Driving through the dark on a cold, wet, windy night to the Lancrigg Hotel, the stunning scenery is hidden, writes Karen Morley-Chesworth. Yet there are hints of the welcome to come – signs to country walks, free parking and the gentle glow from the window of the Poet’s Bar as we approach the hidden gem of Grasmere.
Relaxed, informal atmosphere
Once inside this charming country hotel the relaxed, informal atmosphere is as welcoming as the hosts themselves. The décor has been carefully brought together to provide a modern twist on classic design. The choice of artwork is inspiring, from abstract to traditional. Candle light and modern light fittings blend together perfectly, like the dishes on the imaginative menu.
Charming dog friendly Poet’s Bar
First we had drinks in the Poet’s Bar, which has the feel of a French rural bistro – utterly charming and also dog friendly. The passion for food and good wine is at the heart of The Lancrigg Kitchen, open to non-residents. Recently awarded their first AA rossette, just seven months after the chef joined the hotel, we were to dine off the December A la Carte menu which won favour with the AA critic. Basing their dishes on seasonal produce, the chef changes the menu monthly.
Candle lit dining room
As we entered the candle lit dining room, with it’s grand fireplace and bay window, the setting was magical – and the anticipation of the dishes to come heightened.
The Prelude – starter choice I made was Sprout croquettes served with red cabbage and beetroot ketchup. The idea of creating a new dish with this seasonal classic vegetable was fascinating, and the plate a Christmas treat. The crisp outer coasting of the croquette snapped to release the soft, fluffy sprout interior. The red cabbage was the perfect bed for this crisp starter – and the beetroot ketchup pure genius, earthy and sweet.
My dining partner ordered on the recommendation of our hosts, Sykes fell brulee – ewe’s cheese custard with walnut loaf.
A Guide To The Lakes – the main course selection took traditional dishes and presented them with a delicious twist. This being the Christmas menu I ordered the Lakes turkey “Milanese” – which promised to provide the flavours of the seasonal meal with a modern freshness. I was not disappointed, as the turkey was served two ways – the dark meat a high ballontine and the white meat a Milanese. Again, the crisp outer coating gave way to the flavours of the soft breast meat, the ballontine providing the deeper, richer taste. The lingonberry jus this was served with was the perfect rich, fruity complement to both. The forest mushrooms and truffle added an extra depth to the flavours and saute potato a more delicate accompaniment than traditional roasts. This was a Christmas dinner taken to a new level.
My dining partner ordered simple pan roasted Scotch salmon with potato galette and seasonal vegetables.
For Natural Piety – dessert I chose the Poached pear with orange sorbet. The star anise and syrup the soft fruit was gentle poached in was elevated by the citrus delight of the sorbet. The zest of the orange in the cool sorbet was perfect, giving the dish an added texture.
My dining partner ordered the Yule log trifle with chocolate custard, jelly, cherries in kirsh – this was no trifle your grannie would make. This was a rich, delicious dish to end a very special Christmas meal.
The Lancrigg Kitchen provides the full gift of fine dining – magical atmosphere, relaxed setting, warm welcome, passionate and attentive hosts and the most imaginative menu created from the finest seasonal produce.
To read my fellow diner’s review, visit www.ktmy.co.uk
- 3 course meal from £35 per person in the restaurant