REVIEW: The Lamplighter Dining Rooms, Windermere

The Lamplighter Dining Rooms in Windermere
The Lamplighter Dining Rooms in Windermere

A romantic overnight get-away for two in the Lake District ... what could be better before the world descends into a pre-Christmas frenzy.

A romantic overnight get-away for two in the Lake District ... what could be better before the world descends into a pre-Christmas frenzy.

The dining room at The Lamplighter

The dining room at The Lamplighter

Unfortunately two turned into three for us when we made the trip North to Windermere - Storm Abigail was the unwanted companion who arrived shortly after us, announcing her presence with the dramatic arrival of torrential rain and gusty winds.

I suppose, though, without any rain, we wouldn't have the wonderful Lakes we enjoy throughout the year.

With steely grey skies outside; the sound of hail bouncing off every surface and the wind doing its utmost to spirit away anything not tied down, we were heartily glad of the warm welcome at the family-run Lamplighter Dining Rooms, in High Street, Windermere.

Just two minutes from Windermere train station and with its own car park, the traditional Lakeland-stone built Lamplighter proved to be an ideal spot to shelter from the storm after the weather cut short our excursion to the bustling tourist hub that is Bowness-on-Windermere, a 25 minute walk down the hill.

Our large and airy room tucked under the rafters provided a perfect vantage point to view the approaching storm and those poor souls braving the elements in their walking gear. My husband and I preferred to snuggle up in front of the flat screen TV and make use of the rather decadent coffee machine provided in the room.

It was certainly a good job the Lamplighter boasted excellent cuisine in its dining rooms as nothing would induce me to set foot outdoors. Eating in proved to be a real treat in a n intimate dining room bursting with Victorian sophistication and class. We joined several other couples already enjoying their evening meal in understated elegance.

Starters saw us delight on the sharing platter: A selection of Cumbrian artisan bread, house marinated olives, Fleetwood haddock goujons and croquettes of Waberthwaite ham, Bury black pudding and smoked Lancashire cheese. A lip-smacking combination that hinted at the delights to come in the main course.

For me it was one of the three vegetarian meals on offer: the truffled wild mushroom, feta cheese, rocket and cherry tomato Linguini served with and Cumbrian artisan bread and lashings of garlic butter. And yes, it was certainly as good as it sounds. My traditionalist husband opted for the Lancashire beef suet pudding, which had been rag rolled, oozed rich gravy and was served with triple cooked chips in dripping. Plain fare but there was nothing ordinary about the taste and melt-in-the mouth texture. He chose a generous side order of mushy peas that complimented the meal perfectly. The dining rooms also specialise in fresh fish brought in daily from Fleetwood.

A tempting array of puddings appealed - especially the Trio of apple (pie, crumble, sorbet and cinnamon custard) - however after feasting on such earlier delights I had to settle for the Trou Normand (apple sorbet, topped with warm calvados). I wasn't disappointed - and isn't it nice to try something new when you're away?

We chose a glass of Piesporter each to accompany our meal but were totally spoilt for choice with the drinks menu: 15 varieties of gin, champagne cocktails, port and dessert wines, as well as a wine list to make your mouth water. After the meal we relaxed in the bar with a brandy ... sorely tempted by the 29-year-old Vieil Armagnac (intensely aromatic and laden with fruit). With a storm raging outside, we chose to have the brandy 'warmed' - it's the little touches offered that make a big difference.

After a great evening meal, the Lamplighter had a lot to live up to with breakfast and didn't disappoint. The full English served to my husband was as fresh as they come, no sitting under a heat lamp for this culinary delight . Keeping the food miles low, it was local produce cooked to perfection and great to set you up for a day in the elements.

Hotels and guest houses jostle for business in the Lake District and the customer is truly spoilt for choice. What, for me, made the Lamplighter stand out was the service - it has a big hotel feel and standard of service at a small hotel price. And when you read about the owners, you begin to realise why: kitchen experience has included Ascot, Newbury, Lancaster House Hotel and the Porthole Restaurant in Bowness. Front of house expertise has been honed at The Savoy, The Dorchester, Claridge’s and The Old England hotel in Bowness.

A great little hotel which can match the cream of the crop.

Find out more at www.lamplighterdiningrooms.com