Restaurant Review: The Five Bells, Wickham
Is there anything better than a roaring fire in a traditional pub on a frosty evening? No, we didn’t think so.
The Five Bells – in stunning Wickham countryside but coveniently close to Junction 14 of the M4 – is exactly that pub.
Warm and welcoming from moment you walk through the door, this is the place you go to take a load off, indulge in a hearty bite to eat, and enjoy lively conversation with your beer of choice.
On the night we visited, the pub was pleasantly busy with diners and drinkers of all descriptions.
The menu drew us in immediately; a true tonic to the cold weather outside, with the ideal mix of traditional pub-grub and creative choices to suit the mood. We got stuck into the organic chargrilled artisan bread with confit garlic, EVO and balsamic vinegar, the goats cheese salad with butternut squash, pumpkin seeds and Dijon dressing, the pork and apple shortcrust pastry pie and suet pudding with mash and vegetables, and the mushroom linguine with creme fraiche, lemon and herbs.
Each dish was tasty, fresh, and full of flavour. If we’d had more room, the local venison haunch with mash, braised red cabbage and roasted root veg has caught our eye – and we were definitely tempted by the special Sunday roast menu – including the vegetarian roast abalone & hen of the woods mushroom special which looked delicious and original.
As for drinks to match, the Five Bells certainly doesn’t disappoint on the beer front – not least because they have a fantastic micro-brewery on-site! It was great to try both the Fortitude Best Bitter and Strength IPA, brewed on-site and superb examples of their styles.
The Penny Post Verdict
The Five Bells is the perfect pub for your next evening out. From large families keen to try both the kids’ and adults’ menus to those looking for a cosy nook to share nibbles on date night, all are welcome and none will leave disappointed. Oldy-worldly in all the right ways, the huge open fireplace in the main dining room, the atmospheric lantern lighting and the refreshingly low background music mean the focus is on your comfort and conversation. We think your next festive, foodie evening is well-and-truly sorted!