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The Lakes - where to go?


nikkib
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  • 2 weeks later...

Took a spur of the moment trip to the lakes yesterday. We gave Northcote a call to see if they had any availability for lunch but no luck. So we pressed onwards, not really sure whether to head into North Yorkshire or the more familiar territory of the Lakes. After a bit of aimless pootling we decided to get our finger out and to give Gilpin Lodge another go.

We arrived without reservations, it was a very nice day but there was no problem getting fed. We were seated on the terrace with about a dozen others enjoying the sunshine. We were offered an indoor table but after the dismal summer we have endured, any chance to enjoy an al fresco feed is not to be turned down.

So we ate

Canapés of nice olives, homemade crisps, cheese straws, nuts and crisp fired haddock risotto cubes. The crisps were a bit greasy but it was a nice start.

A basket of good breads. I particularly enjoyed the onion ciabatta.

I ordered Lakeland rarebit to start. It was a essentially a miniaturised breakfast stack of bacon, tomatoey chutney, a disc of toast and a cheesy rarebit topping, with a fried egg and some salad leaves on the side. A work of genius.

The other starter we ordered was a delicate blue cheese soufflé. It came with a smattering of walnuts, grapes, fennel and shallots. It looked and tasted good.

To follow we both ordered the whole lemon sole. It was simple as can be. Grilled golden and served with a little herb butter. A dish of boiled potatoes, beans, broccoli and mangetout were the accompaniment. It was a bit strange to see proper spuds and veg, strange, but no bad thing.

No pudding. The couple I saw arriving at other tables looked good though.

It was nice. I enjoyed it much more than my first visit. The food was fresh, simple and cooked well. Not much in the way of cutting edge technique but empty plates tell their own tale! Service was good too.

We also found, quite by accident, Holbeck Ghyll. We stopped for coffee and great views from the terrace in the sunshine. We picked up a shoulder of salt marsh lamb in Booths, which is gently ticking over with herbs, a little honey and some stock on the hob right now. It was a good day.

Martin

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Ah Martin, was just there. Went to L'enclume, Sharrow Bay & The Samling.

I also popped to the Deer n Dexter farm, on my way from Penrith to Keswick. I met the lovely Jane whose heroically flavoured Dexter beef I've enjoyed many times before.

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This time Venison fillet, loin and a variety of their sausages were purchased for sustenance for the week. Such fine meat went into a Sunday Lunch, The Full English and the fillet was grilled and used with Booths very good array of premade veal stocks for rib sticking sauces.

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Edited by adey73 (log)
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  • 1 month later...

Er, yes. We went in th summer, the day that England were knockded out of the world cup. I only mention that as the hotel had declared itself a world cup free zone! Nice location above Windemere, the food was very good I not stellar. I loved my veal sevrved with its sweetbreads. My Mother and wifey both opted for fish courses which were accurately cooked. But note portion sizes are not huge. Slight cock up on the wine offered not being the one I chose, but the wife didn't check the bottle when I was attending to the five year old asleep upstairs. A nice apology and some comped digestifs rectified that minor aberration. Nice little wine list offered a Massaya Lebanese red at about 30 notes which was very drinkable. Our room was rather close and the small window didn't open far enough hence the fan , since no air con, remained on all night. But that won't be a problem at this time of year will it? Make sure you bag a decent room. Enjoy.

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So, that's Linthwaite sorted on a good deal.

Onto the lunch planning. I'm thinking pub one day (Plough at Lupton or the Brown Horse, as a change from the Punch Bowl) and Gilpin Lodge for the other. Thoughts?

John Hartley

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BROWN HORSE, WINSTER

Possibly everything you want from a country pub. A friendly welcome; a good menu which reflects local produce and the season; beer brewed on the premises; even a room for the night if you need one. We just needed some lunch.

Pheasant made two appearances on the menu. I went with the one that put it into a pie. A very generous serving of meat in a thinnish gravy, sweetened by a few cranberries. It was advertised as also having black pudding but there was none that I could detect and the pie was the worse for it. Now of course, I take the view that there are few things not improved by black pudding and here it would have added some meaty richness and, probably, thickened up the gravy. My complaint, if there is to be one, is that the pastry lid was undercooked, leaving it barely cooked at all on the underside. Alongside, there was a small portion of decent non-sloppy mash and some mixed veg.

Mrs H was in her Veggie Vera mode choosing a spinach, parmesan and pinenut tart – and coming off second best in the choosing stakes. It looked quite interesting but was underseasoned and a bit greasy. Some new potatoes and tomato & olive salad accompanied it. She had a half of the Winster Valley bitter, served properly without too much of a chill on it, and with a good lingering bitterness.

In spite of the quibbles – and they are only quibbles – this was a pretty fair lunch. And good value at under £21.

John Hartley

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LINTHWAITE HOUSE

Dinner came as part of a last minute overnight deal at this lovely hotel. I like it here – the rooms, bedrooms and public, are well furnished and very comfy. Staff are efficient, formal without being fawning, friendly without being familiar. In my book, that makes them perfect staff.

Orders are taken over drinks in the lounge. There were good canapés – duck on celeriac remoulade was a standout but a risotto ball and a cheese biscuit were, in their own separate ways, both light, crispy and delicious.

My partner started with what seems to have become a modern classic of scallops with cauliflower puree. A bit stingy offering only two scallops but they were delicious. Just seared through. Perking up the fairly bland puree was a scattering of crisp, salty fried Cumbrian air-dried ham. Also adding an intriguing background note was a little drizzle of curry oil.

