Food News

Ring­ing the changes at The Bell at Lang­ford

Cotswold Life - - INSIDE - MARK TAY­LOR

Get­ting a re­view from in­flu­en­tial restau­rant critic Giles Coren in the first month of open­ing was a dou­ble-edged sword for the own­ers of The Bell at Lang­ford.

“It was with­out a doubt the best and worst thing that will ever hap­pen to us,” laughs Peter Creed, who opened the pub with Tom Noest last De­cem­ber.

“We are both diehard Coren fans, and couldn’t be­lieve we got such an in­cred­i­ble re­view from him so early on. We had been open for five weeks when it came out and the im­pact the re­view had on trade was phe­nom­e­nal.

“Our Sun­day lunches filled up for the next three months and we were do­ing the same num­ber of cov­ers on a Tues­day lunch that we had been do­ing on a Satur­day.”

Not that Peter and Tom aren’t used to work­ing in busy and suc­cess­ful es­tab­lish­ments. Prior to The Bell, Peter was part of the team that launched The Lucky Onion Group, play­ing a cru­cial role in their growth for nine years.

Tom joined Peter at The Wheat­sheaf in North­leach, where he cov­ered all front of house du­ties as well as spend­ing time in the kitchen. He then moved to Made by Bob in Cirences­ter to gain more cooking ex­pe­ri­ence.

Peter says: “We got on like a house on fire and we of­ten went to Lon­don on our days off to go and try out a new place that had opened or some­where that we hadn’t vis­ited be­fore. We ac­tu­ally de­cided to go into busi­ness to­gether over a long lunch at our favourite restau­rant, St John.”

The Bell de­scribes it­self as a ‘mod­ern coun­try pub’ with an em­pha­sis on its wood­fired sour­dough piz­zas. Apart from piz­zas, pop­u­lar dishes on the main menu in­clude Cotswold IPA rarebit with pick­les and sol­diers; lamb neck fil­let, rain­bow chard, gar­lic and an­chovy, and rab­bit, ba­con and prune pie.

“Food was ob­vi­ously al­ways go­ing to be a very im­por­tant part of what we cre­ated, but most im­por­tant was cre­at­ing a fun and un­fussy lo­cal pub.

“We wanted our cus­tomers to en­joy a com­fort­able and un­pre­ten­tious ex­pe­ri­ence that was con­sis­tent each time they vis­ited.”

Peter says they wanted to be able to of­fer good value choices, such as a cheese­burger for un­der £10, but also give peo­ple the op­tion to splash out on things like lob­ster and the 20oz Bos­ton chop for two.

“We wanted to try and do some­thing dif­fer­ent that would make us stand out from the crowd. We both love pizza and find it frus­trat­ing that you can’t get your hands on a good one in the coun­try­side.

“The pizza is very pop­u­lar on the menu, par­tic­u­larly on Sun­day nights when we do them all for half price. We make our own dough which we prove over two days be­fore cooking in the Ital­ian wood oven.

“We also use the oven to cook all of our fish, which re­acts bril­liantly to the high heat, mak­ing it crispy but still juicy.”

As they ap­proach the first year since they opened the doors, the am­bi­tious duo have also added eight bed­rooms, which have been an in­stant suc­cess.

“We have been re­ally lucky that the rooms have taken off so well since they opened and we have just launched our own sport­ing agency of­fer­ing our guests the op­por­tu­nity to take part in game shoot­ing, deer stalk­ing, fish­ing and clay pi­geon shoot­ing which we hope will be a key fac­tor in driv­ing room sales over the win­ter.”

Peter Creed and Tom Noest at The Bell at Lang­ford

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