Romantic Dinner & Stay - North

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Updated on 12 March 2014

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Northcote

Northcote

Northcote Road, Blackburn, Lancashire, BB6 8BE

A comfortable country house hotel on the edge of the Ribble Valley, Northcote has held a Michelin star for over two decades. Chef Lisa Goodwin-Allen has recently taken the reins from her mentor Nigel Haworth, and while the restaurant’s snow-white cloths and sparkling glassware still smack of traditional fine dining, the new menu is fresh and modern. Lancashire’s natural larder provides ample opportunity for seasonal, locally sourced ingredients to shine. Char-grilled asparagus was packed with flavour, served simply with creamy sheep’s curd and sharp wood-sorrel leaves, while deliciously sticky lamb breast came paired with a pillow of caramelised shallot purée. A photogenic dish of fat, sweet scarlet prawns with wild-garlic foam and beurre blanc sauce was a technically perfect rendition; we followed it with an earthy plate of succulent squab pigeon, its breast roasted on the bone and the confit leg accompanied by turnip and morels. Matched with note-perfect wines and friendly service, this is a treat of a tasting menu: light and playful, but with real confidence and skill on show. An inviting new chapter for this legendary Lancastrian heavyweight.

 

Over £80
British
Afternoon tea
One michelin star
SquareMeal UK Hot 100
Miller Howe

Miller Howe

Rayrigg Road, Windermere, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1EY

This elegant stalwart of the Lakeland hotel & restaurant scene offers stunning views over Windermere to Langdale Pikes, as well as food that is defined by a slick mingling of textures & flavours. Dinner could bring grilled mackerel with saffron-pickled vegetables or twice-baked Lancashire cheese soufflé with sweet tomato fondue, followed by mains of Holker Hall venison served with braised shin, creamed cabbage, butternut squash purée & chestnut jus or pan-fried sea bass with crushed new potatoes, fennel purée & asparagus ginger foam. Desserts tend to be country house evergreens such as sticky toffee pudding. A light lunch menu offers good choice, but always includes something traditional such as Caesar salad or cod

£50 - £79
Modern European
Sharrow Bay

Sharrow Bay

Howtown Ullswater, Unknown, Cumbria, CA10 2LZ

With Ullswater lapping below the windows & Helvellyn glowering on the horizon, this is a perfect setting & for many visitors, Sharrow Bay is the epitome of the English country house hotel – it was certainly the first of the genre. Noted for its opulent, over-the-top decor, Edwardian-style afternoon teas & rich food, Sharrow Bay is known for serving bold multi-course lunches & dinners – it’s best to go with a healthy appetite. Suissesse soufflé of stilton, spinach & onion & an intercourse sorbet may have an old-fashioned ring, but fillet of lamb with sweetbreads, dauphinoise potatoes and tomato and rosemary sauce, & fillet of turbot with shrimp risotto, ravioli of lobster and crayfish sauce show an awareness of contemporary trends. For those with stamina, there’s Francis Coulson’s sticky toffee sponge for afters, although the dark chocolate and cherry soufflé with vanilla sauce is worth the ten minute wait.

£50 - £79
British
The Samling

The Samling

Ambleside Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 1LR

Set in its own 67-acre estate overlooking Windermere, this white-painted house immediately signals its ambitions with a striking modern interior and vivid displays of contemporary art – it’s also reaping the benefits of a substantial refurb that has added a new kitchen, wine cellar and chef’s table to the hotel’s many assets. The cooking is fiercely on-trend, with new Nordic nuances and a larder of seasonal ingredients deployed for top-end dishes such as Penrith chicken with ‘hen of the woods’ mushrooms, nasturtium oil, nasturtium root and charred watercress. Elsewhere, Lakeland lamb loin is paired with confit neck, potatoes in lamb fat, pickled squash and anchovy, while smoked eel is torched and served alongside eel jelly, caviar, Samling-reared mangalitsa pork, Caesar-dressing custard and Japanese cucumber. Desserts are equally modish, and the wine list garners plaudits galore. With the development kitchen now in full swing, plus a progressive garden, livestock, and even a seed exchange project, this has the makings of a seriously self-sufficient project.

£50 - £79
Modern European
McCoy

McCoy's Bistro

Staddlebridge, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, Northallerton, North Yorkshire, DL6 3JB

The McCoy brothers are now into their fourth decade as custodians of this famously eccentric, one-off bistro-with-rooms, where big helpings of hearty eclectic fare are the order of the day. On offer might be a hefty starter of French black pudding & onion pissaladière, bowls of moules marinière or seafood pancake with thermidor sauce, followed by equally generous fillet of local venison with baby winter vegetables, venison faggot, celeriac & grand veneur sauce or rump of veal with oxtail, morels, cavolo nero & thyme mousseline. Fish specials change daily (steamed halibut with clam linguine, caviar & Champagne sauce, say), while desserts might herald chestnut parfait with caramel bavarois & maple dressing or classic ‘Louis XV’ served with almond ice cream. Prices are far from cheap, but the whole experience is reckoned to be good value.

£30 - £49
Modern European