The Bluebell is a wonderful old pub which, from the outside, looks full of Ye Olde English charm. Enter through heavy velvet drapes and you find yourself in a sumptous Victorian paradise. Heavy candlesticks, drapes, gilt mirrors and plants all combine with the Tudor beams to create a wonderfully luxurious setting for lunch, dinner or drinks. Owner and landlady Leigh has done a wonderful job and is an absolutely perfect host.
We’ve never been to Henley and until our recent visit, had no idea just how gorgeous it is – just outside Stratford, Henley has the charm of Tudor cottages and higgledy piggledy buildings running along its cobbled roads. If we hadn’t been invited to try the new lunch menu at The Bluebell we’d never have known how lovely it all was! Nor would we know how wonderful The Bluebell is.
We knew the food would be good – The Bluebell has 2 AA Rosettes to their name, have been mentioned in the Michelin Pub and Restaurant guides and won the Good Food Guide Restaurant of the year for the Midlands in 2013. The drinks selection was also excellent with a nice wine menu and the signature Bluebellini a delicious treat. Strawberry purée and champagne. Yes please!
Their new lunch club runs from noon to 2:30pm Tuesdays to Saturdays and is an absolute bargain at 2 courses for £10. The menu changes daily with the chefs using local, fresh ingredients to produce seasonal delights. See the latest menus here. When we visited, we started with a feta and beetroot salad with a zingy orange dressing and croutons. With my favourite leaves – lambs lettuce – the dish was light and refreshing. Perfect for the weather and the season.
For our main course we had a ham hock and black pudding croquette with the most fantastic parsley sauce and a silky smooth pea purée. We both loved this dish and really enjoyed the parsley sauce, a flavour which took us back to being children! The croquette was crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. We couldn’t fault the dish Perfect!
Although we went to try the 2 for £10 menu, as many of my regular readers will know, the hubby can’t resist pudding and often justifies himself by suggesting he’s only having pudding for the sake of the blog! Anyway, the lunch offer also includes three courses for £15 so of course, he had to try it (for the blog). The pudding was a meringue with Chantilly cream, strawberries and toasted pistachios and it was OH MY GOD good (I may have tried a little bit). The meringue was light and crisp on the outside and gooey on the inside. So good and all totally delicious!
Although we dined at lunch time, I would have no hesitation in recommending people to the Bluebell for evening dining. We are planning to go back soon for dinner, perhaps combined with an overnight stay in Stratford and want to take our friends because we were so impressed. The lunch club is a real treat and such a fantastic price. I mean seriously, where else can you get such a high quality lunch in such lovely surroundings for TEN POUNDS? I just don’t know. Go and try it people, you won’t be disappointed.
*We were invited for a complimentary lunch but my opinions are my own. I absolutely loved The Bluebell and believe me if I didn’t you’d know about it!