Here we go for a little trip back in time to the Golden years of the Sharrow Bay country house hotel on the banks of Ullswater.I can actually hold my hand up and tell you …. I bought the t-shirt , I was there. I`m staring blankly at the screen right now working out exactly when it was….ermmmm…..Oh crap, it was 28 years ago , scary stuff.
Anyways , long story short.1987, It was my first ever taste of “fine dining” and thanks to Sharrow bay and the lovely owners at the time ( Francis Coulson and Brian Sack ) it was that very first visit that introduced me to the wonderful world of food and cooking. I remember it like it was yesterday.The fear in my bones as I parked my rusty Ford escort beside a Golden Rolls Royce and crawled away over the car park like a Ninja into the hotel fearing I had been spotted. I remember reading through the menu blankly and thinking ” This may as well be written in Cantonese”. Thanks to the wonderful staff at Sharrow I was soon put at ease and out of my misery. One of the staff sat down between us and guided us through the menu dish by dish.We were enlightened , we were educated , the passion was born , and the rest is history.
That night and after 8 amazing courses I drove my old battered Escort back through the gates of Sharrow bay a converted person and the very next day I went out and bought my first cookery book…. Raymond Blancs “Recipes from Le Manoir aux quat saisons” ….Oh and yes , I actually taught myself to cook from that very book.
So getting back up to the present day at Sharrow. I noticed that they had introduced a £26 three course ” Sharrow through the ages menu ” recently. At that price it`s an absolute steal and I couldn`t resist booking on the spot. The menu is a simple 3/3/3 and a lovely way to spend a few hours eating and taking in the stunning scenery and newly refurbished restaurant. The food is basic, no frills and is well cooked.It showcases exactly the food that set off the UK fine dining scene all those years ago (1965 – ish) plus it all consisted of quality ingredients cooked by Head chef Mark Teasdale .There`s lots of other more modern food on other menus here at Sharrow but today let`s have a look at the old classic menu.
First course was a Cumbrian fillet of Herdwick Lamb salad with Roasted Red Peppers , Feta Cheese , roasted Squash , Pomegranate seeds and a Balsamic dressing. Nice sized portion for a starter with freshly baked Bread. Absolutely no complaints here and off to a nice start.
Main course – Fillet of Hake , Risotto of Tomatoes , Aubergine and Peppers with an Italian Pesto dressing.
Casserole of local Matterdale Venison , Chestnuts , roasted Shallots , Beetroot Dauphinoise and roasted Asparagus. I could definitely have eaten the same again…Rich `bloke` food , loved it.
Francis Coulsons famous and “original” Icky sticky Toffee pudding with Cream. Yes folks , this is where Sticky Toffee pud was born. I was recently eating in Singapore and Bangkok and it was on the menus there so definitely has spread its wings worldwide. Oh and I also have the original recipe too.
Lemon jelly with Syllabub Cream…..As basic as it gets but ohhh so bloody lovely.
Coffee in the lounge after lunch with a few Sharrow treats.
Sharrow bay , definitely recommended for an escape in the Lake district. Its about 15 minutes drive off the M6 motorway and once you`ve arrived then you`ll be a million miles away from the real world and in your own secret secluded nest of antiquated luxury in the stunning scenery of the English Lakes at their very best.
Gourmet Lunch – £ 65 ( 3 courses) Sunday lunch – £ 45 ( 3 courses )
Dinner – £ 65 ( 3 courses ) Tasting menu – £95 ( 8 courses )