Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Back to the Lakes

Another weekend back up in the Lake District and an opportunity to eat and drink a bit more ...

Sat 10 Jun 2006

Which started with an afternoon tea the Graythwaite Manor Hotel in Grange-over-Sands. The hotel certainly laid on an impressive spread, which ended up being rather over-generous for our contingent of mainly elderly ladies! Andy's been sick, so I was having to eat that bit extra to try to cover all the sweets - I didn't manage it. The afternoon also included my first ever taste of Bakewell tart!

I particularly rated the hotel's scones - these were probably the highlight for me. I also enjoyed the sandwiches, especially as the ham was thickly cut. The chocolate eclairs were also very good (and not too laden with cream) but it was really a bit hot to scoff too many. I wasn't overwhelmed by the slice of Bakewell tart I had (but, as I don't know what I'm looking for, that's not necessarily an opinion) and Andy wasn't too thrilled by the sponge. I missed out on eating the shortbread, which was a real shame, and while I didn't have a flapjack Andy's father ate quite a few, suggesting they were pretty good.

The tea (beverage) got a thumbs up all round, which is really saying something, since I usually find tea made by pretty much anyone other than myself or close family members verging on intolerable.

We all sat in the bar, which is a lovely room with a big bay window, which let in a cooling breeze, and we could enjoy the hotel's gardens safe from the midges.

Even after a solid afternoon tea I managed to find some room to fit in something resembling a main meal. This took place in the huge beer garden of the Royal Oak Inn in The Square, in Cartmel. Since I technically wasn't hungry I managed to convince Andy to share the starter of BBQ ribs - something I very rarely eat. I really enjoyed this (and I think Andy enjoyed the one rib he ate!). The meat was really tender and juicy (and plenty of it too!), and the ribs came whole, so you could almost pretend to use a knife and fork. The sauce was sticky and sweet, and afforded me much lip smacking. I was pretty unimpressed by the 'freshly baked focaccia' - they should just get some decent bread from a local baker, rather than whacking some pre-made, pre-packaged stuff in the oven.

I also sampled some of their chips, which were pretty good, and while I eyed off the remainder of some fish I managed to restrain myself. The fish and chips did look very tasty, and the braised beef steak with mushrooms was an impressively sized dish which also disappeared.

Of course, the most important thing at a pub is the beer - no point in having half decent food and rubbish beer. They had (at least) both Black Sheep and Timothy Taylor's Landlord on, and the Black Sheep was in good nick. I've also enjoyed very solid pints at this pub in the past, so it seems the condition of the beer is consistent.

You're hardly going to have to seek out this pub - though negotiating your way home might be a little trickier!

Sun 11 Jun 2006

After Saturday's eating and drinking there was no time for breakfast before heading to Hale, nr Milnthorpe, for lunch at the King's Arms. I had an absolutely cracking pint of Pride of Pendle (though I did think the barman could be a little less horrified by a woman ordering a pint of bitter) and followed it with a huge serving of steak and ale pie with mushrooms. Andy's lamb shoulder was deliciously moist and falling off the bone and all the portions were huge. I was, however, less impressed with my starter of fresh asparagus with lemon butter sauce. The asparagus was a bit sad, small and over-cooked and while the sauce itself was actually very nice the whole thing was spoiled by being rather artistically drowned in balsamic vinegar. Still, you can't have everything, and the beer and pie alone set me up for the rest of the day.

Or it would have done, except the railways managed to break themselves and we ended up stopping for a pint in Skipton, where we found ourselves at the Black Horse. The weather had been hot, people were out and about and apparently their beer garden backs on to the canal - so how on earth can they serve a rubbish pint of Kronenbourg? What a shame!
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