SquareMeal Review of
Bel and The Dragon Kingsclere
Part of a mini-chain of upmarket inns scattered around south-east England (and owned by heir to the chocolate empire, Joel Cadbury), this Bel & The Dragon occupies the historic Swan Inn in Kingsclere village. Dark beams, bare bricks and rickety, ramshackle walls reflect the original building’s heritage but are smartened up by polished table settings and branded menus. Expect loosely modern-European cooking such as a hefty beef rib carved into chunks and served on a wooden board with chips, tomatoes and artichokes; or beetroots both raw and cooked dotted over burrata cheese with pine nuts. To follow, toffee-rich tarte Tatin for two comes with double scoops of vanilla ice cream; alternatively, copy the chic clientele with a calorie-shy Sipsmith vodka and lemon-zest sorbet. House wine arrives in a magnum from which diners pay for what they drink; should you over-indulge, book one of nine smart bedrooms arranged around a lounge.