It’s a bit late in the evening and my tummy is full of tired and gin, but I need to get this one out before I forget anything.
As a side nugget of fascinating information – I thought I’d join all the other guys and have a bash at reviewing places alongside my other shit cooking experiments. Based on my budget for eating out I wouldn’t go expecting weekly epic reviews of excellence. The review after this one is for a £1.49 microwave lamb dinner.
TO THE REVIEW…
Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside
I’ve never been anywhere on this scale and always wanted to. It’s that food you see onth’telly. The epic tasting menu adventures, plates upon plates of mouth adventures, foams, gels, creams and smears…I always wondered what that stuff tasted like…is it really better than steak and oxo cream sauce? Can those gels be better than a deep fried cheeseburger? It was my Birthday and I was treated to the other side of the KFC gravy…
Join me on the worlds poorest and most rambley review of The Lake Road Kitchen in Ambleside.
These Lake Road Guys. I had never heard of them, relatively new guys on the block, passionate about only sourcing food from the northern area, doing the local herb foraging thing… and what seems to have put them on the map, their 100+ day aged steak. (By the time we got there, the steak was upto 190 days of ageing)
For more background and a better insight into these guys if you are interested, check out the legend that is Bacon on the beach’s review by clicking here
So, an hour early for the reservation and scared absolutely shitless for some reason we went to the pub to calm down a bit (this stage is regretted 30 minutes later)
Fully boozed and feeling more confident and powerful, onwards down the road to the kitchen. Door opened for us by a lovely chap, lead to a table, made to feel happy, warm and not silly. The whole atmosphere was gloriously laid back and casual which was a bit of a relief.
“I’d suggest starting with a wonderful Winston fizzy white wine (He may have said sparkling, fizzy sounds a bit not right)”
Sounds good, lets go for that.
This was kind of the spirit of the evening, we made it quite clear that we’re basically up for anything, and do your best to scare us.
After the fizzy glorious Winston wine and the pub wine from earlier, and the fact I’d had no alcohol for 2 weeks due to illness, I was already pretty slaughtered.
A bottle of red wine arrived from Germany (although stored far more locally)
Anyway! To the food
I briefly considered taking the SLR to do some nice photos, but I’m not quite ready to be that SLR restaurant dick, so all photos are poorly taken by a shaky hand on an iPhone – so are shit.
The first adventure was snails on miso. Apologies as these courses move on, I end up having no idea what they were.
These snails were glorious though, little sweet sticky things in some kind of balsamic glaze with another sauce thing ontop and then on the worlds biggest smear of some in house ace preserved/pickled miso. Absolutely glorious and unexpected. Sweet, sticky, spicy, citrusy joys.
A lady brought us epic bread to dip into remaining juices. I hope this is done for everybody and wasn’t just seeing our desire to lick the plate and thought it was best to bring bread rather than bring the tone of the joint down a bit…
I seem the remember the description as slightly cured salmon with roe, a whey gel, horsradish and a dehydrated seaweed stock to use as seasoning.
I also adored this, I’m an epic fan of sushi, this ticked similar boxes, the whey gel didn’t really do anything for me, but wolfed the rest of it down. It has a glorious nice balance of fresh excellence
Peas and Asparagus.
Now what looks like a plate of peas was the highlight of the evening, this was buttery rich and savoury, almost cheesy, gloriously sticky and sharp and tingly whilst being smooth and luscious, like the flake lady, I would have eaten this in a sexy bath. It was worth coming up the M6 just for this bowl.
Scollop, Celeriac and some format of Apple, green drizzle stuff.
The biggest hand dived scollop I have ever seen. More expertly cooked than Simon & Garfunkel at a craft fair. I wasn’t too keen on the apple, celericy stuff, but then again, I don’t like celeriac, despite my many attempts.
It was getting a bit busy in the kitchen, so thought I’d nip in for a quick 15 mins just to help get James back on track.
Back at my seat, it was time for the main…the biscuit of Jesus, the tears of T rex..the Simon of Garkunkle… the now 190 day aged beef.Served with burnt onions, mushrooms and other things dwarfed by the beef.
I didn’t really pay much attention to anything else on the plate.
The steak…. More Importantly, the fat on the steak!
Being locked away in a room for 5 months growing mould had caused the fat and meat to take on a blue cheese like taste, a tasty epically savoury lusciousness.
I have not had anything nicer in my mouth.
I would have taken that steak to a travel inn on the motorway, fed it wine and done terrible, terrible things to it. As I am typing and thinking about it I’m getting sweaty, moist and hungry.
I better move on.
Cake. Desert. Cupcakes. They can all fuck off. I know that sounded a bit harsh. I just don’t get it? As soon as a cake comes out everybody melts and forms a queue..It’s just not for me…I’d rather have a bacon butty or chunk of cheese over anything sweet.
For this reason I wasn’t super looking forward to the deserts, but then this came…
Elderflower pannacotta, blueberry and Cicely snow.
This was a revelation in what a desert should be. Not mounds of sugar, cream and generic sponge number 5. This was almost savoury, sharp, tingly, warm and soothing. Glorious. I wouldn’t attempt making this in six thousand years. This is possibly the highest approval rating I can give.
More cake like in format, but more glorious. The creme had hay in it – which worked GLORIOUSLY, I would never have imagined how excellently it could have worked. I can’t even remember the rest, some format of raspberry ‘thing’ on a base made from wheatgrass or wheatgerm? By this point, with so much excellence and wine inside me it’s remarkable I even have a photo.
And so to a summary, which we all know I am completely awful at. I adored this meal. I haven’t fully processed what it means to me and my own cooking. It has changed the way I look at food and what do make…if a plate of peas is in season and ace…go for it! You don’t need a chunk of chicken or a leg of lamb for excellence.
No doubt I’ll be rambling further about the impact of the meal, but if you are reading this looking for some kind of review or recommendation of The Lake Road Kitchen…go. It’s screwed my mind a bit and only the best things do 🙂