Sat, 30 Nov 2019
The Five Bells at Wickham has reopened under new ownership following refurbishment.
Guests were invited to take a sneak peak at the pub last Thursday, before its official opening on the Friday.
The bedrooms, kitchen and toilets have undergone a complete makeover and there are plans to expand and develop the existing microbrewery.
The popular pub, which has won a number of awards and regularly features in CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide, had been shut for several weeks while the work is completed.
Duncan Jones, who worked as Marco Pierre White’s head chef at The Yew Tree in Highclere, has teamed up with the chief executive of Newbury-based BDZ Group Bob Rae to buy the business.
He was also head chef at The Bell at Ramsbury for four-and-a-half years and until recently was executive chef of the Bel & Dragon group, which has a restaurant in Kingsclere.
Mr Jones had previously honed his skills as a private chef on luxury yachts and grand chalets in France and the Caribbean and has cooked for the Queen and Swedish royal family.
He said his focus will be on serving “high-quality classic English pub food that doesn’t break the bank”.
Some of the classics being considered are dishes such as steak and kidney pie, Lancashire hotpot, salmon en croute, jam roly poly and bread and butter pudding, as well as a selection of pies, fish and chips and puddings.
Mr Jones lives in Lambourn with his wife and daughter and said he wanted to run the pub as a family business.
At the soft launch last week, Mr Jones said how the whole family had helped chip in to get the pub ready in time after he was let down at the last minute by painters and decorators.
Among the guests were Sue and Roger Jones from the Harrow at Little Bedwyn, Pete Lumber from The Newbury and Laura Farris, the Conservative Party parliamentary candidate for Newbury.