SquareMeal Review of
Bell's Diner & Bar Rooms
Originally just plain old Bell’s Diner, this funky boho veteran has been given a lift following the arrival of new owners and a chef from the Flinty Red wine bar on Cotham Hill. There’s a touch more informality about the place now, with vintage curios strewn about the three eating and drinking rooms, plus a bright menu of eclectic small plates with a strong Mediterranean and North African tilt. Expect full-on seasonal flavours, a freewheeling approach and lots of fashionable artisan ingredients: white peach, tomato, goats’ curd and basil salad; roast hake with smoked ham hock, broad beans, peas and samphire; pork and chorizo albondigas with sweet pepper and saffron sauce. After that, how about lemon meringue tart or toasted marshmallow ice cream? As the name implies, Bell’s is also big on drinks, especially craft beers, local real ales, sexy cocktails and aperitifs, although top marks go to the wine list – a terrific compendium of bottles from sunnier climes with modest cash mark-ups.
Wine List Of The Year Finalist
Printed on the kind of brown paper normally used for packing onions, the list for this Bristolian eatery (which is based in an old pub) oozes with personality. Cheerful and homespun, the 50 wines have lively, personal tasting notes, and the wine selection is very well priced and hearteningly brave, with Bulgarian Rkatsiteli and amphora-fermented Armenians rubbing shoulders with Navarran Grenache and Mount Horrocks Riesling.