Thursday, 19 February 2015


I've just returned from a rather delightful Hen weekend away at the Lakes. Saturday evening included dinner at the Lamplighter Dining Rooms in Windermere and what a treat it was. Having taken a look online after the meal it was repeatedly referred to as the "best meal in Windermere" and going by my experience, I can wholeheartedly agree.

Before I continue I must say that my trip was out of the norm. I was with a group of 16 other Hens, with a set menu and in our own function room so granted there will be differences from my experience from that of if you walked in off the street however all the food we were offered is available on their main menu (at time of writing).

So our group approached the Lamplighter ready to kick off our evening. Greeted at the door we were whisked off to our private dining area at the back of the restaurant. On route I got to check out the quaint dining space all decked out with red roses (I forgot to mention it was also Valentine's Day!). It looked cosy and inviting yet sophisticated, perfect for treating a loved one after spending the day exploring the lakes. 

Sitting down at our table we were quickly poured a glass of bubbles and toasted the bride to be as we were offered bread and olives by the friendly staff. I didn't try it but I was told that the brown/rye bread was a delight. Not long after that our starters began to arrive. Being a large group we had preordered so I'm not sure if this is the normal speed of service however all our additional requests were met with the same level of speed by the attentive team on duty.

What's great about dining in such a large group is that I got to see an array of dishes brought to the table. A particular highlight for me were the fish goujons which to me could of been a main meal in itself. The batter looked perfectly crisp and brown and I could only here positives being uttered around the table between mouthfuls. In comparison, those who chose the black pudding bon bons felt a bit hard done by with the small portion they received however I would say that it would be perfect for a light nibble before the main and had the goujons not of been so big in comparison we wouldn't of known any better. That being said they were again praise for there deliciousness.

I myself went for the belly pork which was a delight. The pork was not overly fatty or chewy as some belly cuts can be and the portion size was pitched just right. The BBQ-esqe sauce served with was sweet and complimented the dill laced homemade coleslaw served on the side. For me, a perfectly balanced starter that I could of happily eaten twice over. Finally, the vegetarian option was a goats cheese crostini which having dined out with a veggie for many years is slightly uninspired however you couldn't fault it for it's presentation and taste. Just something slightly more original would of been nice. That said, overall the starters were a hit!

As the bubbles kept flowing we turn to the main courses and in a complete U-Turn to the disappointingly unoriginal veggie starter, the main was a resounding success. A beautifully creamy cheese and onion pie covered in buttery flaky puff pastry. The appreciative sounds coming from next to me were giving me food envy. Special mention must also go to amazing caramelized onion mash that came alongside it. Incredibly smooth and yummy it's great to see the veg getting the same attention as the main attraction of a dish. I would love to know the recipe so I could whip up a batch for Sunday dinner!

My main was chicken Kiev and chips served again with that delicious dill coleslaw. This was no cheap frozen meal Kiev! The chicken (which you could tell actually came from a chicken - no processed rubbish here) moist and the breadcrumb coating crunchy and crispy. The butter filling oozed satisfyingly as I cut through the Kiev and was just the right level of garlicky to not be overpowering. The chippies were crisp yet soft like fluffy clouds inside. Its inspired me to try and make a homemade Kiev that I hope to share with you soon. A 99% triumph with only one downside. I could of eaten more!

I say that as the other mains around the table included a huge Ox cheek ragout and a fish and chips, the size of which I have compared to that of a whale ever since. If your hungry, love fish and chips and want value for money I would defiantly chose it and I promise you will leave with a full belly and a smile on your face.

With a few glasses of wine and two courses in my belly I was struggling but it was time to plow on to the desserts. I went for the creme brulee. I'm afraid I'll have to echo the bride to be when I say that unfortunately the caramel was slightly burnt and did get stuck in my teeth. A rare negative in an evening of plus points. The vanilla custard however was delicious and the shortbread biscuit crumbly and great for dipping into the custard. The damson gin shot on the side was a great digestif and a fabulous way to top off a fabulous meal. Just need to sort out that caramel!

I'm glad I didn't go for the Cartmel ginger pudding as I don't think I could of eaten half of it. The ginger pudding sat in the centre of a beautiful ocean of butterscotch sauce (and custard in the picture but you could have ice cream or cream) like a giant sticky island of indulgence. Comfort food on a plate! Defiantly not one to get at the end of a three course meal as it was an ample portion but if you decide your going to skip the starter for the pud then this is the option to go for. Otherwise make sure you defiantly have plenty of room before sticking your face into this beauty.

On the way out I saw many an award emblazoned across the walls and I would have to agree with all the sentiments bestowed on the Lamplighter. Even managing a large group party like ours they still managed to deliver an overall top notch meal and the friendliness of all the staff encountered really did give it that homely country feel. If you are planning a trip up to Windermere I really suggest you book a table and get down the Lamplighter. It really is lighting up the lakes with it's dining experience.

No comments:

Post a Comment