Home   Bourne   News   Article

Subscribe Now

Eat My Words: We review the Five Bells in Edenham





“Tapas doesn’t constitute a proper meal.”

That was something my now-husband said to me in the first few months we were dating as I tried to persuade him to go with me to a now-defunct chain restaurant and, nearly a decade on, I’ve not forgotten his words.

So it was with some trepidation that I suggested to him that we go for a meal at the recently-renovated Five Bells in Edenham, having eyed up not just the tapas menu but dozens of photos of delicious-looking dishes shared on social media since the pub reopened under new management at the end of March.

The Five Bells at Edenham
The Five Bells at Edenham

But, having eyed up the pub himself on many journeys to and from our home in Bourne to the A1, he readily agreed. For some reason, we had never stopped for a quick drink or a bite to eat, so it was definitely time to see what all the fuss was about.

Passing by lambs frolicking in Lincolnshire fields as we drove the short distance on a dry but cool spring evening, I wondered whether this rural countryside pub was the right location for food that I’ve previously enjoyed by the sea in hot Spanish countries.

More Eat My Words reviews here

The car park was busy when we arrived but we managed to squeeze into a space and were warmly welcomed at the bar before being led to our table in a tastefully-decorated dining room, with the patio doors propped open to the beer garden outside. I can imagine it being jam-packed on warm sunny nights.

The main menu
The main menu
The tapas menu
The tapas menu

For a Thursday night in April, the restaurant was also comfortably full but our drinks - a large wine that the waitress praised as “good choice” and a Guinness for Richard - arrived quickly while we perused the menu.

There was plenty from the classic menu I would have chosen but my heart was set on tapas and, seeing that two to three dishes were recommended per person, I persuaded Richard to join me so we could sample more dishes.

In the end we chose five - patatas bravas, chorizo al vino, croquetas de jamon y queso, calamares frites and queso manchego - and a portion of bread comes as standard.

The five tapas dishes we chose
The five tapas dishes we chose

The basis, in case you’re wondering, for my husband’s argument that “tapas doesn’t constitute a proper meal” seems to be that it’s several small dishes - “more like starters” - than a full meal on a plate.

But when the food arrived, again very quickly, it weighed down our table for two. It was a struggle to fit the three boards containing the dishes on — and my side plate was dangerously close to the edge of the table. A chalkboard holding the salt, pepper and table name, seemed too large for the table and, in my opinion, was unnecessary — although I appreciate it was to try and elevate the presentation of the table and other tables held a candle or wine bottle with fairy lights.

The offending chalkboard
The offending chalkboard

The food was plentiful. The patatas bravas reminded me of a dish I’d tried in Spain and had a generous portion of sweet tomato sauce on the top - making up for the fact that the queso manchego was missing the sauce promised on the menu. Nevertheless, it was crunchy and salty.

The calamari was juicy with large pieces and just enough alioli to keep Richard, a non-fish fan (and the reason we didn’t order the absolutely delicious smelling king prawns taken to the neighbouring table), from complaining. Our croquettes filled with ham and cheese were larger than expected and beautifully cooked.

The standout dish for me though was the chorizo, which was baked in a beautiful red wine and honey reduction. I used my bread to mop up the leftover sauce in the bottom of the terracotta dish although, as I took a bite, it seeped through the bread, down my chin and came dangerously close to dripping onto my white jumper (something that happens pretty much every time I wear white).

As we finished the last bites, I asked Richard if he was full from his selection of small plates that don’t constitute a meal. “I feel very full,” he admitted.

The dessert menu
The dessert menu

I also felt extremely full but knowing I was to write this Eat My Words review, I agreed to “take a look” at the dessert menu so I could photograph it.

What a mistake that turned out to be. As soon as I spotted the panna cotta, the first item on the menu, I had no cause to continue reading and promptly ordered it. Served with poached rhubarb, stem ginger and a brandy snap, it was absolutely beautiful. If they served the brandy snaps in bags, I would have taken a bag home with me.

I didn’t need the dessert, as lovely as it was, so instead of leaving full and happy, I left feeling like I’d definitely over-indulged.

Panna cotta
Panna cotta
Chocolate brownie
Chocolate brownie

Richard chose homemade chocolate brownie with ice cream for dessert and I declined a bite, but it looked rich and sticky and sweet, and his board was swiftly polished off with no complaints.

When the bill arrived, we were pleasantly surprised at the low cost until we looked more closely and spotted our desserts had been missed. The waitress thanked us profusely for our honesty when we pointed out this error but, even with the desserts added, we felt it was reasonably priced for a meal of such excellent quality.

Only a few weeks into its reopening, I have not heard a bad word said about the Five Bells and, having now eaten there myself, I don’t have any bad words to say about it either. We will definitely be going back.

Out of five:

Food: Beautifully-cooked tapas with decent portions and lots of choice and from what I spotted from other tables. The classic pub food looked pretty good too *****

Drink: My large white wine, followed by a latte with dessert was just the ticket ****

Decor:I can’t compare what it looked like before the restoration but it’s cosy, clean and everything you’d expect from a lovely little village pub. I’d lose the chalkboards from the tables to give a little more space though ****

Staff: A warm greeting and friendly and attentive throughout ****

Price: Tapas dishes range between £7 and £9.50 each (main courses on the main menu start at £14.50). Our bill for five tapas dishes, two alcoholic drinks, a coffee, a soft drink and two desserts came to a little over £73. ****

Have you had a great meal? Share your own Eat My Words reviews or tell us where to try by emailing: news@lincsonline.co.uk



This site uses cookies. By continuing to browse the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies - Learn More