Did you know that Cumbria now has the highest number of Michelin starred restaurants outside London and Berkshire? And while much of the news following the release of Michelin’s prestigious guide for 2022 has focused on L’Enclume in Cartmel – and rightly so having been awarded three Michelin stars – the county now boasts eight Michelin starred restaurants, making it a true foodie destination.
So if you’re looking for amazing food, come to the Lake District – you’ll be spoilt for choice. Here’s our roundup of the region’s Michelin star restaurants.
According to the Michelin guide, three Michelin stars stands for exceptional cuisine, worthy of a special journey. That special journey will take you to the pretty village of Cartmel, famous for sticky toffee pudding and now the UK’s only 3-star restaurant outside London and Berkshire.
L’Enclume was awarded its first Michelin star in 2005 and in 2013 became a two Michelin star restaurant. Fast-forward to 2022 and the L’Enclume is making serious headlines.
The restaurant itself is located within a former 13th century blacksmith’s workshop, where the cooking has never stopped evolving. Under the stewardship of Simon Rogan, classic dishes have been reinvented and stunning new dishes developed. Many of the seasonal ingredients used in the menu are sourced from the restaurant’s nearby 12-acre farm, while local suppliers are used for meat and fish.
The lunch taster menu starts at £100 per person and the full tasting menu, which is available for both lunch and dinner, at £195 per person. Wine pairing options are also available.
L’Enclume also holds a Michelin Green Star, awarded for gastronomy and sustainability.
Just a short drive from the centre of Bowness-on-Windermere is HRiSHi, located at Gilpin Hotel, where Head Chef Hrishikesh Desai uses locally sourced ingredients to create modern British cuisine with a twist.
The three intimate dining rooms mirror the Head Chef’s colourfully presented food – eye-catching and slightly eclectic. Dishes are precisely prepared, original and very attractively presented. Many of the dishes blend local ingredients with subtle Indian or Asian spicing, a nod towards Cumbria’s rich history as a centre of the spice trade.
The Old Stamp House, Ambleside
In the centre of Ambleside is the Old Stamp House, the historic former office of William Wordsworth, who worked there as Distributor of Stamps. The restaurant is split over two low-ceilinged rooms, adorned with local art.
The restaurant is owned by the Blackburn brothers. Ryan is in charge of the kitchen, while Craig looks after the service. Together they have a passion for all things regional, which is reflected in the name of their tasting menu, ‘A Journey Around Cumbria’. The dishes are well-thought through, skilfully prepared and carefully balance bold and delicate flavours. From 1 April, the dinner tasting menu will start at £95 per person and according to the Michelin Guide, the Herdwick Hogget is not to be missed.
Rogan & Co, Cartmel
Cartmel is actually home to two Michelin-starred restaurants, both under the umbrella of renowned chef Simon Rogan. Rogan & Co sits in the centre of the village, occupying a pretty cottage beside a stream. Its open plan interior gives it a laid-back feeling, with wooden beams, open fires and a friendly serving team making you feel very welcome.
As at L’Enclume, much of the produce comes from Rogan’s own farm or from trusted Lake District suppliers, allowing Head Chef Liam Fitzpatrick to use the finest produce the Lake District has to offer. The result is an appealing menu, listing skilfully prepared, understated dishes which make great use of creative ingredient and flavour combinations.
From 5 April, guests are invited to choose three courses from a selection of seasonal starters, mains and desserts at a set menu price of £79 per person.
Forest Side, Grasmere
At Forest Side in Grasmere, provenance and sustainability play a major role. Ingredients are sourced from the Victorian kitchen garden, foraged from the landscape or are supplied by some of the leading local suppliers.
According to the team, “Forest Side is designed to be a reflection of the landscape in which it sits”. This is apparent from the moment you arrive. Views of the fells, a rustic feel and skilfully prepared, creative dishes packed with vibrant colours, textural contrasts and sublime flavours derived from the surrounding landscape.
Guests can choose from either the 4-course or 8-course menus which start at £55 per person for lunch and £65 per person for dinner. Vegetarian menus are also available.
Allium at Askham Hall, Askham, Penrith
Allium is located within Askham Hall, a luxury stately home located in the beautiful Eden Valley. Under the guidance of Head Chef Richard Swale, Allium has built an envious reputation for food and drink.
The menus at Allium are constantly evolving, dictated by the cycle of life in the gardens and fields surrounding Askham Hall. There is a real focus on using locally grown produce, as well as an emphasis on wild game meat and ingredients foraged from the local area.
The evening tasting menu starts at £95 per person or £175 per person if taken with matching wines. A vegetarian option is also available.
Dog and Gun, Skelton, Penrith
The latest Cumbrian restaurant to be awarded a prestigious Michelin star is the Dog and Gun Inn in Skelton, just seven miles from Penrith.
According to the Michelin Guide, “The Dog and Gun is a proper village pub which does what pubs do best, by providing warmth, honesty and food that puts a smile on your face.”
Chef-owner, Ben Queen-Fryer, cooks with his heart, showcasing local ingredients wherever possible in pure, understated dishes where flavour comes above all else – and at prices which won’t break the bank.
The Cottage in the Wood, Braithwaite, near Keswick
Our final stop is The Cottage in the Wood, perched high above the Whinlatter Forest, where Head Chef Ben Wilkinson has a true passion for local produce, ensuring that Cumbria is at the heart of all of his creations. This is best reflected in the ‘Taste Cumbria’ menu, which has been created as an ode to the surrounding landscape, taking in sea, woodland, fells and forest.
Ben uses top quality ingredients and classic techniques to create eye-catching dishes which change with the seasons. The food and the service are natural and, as the Michelin Guide states, “you leave feeling that they really do care about every little detail here.”
The Taste Cumbria lunch menu starts at £70 per person, while the Taste Cumbria full dinner menu starts at £100 per person.
With a total of ten Michelin stars and some amazing local produce, not to mention so many pubs, bars and restaurants offering amazing culinary experiences, Cumbria truly has become a world-class destination for a gourmet escape.
Rachael Thomas is Managing Director of Matson Ground Estate Company Limited, which has a number of Lake District holiday cottages, including Birkdale House. Birkdale House is a luxury Victorian residence at the heart of a privately owned estate in the English Lake District.