The Bell Hotel, Sandwich

PUBLISHED: 13:33 21 July 2009 | UPDATED: 16:10 20 February 2013

The Bell Hotel

The Bell Hotel

The Bell has existed on this site since medieval times, but there's nothing old-fashioned about this swishly refurbished Sandwich restaurant.


The Bell has existed on this site since medieval times, but there's nothing old-fashioned about this swishly refurbished Sandwich restaurant.


There is a charming area of Sandwich down by the Quay, from where you can take a boat ride and just amble along enjoying the view. Then pop into the restaurant at The Bell, where the atmosphere is friendly and relaxed.


A lovely airy dining room looks out onto the Barbican and the ancient streets of this delightful town, while a warmer inner sanctum is good for evening dining on darker nights.


A comfortable lounge provides a good space for an aperitif. The aim of the owners, under the expert and cordial management of Matt Collins, has been to keep the golfing theme, as Sandwich figures in the higher end of the golf market.


The Bell has existed on this site since medieval times, but the current listed building is mainly 19th century. The dining areas have been refurbished in the last year and a number of bespoke wooden dressers have warmed up the furnishings. On the walls many stylish black and white photos display a dance theme with great elegance.


Supplies for your dinner are unremittingly local. Kevin at Delf Farm grows a lot of vegetables for the restaurant and some specifically for The Bell, including, at the time of writing, red cabbage shoots, herbs, lettuces and fresh peas.


The meat is from Rook's, Kent's butchers, or Coopers at Aldington, renowned in the area. Fish comes from Eddie Gilbert in Ramsgate or Jenkin's of Deal, and cheeses are mainly English from Ashmore in Canterbury. English wines are from Chapel Down in Tenterden, with Enotria supplying many others. Originally an Italian specialist, Italian wines are a feature.


Dinner consisted of a choice from six starters, of which we selected the wonderful Rye bay scallops and soused fillet of mackerel, carrot coleslaw, creamed beetroot and fenugreek shoots, all prepared and plated up beautifully. Other tantalising choices included a smooth chicken liver pâté with tomato chutney and sourdough toast.


Main courses included roast best end of new season lamb, with grilled courgettes, aubergine purée and lamb jus, a warm carrot panacotta with confit potatoes, wild garlic and fresh pea cream, or try the catch of the day, fished locally.


We chose sea bass, and the tarte tatin of red chicory and celeriac, baby spinach, roasted vine tomatoes and creamed sorrel. What I most appreciated about the whole meal was the variety of seasonal vegetable additions, which gave the food enhanced flavour. We accompanied our food with a good Chilean Sauvignon Blanc from a wine list that included an excellent sprinkling of wines from Europe and the New World.


For dessert, my companion chose the tarte citron, with clotted cream, which she pronounced "delicious", and I opted for the cheese board.


The whole experience included cool music from Corinne Bailey Rae and courteous and efficient service by the young waiting staff.


The signature of this restaurant is good, locally sourced, seasonal food, cooked in a simple fashion. Yet simplicity does not quite conjure up what is really very good food that deserves to be tasted and enjoyed. I can't recommend it enough.


The Bell Hotel


1 Upper Strand Street, Sandwich


CT13 9EF


Tel: 01304 613388


Email: reservations@bellhotelsandwich.co.uk


Set lunch menu, two courses, £11.95, three courses, £14.95


A la carte menu, starters from


£4.50-£7.95; mains from


£10.95-£18.95


Wines, Whites: £14.50 for the house white, a Vin de Pays to Gascogne, £15.75 for a Sicilian Chardonnay, Cantine Settesoli to £59 for a Pouligny Montrachet, Les Folatières, Alain Chavy.


Reds: £14.50 for the house red, Vin de Pays de l'Hérault to £15.75 for a Torre Nova d'Avola Shiraz, Cantine Settesoli to £52 for a Barolo, DOCG, Sorano, Ascheri, 2004

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