Restaurant review: The Six Bells, Horringer –'Good pub food, in a friendly setting. Try the banana cake!'
Mark Heath, wife Liz and trusty hound Benson ventured out to the recently relaunched Six Bells in Horringer for a Friday night dinner. Here’s what they made of it...
Walking into the Six Bells on a Friday night, it’s immediately obvious that business is booming.
Newly refurbished and relaunched, it’s both stylish and welcoming and, when we visited, boasted a healthy mix of locals enjoying a Friday night drink and sit-down diners. A good sign straight off the bat.
We were seated in the conservatory at the rear of the pub, ordered up a couple of pints – Becks for the lady and Birra Moretti for me, just £2 each in happy hour – and got straight into perusing the menu.
And so to business. I ordered the cod and spring onion fishcake for my starter, while Liz, a sucker for duck, opted for the confit Gressingham duck & pomegranate salad.
My fishcake, served with wilted spinach and lemon mayonnaise, was hearty and well-made, the classic combo of white fish and onion working as well as it should. The spinach added freshness, while the mayo brought a bit of tang to the party – for me, there was a tad too much of it, but each to their own.
Across the table, as already mentioned, Liz is a huge fan of duck – she finds it hard to resist on any menu, but can be put off if it arrives and the fat hasn’t been properly rendered or the skin isn’t crisp.
Luckily, that wasn’t the case here – both fat and skin had been removed, leaving just the tasty morsels of tender meat.
The only disappointment was the pomegranate – we were hoping to find juicy seeds nestled among the salad leaves, but instead the pomegranate was incorporated into a beetroot puree which was pleasant, but not quite what we were expecting. All in all a nice, light and refreshing starter, but could be improved with a few seeds here and there.
Onto the mains. We both went for pub classics – when in Rome and all that. I plumped for the charred steak burger, while Liz, a lady of expensive tastes, ordered the most pricey dish on the menu, the 28-day aged 8oz sirloin steak. Medium rare, of course.
My burger, served with skinny fries and tomato relish, hit the spot nicely. It passed my initial good burger test – that being, when you squash the bun down, meat juices should trickle onto the plate, and ate well.
It was perhaps slightly more done than I’d like but again, that’s personal taste. The patty was meaty and substantial, the fries plentiful and moreish. A shout out, too, for the relish – often overlooked, this really added to my enjoyment of the dish.
Mrs Moneybags across the table, meanwhile, was tucking into a hefty portion of steak perfect for a winter evening.
The meat came out medium rare, just as requested, and was flavoursome and juicy. The thick cut chips were tasty and arrived in number, and the homemade onion rings in a light batter may not have looked tremendous, but were an unexpected treat.
For some it may seem a minor point but the ketchup was also worth mentioning – not your bog-standard bottle, but a high quality sauce from a more upmarket brand. A nice little touch.
Two good courses down then, and feeling a little stuffed, we bravely eyed the dessert menu - always thinking of you, dear reader.
A decision was made to share the banana cake, served with salted caramel and vanilla sauce.
Good lord, what a dessert! Beautifully flavoured and light, the cake was complemented perfectly by the salted caramel - an absolutely wonderful combination.
It was, simply, one of the best desserts we’ve had in recent memory – our only regret was that we decided to share one, rather than have one each!
And thus our meal was complete, an enjoyable night’s eating in rural West Suffolk.
Plenty of beers and ales on tap, including those from the popular Brewshed in Bury St Edmunds.
A decent, reasonably-priced wine list too. Liz had a glass of Next Station, a Douro red from Portugal, which she greatly enjoyed.
I washed down my meal with a latte, which was good coffee.
Friendly and welcoming, everything you’d expect and hope for in a pub setting.
Good advice on the wine too, while my inquiry about the apparent beetroot presence in the duck salad was met with warmth – and a subsequent check with the kitchen.
A few spots at the front of the pub itself, and a huge car park at the rear - you won’t need to worry about finding a spot!
Sat in the conservatory with a dog who had drank too much before arrival, I had the unexpected pleasure of taking him into the pub’s large garden on a chilly February evening.
Not the time for a trip to the garden, obviously, but I can imagine it would be a cracking place for a pint and a burger in the summer.
Very reasonable. Our starters were £6 and £6.50, my burger £11 and Liz’s steak £19 - none of that seemed over-priced.
And that cracking banana cake was just £5.50 – under-priced, if anything!
That banana cake, all day long. Worth a trip to the Six Bells for that alone.
Good pub food, in a friendly setting. Try the banana cake!
Rating: 8 out of 10