The Bell at Boxford

We arrived at The Bell on a blissful September evening and thought we would sit outside and watch the world go by as we waited for the kitchens to open. I was sipping on a sweet, fruity cider called Apples and Pears. Also present and enjoyed by my other half was a pint of beer. There was the sound of a tractor in a nearby field, a few twittering birds and the occasional car. The thoroughly English countryside soundscape was only interrupted by an angry wasp. 
The Bell at Boxford - outside

I don’t like wasps very much and if they try to involve themselves in my food I swipe them away with whatever I have to hand: in this case, the pub menu. It all happened so slowly, to be honest we should have seen it coming as we were both sat on the same side of the park bench. There I was wafting the wasp away getting more and more ferocious with each swish and before I knew it I was harnessing my inner gymnast as I realised the bench was falling over. We were both desperately trying to stay afloat of the bench and at the same time stopping our drinks from tumbling to the floor. We must have looked ridiculous as somehow, when the bench was righted, it immediately fell over with us on it. I grabbed my cider as it flew towards my face but the beer, most unfortunately, covered us both.

The Bell at Boxford - beer garden

After much giggling we dusted ourselves down and decided that sitting opposite each other was a far better idea. The bench was upturned and the cider placed at the edge of the bench but as I went for a sip the wasp flew straight in to it for a swim. So within about five minutes of our arrival we had lost two drinks (probably mostly my fault), fallen over and inadvertently drowned some of the local wildlife. Not disheartened we reordered the drinks and set about perusing the menu.

The menu is quite considerable; sandwiches, baked potatoes, pizza, pub grub and daily fish specials on the blackboard. One thing I noticed was the real lack of vegetarian food, if you’re a vegetarian and don’t want a cheese and pickle sandwich or a four cheese pizza then I’m afraid it’s crisps for you. Carnivores however have a wide choice of classic pub food like a burger, steak and chips etc. and also some more bistro-y fish and meat dishes.

We ordered fish and chips and the award winning Bell burger. No starters as we thought we’d save ourselves for pudding. I know fish and chips and a burger aren’t particularly interesting or different but if they are done well they can be wonderful. I also think that if a place puts effort in to the ‘classic’ dishes (like sausage and mash or steak pie) then they care about the whole menu rather than just their more expensive dishes.
The Bell at Boxford - menu

I’m not sure what they do to their chips but they are probably the best chips I have ever had. Gloriously golden on the outside, almost sweet with a wonderful crisp outer and fluffy middle; these were excellent chips. The fish batter was lovely and crisp but the fish was a little dry. There was ample tartare sauce which is great for someone as caper obsessed as me. The mushy peas were tasty but had pretty obviously been microwaved because they were far too hot and also quite dry. The burger was a good size; not that ridiculous skyscraper tall style but a burger with a lot of meat and generous accessories. I think their deep fat fryer has a secret because the onion rings are as immense as the chips.

The Bell at Boxford - fish and chips

There was a wide selection of puddings with quite a few ice-cream or sundae based choices. I opted for a Mr. Whippy ice-cream, how could I not? Due to the ubiquitous nature of the Mr. Whippy there’s not much I can tell you about it that you don’t already know. It was nice to have something sweet that wasn’t too filling and gave you a chance to embrace your childhood again.

The Bell at Boxford - ice cream

Overall I think that The Bell is a nice place to be. It’s a sweet little pub with all sorts of knick-knacks decorating it and a fireplace which I’m sure will be lovely in the winter. The food was good pub food and there were some interesting choices that I would try if I went again. There is some room for improvement on the menu and a few glaring spelling mistakes but a good choice of things to order. As I mentioned, not a great place for a vegetarian but somewhere which is not too expensive, with friendly staff and a nice atmosphere. You never know, if you time it right you might even get some spontaneous outdoor entertainment if you see two people on the same side of a park bench.


  1. says

    Ahah, sounds like a right farce! I hate wasps, i really really do. They hate me too! The pub sounds lovely, there’s one very similar to that just outside my nans village, it’s lovely there too and they put so much effort into making their classic dishes the best =]

  2. says

    Funny story. It’s a good thing you didnt accidently swallow the wasp! That would have been awful. Sounds like you may have provided a little slapstick comedy Nice to know you brushed it off and went about your evening.

  3. says

    I love a good wasp story – tip here cover your drinks with a beer mat in between having sips:( Not so much fun though as wasp wafting.
    Sounds like a great pub and good pub food. Love your dessert!

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