Newly awarded Michelin starred restaurant (2020) a stone throw from the Lake District
Askham Hall gained its first Michelin star in 2020 under the culinary leadership of Richard Swale who has previously worked at 2 Michelin starred Noma as well as within the Anthony Demetree group in London. Being of Cumbrian birth he has returned to a small, stately hotel and given the restaurant a modern uplift. The food here was to a good standard and fair value for money for what turned out to be a dinner with a glass of wine, overnight stay and breakfast for two at £187 per person.
Opening canapés consisted of beetroot shell with goats cheese and blackcurrant and beef tartare in crispy potato, duck egg yolk and pickled shallots which were satisfying in the bar. Homemade sourdough and organic butter from Winterborne Farm were a pleasant offering to have and is always a pleasure when done well and shows the extra effort being put into the cooking.
Cornish crab and lobster pickled turnip and Chinese artichoke had a lovely, deep crustacean aroma and flavour. Beef fillet was next with smoked shallots, Brunswick cabbage & celeriac purée. This had a lovely smokiness to beef. Grilled sea bass with cod’s roe brandade and truffle sauce came with seaweed butter, lemon jelly and garden-grown kale which was an unexpectedly good combination. Gregor’s Cumbrian Grouse was excellent to see on the menu and came with bacon crumb and thyme, butternut squash tartlet had duck liver and confit grouse leg. This was served with lingonberry and pumpkin seeds and was very well done on all levels.
A pre-dessert of lemon thyme sorbet and keffir lime was refreshing and the lemon curd biscuits had a good base with lemon meringue on top. A clever, ‘Aero mint’ made with elk milk sorbet, 70% chocolate delice crisp and chocolate delice was a superb finish and had a lovely, faint touch of mint with sorbet not had before.
All in all, this was competent cooking and worthy of its Michelin star. The stay revealed accommodating staff who genuinely wished to make their customers comfortable. The room we stayed in was a tad cold with an unworkable TV, but at least there was plenty of hot water and a well-made breakfast to prepare for the long drive back. Pleased to have visited.
Food Grade: 75%