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Holbeck Ghyll


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We love The Lakes. We spent a lot of our time before and after our wedding (some long time ago) exploring the area.

Even our honeymoon was spent partly at the famed Sharrow Bay Country House Hotel the Grand Dame of country house hotels.

Francis Coulson and Brian Sack cosseted their guests, they really were the pinnacle of hospitality

However ,I have to admit to deserting the Lakes for some time, having become besotted with the Cotswolds, but thats another story.

It really was good to return.

Holbeck Ghyll has held a Michelin star for ten? years or so, we have been before but not to dine, just to look at the place for future reference.

Its as you may expect perhaps untouched for decades but comfortingly shabby chic. The Lakes are of course the home for country house hotels with one seemingly on each corner.

We had a few canapes in one of the lounges as we decided on what to eat, then through to the dining room.

The amuse was Butternut squash and Gruyere velute followed by,

Tian of Crab with Avocado and pink Grapefruit, which was a bit short on Crab and not at all exciting.

West Coast of Scotland Hand dived Scallops with celeriac and balsamic dressing was the other.

The scallops were topped with a shaving of truffle which did not have a pronounced flavour They were slightly overcooked.

Bread was a choice of Granary, Apricot and Walnut, Cheese, and ?

The best of a bad bunch was the Cheese, the rest was just well,,,,,.

One good point is that they have their own spring so no selling bottled water.

Everything was classic, Villeroy and Boch crockery, Riedel Glassware, and Arthur Price of Sheffield cutlery.

Best End of Cumbrian Lamb with Puy lentils, swede puree and Haggis beignets was my choice and,

Fillet of Aberdeen Angus Beef with truffle Pomme Puree and Wild mushrooms was the other main.

Both dishes were perfectly ok but lacked any zing and seemed to be like the Hotel itself, lost in a time warp. Thankfully the Lamb was pink as no one asked how I would like it.

We are sort of used to having the dish described to us as it is served, and whilst it may annoy the minority I find it most helpful because its not possible for me to always guess the components.

Desserts were an out of season Cherry concoction which was deemed sickly sweet and a form of sticky toffee pud which is a famed local speciality.

Everything about this meal had a "safe" feel to it almost as if that is what the punters wanted, or is that what the chef wants the punters to expect?

Don't get me wrong the food was "OK" but perhaps thats the part that that we were disappointed with.

We chose from the carte, but they have a special midweek offer which on our visit comprised of one of each choice from the carte ie, starter, main, and dessert, and its very good value.

Price for one a la carte £56.50, one midweek special £32.50, one bottle of decent wine, no coffees , some nice Cumbrian spring water and a tip was £125.

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"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Couple of years since we were there - our last "big" anniversary where we took their most expensive suite for a couple of nights (great outdoor hot tub).

Like David, I thought the food was quite safe, described as Anglo/French it played very much to its Gallic side. They make the mistake of having some old review cuttings on display - mistake when it's several years later and menu items are unchanged. We're hopefully popping up to Cumbria soon but Holbeck won't be on the list.

John Hartley

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Couple of years since we were there - our last "big" anniversary where we took their most expensive suite for a couple of nights (great outdoor hot tub).

Like David, I thought the food was quite safe, described as Anglo/French it played very much to its Gallic side. They make the mistake of having some old review cuttings on display - mistake when it's several years later and menu items are unchanged. We're hopefully popping up to Cumbria soon but Holbeck won't be on the list.

John,

Those reviews are still on display.

They were quite busy in the restaurant, fifty plus and all the rooms were sold. We met two lovely couples who were enjoying themselves, it certainly seems a popular spot and one thing its not is cheap.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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Hi David, been following your travels - thought your meal at Holbeck looked much better value than the Hinds Head. The food looked OK but basic pub grub - if your bill had been half the price it would have been about right. You obviously have to pay through the nose for HB's reputation! :hmmm:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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...looked much better value than the Hinds Head. The food looked OK but basic pub grub - if your bill had been half the price it would have been about right. You obviously have to pay through the nose for HB's reputation! :hmmm:

Pam do you really think so? I thought the Hinds Head prices were fairly average. OK a bit up on the "Brake Bros" mob but not out of line with the upper echelon of pubs. Remember it is HB's take on classic pub food and he is not trying to be a "restaurant" (after all he can show off at his other place). We used to pull off the M4 for lunch on the way into London as we found it far better value (price/quality) than anything on the motorway or waiting to get into town.

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Hi David, been following your travels - thought your meal at Holbeck looked much better value than the Hinds Head. The food looked OK but basic pub grub - if your bill had been half the price it would have been about right. You obviously have to pay through the nose for HB's reputation! :hmmm:

Pam,`your right of course, some of the pricing for "Gastropubs" is over the top.

I have booked a meal at The Royal Oak (new Michelin star) and the prices are about the same as Hinds Head. Be interesting how the food compares.

Same at Michelin starred Pipe and Glass in Yorkshire,(which I have yet to write up).About the same money.

Profit margins are very good in pubs, no spend on decor, less staff overhead, etc, etc.

"So many places, so little time"

http://londoncalling...blogspot.co.uk/

@d_goodfellow1

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These Yuppy gastropubs are getting above themselves on pricing. They have low overheads compared with the likes of Holbeck, few laundry costs, little ambiance, no grounds to maintain and just look at the comparative dishes - work has gone into the different component parts of the Holbeck menu. There is not a lot complex about an ox tail and kidney pie - it might have tasted better but it didn’t look a lot different to Brakes! And if I had overcooked the pastry, the way it looked, on that onion and goats cheese tart I would have chucked it in the bin and started again. :rolleyes:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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These Yuppy gastropubs are getting above themselves on pricing. They have low overheads compared with the likes of Holbeck, few laundry costs, little ambiance, no grounds to maintain and just look at the comparative dishes - work has gone into the different component parts of the Holbeck menu.

Although remember Holbeck is a Hotel, and not a cheap one, so lots of the costs are covered by that side of the operation. Holbeck is also in the the Lakes versus a pub in the home counties so obviously very different input costs (property, wages, ingredients etc). I would guess pubs don't make so much on the wine list i.e. most are low to mid priced lists when compared to mid to high in restaurants.

So not really an apples to apples comparison.

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Although remember Holbeck is a Hotel, and not a cheap one,

Indeed - the Miss Potter suite will set you back upwards of £500 a night including dinner.

Mrs H thought I was worth it.

John Hartley

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These Yuppy gastropubs are getting above themselves on pricing.

Interestingly the numbers for the HH are now available in the Guardian:

The nearby Hinds Head, in which SL6 owns a 75% stake, turned in £136,196, up from £51,088 the previous year.

....it doesn't seem to be a massive money spinner.

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