It`s really hard to believe that there`s an amazing secret little hideaway hotel sat virtually on my doorstep and during all the years that i`ve been into food, i still haven`t managed to eat at The Cottage in the Wood. I`ve travelled all over the world to search for and to eat amazing food and yet a 25 minute drive in the car would have me right at the door of this lovely little white cottage perched above Bassenthwaite Lake in Keswick. The hotel sits in the very heart of the English lake district and was formerly a 17th century coaching inn.Now owned and managed by husband and wife team Liam and Kath Berney. A vacant Friday afternoon came my way and so a reservation was finally made to eat there.
The stunning view over Bassenthwaite Lake and Skiddaw mountain ranges.
The Cottage in the Wood is a family owned restaurant with rooms , it`s the ultimate hideaway hotel and a perfect escape for the romantics out there. The rooms are luxurious , the surroundings are magical , the prices are very reasonable, and to cap it all off , the food`s pretty good stuff. The newly appointed head Chef is 27 year old Chris Archer , a really nice young guy with an extreme passion for what he produces on the plate. Chris , a Yorkshire lad comes with a fantastic pedigree – Midsummer House ( Daniel Clifford ) , Winteringham fields ( Colin Mc Gurran / Germain Schwab ) , Yorke arms and also staged in some of Londons finest restaurants. I was pretty excited when I found out about this so I decided to go for the Spring tasting menu and see what Chris was all about.
Muhamara – ( A dip from Aleppo, Syria. )
Roasted Peppers , Walnuts , Olive oil , Garlic , Cumin , Paprika.
Bread – Soda and Sourdough.
Rillette of Salmon , Cucumber and Horseradish Gazpacho
Satay , Radish , Lime
Belted Galloway Beef cooked two ways.
Blue Winnow , Artichoke , Romanesco , Red wine.
Fig , Pistachio, Green Tea
Ok…so my thoughts on Cottage in the Wood. As far as romantics go and couples wanting to simply escape from it all then it really doesn`t come any better than this. It really is a little den hidden away in the forests….Ssshhhh no one will ever know you`re there and you can simply vanish from everyday life.
The Food – Well Chris is cooking to a very high standard here , very much city centre fine dining and from what I ate it was evident that his previous employers have carved their mark into Chris`s cooking style. The food is very light and personally I could have started at the beginning and eaten every bit again….but don`t forget I done the 30 courses at Lenclume so don`t go by my style….and belly.
Chris is only a new Chef on the Cumbrian cooking scene so hopefully the menus will soon see more local produce and use of the enormous wild and free larder right outside of the front door. Rabbits , Squirrels , Wood Pigeon and a whole host of berries , Mushrooms and herbs lie in wait for this talented young man once he settles into post. As for the accolades , without a doubt once Chis and the team get to a smooth and confident flow then another Michelin star is heading to the lake district.
The Tasting menu is currently priced at £60 with accompanying Wine pairing £40
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