In a nutshell
Linthwaite, a traditional country house hotel with views of Lake Windermere, offers romantic seclusion, huge fireside sofas and first-class British cooking.
There’s excitement in the air at Linthwaite. Previous owners Mike and Jean Bevans have moved on after 26 years and head chef David Aspin, who has previously worked for Gordon Ramsay, Marco Pierre White and Paul Heathcote, now runs the restaurant. David replaces Chris O`Callaghan, who has moved to The Castle Dairy in nearby Kendal.
What are they cooking
A seven-course tasting menu encompasses the very best from Cumbrian suppliers – local grower Ken Holland, for example, supplies David with weekly fruit, veg, flower and herb boxes. Linthwaite also offers a traditional Lakeland afternoon tea and Sunday lunch.
What’s the room like/atmosphere
The restaurant and lounges have been subtly restored over the last couple of decades, returning the house to its original charm. Log fires, oil paintings and collectable nic nacs fill the corridors and there’s a warming, cosy vibe.
Menu must-orders and misfires
Tasting menu highlights include a delicate white Portland crab meat starter with tomato, grapefruit and melon. Simple on paper perhaps, but made luxurious with carefully placed English caviar and Peruvian marigold leaves.
A simple plate of tiny heritage beetroots was incredible in its depth of flavour. Gently roasted for hours and accompanied by Cumbrian curd cheese piped into little wafer biscuits, it was by far our favourite appetiser.
Smokey, chargrilled roasted langoustine (so tender) with crispy pork belly was well cooked and full of robust flavours. Happily for us, reduced sticky sauces that taste of roasted bones are used throughout David’s menu.
For dessert, baked apple cake with buttery flaky pastry, teeth-tingling sticky toffee caramel and clotted cream on the side was incredibly comforting, and just what we’d expect from an area famous for its puddings.
Surprisingly for such an up-scale place, drinks don’t break the bank – the wine list offers a reasonable selection at affordable prices. There’s no sommelier (which jarred), but the waiting staff were clued up on the selection they stock. Expect everything from £20.50 for a bottle of 2013 South African Chenin Blanc to £150 for a 2007 Italian Barbaresco.
Stunning views of Lake Windermere, peaceful surroundings and a chef who knows how to turn simple, local ingredients into plates of flavour-packed food, Linthwaite House is the kind of destination restaurant that leaves you feeling pampered and special. We’ll certainly be returning, especially considering the fact that dinner, bed and breakfast starts at a very reasonable £120 per person.
Written by Alan Spedding, November 2016. All images by Alan Spedding