Chef, Tim Stamp, is clearly keen for the 1650 Restaurant at Ye Olde Bell to earn another AA Star rosette judging by his ‘culinary masterclass’ to which I was recently invited.
Situated in the sleepy rural village of Barnby Moor on the Nottinghamshire, Yorkshire, Lincolnshire boarder. Privately owned Ye Olde Bell has been newly refurbished, having been taken over by locals Paul and Hilary Levack 10 years ago.
The country hotel is about an hours drive from Nottingham. “An hour?” I hear you cry. Yes, an hour, and I know, you’re probably wondering why you would drive an hour to get to it when we have some fabulous restaurants closer to home. I’ll get onto the food in a minute, because what you also need to know is that a multi-million pound Spa has recently been added in the grounds of the hotel, which I was lucky enough to be able to take advantage of the following day. Top that with the fact that he hotel is steeped in history and you can see why this beautiful getaway is something very special.
It has welcomed illustrious guests throughout its history, including a young Queen Victoria who stayed with her mother. Speaking of which, I stayed with my Mother, who was my +1 for the evening, in one of the beautiful, individually designed, courtyard rooms, which I’ll tell you more about in another post (the room that is, not my Mother)
Speaking of Royalty and my mother, as we were, when we drove up to the 59 bedroom hotel, we were greeted in the car park by a staff member directing us to the rear of the property to park. Upon leaving the vehicle we spotted several exquisitely dressed people arriving in limos. I briefly panicked about feeling very under dressed for the occasion before being told that the beautiful people were in fact arriving for a prom. The venue caters for weddings and events, boasting four event suites plus The Oak Pavilion and Bell Room.
So back to the food, and of course, the drink. Our evening takes place in the elegantly decorated Restaurant 1650, named after the year of origin of Ye Olde Bell. The restaurant features rich oak panelling and a stunning art deco style bar, which serves a range of hand selected spirits and wines from their extensive cellar. We begin with a glass of prosecco to welcome us, served by Billy and his team of waiting staff.
Head Chef, Tim, explains his mission statement, his promise to make eating at the venue a fine dining experience, moving away from traditions, his vision being to encourage diners to get involved with their food. The Masterclass is a chance to showcase his culinary skills and for us to try his flavour combinations.
Tim had a passion for cooking from an early age and knew it was something he wanted to pursue as a career. He began a catering apprenticeship scheme at The Stafford Hotel. He then had a stint at The Garth Hotel before moving to Ardencote Manor in Warwickshire, where he worked for two years. He then moved to the AA 3-Rosette Peacock at Rowley before joining Ye Olde Bell.
Tim is keen to introduce new dishes of British classics with his own individual twists. We enjoyed an arrangement of canapes. Delicate balls of goats cheese rest on beetroot and carrot jellies, salmon and prawn mousse is served on bruschetta and crispy duck decorates crunchy tempura wafers with scented “caviar” beads.
Next came the kitchen theatrics as Tim flavoured salmon fillets and curry coated scallops, drizzled with hollandaise sauce with oyster scented dry ice. Next a smoked bacon mist enveloped medium rare beef.
I love a good dessert and the the finale to our Masterclass did not disappoint as we finished the evening building our own petit fours
Tim is clearly passionate about food and I look forward to seeing (and tasting) how the menu develops at the Restaurant. Credit to Ye Olde Bell for giving this talented young chef a culinary stage to develop and showcase his undoubted skills.
Next stop for Tim is The Living Heritage Festival of Food and Drink at Wollaton Park in Nottingham on 12th-13th August. He will be demonstrating dishes that visitors can recreate at home, in the Food Roadshow.
My Masterclass was complimentary but my views are my own.
By Tanya Louise