Ring O Bells, Nailsea: Carvery Review

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Nailsea’s Ring O Bells pub is just a few doors down from our wedding venue…so when visiting the venue for some last-minute checks one Sunday a couple of weeks before the big day, we decided it would have been foolish not to try out their carvery – especially as we’d heard just how popular it is.

Inside, it’s very much a traditional English pub in its design: plenty of dark wood, a quiz machine and a well-stocked bar, along with a decent sized function room (which has been busy every time we’ve visited), and a large garden complete with kids’ play equipment, as well as a covered barbecue area. Traditional, maybe – but the drink selection actually surprised us.

As well as the draught beers (Guinness, Moretti, Amstel and Fosters alongside more local options like Exmoor Silver Stallion and Butcombe Original), there are gluten free ales and lagers, plus a variety of ciders that include Westons and Thatchers choices, as well as the local Nailsea brew. It’s the gin and tonic menu that impressed us the most, with 10 different gins and the garnishes to accompany them, as well as five different Fever Tree tonics. The drinks prices aren’t bad, either: we paid £4.10 for a pint of Guinness and £2.60 for a pint of Diet Pepsi to accompany our meal.

The food menu features a lot of the pub grub classics, with a focus on locally sourced ingredients: there’s jacket potatoes, light bites such as chicken wings and nachos, homemade burgers that use beef from Lye Cross Farm, and main meals such as sausage and mash, a ploughman’s, steak pie and pork belly. Fridays are fish Fridays, and all of the mains are around the £8 to £9 mark, pretty good value for money.

On Sundays, though, it’s all about the carvery, with a choice of small, medium or large at surprisingly low prices. There’s a nut roast available for vegetarians, and you can even get your carvery meal to take away if they’re short on seating.

We’d definitely advise booking – the pub was fully booked when we walked in at around 1pm, but luckily we were able to find a table in the garden. We were told that this summer they’re serving around 100 people every Sunday – and that number goes up to around 150 during the colder months. Pretty impressive!

Order at the bar, and you’ll be given a ticket to take to the carvery area to claim your meal.

 

Ring O Bells Nailsea - Carvery Menu

 

Landlord Dave was behind the counter on the day of our visit, carving the four different meats for his carvery customers. It was clear to see from the banter that many of those queuing with us were regulars – but even as an unknown, I was treated with exactly the same friendly chat, which was lovely.

I grabbed a tray, and was offered the choice of gammon, chicken, pork (with crackling) or beef, along with a Yorkie and a stuffing ball if I wanted them. The meat all looked amazing, the beef nice and pink in the middle, and each of the four joints clearly good quality.

 

Ring O Bells Nailsea - Carvery Meat

 

While you’re served the meat, you help yourself to veg – and there’s a huge amount of choice. Roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrots, broccoli, swede, cabbage and cauliflower cheese all vie for your attention, and there’s a sign up proclaiming that both the cauliflower cheese and the tureen of gravy just out of shot in the picture below are both gluten free – it’s nice that they’re catering for as many different customers as possible.

 

Ring O Bells Nailsea - Carvery Veg

 

Just out of shot, head round to the right and you’ll be able to ladle on the gravy, as well as choosing from a dish of sauces that include apple sauce, mustard, horseradish and more. Collect your cutlery, head back to your table, and it’s time to tuck in.

My plate looks obscenely full as I was keen to try everything on offer…but don’t worry, everything was eaten! The pork was beautifully cooked and still nice and tender, and while the Yorkie was a bit tough, it was tasty. The stuffing was crisp and crunchy on the outside with a lovely herby flavour, and the gravy may have been gluten free, but it was still thick and rich.

For me, roast potatoes can make or break a Sunday lunch…but the beauty of the Ring O Bells’ carvery is that you can choose the nice crispy ones or the softer, fluffier ones – there’s something for everyone. The cabbage, carrot and broccoli still had a good bite, but the small cubes of swede were a little bland.

I’m a massive cauliflower cheese fan and this didn’t disappoint, with a thick cheese sauce and a good layer of melted cheese on top…so good! And finally, the roast parsnips were among the best I’ve ever had, beautifully sweet with a crispy, crunchy outer.

 

Ring O Bells Nailsea - Carvery

 

At £9 for a medium roast (which is what we both ordered), I’m sure you’ll agree that the carvery at the Ring O Bells is amazing value for money. Bristol city centre’s sadly got a bit of a lack of carvery options, so it was great to find somewhere that offers a combination of quality, great service, a friendly atmosphere and a good price that’s not too far away. We’ll definitely be back – and we’ll be making sure we book well in advance next time…

 

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