A Punter’s Review of Lake Road Kitchen, in Ambleside, by Savour subscriber, Dave MacKay.
Every cloud has a silver lining, so the saying goes, and things were looking pretty cloudy when we got a call from L’Enclume to say that our long booked reservation was being cancelled as they were shutting on Tuesdays.
Things were even stormier when they weren’t able to offer us lunch or dinner at any other time during our planned trip to the lakes. Rogan & Co and Henrock were also unavailable. Because of the timing all of the other “go to” places in the area were also full.
Which brings us to the silver lining. A plea for help in The Good Grub Club (our Facebook group) was answered by Sean Wrest, previously of The Black Swan and Roots. He recommended the Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside. Having checked it out we were on to the booking form and the clouds continued to gather as they were full and, with a sense of impending doom, we were placed on the reserve list.
Out of the blue (or should that be grey?) we were given a lifeline, a reservation for the last night of our trip. We snapped it up and they were more than willing to accommodate Mrs Punter’s dietary requirements. So we rocked up, ready for the 8-course version and we opted not to go for the drinks pairing for once.
It is a small venue with few covers but it didn’t feel cramped and there were no distancing issues. The décor was clean was almost a little “steak house” which was emphasised by the sheepskin rugs for some chairs and all tables appeared to have a view of the open kitchen.
Bread and butter to start might seem a little passe but I am a traditionalist and this was particularly good. Homemade fermented butter and a sourdough style bread which was delivered with the declaration that it was sourdough style, rather than sourdough itself on the basis that “we don’t like sourdough so we don’t make it”.
Next up was KFC. Fried, crispy chicken which was divine and Mrs Punter’s version was oyster mushrooms in the same manner, a far better idea than using quorn or other heinous items. The delights followed, a simple mushroom broth packed so much punch I expected to see Tyson Fury at the pass, and what was described as a “porridge” was actually a risotto made with pine nuts instead of rice. As a flavour and texture experience it was something totally different and when we declared we were going to add it our arsenal our waiter added some pitfalls to avoid when we were trying it.
A couple of courses were not to my liking but that was a matter of personal taste, I cannot say that they weren’t perfectly cooked as they were, my cod dish didn’t live up to the standards of the other dishes for example. Those are the risks you take on a tasting menu, sometimes you get things you don’t like, sometimes you get something totally new. Unfortunately, Mrs Punter hadn’t been too well during the early part of our trip, hence the avoidance of the drinks pairing so we didn’t go for any of the optional extra courses and I think the staff were as disappointed as we were about missing out.
One final note, taxis. They are scarce in The Lakes but staff here not only booked our return trip but also adjusted it accordingly when the optional courses were not taken up. It was a little touch but something that added to the overall experience.
It would be wrong of me to say that Lake Road Kitchen is on a par with L’Enclume, as few places are, but it was a fine meal and an experience which made up for our earlier disappointment and we will more than happily recommend it.