The Belle Epoque has been awarded perhaps its most prestigious accolade of the past 42 years, in the form of Two AA Rosettes. What’s more, the hotel has also been awarded the AA’s Four Star rating.

The long-established and hugely prestigious Rosette Scheme recognises successful cooking at different levels across the UK. Success or failure in achieving Rosettes is based on an anonymous visit by an AA inspector.

A spokesperson for The AA said “Only about 10% of restaurants nationwide are of a standard that is worthy of one rosette and above, so to achieve two is indeed a huge achievement, and not to be underestimated”.

As an independent restaurant, the achievement is perhaps even more notable.

Proprietor and Managing Director Matthew Mooney said “When the inspector announced himself at the end of his stay and asked to speak to the owner…well, let’s just say Alex Ferguson coined a phrase for it! You know you, your team, your restaurant and the culmination of years of hard work are going to be judged by the most stringent industry standards. One must not forget that this is the same organisation that holds the likes of Heston Blumenthal and Gordon Ramsey to account”.

The whole staff team have played their part and really stepped up to the challenge. This was reflected in the inspector giving our hotel the AA Four Star rating. Our housekeeping girls were delighted, and have already set their sights on a future Five Star rating”.

One team member in particular deserves special recognition following the award – Head Chef Kevin Lynn. “I’m personally delighted for our Head Chef Kevin Lynn who has placed himself under huge pressure to set the required standard” Matthew added.

The Belle Epoque are also keen to show thanks to their loyal customers, and as such will be having an ‘a la carte April’, opening on all Saturdays throughout the month.

“Without our extremely loyal and wonderful customers, The Belle Epoque would simply not exist. We are really looking forward to ‘a la carte April’, and it would be lovely to celebrate this time with old and new customers alike” Matthew said.

The Belle Epoque has also been named in the Michelin Guide for 2015 and The Good Hotel Guide.

Bookings for ‘a la carte April’ can be made by calling 01565 633060 or emailing

Celebrate autumn with The Belle Epoque…

Summer may be nearly over but there’s no need to feel blue! To celebrate the start of autumn, we are delighted to offer you a massive 25% off your a la carte food bill throughout September!

We are also very excited to be able to offer the following a la carte dining dates in addition to our mid week dining availability…

  • Friday 5th September
  • Friday 12th September
  • Saturday 13th September
  • Friday 19th September
  • Friday 26th September
  • Saturday 27th September

Pre-booking is essential, so call us today on 01565 633060 or email, remembering to quote ‘BELLE 9’!

We look forward to seeing you…

Ts & Cs: This offer is not to be used in conjunction with any other offer and cannot be redeemed against our Artisan Menu. Pre Booking is required.

New Menu, New Era

a MM2 142We have just launch our newest a la carte menu and I know I’m biased, but it’s our best ever. Kevin Lynn has our Executive chef has fully embraced the belle Epoque ethos and driven the food to new levels. I’ve been sampling our food for over 30 years and am so proud of what we are now producing. The Chicken Liver Parfait, Guinea Fowl and Mess would be my choice for my last meal, could I be any more unequivocal than that.

Not only has our a la carte menu progressed, so have all our menus, from Private Dining through to Afternoon Tea and even our breakfast has had a huge overhaul and the feedback from customers has been stunning.

Indeed, our Mr Schofield, you will not meet a more honest, discerning diner, had not dined with us for many years until recently, he was hugely complimentary and those stars are extremely well earnt.


Is this an End to Crap Cookery/Restaurant TV Programmes?

Let me say this from the start, I really don’t enjoy the majority of cookery programmes on TV and I really dislike the , “restaurant” programs…………holding a special ledge in my stone heart for “trouble shooting programmes” and “fly on the wall”.
So what the hell has happened recently, Russell Norman’s the “Restaurant Man” has had me glued to the TV and lapping –up his laid-back, laconic style. Not for him the fake macho chest beating of Gordon Ramsey or the faux, worthy concern of Alex Pollici. Without Neanderthal confrontation Norman has dealt with people new to the industry, often frustratingly naive and conceited and dismantled their business plans with no more then 3/4 well chosen questions.
The questions were not to humiliate the new restaurateurs, but to show how alarmingly weak or ill-judged their concept/business plan was and to make them overcome these serious points before losing their money, dreams and sanity.
For me, Russell Norman has brought a dignity and humility back to our industry that was hijacked in the 90’s by chef’s wanting to become TV personalities rather than cook. This meant they were willing to do anything to appear on TV and there have been many embarrassing programmes and appearances on realty shows to support this statement.
I’m hoping that, “The Restaurant Man” is the first of a new breed of TV programmes that represent our industry……….which brings me to Restaurant Wars, which despite its misleading title was compulsive viewing for me.
Despite the editor’s best attempts to whip up a storm, both chefs gave a honest and frank account of the pressure, the criminally hard-work, the paranoia and insecurities that go with opening any restaurant, let alone a very high profile one.
I hope it showed the public at large the effort and risk that goes into these sorts of operations and that their commitment to push the boundaries should garner a certain level of respect and support.
PS You know you are nearly 50 when……..
You’re not offered condoms at the end of a haircut, but instead the barber whispers in your ear……..”do you want me to do your eyebrows?” Ahhh well I suppose it will happen even to Harry Styles one day.


The Totally Truthful, Accountable, Accurate, Trustworthy Piece of S**t …………….Tripadvisor

This is less of a Blog and more of a rant this week………….it seems the Daily Mail, (lord help us all), has discovered what we have in the industry know for a while……..some customer’s are willing to blackmail hotel and restaurant owners in order to obtain freebies…………well we hardly needed Benedict Cumberbatch to sort that one out did we?
Indeed, one restaurant claimed to be giving away 30 meals in every 1000 to so called blackmailers. As ever, in these cases there is a tendency to forget the 98% of restaurant customers that are polite, friendly, support your establishment regularly and always pay their bill, that is where the focus of both my restaurants is and always will be.
If you start letting your business be hijacked by 2% of “customers”, that by definition must hold your restaurant in contempt, you risk neglecting your real customers.
Our policy for some time has been to not engage with Tripadvisor, we will never respond to a review on their site be it good or bad. This is not driven by arrogance but after many obviously fake reviews and TA’s reluctance to correct even the most obvious sham review, that if we engage with the site then we feed the monster. If people know that posting a fake negative review will result in the manager contacting them to offer discounts/refunds……..word soon gets around and a trickle will become river.
The best advice for genuine customers remains the same…..if you have an issue/problem whilst dining always try and raise it there and any half decent restaurant can rectify the problem straight away. If this is not possible contact the restaurant by email at the earliest opportunity………..every decent restaurant would be delighted to have constructive feedback and the opportunity address/correct the matter so that the customer completely satisfied. If they don’t………..change your restaurant.




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