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nikkib

The Lakes - where to go?

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Did you sit outside? They've renovated the gardens quite beautifully. Nice ponds and far superior seating areas compared to how it was. Sitting out there with fresh orange juice? Well there can be no better way to pass the time!

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We've booked a week in the lakes in September, starting off with Northcote Manor which is on the way, then on to the Punchbowl, Hipping Hall, and finishing with a couple of nights at Gilpin Lodge, reports will surely follow.....

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We've booked a week in the lakes in September, starting off with Northcote Manor which is on the way, then on to the Punchbowl, Hipping Hall, and finishing with a couple of nights at Gilpin Lodge, reports will surely follow.....

We did a weekend at Hipping Hall last, uhhr, weekend. Worthy of a very full report, but I don't haave the time. Suffice to say best non-star meal I've had since early Anthony's, if of a rather different style. One of the amuses (cod with a deep-fred egg) sticks securely in the mind, as does a main of halibut, macaroni and mushrooms. Mrs W. had a pig's head (well, cheeks, tongue and eye-socket) which was judged superb. And the TArte Tatin, while not up to RHR standards, manages to clog the arteries as it should.

Service is excellent, friendly (and mostly English which is fairly rare) without being cloying. Mr Wildsmith who owns the place is a great host if diffident in that English upper-middle-class style to the point of silence at some moments (cue mutual embarassment). Breakfast is massive, black pudding very similar to that at The Star.

ONly downside (Apart from two days of rain) were minor things to do with the rooms. Its a restaurant with rooms that charges at 4* hotel rates, and does two things seemingly taken from The Samling (where they also wound us up)--no tea and coffee facilties in the room, which means being charged to have a cuppa. Oh, and a corkage charge on brought-in wine/champagne.

INteresting mixture of clients too. ONly wonder is how they make the numbers work. Easily worthy of a star (far better than places like Fischer's), if it was three miles to the south-east, I'd rank it in the top three Yorkshire country places with The STar and The Yorke Arms.


It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Does Hipping Halls corkage charge apply only at the table or in the rooms as well? The website isn't clear but I look forward to the argument if they try and charge me for drinking my own wine in a room I'm already paying too much for......

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Does Hipping Halls corkage charge apply only at the table or in the rooms as well? The website isn't clear but I look forward to the argument if they try and charge me for drinking my own wine in a room I'm already paying too much for......

Well, that's the issue. They charge in the room too (I have no issue with them doing it or banning it at table). ONly if they have to provide glasses/an ice bucket.

The Samling did this, and we had a massive row with them. My view is people who are likely to bring a bottle of champagne from outside and drink it in their room are probably likely to have more to drink in the restaurant/bar. At Hipping at least they warn you of this charge on the booking confirmation, which makes it much harder to argue with. The Samling didn't, so we ended up refusing to pay. But The Samling didn't like the fact on the second night we had a carpet picnic from the wonderful Booth's in Kendal. As far as I'm concerned, if you're in a massive room, over-looking the lakes, a picnic is an essential.

Course, as some of you know, I also like having an argument.


It no longer exists, but it was lovely.

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Thats quite a power chord of places Fisherman, are they all new to you?? You will not be disappointed with Hipping Hall, one of the best places in the north west easily. Punchbowl is more informal, have not eaten there in the evening for quite a while, so do not know if its still as good asit was. Be interested to read your views.

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Cheers for that Bertie, I'll take a couple of glasses with me then :)

We were going to have a week somewhere hot, but thought we'd have a week closer to home getting fat instead, most places are new to us, I went to Gilpin years ago and have fond memories of it, but I think the place I'm looking forward to most is Hipping Hall, though we're only there for one night unfortunately. Northcote should be intersting too, we're taking advantage of the Gourmet offer, so 5 courses to start the week as we mean to continue!

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Thats quite a power chord of places Fisherman, are they all new to you?? You will not be disappointed with Hipping Hall, one of the best places in the north west easily. Punchbowl is more informal, have not eaten there in the evening for quite a while, so do not know if its still as good asit was. Be interested to read your views.

We ate at the Punchbowl in early may and had a really good meal.

