Thursday, 23 December 2010

Langdale Chase Hotel

Langdale Chase Hotel

On the rare occasion that was a night in December without the band having a concert or a caroling job, coinciding with it being a Friday, both of us being able to take it off work and also my birthday, we decided to go away for the night. The Langdale Chase Hotel is situated directly on the shores of Lake Windermere between Ambleside and Windermere in the beautiful Lake District. As a child I remember visiting the hotel for afternoon tea with my family and remember being completely in awe of the place. The wood panelled entrance hall with dramatic staircases (above), the drawing room complete with piano, and most of all its stunning location all stuck in my mind. We had booked the hotel via one of their special offers which gave us dinner, bed and breakfast, with a bottle of wine in the room for a very reasonable price. 

Wine in the room
After a hike around the village of Coniston - more like a heavy going trudge through the snow, we arrived and checked into our room (a room which had its own private balcony overlooking the lake!) and got ready for dinner.
We ordered a drink at the bar to sip while we looked at the menu. The menu was a reduced version of what was on offer on the full menu since we had booked with the offer, but still all the options looked delicious. Although I had rather hoped to be sampling the pheasant that was on the full menu. I had called ahead to say that I needed gluten free, and asked the waiter what were my options - at 2 choices per course I wasn't that hopeful! But he came back and said the chef could do all of it gluten free. I did wonder what they would do with the cous cous part of the fish dish though. 

Together we ordered the soup, the chicken liver parfait, the pork, the pavlova and the mulled wine jelly. And we finished the meal with a rather lovely 2009 Chablis in the bar.

The soup I thought needed a little salt was was good and a good texture, but the most notable thing for me was the fact that they had gone to the trouble in providing gluten free bread on the side and gluten free croutons! I have never seen that before. Normally I have found that places just leave out the bread, but not substitute it. I am told that the parfait was tasty and the plum chutney that came with it, fantastic. But Tim is a chutney fan generally!
The pork was very nice. A nice bit of crispy, salty crackling, along with the orange roast parsnip and cabbage gave enough variety on the plate to make it balanced, and for me, there was plenty of sauce - yes I am the sauce fan of us two!
I think the pavlova roulade wasn't quite what was expected as the meringue was soft throughout, but altogether was good. And the mulled wine jelly itself was great, it a little too much. It came with raspberry coulis which was divine and orange ice cream which I was a bit puzzled over as it didn't seem to match in my mind. But maybe that's because of the whole orange ice cream idea. Orange and cream mixed together, really?

Morning view of the gardens and lake from our balcony
The next morning at the buffet-style breakfast, I obviously steered clear from the sausage products to be safe, but I was presented with gluten free toast! Again, a first for me.

I suspect they bought in a loaf of Genius bread (which is the only gluten free bread worth eating in my opinion until maybe when the new Warburton's range comes out), which in itself is not a hard thing to do, but goes very much appreciated. And yes, I have told everyone I know about this!

We spent the morning wandering round Ambleside where we discovered the fantastic Lucy's of Ambleside where we bought a few goodies including gluten free quiche (yes fresh, home-made gluten free quiche!), gluten free baking powder and a massive slab of pork pie with piccalilli. We also found a local butcher who did gluten free sausages, and bought all his stock! All in all, Ambleside seems to be the place to be if you need gluten free food.

We will hopefully return to Langdale Chase as it truly is a beautiful hotel, and the service we received was excellent, and not just because of the bread! We were lucky enough to take advantage of a special offer, but would say that for a special occasion it would be well worth the money anyway.

The hotel

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