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‘Hyper-seasonal, climatically local cooking’ is the name of the game here, which means a tuned-in zeitgeist-hugging amalgam of ‘preserving and pickling’, ‘working with nature’ and so on. It should come as no surprise that James Cross cooked at world-beating Noma before deciding to shake up touristy Ambleside with his radical cuisine. Expect wild pickings and indigenous ingredients galore, all combined in revelatory dishes with lots of new Nordic echoes: meaty snails are dressed with a fearsome green miso made in-house from peas and beans; roast squab is given a Scandi edge with lingonberries, girolles and yarrow; a sweet caramelised scallop is enlivened with fennel shavings, bee pollen and sunflower seeds. Elsewhere, beef carcases are dry-aged for months on end and there’s a signature dish of whole roast cauliflower basted in goat butter, while desserts might include a cleverly fashioned blackberry tart garlanded with citrusy oxalis leaves. Lake Road Kitchen is a modest no-frills space with wooden planking on the walls, bare tables and an open-to-view working area – it’s also the kind of eatery where you’re expected to pour your own wine (sourced from Northern Europe, naturally).
SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK 2018 is compiled using votes from our annual survey, last conducted in spring 2018. Thousands of readers took part and the results were moderated by SquareMeal’s editor and his nationwide team of professional reviewers. The UK survey does not include any restaurants in London. Click here for the full list of SquareMeal’s Best Restaurants in the UK.
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