After a gruelling tasting, we find ourselves drawn to The Bistro at The Lakes Distillery – an endearing restaurant located in what was once a Victorian milking parlour that has gained itself a spot on the Michelin Guide. We settle down to a lovely meal made using regional ingredients and simple, fresh produce.
We are greeted at the door of the rustic restaurant by Chaz, who takes us to our table at the far end of the space. Simply decorated with light walls and wooden floors, the Bistro has an unfussy charm to it that, along with the smiling staff (and stomach full of spirits), helps us to feel instantly relaxed. Not wanted to offend (no other reason of course) when offered a drink, we go for a Lakes Gin and Tonic with a dash of Fever-tree whilst we try to settle on our food choices.
The menu is full of Cumbrian delights such as wild mushrooms, farmhouse cheese, local lamb from down the road and fish from the adjacent river. After a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, we decide on the Grilled Diver Caught Scallops with Cauliflower and Seaweed Butter (£14.00), followed by the 7oz Fillet Steak, Grilled Tomato and Watercress (£27.50).
Before we know it, our impossibly plump scallops are placed before us. Thick and juicy with a delicate flavour, they are cooked to perfection and presented swimming in a delicious garlicky and umami-rich butter. Samphire adds a saltiness to the dish that pairs well with the sauce and the shell that the scallops are served in is secured in place with a cheeky little dollop of creamy mash.
Taste buds tickled by the beautiful starter, we sip on our G&T and await our main. It arrives in no time at all, with an attentive hand and knowledgeable chat about the providence of the beef. Sadly, the meat is a tad over-cooked, arriving decidedly medium as opposed to medium-rare however, it is still fantastic. Thick-cut fluffy chips and flavoursome roasted tomatoes come together with the bright crunch of watercress to complete a pure and simple plate that leaves us fully satisfied.
Chaz comes to relieve us of our wiped-clean plate and gently convince us to try a dessert. It doesn’t take us much time to alight on the Nutmeg Crème Brûlée with Poached Pears and Gingerbread (£6.50) and we are not disappointed. The sugar crust is so thick that it has to be broken with a spoon from a height and when we get below the surface, the gelatinous content tastes just like Christmas. The deconstructed nutmeg-heavy gingerbread is incredible, with the spice playing boisterously with the richness of the caramel and the subtle vanilla of the crème. The poached pear is nice but may have been better served warm. Nevertheless, the dish is light, strongly flavoured, incredibly decadent and the perfect conclusion to what has been a deliciously hedonistic day.