Another Place, Ulswater

We were several hours late to check in to Another Place because I insisted we take the scenic route. “Let’s get some pictures” I said, as we crawled through the cars that block the road on the tourist trap that is Bowness upon Windermere, taking the wrong turn towards Ambleside, then eventually up to Ullswater. We needn’t have bothered. All the scenery we needed was found at the hotel. The view from the bedroom directly on to the lake, the lakeside position of the badminton, the jetty that looks over to Arthur’s Pike and across to the boat club, and that infinity pool that seamlessly joins the line of the eye with the warm and colder waters, with just a sheet of glass and 100m between them. I’d forgotten about the price tag by the time we watched the sunrise from the hot tub, and was asking to book again when I was able to catch up on work from the terrace whilst Claire went open water swimming. I have rarely felt more relaxed in any environment, anywhere.

We went on a two night, three day stay which formed the backbone of our Lake District holiday. One night in the casual restaurant, the other in the more formal Rampsbeck. Some very nice food, some less so, but then I am a fussy bastard and this was a break between the big guns of L’Enclume and Lake Road Kitchen. The breakfasts were all a good standard, as were the lunches. Claire found a £44 bottle of Pinot Noir she liked on the first night and we drank this throughout the stay. I winced a little when the checkout bill arrived.

I won’t bore you with every dish but I’ll try to provide a snapshot. A bowl of root veg on the first night is the classiest moment in the more casual restaurant, with the roasted stuff sitting comfortable with the pickled stuff and the subtle use of cumin. Also good is a confit duck with potato hash that’s big on seasoning, even if the fried duck egg could have been used as a space hopper. Less impressive was a Keralan chicken curry that was so bland I momentarily thought I’d contracted COVID. There was a lunchtime lamb kebab which looked like a car crash but tasted great.

The following night within the petrol blue walls of Rampsbeck we kick off with ras el hanout popcorn which gave me preconceptions about them trying too hard. It settled down with a ham terrine which packed loads of flavour and had Jerusalem artichokes in various guises for texture and sweet earthiness. Scallops come accurately cooked and pickled bits of cauliflower, with the same veg reappearing on a later vegetarian dish with spiced potato parcels that are inoffensive and enjoyable. They handle vegetables very well here. Best dish by a distance is halibut with crab, fresh as a daisy and punchily seasoned, with a potato and fennel salad. Desserts are a mixed bag; a cake of plums, damson, and almond is a solid bit of pastry, though the meadowsweet mousse with the roasted peaches is absolutely tasteless. They ask why I haven’t finished it. I feel bad for telling them the truth given how great the waiter is.

That waiter was not alone; the service throughout our stay is the perfect blend of distance and hospitality. Every member of staff is warm and kind, with every request dealt with efficiently. It takes the edge off the price, which, after a large deposit is taken, sits at many many hundreds for the two of us. This isn’t a foodie retreat, more a little piece of luxury serenity which will feed you well. And when I’m sat on the jetty of Ulswater watching the sunset across the lake, that’s more than enough for me.

The better pictures are taken by Where Is Claire

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