For a 4 star hotel overlooking Lake Windermere with the accompanying views, setting and old-world charm, £34.5 for 3 courses or £26 for 2 courses doesn't sound like a bad option. I mean you can eat in Windermere for about £10 and be remarkably full. But for those extra things that you are paying more for, it's not too bad. With a generous 50% NHS discount, 2 nights including breakfast and dinner was £313. Not so bad if you say that the 2 dinners for 2 alone are £138.
Service is smooth and effective and efficient, as expected in a slightly luxury hotel with Covid precautions. Over 2 nights, I sampled a few dinner items:
- Hot smoked salmon, fennel salad, horseradish, balsamic - excellent entree with the smoked fish, fennel slices and seeds contrasting with the spicy horseradish. Balsamic was fine too although left a sticky ring on the plate suggesting it had been plates a while earlier...;
- Beetroot, honey roast walnuts, parmesan souffle, red onion - simple combination of textures and flavours. Not bad;
- Braised Scottish beef, potato tart, carrot, wild mushroom & shallot jus - beef was not that tender and quite stringy. Each element was much too salty unfortuantely;
- Sea bream fillet, crushed dill potatoes, samphire, tomato & caper dressing - an excellent dish of grilled fillet with this and the potatoes both having elements of crisp and soft. Samphire and capers added salinity and the everything came together perfectly;
- Sticky toffee doughnut, toffee sauce, vanilla ice cream - a slice of almost bread-like doughnut with a very sweet sticky sauce. The 1st night vanilla icecream wasn't impressive. Requested the Kendal mint chocolate ice cream the 2nd night and received a green thing with chocolate pieces. An improvement from my point of view;
- Mint chocolate delice, caramelised chocolate, Kendal mint chocolate ice cream (not pictured) - soft chocolate chunks (almost like ganache) with the other items. Oddly this Kendal mint chocolate ice cream was white with little chocolate speckles but also had a mint flavour in it. Strange...;
- Selection of artisan cheese, Scottish oatcakes, fruit chutney, grapes - mild blue, a lot of soft brie, and too weak of a cheddar.
Overall the food was good. If I was paying, I'd get the 2 course salmon and bream. Although I might find myself eating elsewhere without the views and setting.
Breakfast included a Full Macdonald with some soft black pudding, an egg (overcooked poached), some average bacon, and a nice potato hash. A selection of cereals, yoghurt, berries or fresh fruit was also available. Some marmalade, nutella and jam also accompanied my brown bread and tiny croissants.