We had tried the Drunken Duck the day before, where the cooking was good but the value appalling - miniscule portions. The Punchbowl's cooking was IMO far better, although simpler. And it was far, far better value. Generosity on the plate rather than the stingy portions at the Duck - very weird considering they are owned by the same people.

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Must admit, the Punchbowl impressed me on my first visit the other month.

I'm off to Jericho's at the Waverley (Windermere) next Sunday evening and I've not really seen it mentioned much here, or at all in the press. Any opinions on the place?

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Didn't go on Sunday, I actually went to

Jericho's at the Waverley, in Windermere tonight and from the moment we were greeted by the amazingly homely and friendly Penny, to the moment we collected our jackets and strolled off into the night, every second was a pure joy.

Possibly one of the finest evenings out I've ever had. The newly renovated restaurant at the Waverley is quite a small venue, all candle lit, contemporarly decorated and the place was completly packed and buzzing. Once the place filled and the bottles of wine were being emptied, I've never known an atmosphere better, lots of loud chatter and laughter, it's really amazing to be part of somewhere like that in the Lake District, which on the whole tends to edge closer to the more reserved or hushed side.

Service was impeccable in every sense, each course seperated by just the right amount of time, drinks served promptly, asked if we'd like more bread etc etc

The food was beautiful, not sure quite how is best to describe it, I'd say it has a rustic feel but presented in a refined way. The egg pasta, sausage, duck breast and broad bean starter was the best thing I ate all night. The pasta was like no other I've ever had; I didn't realise how light and delicate it could be, it just melted in the mouth.

I also had beef for mains which was served with mushrooms, red wine sauce and fries. The beef was devine, I could almost have eaten it through a straw, it was so tender and succulent. My partners had sea bass and chicken mains, both which were presented as if from the highest end type of place and reviews were universally positive.

For dessert I had a dark chocolate frangelica and hazlenut barvois, which was light as a feather and a lovely way to round of a magnificent dinner.

Including drinks, it came to about £40 each, which compared to other places is an absolute bargain. Every element of a decent night in a restaurant was fulfilled. Definately a place to be at the weekend when the place is guaranteed to be full, I can't recommend the place enough, which is strange because I've still not seen much in the way of reviews for here.

Still, they've won best restaurant in the Lakes a couple of times and business is clearly doing well. I can't wait to go back!


Edited by SaladFingers (log)

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Gilpin Lodge's renovations ensure it is still the best place for midweek 3 course lunch. The new bar, almost Japanese in style is bright and airy and surrounded by newly lanscaped gardens, which on a fine day is heaven to relax in.

For a rather grey Tuesday afternoon, the place was extremely busy, which is nice, lots of people who speak just like the queen splashing out on copious amounts of wine.

Serrano ham, with apple puree, truffle and baby vegetables was summer on a plate. A strikingly beautiful starter to look at, with a veriety of flavours and textures, it was a pleasing way to start.

Main course of pork done three ways, with black pudding, spring onion, baby vegetables and sage jus was just my kind of food. Comparing this to newly opened Rogan and Company, which I have been impressed with, reminded me of why Gilpin is my favourite place to lunch.

Chocolate biegnet, citrus relish, blood orange sorbet and carrot foam, was three minature deserts side by side and all tasted beautiful when eaten together.

£20 for 2 or £25 for 3 courses represents terrific value, especially if you're lucky enough to eat in the garden room. On this showing, it will certainly win back its michelin star.


Edited by SaladFingers (log)

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We've got two nights at Gilpin coming up and I'm looking forward to it :)

Oooh are you staying in one of the garden suites?

Stayed in one a couple of years ago and had a memorable night in one of the hot tubs in a howling gale!

:wink:

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lots of people who speak just like the queen splashing out on copious amounts of wine.

Everytime I've been there has always been some frosty looking ex-headmistress or a old beetroot faced cornel. In the car park once, a old guy, must have been at least 80, was trying to reverse a brand new aston, his wife was banging on the boot "Roger, your going to hit the wall". He could barely see over the steering wheel. Lots of old money there.

But I will agree, the new bar is ace, very swish. The rooms look lovely. I'l be going just for lunch for now, turning up in my fiesta!

