Surrounded by England’s most magical countryside and bread so good it could be a main


At most restaurants the bread is a side hustle – but here it’s listed as one of the courses, the second of six.

Here is Michelin-starred Source at Gilpin Hotel, a Relais & Chateaux property nestled amid some of the Lake District’s most magical scenery, just east of Windermere.

And it has every right to elevate the status of its ‘Parker House Roll’ – because it’s glorious.

Sitting at one of the restaurant’s round, elegant wooden tables, I’m in a mild state of ecstasy as I bite into a freshly baked mass of warm doughy exuberance flavoured with wild garlic and glazed in fermented honey.

The icing on the cake, so to speak, is a generous serving of cultured butter sprinkled with smoked sea salt.

Michelin-starred Source (above) is at Gilpin Hotel, a Relais & Chateaux property nestled amid some of the Lake District's most magical scenery, just east of Windermere

Michelin-starred Source (above) is at Gilpin Hotel, a Relais & Chateaux property nestled amid some of the Lake District’s most magical scenery, just east of Windermere

It’s good enough to be the main course.

Source is helmed by Fat Duck alumnus Ollie Bridgwater, who was sous chef at the three-Michelin-star restaurant for five years.

The food here, by his own admission, is simpler. But it’s precise, flavoursome, seasonal and technical. And delivered by waiting staff who aren’t the most polished (the cutlery is sometimes plonked on the table in a mildly haphazard fashion, for instance), but are certainly enthusiastic and welcoming.

What’s more, at £90 for six courses (£150 with wine pairing) and £120 for 10 (£200 with wine pairing), it’s mouthwatering value.

I clock up £35 for two pizzas with a Pizza Express Deliveroo.

The pre-bread course is a salad of Jersey royal potatoes, fresh peas, asparagus and goat’s curd, with an asparagus velouté, split out with wild garlic oil.

A shame it’s bite-sized (I mistake it for an amuse bouche at first), as it’s delicate and comforting.

Loaf at first sight: Source's Parker House Roll, which Ted describes as a 'mass of warm doughy exuberance'

Loaf at first sight: Source’s Parker House Roll, which Ted describes as a ‘mass of warm doughy exuberance’

The John Dory fish course

The 'piece de resistance' - manjari chocolate dessert, Source's take on a Black Forest Gateau

Pictured left is the John Dory fish course, and on the right, the ‘piece de resistance’ – manjari chocolate dessert, Source’s take on a Black Forest Gateau

Water lovely sight: Above is one of the spa suites at Gilpin Hotel

Water lovely sight: Above is one of the spa suites at Gilpin Hotel

Source head chef Ollie Bridgwater

Source head chef Ollie Bridgwater

To accompany, and the first entry in the alcoholic ledger, is a moreish glass of brut rose sparkling wine, produced in Kent by Gusbourne.

I take a sip, then resist the temptation to swig the rest of this cracking juice back in one go like a shot.

Post-bread, out comes a succulent slice of John Dory, accompanied by Isle of Wight tomato and gently seasoned with a tomato ponzu. This is followed by beautifully cooked, melt-in-the-mouth Herdwick lamb, served with wild garlic purée, asparagus and lush lamb jus.

The fresh ingredients work in harmony with each other and the pitch-perfect wine pairing, a velvety Carmenere red by Chilean producer Vina Casa Silva that, by the time this review is published, I will almost certainly have purchased for personal domestic consumption.

Pre-dessert is a superb ‘poached rhubarb’ sorbet, poached in campari and rhubarb juice. A mini firework of a dish.

But perhaps the piece de resistance – of the entire menu if you have a sweet tooth like me – is the manjari chocolate dessert, Source’s take on a Black Forest Gateau that features a heavenly, precision-made spheroid of chocolate mousse, paired with a hazelnut creme, cocoa nib ice cream and cherry (with an edible ‘stem’).

This is matched with a sweet, orange muscat by California’s Andrew Quady.

A golden nectar that rounds off a golden dining experience.

TRAVEL FACTS 

Ted was hosted by Gilpin Hotel, a Relais & Chateaux property.

Visit www.relaischateaux.com/gb/hotel/gilpin-hotel-lake-house.

At Source it’s £90 for six courses (£150 with wine pairing) and £120 for 10 (£200 with wine pairing).

Rating out of five: 4.5 

Getting there 

Ted travelled to the Lake District from London Euston using Avanti West Coast’s 125mph Pendolino tilting trains.

Visit www.avantiwestcoast.co.uk.

Oxenholme railway station is a 20-minute drive away from Gilpin Hotel, or a one-hour bike ride. 

 



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