[Windermere, Cumbria] Miller Howe
Perhaps the faded star of the country house hotel scene in the Lakes, but twenty five quid will still get you one of the best views of Windermere and a very decent three course lunch.
To start, there was a ballotine of ham hock – chunky and very piggy meat, wrapped in a slice of air dried ham (perhaps Parma, perhaps the local Woodalls), it came with chopped apple, softened and sweetened, a swoosh of tart apple puree and scattering of raisins soaked in Madeira. I liked this. I liked this rather a lot.
The other side of the table was also enjoying her starter – twice baked Lancashire cheese soufflé. Good texture and flavour, perhaps needing a stronger cheese for perfection. Topped with some cress, dressed with balsamic. Good dish.
Main No. 1 - roast cod with braised Little Gem, button onions, peas and mash. Good dish, except for the lack of crispy skin on the fish.
Main No.2 – chicken, lentils, very crispy salty pancetta, mushrooms, mash, lovely wine-based gravy. I happily cleared this.
For desserts – a light sticky toffee pudding – well, if you’re in the Lakes, you gotta have sticky toffee pudding – and rhubarb crumble. The latter served with a good custard with its vanilla picked up in a scoop of ice cream.
There’s been an aperitif in the lounge and we had good coffee there afterwards. All in all, a perfectly pleasant way of spending and hour and a half.
John, I want to thank you for your recent posts, and am glad to see you actively posting on CH again. As an American who enjoys travelling around the UK, I am always delighted to find information beyond the usual London stuff. I'm glad Miller Howe worked out well for you. We stayed overnight there several years ago and the dinner was just a bit disappointing, nothing bad but not quite the gourmet experience we were expecting. Our lunch at the nearby Punch Bowl was superior (ownership and name has changed since).
Miller Howe had its original heyday when it was under the ownership of John Tovey. It took a dip after he retired from the business but I'd read locally that it was regaining its form.
Punchbowl at Crosthwaite is definitely still in business and, IMO, is the best of the gastro-ish pubs in the South Lakes.
Thanks, also, for the wider comments - I've never stopped being active on CH's other regional and topical baords, just not posting to the UK board.