The Old Bell Inn
This striking 18th-century coaching house overlooking the moors offers traditional charm and 18 bedrooms, while the brasserie restaurant has daily changing specials to complement the regularly updated menus that make best use of fresh, locally sourced produce.
Classic pub grub with an international twist best describes the spread of choices, with starters running the gamut from prawn cocktail (although with a gin Marie Rose sauce, natch) and smoked haddock and salmon fishcakes to chicken tikka skewers and shawarma kofta, and mains including the likes of pan-fried lamb’s liver and bacon with mash and beer-battered fish and chips alongside wild mushroom tagliatelle and a vegan curry of sweet potato, chickpeas and spinach with jasmine rice, toasted pitta and onion bhaji. It’s also pie-tastic at the Old Bell, with fish and seafood pie, cheese and onion pie, steak and Timothy Taylor’s ale pie and even a steamed beef and beer rag pudding – an Oldham invention, this suet pastry number is traditionally cooked in a cheesecloth. Steaks are 35 day aged and available as 10oz ribeye or 8oz fillet, and served with Portobello mushroom, slow-roasted tomato, hand-cut chips, crispy onions and watercress; there are also burgers of British beef, as well as Cajun chicken and a plant-based option. At the fancier end, there’s pan-roasted duck breast with fondant potato or pan-fried seabass “laced” with a lemon beurre blanc sauce; also available on a Sunday alongside topside of beef, pork and crackling, leg of lamb and nut roast. Salads, tick, sandwiches, also tick, including a posh fishfinger butty: haddock goujons on either white or wholemeal ciapanini (ciabatta-style panini), served with mushy peas and homemade tartare sauce.
Sweet treats include sticky toffee pudding and chocolate lava cake, and there’s a good selection of digestifs, including four Armagnacs and a Calvados.
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