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Funnily enough we are!

We've got two nights at Gilpin coming up and I'm looking forward to it :)

Oooh are you staying in one of the garden suites?

Stayed in one a couple of years ago and had a memorable night in one of the hot tubs in a howling gale!

:wink:

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Indeed it has, we were there the day they learned of their award, I'm never keen on watching the staff get pissed but I suppose that day they deserved it.

We're just back from a particularly spectacular week of Lakeland eating, we had three amazing meals (Northcote, Hipping Hall and the second night at Gilpin), one pretty good meal (though not pub of the year standard) at The Punchbowl and one pretty poor meal (first night at Gilpin)

Reports will surely follow, when I've cooked and digested the lamb Karhi which is currently simmering on the hob.

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been a couple of years since my visits to the lakes which incuded hipping , punch bowl and 3 nights at gilpin so interested to see how they are all getting on.....


Edited by Gary Marshall (log)

you don't win friends with salad

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I can't put it off any longer, and as the only alternative this after noon is the washing up, I'll make a start with the write ups now.

I'll do this chronologically, and start with Northcote first, though I'm well aware, as some pedant will no doubt point out, it isn't in the Lake District!

We had booked a 'Gourmet Break' basically a decent room (got a free upgrade to a superior as the deluxe rooms were being refurbed) and five course dinner for two for £250. The room was pretty good, and the food was a real surprise, much much better than we were anticipating both from Nigels reputation (though being a Monday night he may not have been in the kitchen) and previous reviews on here.

The menu was as follows:

Carpaccio of wood pigeon, shavings of smoked foie gras, apricot, organic garden leaves

Seared wild seabass, lobster parcel, coriander, chargrilled Tarleton baby gem lettuce, ginger

Ascrofts cauliflower soup, summer truffle

Dunsop Bridge lonk lamb, girolles, potato souffle

A selection of Britsh and Irish cheeses.

The pigeon was good, thinly sliced as carpaccio should be, the smoked foie, added another note, the smoked flavour wasn't too apparent, it could have passed for regular foie but that's a minor quibble, whatever flavour was there was perfectly suited to the dish. The apricots adding a sweetness which would otherwise have been missing, all in all a pretty good starter, showing a skilled hand in the kitchen and a real understanding of flavours. Though this was a set menu, this was a dish I would have ordered anyway.

The wild sea bass dish on the other hand is something I would never have considered ordering, but it was a real gem, the fish perfectly cooked, the lobster was as good as lobster ever is, though I have to say I'm no fine of lobster, give me a decent crab any day. The lettuce was the real star though, the chargrilled edges adding a perfect smokey flavour, and nestled within was an unannounced piece of dry cured bacon, possibly my favourite part of the dish. The ginger was noticeable only by it's (to my palate) absence.

I wasn't expecting much from the cauliflower soup, though cauliflower is my favourite vegetable by some considerable margin, I find summer truffles too often disappointing. Not in this case though, the dish was presented as a bowl of cauliflower soup, with a slick of what looked like blitzed truffles with oil in the centre, then a few grated pieces of truffle on top of that, the grated pieces were neither here nor there, but the other truffle element was stonking, perfectly matched to the cauliflower and perhaps our favourite dish so far.

The lamb was pretty much as you would expect, loin, served pink, and was a pretty good piece of meat, the best things on the plate though were the girolles and some sweet breads which I wasn't expecting but was very pleased to see.

I can't remember exactly what cheese we were given but I do remember it was in perfect condition and well chosen.

My memory also fails when it comes to the wine too but it would have been something red, Italian and about 35 quid.

We really enjoyed everything about out short stay at Northcote, from the chat with the gardener on arrival, to the pretty swanky room, through to a much better than anticipated dinner. Also worthy of note was breakfast, possibly the best hotel breakfast I've had, and I've had a few. The sausages really stood out as being top notch, when I mentioned this to the waitress, she said 'yes, we've been looking a sausage as good as that for a long time' I for one am glad they made the effort.

The Punchbowl report to follow when I can be arsed.

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I was taken to Hipping Hall for Sunday lunch and had a good time!

