We had passed The Bell On The Common several times driving through Broughton Gifford en route to somewhere else.
It looks attractive in the way an old pub fronted by an archetypal village green does and we had heard the food was good.
When a distant cousin from New Zealand announced his intention to drop in, on an evening when I would be home late from work, a pub meal seemed a good way of providing for ourselves and our guest.
My husband telephoned The Bell to book a table. A few minutes later the person at the pub phoned back to say: “I forgot to mention that Tuesday is game night. Is that okay?”
“Would that be game as in the meaty variety or games as in pub quizzes etc?” asked my husband.
“Oh the meat – food,” the member of staff reassured us. Phew.
In conversation with the very helpful and friendly staff later, we discovered that the pub has a single menu night on the last Tuesday of the month.
They are sampler menus, designed to introduce diners to a style of food which might be new to them.
So the game menu had a bit of everything. The starters were pan fried pigeon breasts on mixed leaves with bacon and balsamic dressing, plus rabbit terrine with toast.
The main course was confit of duck leg, game casserole and venison sausages with mustard mash, plus a selection of vegetables.
The puddings – most of which we took home with us in foil boxes – were delicious old fashioned style dishes.
Syrup sponge and custard, chocolate apple Betty – a sort of crumble with chocolate added – and caramelised rice pudding with spiced pears, were all delicious.
All the meat was tender and tasty without being strongly ‘gamey’ and the mustard mash a perfect accompaniment.
The menu was a fixed price £16.50 and for three of us, with two bottles of wine the bill came to a reasonable £70.