, pork and chicken all on offer. For an extra £1 you can have a mixed platter of four meats.
There are other options available and a selection of vegetarian choices, including a meatless version of their Sunday roast.
After the cutlery misunderstanding, Mrs E thoroughly enjoyed her potato skins that came with a spicy mayonnaise dip and salad. The empty dishes were cleared promptly and in no time at all we were tucking into the main event.
She Who Must Be Fed plumped for the chicken dinner and her eyes practically popped out of her head when not one but two succulent pieces of breast turned up with a good-sized Yorkshire pudding and stuffing, along with roast and boiled potatoes.
I chose the roast beef and was served a good-sized portion of meat cooked to perfection. Juicy and tasty, it melted in the mouth.
This too came with a Yorkshire pudding and potatoes, and we shared a plate of carrots, peas, turnip and Brussels sprouts. The pudding selection offered all the old favourites and I went for sticky toffee pudding with ice cream, while Mrs E chose the raspberry Pavlova.
Both were very generous portions. In fact, I am ashamed to admit that I couldn't quite finish mine as it could easily have satisfied two healthy appetites.
Mrs E had no such trouble with her Pavlova, a meringue top and bottom sandwiched with raspberry mousse and smothered with a raspberry compote.
Eddy stopped by for another chat while we paid the bill and confirmed it is best to book for Sundays, as it is usually very busy.
I like to think I can claim some credit for this given the big plaque on the door advertising my Pub of the Year accolade, but it is probably more to do with the friendly host and extremely good scran.