The Bell, Bell Hill, Seend.

(01380) 828338

New licensees took over The Bell in Seend this summer, and the landmark village pub was closed for a few weeks for refurbishment.

The cool pale walls and white wicker chairs give the dining area a much brighter look and the menu, too, has a modern feel, with enough choice without being confusing.

My two daughters opted for tiger prawns in spicy sauce (£5.75), while I tried the Bell crab cakes with sweet chilli sauce (£5.50) and my husband went for garlic mushrooms (£5), which came with optional smoked bacon. The other two shared garlic bread (£2.50).

Although the pub didn’t seem especially full on a weekday evening, it seemed to take a long time for our meal to arrive.

The four prawns came smothered in a very spicy sauce, with only a small piece of bread to soak it up.

The sauce on the garlic mushrooms was also very generous, while the wheaty mini-baguette of garlic bread arrived in tinfoil, making eating a somewhat finger-scorching experience.

In contrast my crab cakes could have been a little hotter, although they were home made and well flavoured.

For mains my son had a larger portion of tiger prawns (£10.75), with chips and salad: again more sauce than prawns.

One daughter opted for a warm chicken and bacon salad with a chilli or lemon dressing (£8.95). A giant plateful arrived, with the balance being on the meat rather than the leaf, topped with crunchy croutons.

My other daughter and her French friend both chose the chicken breast with bacon in a cream sauce (£9.25).

The extremely generous portion was served in a pool of creamy sauce with small pieces of bacon hiding in it, accompanied by salad and new potatoes.

There was so much they invited us all to have a taste and it was delicious.

The adults didn’t fare quite so well with the chicken, tarragon and mushroom pancake (£8.95) which unfortunately was rather drowned in a puddle of bechamel sauce.

As it was getting late, we decided to forgo pudding, which was a shame as those I had seen at other tables looked good.

Our bill for six, with a pint of IPA, half of cider and seven assorted soft drinks, came to £96.10.

Ample car parking

Vegetarian options

On A361 ‘twixt Seend and Devizes

Garden with views towards Salisbury Plain

Wadworth, Henry’s IPA and Henry’s Smooth

Children’s play area

Oliver Cromwell is reputed to have breakfasted here

Our Eating Out is an independent review carried out by the Wiltshire Times without prior knowledge of the owners.