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Built for the Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Ayrshire as a grand gesture of Scottish baronial exuberance, this magnificent turreted pile with its castellated walls, 30 acres of landscaped grounds and
views over the Irish Sea to Ailsa Craig is a thrilling prospect – and a well-oiled heritage destination. Michelin-starred Matt Worswick has moved on to take over The Warehouse in Southport, but the kitchen is in safe hands. Fixed-price ‘gourmet’ menus explore contemporary themes,
with native produce always getting its proper share of the limelight – from braised Jacob’s ladder of beef with beer-pickled onions, bone marrow and sage to honey-roast duck breast with Jerusalem
artichoke purée and field mushroom duxelle. Cheeses are Scottish patriots, while eclectic desserts might bring banana soufflé with toasted banana bread. France dominates the heavyweight wine list.
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A former protégé of David Everitt-Matthias at Le Champignon Sauvage, Matt Worswick’s early career also involved spells with stellar chefs Kenny Atkinson (when he presided over St Martin's on the Isle) and Simon Hulstone at The Elephant in Torquay – as well as time at the Lords of the Manor in Gloucestershire. Worswick succeeded Michelin-starred Adam Stokes as head chef at the stunningly located Glenapp Castle in January 2013, and is certainly making a name for himself, showing a particular fondness for seafood and foraged pickings on his daily fixed-price menus (three courses at lunch, six at dinner).