Harden's survey result
“The food is similar in style to L’Enclume” (chef Kevin Tickle moved here from Cartmel) at this “superb” establishment, where practically all diners are “blown away by the whole experience: the interesting depth and combination of flavours, the foraged ingredients, and the different cooking techniques – all matched with some wonderful wines” (of the biodynamique variety). It’s a “non-stuffy dining”, Scandi-style room in a “very friendly”, but “professional” and “classy” hotel, set in “gorgeous Lakeland countryside”. “Costly true, but worth every penny”. “We will definitely be going back even though it’s a 5 hour drive away!”
“They sure know how to look after you” at this “lovely forest-themed dining room” whose “gorgeous” Scandi-esque looks contrast with the rest of this “beautifully renovated” Victorian building, which enjoys a “brilliant Lakeland setting” near Grasmere village (part of a year-old hotel within Andrew Wildsmith’s small collection of boutique properties). Chef Kevin Tickle moved here from L’Enclume to open the restaurant, and “there is a similarity to the cuisine at Cartmel” in his ambitious multi-course menu here, which comes with “unusual drink pairings – not just wine” and with many ‘biodynamique’ vintages. Results are “absolutely delectable and impeccably prepared, showing the right balance between interesting contrasts and subtlety of flavours”, while “staff are seamless and judge their interactions perfectly”. “It’s a wonderful experience from beginning to end” and “although it’s definitely not cheap, I don’t think anyone could argue that it’s not good value”.
“A newcomer that will clearly reach the heights”; “this latest in Andrew Wildsmith’s small collection of boutique hotels (Hipping Hall, etc.)” – “an imposing-looking Victorian building, a short walk from Grasmere village” – is “fabulous in all respects” (seldom are reports quite so ecstatic). Decor-wise, “the formality-versus-informality, the luxury-versus-elegance are exceptionally well balanced, and the dining room itself is a gorgeous airy space (quite distinct from the style of the rest of the hotel) with a touch of the Scandi about it”. “Kevin Tickle (ex L’Enclume) has devised a tasting menu that’s clever without being overwrought and completely divine, showing off his foraging roots, and with many of the ingredients coming from the hotel’s own kitchen garden”. “It’s only been open since January but already it’s establishing itself as one of the best (if not the best) place to eat in this part of the Lakes.”
The Forest Side Restaurant Diner Reviews
"The food here comes either from the garden, local suppliers or forage. It is a seasonal menu and the lunch is outstanding value for money although there is only a choice of a set lunch (no options) or more expensive sampler menu. Cocktails are expensive but a treat to try something different. The waiters explain each dish but are embarrassed and speak too quickly! It would be nice if they left the menu on the table."
"Lovely lunch on a glorious summer day. You can take drinks outside (large non-alcoholic choice all at price) but only eat inside. Light room wth high ceilings an unaccountably, lights on. Fixed menu only so we could not indulge our practice of sharing and hence discovering more dishes. The portions are only modest - shades of the history of L'enclume derived chef where there are many courses. Starter size of radishes noticeable as served in a corner of a large plate. Main of guinea fowl had 2 cuts. We did have 2 amuse bouche with the 3 courses but no pre-desert or chocs. Happy to tank up on the wonderful, surely homemade bread to fill the gaps. There is a larger menu which others had but it included beef which we avoid. Quite pricey but for the quality recommended. Service is fine although I wish the "announcer" of the dish had mumbled less. Neither of us could understand him."
"The food was sublime. We went for the Grand ‘Un, the 11 course tasting menu with extras. Nothing could be faulted with such an interesting selection. Every course left you wanting more, though you knew you shouldn’t as there was so much more to come. 20 diners, 10 serving staffkeft you feeling a bit giddy with so much coming and going. Unusually I could not gain any rapport with them and there was only an occasional glimpse of warmth. Fully trained, yes, but there was something missing from this efficient service. The sommelier seemed a bit disinterested. The setting is delightful."
Grasmere, LA22 9RN
Last orders: 9.30 pm