READING our sister publication The Malvern Gazette, I noticed the winner of their Pub of the Year competition, the Bluebell at Barnards Green.

Seeing how many more votes it got compared with its nearest competitors, I decided to check it out.

Pulling in for a lazy Saturday lunch, suffering with a cold and badly in need of sustenance, I decided I wanted a meal that would really fill me up, and I was not disappointed.

Sitting down in the wood-beamed pub, classically decorated, I had a leisurely browse of the menu, which helped as it took a while to be served.

When I was finally seen, I decided to order half a pint of Estrella along with some Korean barbecue chicken wings for a starter.

When they arrived, they were delightful, crispy skin and beautifully cooked, though I’m not quite sure what was Korean about the sauce, it just tasted like barbecue to me. Nonetheless, I enjoyed them, and moved onto my main.

I ordered the classic bacon and cheese burger with a side of halloumi fries, and I was presented with, if I’m honest, more food than I could eat in one go.

The burger consisted of two patties in a brioche bun served with the obligatory square cheese and strips of bacon.

It was that kind of awkward size of burger that meant I had to eat it in two halves, which must have looked slightly odd, I’ll admit.

Accompanying the burger was a generous helping of thick-cut chips and a small dose of coleslaw, both of which complemented the burger wonderfully.

And now we come on to the halloumi fries.

First things first, I, like most rational people, believe halloumi is one of mankind’s greatest inventions, but I have to admit, to my shame, that I could not finish them.

There were so many I assume they were meant to be for two people, but even then, they would have to be two people of equally-large appetite.

That being said, the halloumi fries I did manage to eat were delicious, prime examples of the pure rubbery brilliance we have all come to know and love from the cheese.

While I sat and ate my dinner, I took a minute to look around the pub, which is simply decorated and very much in keeping with the historic nature of the building.

In one corner, a group of regulars sat and chatted, to my right, a group of women sharing stories of how their various family members were getting on, and staff were having friendly banter (I hate that word) with customers at the bar.

I finally gave up on trying to conquer the halloumi, it had beaten me, and I couldn’t eat another bite.

Draining the last of my beer, I called for the bill, which oddly came inside a book of poems (no idea why) and saw that it was not exactly a cheap meal, coming to £22.15 all in, but for that price, I got a delicious meal and a nice, relaxing hour or so in an award-winning pub, so it was worth it on balance.

As a well organised and well led community pub, it is no surprise the Bluebell was the Gazette’s Pub of the Year, and I would definitely recommend it.


Atmosphere: 9/10

Decor 8

Staff 8

Drink 8

Food 9

Price 7

Overall 8