Ryall, near Upton-upon-Severn
Telephone: 01684 594624

GOOD food at value-formoney prices, served promptly by efficient and friendly staff. As presenters are fond of saying on a certain televised competition for chefs, it doesn’t get better than this.

And that is why when we popped in to the Blue Bell, beside the A38 near Upton-upon-Severn, early one Saturday evening, the restaurant was doing a roaring trade. It really is a serious contender in the best-value meal-out stakes.

In addition to catering for diners in the restaurant, the kitchen, waiting and bar staff were also coping with about 50 people enjoying a Christmas dinner in a separate function room and a good many regulars in for a drink.

Yet not once were we kept waiting for service.

The menu offers nine starters priced at £4.75 – some of which can be doubled up to provide a main meal – while there is additional choice on the daily board.

Ten main courses ranging in price from £8.95 upwards are supplemented by a steak menu with a fillet of beef highest priced at £15.95. Again, there are other choices on the board.

The management states that its intention is to always provide the best steaks, buying Herefordshire beef from Malvern Country Meals. No mean boast.

My £14.95 prime rump steak was mouth-wateringly tender, served with mushrooms, tomatoes, onion rings, chips and a portion of beautifully cooked vegetables. In addition, a generous portion of pepper sauce cost £1.95.

The steak was advertised as weighing 10 ounces, but I am convinced that it weighed much more than that even after it had been grilled. I had started the meal with a generous portion of whitebait, with tartare sauce and fresh salad far removed from the tired leaves so often served up elsewhere.

It cost £4.75, as did the battered prawn and sweet chilli dip that my wife enjoyed.

She followed with grilled sea bass fillet in pepper butter sauce, new potatoes and a selection of fresh vegetables that included parsnips, carrots, broccoli, red cabbage and cauliflower.

It was priced at £12.95 and she said the fish was among the tastiest she had ever enjoyed.

The 15 desserts at £4.50 each, plus a selection of cheeses at £4.95, were chalked in red and blue on a blackboard, which made for rather difficult reading.

However, both my brandy basket with two flavours of ice cream and the home-made summer fruits cheesecake with cream enjoyed by my wife were good value.

Add in a large glass of Colombard Chardonnay (£4.20) for madam and it brought the bill to a very reasonable £52.55.


Food: 5★
Service: 5★
Value for money: 5★
Ambience: 4★