My own starter was a “pressing” of chicken – shreds of chicken, very lightly bound with jelly. Texture – moist. Flavour – delicate. Also on the plate, as almost a classic accompaniment to chicken, some grilled baby leek and a little salad leaf. An inoffensive starter but not edge of the seat stuff.

Much more robust was what must be a regular item (as it features in the 2011 Good Food Guide review of Linthwaite). Loin of Cartmel venison, served perfectly at medium rare, a red onion tart (spot-on crisp pastry), damson puree and a rich chocolate and port jus. Superb.

The other main brought Galloway beef in two ways – fillet, again medium rare, and a braised short rib. Served separately, a little dish of smoked mashed potato – an intriguing flavour and very delicious.

Both dishes had a scattering of artfully cut root vegetables. Unfortunately, these must have been plated too early and had cooled somewhat.

Desserts were both successes. A pistachio cake came with a honey icecream and a grilled fig – almost the eastern Mediterranean on a plate. And a crème brulee, served with rhubarb and ice cream.

It was then back to the lounge for good strong espresso and some delicate petit fours – of which the highlight was an orange marshmallow.

Dinner retails at £49 and is pretty good value in itself. Value improves when taken as an integral part along with bed and breakfast (which included the finest Cumberland sausage I can recall eating).

John Hartley

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GILPIN LODGE

Lunch at Gilpin (as it now styles itself) was an excellent way of spending a couple of hours. I’m sure the chef turns out imaginative dishes at dinner but this was a meal where good ingredients had been cooked and plated up with almost a minimum of intervention. It was great. And cracking value at £27 for three courses.

We looked over the menus sat on an overstuffed sofa in the lounge, sipping a drink, nibbling on assorted salty stuff, watching the rain tipple down outside. Seemed to me to be exactly what a retired couple should be doing on Monday lunchtime.

Ham hock terrine seems to be on everyone’s menu these days. Here it was a generous slice of well flavoured porkiness – mainly pressed shreds of meat but the occasional little chunk of meat giving a nice change in texture. As often it came with piccalilli – but as not often, this was a good ‘un, sharp from vinegar and with a kick from the mustard. There was a little bit of toast but a basket of good bread had also been offered – cheese ciabatta, granary and a caraway.

The main course of guinea fowl came as roasted breast and also ballotine of the legs. Wild mushrooms, mashed potato and a cream sauce also on the plate. Just a lovely plate of unchallenging, perfectly cooked, perfectly enjoyable food.

Veggie Vera had ordered a twice baked Stichelton soufflé which was light with the blue cheese coming through nicely. There was also a deconstructed Waldorf salad which didn’t work that well. It needed some more oomph in the dressing and cooking the celery was not necessarily a brilliant idea. This was followed by a pumpkin risotto, with ceps and sage – good texture with some green veg just cooked through but retaining a crispness balanced out the softness of the risotto. Perhaps a tad oversalted.

None of the desserts floated our boat but I had some cheese – all British – generous portions of cheddar, Blacksticks Blue and a couple of other softer ones that I’ve forgotten. Bread and biscuits were offered and a tangy apricot chutney.

Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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  • 5 months later...

MILLER HOWE, WINDERMERE

Perhaps the faded star of the country house hotel scene in the Lakes, but twenty five quid will still get you one of the best views of Windermere and a very decent three course lunch.

To start, there was a ballotine of ham hock – chunky and very piggy meat, wrapped in a slice of air dried ham (perhaps Parma, perhaps the local Woodalls), it came with chopped apple, softened and sweetened, a swoosh of tart apple puree and scattering of raisins soaked in Madeira. I liked this. I liked this rather a lot.

The other side of the table was also enjoying her starter – twice baked Lancashire cheese soufflé. Good texture and flavour, perhaps needing a stronger cheese for perfection. Topped with some cress, dressed with balsamic. Good dish.

Main No. 1 - roast cod with braised Little Gem, button onions, peas and mash. Good dish, except for the lack of crispy skin on the fish.

Main No.2 – chicken, lentils, very crispy salty pancetta, mushrooms, mash, lovely wine-based gravy. I happily cleared this.

For desserts – a light sticky toffee pudding – well, if you’re in the Lakes, you gotta have sticky toffee pudding – and rhubarb crumble. The latter served with a good custard with its vanilla picked up in a scoop of ice cream.

There’s been an aperitif in the lounge and we had good coffee there afterwards. All in all, a perfectly pleasant way of spending and hour and a half.

John Hartley

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  • 1 month later...

This thread is a great resource for a new traveler to the Lake District!

Apart from the fine dining places like L'enclume and The Samling, are there more low key, young persons (9-15) suitable restaurants that one shouldn't miss?

Cognito ergo consume - Satchel Pooch, Get Fuzzy

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By the by, is there any gossip about who might buy the Samling and/or Sharrow Bay as I see they are about to be flogged off by the administrators of the Van Essen Group?

John Hartley

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  • 3 months later...

IIRC, the pub in the centre of Hawkshead has "reasonable" food. Can't recall it's name. And wouldnt put the food better than reasonable.

Punch Bowl at Crosthwaite & the Brown Horse at Winster have better than reasonable - I think I have reviews of both on the pub thread.

Dunno about dog friendliness at any.

Edited by Harters (log)

John Hartley

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