Cheshire Life Luncheon - Ring O'Bells, Christleton


Guests at this Cheshire Life luncheon enjoyed a perfect country dining experience. Chefs at the cosy but smart Ring O'Bells in the village of Christleton know just what we want on our plates.

Fact file

The Ring O’Bells Country Pub& Eating House, Village Road,Christleton, Chester, CH3 7AS.Tel 01244

Lunch: Sandwiches from £5.50;brunch from £5.25; starters from £4.25;mains from £8.95.Dinner: starters from £4.25;mains from £8.95; desserts from £4.95.See website for special offers.

The award-winning pub-restaurant in the village of Christleton – only a couple of miles from the bustling centre of Chester yet with an ambience that suggests a charming rural location – is enjoying an exciting new lease of life under the direction of owner Ian Wade and head chef Andrew King.

Highly commended in Cheshire Life’s Food and Drink Awards of 2011; voted Chester’s ‘Best Pub’ in the city’s Food and Drink Awards that same year and now just shortlisted for Publican’s gong for ‘National Pub Food Curry Offer’, the Ring 0’Bells epitomises the 21st Century country inn where new meets old and contemporary meets traditional in a relaxed environment for the enjoyment of the very best in food and drink.

Despite the so-called demise of the British pub - which has seen thousands a year closing down - there has been, on the contrary and at the same time, a remarkable renaissance of one of this country’s best-loved institutions as switched-on landlords and forward-looking chefs have struck up alliances with local producers of fine ingredients to create fantastic regional dishes.

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It’s a win-win-win scenario for pubs, suppliers and, of course, for you and me: the customers.

And as guests at Cheshire Life’s March luncheon discovered, the Ring O’Bells is completely in tune with the renaissance of the great British menu. In Christleton old meets contemporary in that the Ring O’Bells, a classic Victorian hostelry, now boasts the addition of The Glasshouse, a striking, new, light and airy dining space completed four months ago, to complement its refurbished period restaurant and Village Bar.

And it was in The Glasshouse, after enjoying canapés comprising mini toasties of duck, Old Spot Pork and bacon terrine with chutney; goats’ cheese and sweet red pepper wraps and wonderful cups of wild mushroom soup accompanied by flutes of sprightly Duc d’Alba Extra Dry Prosecco, that we were served a delightful spring luncheon.

The first course was a modern classic, featuring monkfish wrapped in Parma ham, baked and served with a skilfully executed truffle and pea purée and show-stopping lemon sabayon. The fish was beautifully moist, the ham crisp and salty to which the citrus notes of the sabayon provided a deliciously well-judged counterpoint. The accompanying wine, a single estate Marlborough sauvignon, provided and described by Matt Cox of Nantwich-based Rodney Densem Wines (as was the Prosecco), afforded generous gooseberry and grapefruit flavours with a long-lasting minerally finish.

Our main course emphasised locality. Churton Heath Farm (it’s in the nearby village of Bruera) belly pork came stuffed with black pudding on a bed of cabbage and bacon and accompanied by a just perfect confit potato, cauliflower purée and roasting juices. The pork was deliciously tender and the accompaniments expertly prepared and entirely complementary. The red wine pairing was with a young, fresh and soft pinot noir from Chile, again supplied by RDW.

Pudding was the perfect precursor for spring, combining raspberry sorbet with a home made sable biscuit topped by lovely vanilla mousse and confit strawberries. Ding dong!