Once upon a year ago, I had a blinding roast beef dinner at The Midnight Bell, so I was rather hoping to repeat the
experience when we visited last Sunday.
In the absence of lamb, and for the sake of continuity, I opted once again for some cow-meat and waited eagerly for its appearance.
The service was speedy, but, as I’ve come to realise during my extensive roast search, it isn’t out of the ordinary these days for pubs to present their meals at high speed given that many of them pre-cook much of the meal to cope
with the rush of hungry mouths. I have no beef (pun not intended) with such service, on the proviso that everything is piping hot. Unfortunately, it was not the case at The Midnight Bell.But first! The good news.
A heavily-laden plate was placed before me offering a vast
array of side dishes cooked in a variety of creative ways. It
can be difficult to distinguish one roast from the next when you
eat as many as I, but this is one area in which The Midnight Bell excelled.
Alongside the staples of meat, roast potatoes and Yorkshire Pud, was a healthy portion of cauliflower cheese, a melee of chunky carrots and swede, a slightly unnecessary but non-the-less enjoyable dollop of mash, and a spoonful of sweet, braised red cabbage – all languishing in a thick and tasty gravy.
The meat was thinly carved and melt-in-the-mouth tender, and apart from my own personal preference for blushing beef, I can’t fault the kitchen in that area. I inquired after the nut roast and was informed the flavours were good but a little pile of cashew nuts on the side of the plate spoke of a dissatisfaction with the texture.
Now for the bad news.
While the red-wine soaked cabbage was a tangy addition, the swede was a tad hard and the carrots a little on the cold side. I discovered a rogue green bean whose solo addition made me wonder whether it had escaped another pan in its
bid for freedom from a rolling boil. If it wasn’t an escappee, where were its brothers and sisters? Lastly the cauliflower cheese was practically scalding, but lacking in the, well, cheese department.
Big portions, well flavoured meat and a nice selection of veg scores The Midnight Bell plenty of brownie points – especially at a reasonably priced £11.95 – but varying temperatures let the side down.