Set in the sleepy hamlet of Hampton Poyle, The Bell has an excellent location. Only 10 minutes north of central Oxford and close to major attractions like Blenheim Palace and Bicester Village, it's the ideal place to stay for a romantic weekend away. For a review on what to do on a day trip to Oxford, click here.
Peek through a window in the wall into the wood fired oven
Before I start raving about the delectable food and great service, let me take you on a tour. As you enter, take a peak through the wall into the wood fired oven to see the cheese bubbling on the most delicious of pizzas. Straight ahead is the bar which is an ideal spot for a pre dinner drink as you cast your eye over the menu. If you're just looking for a delightful hot chocolate you can rest in the comfortable leather armchairs and keep an eye on the goings on in the open kitchen. The restaurant is light and airy with plenty of character and initiate enough for a dinner for two or more. There are also a couple of snug areas, ideal for a hot drink after a walk across the fields.
Renovated and reopened in 2009, The Bell has quickly become my favourite place to eat out in Oxfordshire. They have retained the charm of the period property with the old stone walls and flagstones which hold their own secrets of times past.
The contemporary decor blends easily with the old. A muted colour scheme, beautifully crafted oak beams and black & white photography creates a lovely ambience.
I have eaten at The Bell many times for both lunch and dinner and have never been disappointed with the food on offer. The Bell is most definitely a gastropub with great attention to detail, locally sourced ingredients and a certain flare without scrimping on portion sizes. The handmade pizzas are a personal favourite of mine but I've enjoyed many of their other dishes. The menu changes on a regular basis, moving with the seasons. Fillet of local venison with dauphinoise, rainbow chard, golden beets, glazed shallots and a red wine jus will certainly satisfy. My husband usually chooses the 28 day aged Oxfordshire steak with a choice of sauces and hand cut chips and it's always tasty.
The Bell excels at providing an exceptional Sunday lunch. Choose from roast loin of pork or aged sirloin beef and I promise you'll be back again. Testament to the great experience is that you definitely need to book. The Bell is incredibly popular for Sunday lunch and tables fill up quickly.
If you're visiting Oxfordshire, then The Bell can also provide accommodation for the perfect romantic getaway. Forget the standard boxes of large hotel chains and choose from one of nine individual and characterful rooms. Each room has been tastefully decorated to a high standard, with large beds, Egyptian linen and either a roll top bath or monsoon rain shower. There's an attention to detail right down to the L'Occitane products in the bathroom. Unlike the big hotels, a continental breakfast is included in their room rates making it a good value for money.
The Bell at Hampton Poyle is independently owned and the owner keeps very close to the business. This individuality results in great service from the moment you arrive, to when you have to drag yourself away.
This review is glowing and rightly so as I highly recommend The Bell. I'm just looking forward to the next time I dine there.