Very comfortable furnishings in the lounge where we were served drinks and enjoyed sausage roll canapes but from the off, it felt a little too hushed. The place was full but everyone seemed to make the habit of whispering, which made me feel a little self-concious at times.

The dining room was amazing, I almost felt like royalty sat there in a 15th century hall, lovely wooden beams and classical paintings on the wall created an extremely formal feel and a welcome change from the usual.

Head waiter was extremely conversational, surprised he didn't pull up a chair. That's not really a criticism, he was nice and friendly and helped us relax but I sat there watching my food go cold while he talked about something. His company was much more welcome after the first couple of courses and his contribution is part of the reason I'd like to go back.

My starter of lamb, artichoke and celeriac puree was gorgeous and a pretty little picture there on the plate. It was little as well, almost shockingly small, yet it filled a corner quite nicely and got me all excited about the main course, which was a blade of beef, pomme puree and root vegetables. The beef was the nicest I've ever had, I simply could not believe how beautiful it was and just melted in the mouth, no chewing necessary. It wasn't particularly fancy but it demonstrated a standard of cooking I'm not used, each element represented in its highest quality.

Dessert was dark chocolate fondant with rasberry sorbet. Almost text book fondant and ultra refreshing sorbet, I could barely think of a better way to round things off. Probably not quite as accomplished fondant as served at Rogan&Co because the centre had solidified more than it should have, which was disappointing. But at least it still tasted like it's supposed to.

Petit fours consisted of a wonderful marshmallow and fruity topping.

Somewhere I'd like to revist asap!

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Been a few times to hipping hall. Its a cracking place with ambition. Excellent breakfasts. Particularly ended their home made fruit musli, which is strange as I can't usually stand the stuff! Only slight nagg, is that menu hasn't changed agreat deal since it opened, which more than likely signals their intention of wanting a star. Overall though, a quality restaurant, well worth visting.

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Mm, indeed! I tried to be more critical than was necessary. In all honesty, it was an excellent lunch.


Edited by SaladFingers (log)

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Well now peeps.

I dont go out for ages, then in the space of a week, I'm barely at home. Had lunch today at Holbeck Ghyll, and very good it was too. I have not been there in for over a year, not much has changed, its one of those places that time stands still. But in a good way. Its like a staying at someones great aunt's house, a bit twee but very comfy. Roaring fires, nice music, tick of clocks all overlooking Windermere. I had Ham hock with chutney, Best end of lamb, haggis deep fried parcel thingys on cauliflower puree with spinich and lentils. Very tasty. Typical classical country house cooking, but one of the better meals of the year. Oooh, Mille Fulile of raspberrys to finish. Its not trying to be hip or cool in anyway, its the perfect antidote to all things flash and trendy. £30 a head for 3 courses sunday lunch, they also do lunch through the week which I did not know.

Saturday night saw me at Rogans in Cartmel. Very good again, but cold. The place was freezing! I think they have a fireplace downstairs, but not lit. I had a good salted cod dish. I booked for 8pm, which is a bit late as I had been working, so come 9:15 I'm ready for my bed. Total fanny I know. I was dead tired though.

Friday night I was at Quattros on the A6 between Lancaster and Preston. Shite. Complete shite. Don't know why I went. Again, 5 degrees outside, felt like -5 inside, big fire, not lit!! WHY!!

Ohh, last Saturday, had very good meal at Fraiche. Marc, your a star. Bless your cotton socks, what a great place. The carrot meringues where great, as was the lemon sole, first time I had had sole. Went for the 3 course lunch, excellent value.

Now off to have peanut butter on toast. Oooh, got some goss, well, ish. Friends went to Hipping Hall over weekend, Bruno their chef has left apprently. Anyone clarify?? A new chef was cooking when they went, which is a shame, Bruno is very talented. Can I set up Bruno watch, let me know where he pops up next.

Ta.

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I hope Bruno hasn't left! Not sure who was in the kitchen last week but it was fantastic.

Nice to hear Holbeck Ghyll performing well. My only trip there in the spring was pretty poor; the food was good but we weren't allowed to eat it at a dining table because there weren't enough people there, so instead we had to perch round a little table in the lounge which was ridiculous and very uncomfortable. Great views, mind.

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