Great chefs always obsess about superb quality ingredients. Especially ones they source locally.
Watch any popular TV chef – be it Rick Stein, Jamie Oliver or James Martin – and they will passionately extol the virtues of local produce and regional specialities.
So diners at quality restaurants have now come to expect that local growers will be providing much of the food that adorns their plates.
But what if you could go one better? What if you could see for yourself the kitchen garden where these beautiful vegetables and herbs are grown?
You can – at our Two Rosette restaurant in Hurley.
We’ve always described the Olde Bell as more of a small village than a hotel – and the kitchen gardens are a particularly charming corner.
At first glance they look Victorian with their high red brick wall, archway and willow. But remember that the Olde Bell dates back to 1135. Skilled gardeners have been growing food here for centuries.
There are lots of good reasons for ensuring that most of what you eat comes directly from a kitchen garden.
For one thing it tastes better.
Remember the last time you went abroad and ate produce sourced from the local villages?
Remember how it felt when your taste buds – dulled by months of bulk grown supermarket veg – suddenly exploded into life at the taste of local food farmed more gently?
You are what you eat. Good food makes for a better you. And you have the satisfaction and reassurance of knowing exactly what you’re eating.
Not only is it good for you. It’s also extremely good for the planet. We strive to be extremely self-sufficient.
Wandering around a kitchen garden – particularly in balmy weather – inevitably persuades one to stay outside and dine under the sun.
Opting to go al fresco makes dining a more casual affair, more relaxing. This is where rustic cuisine comes into its own.
And why stop at dining outside? Why not bring the kitchen out into the open as well?
This is precisely what we do every Saturday and Sunday during the warmer months. You can watch the chefs in action and admire their skill.
An obsession with home-grown produce means a certain seasonality when it comes to the vegetables – so expect plenty of variety from month to month.
But here’s a taste of what’s on the menu (or rather menus) at the Olde Bell right now.
The Olde Bell holds two AA rosettes. This rating rewards restaurants that “aim for and achieve higher standards and better consistency. A greater precision is apparent in the cooking and there will be obvious attention to the selection of quality ingredients.”
We also won OpenTable Diners’ Choice awards in 2015 and 2016.