The Bell, Fetcham, Surrey KT22 9ND �€“ restaurant review

Recently voted Surrey's best winter pub, Matthew Williams decided it was about time he paid a visit to The Bell at Fetcham find out what all the fuss is about

Originally published in Surrey Life magazine March 2012

Reviewed: The Bell, Bell Lane, Fetcham, Surrey KT22 9ND: 01372 372624

Recently voted Surrey’s best winter pub, The Bell at Fetcham also features in The Good Food Guide – and now there’s rumours of Michelin critics checking them out. Matthew Williams decided it was about time he paid a visit to find out what all the fuss was about

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The Verdict:

Food: 8Venue: 8Service: 7

What we ate: 

StartersTerrine of duck served with toast and real ale chutney, �5.95Wiltshire wild boar, venison and sloe gin salami served with Surrey celeriac and pear remoulade, �5.95 

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Main coursesPan fried seabass fillet served with fondant potato, spinach and a chive velout�, �12.95Slow braised shoulder of British lamb served with apricots, whole grain mustard mash, cavelo nero and Surrey carrots, �14.95 

DessertApple crumble served with hot custard, �5.95Selection of cheeses served with biscuits & chutneys, �5.95 

DrinksOne bottle of Rioja Crianza, Bodegas El Coto, Spain 2006, �20.25

REVIEW: It seems we were a little late with our visit to The Bell in Fetcham. Only a few days earlier, local actor Tom Felton, who made his name as Draco Malfoy in the Harry Potter films, had been spotted there. Perhaps it was for the best, however, as at least it ensured I had the full attention of my fianc�e…

Recently voted Surrey’s best winter pub in our poll at surrey.greatbritishlife.co.uk, it’s not only film stars who have been appreciating the changes that have been taking place at this rather grand hostelry of late.

Managers Mark and Penny Thornhill only returned from Florida, where they had an English tea room (complete with red phone booth outside) and four restaurants in the Disney area, a couple of years ago – and yet they have already seen their undertaking gain inclusion in The Good Food Guide.

Built on the site of an earlier pub in 1930, The Bell is an impressive building and on entry you are greeted by open-plan spaces and a museum-style cabinet showcasing traditional teas and a growing collection of – you’ve guessed it – bells.

A more formal dining area is found a safe distance from the bar and lounge areas, and its relaxed ambience is perfectly suited to hosting either groups or a romantic meal for two.

A hearty treatService was attentive, a bottle of rioja was swiftly dispatched and while my partner Sylviane opted for a terrine of duck I went for the intriguing Wiltshire wild boar, venison and sloe gin salami. If I was to be picky, and I am, I would opt for the terrine on a second visit, but mainly because the portion was a little more generous. Both, however, were delicious.

From the sea, Sylviane’s main course of pan fried seabass fillet was as it should be – fresh and uncomplicated – and, from the fields, my slow braised shoulder of British lamb was a hearty winter treat – succulent meat swimming in a rich gravy and mashed potato with just the right extra kick of mustard.

Continuing the hearty theme into the desserts, I opted for the apple crumble and custard, which couldn’t be faulted, while Sylviane went for her now traditional cheeses – no complaints on that side of the table.

All evening, we were pleased by how the noise of the hustle and bustle of the nearby busy bar complemented the experience rather than distracted – it just reminds you that you’re enjoying a great British pub but never takes away from your dining intimacy.

It’s been an exciting year for The Bell and fortunately for us all they show no sign of slacking off either. There’s a new vegetable garden coming soon, the menus will have been revamped for spring/summer by the time you’ve read this and there are even rumours of Michelin critics sniffing around too.

Malfoy or no Malfoy, The Bell has a magic of its own that ensures it will continue to lead a charmed life.

3 other great Bells 

The Bell InnHigh Street, Godstone RH9 8DX: 01883 743216In the early 19th century, The Bell was used as a staging post – with six coaches a day travelling through the village to Eastbourne and Brighton. These days, the car park is still normally full. 

The Cloche HatBurrow Hill, Chobham GU24 8QS: 01276 858000Nestled on the edge of the picturesque village of Chobham, at The Cloche Hat they’ve been bringing gourmet food to the residents of Surrey since 1957. 

The Bell InnOutwood Lane, Outwood RH1 5PN: 01342 842989This beautiful 17th century coaching inn is nestled in the heart of the countryside and is regularly named a Fuller’s Village Pub of the Year. Menu choices range from � la carte option to bar snacks via a special fish menu.

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