Dramatically situated in the heart of mountainous Whinlatter Forest – an area of the Lake District that drew superlatives from author and fell-walking legend AW Wainwright – this converted 17th-century coaching inn now makes its living as a foodie destination noted for its highly creative modern cooking. Rising star Ryan Blackburn has moved to The Old Stamp House in Ambleside, but his successor is no slouch when it comes to delivering seasonal food inspired by native regional produce from across the UK. To start, a salad of Wye Valley asparagus with pickled St George’s mushrooms, Jersey royals and Cumbrian air-dried ham sets just the right tone, while mains could span everything from Cartmel duck with sprouting broccoli, turnip, pistachio and cherry to Whitehaven turbot with squid, chorizo, saffron and courgette. Desserts such as a delice with raspberry textures and white chocolate ’aero’ are also bang on-trend. Fixed-price lunches are excellent value, while Saturday night brings a six-course tasting menu with well-matched wines. The inn also offers stylish boutique accommodation.
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