Newly refurbished (as of Dec 2016) and Michelin starred restaurant within The Samling hotel overlooking Windermere
The Samling has had a huge facelift owing to the demand of the food and has therefore created a very light and modern looking restaurant overlooking Cumbria’s (and England’s) largest lakes. The food is carefully conceived and attention to detail has been considered from the new, easier entrance for cars, wonderful cutlery and obvious care over the breads and butter (naan bread and tandoori butter being particularly pleasant). I also liked the clever tablet that held the canapes, with the glass posing as the very lake it overlooked. Overall the food was highly detailed with only one element on this menu that disagreed with me and in the main was a prime example of skilled, Michelin starred cooking at a reasonable price for lunch. Worth another visit I think as there is clearly more to be offered here.
From the outset there was a clear intention of the staff to accommodate all guests that were present as much as possible. It is getting a little bit more tricky for me now to be anonymous (the more I do this) even though I do not anounce myself as a food writer, I am finding more establishements are curious over of people dining on their own and several recently have even gone to doing an online check and as a result, some have linked myself to this website before arriving. Whenever that happens, I am aware that the staff may be more aalert to my table than they would otherwise be – the interesting thing is the way in which this is done and more importantly, what the exchange is like when I outline where I geuinely found some elements not so successful.
I write all of this as I sensed that Samling had done their homework before I had arrived but were genuinely happy to listen to the feedback points that I offered at the end (which are the same as below) and that I think says a lot. It was a pleasure to meet the head chef (Nick Edgar) and hear how many ingredients they are now able to pull from in their extended garden surroundings and the new kitchen certainly looks like a chef’s dream, mirroring the same, almost space age and modern feel of the restaurant.
Canapés here were very good – a mini Spanish omelette with ham was spicy and pleasant; squid crisp anchovy mayo was fresh and lovely and the potato and mint was smokey & had a lovely quality. Like I mentioned, I thought it was a very nice touch to see them on a scaled down version of Windermere. The amuse bouche of pork dumpling was deep with a suede broth but also light at same time and I absolutely loved the tandoori butter to go with the naan bread. The goat’s cheese was a little bland in comparison and the supporting bread with tomato was fine, but in general, it always makes me shine to see this level of effort on the smaller aspects as it shows the higher grade of ethos that the venue has.
The salmon, dill ice cream, avacado cream starter was a beautiful looking and fresh it was! I found the pickling of the cucumbers a little faint and there certainly was a crunchy texture of the sour dough crouton pieces to add this, but I could see how much planning had gone in to this dish with the dill ice cream being a very nice touch. The quali itself was a comforting and highly warming dish which gave that reassuring feeling when you know you are in skilled hands.
The only aspect I found less successful was the dessert as I found the parsnip quite strong (to cut and in flavour) with the banana which was essentially overtaken. Essentially this was sweet and savoury and I simply this is much better placed in a pre-dessert to serve as the transition if both are to be incorporated. It wasn’t a horror show and I loved the banana elements on the plate, but the parsnip inclusion simply wasn’t my cup of chai. Petit fours were beautifully done and again obvious pride in making the smaller elements carefully prepared was clear to see.
For these reasons of such attention to detail and overall flavours, this as a solid 1 Michelin starred venue and a return visit is clearly needed at some stage as a) it clearly has more to offer and b) my estimate is based on the new build and what I saw, even the entrance / driveway in the warmer months is likely to look utterly spectacular from Spring onwards. I am looking forward to having the opportunity to see it in its full prime. The £45 for the four courses was reasonable based on the return.
Food Grade: 77%
Location (Click google logo for directions)