Evaluation: The Forest Facet, Grasmere, Lake District, UK

On the fringes of the favored village of Grasmere, famed not just for its gingerbread but additionally its literary connections with poet William Wordsworth, lies The Forest Facet – a secluded Victorian haven the place you cannot solely keep in luxurious but additionally expertise a Michelin-starred culinary journey that blends the richness of native components with the artistry of contemporary gastronomy.

The welcome

After parking our automotive near the lodge’s kitchen backyard and strolling up the sweeping drive to The Forest Facet amongst a symphony of birdsong, we have been warmly greeted at reception, given a short tour of the bottom flooring (and the place we might be eating later), and personally proven to our room.

The room

Rooms at The Forest Facet are categorised as ‘Cosy’, ‘Excellent’ and ‘Grasp’. Getting into ‘Oak’, an beautiful Master suite, we have been instantly struck by the up to date magnificence and house afforded by the room, on the centre of which is a lovely cover mattress, adorned with luxurious mattress linen.

The combo of earthy hues and tasteful furnishings – the work of famend designer James Mackie – mixed with loads of pure gentle streaming in by means of the expansive home windows that overlook the grounds, and the softness of hand crafted deep pile Herdwick carpet underfoot, ensured we have been in for a really snug keep – one which evoked an ambiance little question harking back to the tranquillity and serenity that Wordsworth famously sought in his beloved Lake District.

The lavatory

The big en suite lavatory boasts a deep bathtub that beckons you to soak away the cares of the world – a non-public sanctuary the place luxurious meets performance. Glossy fixtures and stylish finishes create an environment of understated opulence.

No particulars are neglected and the considerate inclusion of pure tub and physique merchandise, lovingly handcrafted by Bramley, are a pleasant artisinal contact, infused with botanical goodness, that may remodel even probably the most routine bathe or tub into one thing extra particular.

The services

The Forest Facet has been a part of Cumbria’s burgeoning meals scene for the previous decade, throughout which era the area’s culinary panorama has flourished a lot that it’s now one in every of a powerful ten Michelin-starred eating places within the county.

Consequently, no keep at The Forest Facet is full with out eating on the lodge’s restaurant led by Head Chef Paul Leonard, and the right method to start this expertise is on the lodge’s bar and lounge the place you may soak within the ambiance previous to dinner.

As soon as proven to our desk, a rolled pouch of utensils was unveiled as an indication of issues to comply with. Usually I’d know which cutlery to make use of by working from the surface in, however this left a few of it to guesswork!

Our eating expertise – an 8-course taster menu – opened with a choice of snacks that was not formally one of many programs – a croustade with a horseradish emulsion, gooseberry compote, cured mackerel, garden-fresh child radish and apple marigold powder, and sable biscuits made with Hafod Cheddar and black truffle, accompanied by house-cured beef bresaola. Our favorite, although, was the celeriac taco which mixed dehydrated celeriac with a broad bean hummus and contemporary beans wearing chive oil, topped with a savoury pork salami and salami mayonnaise.

Our first course was a beautifully-cured chalk stream trout from the River Take a look at in Hampshire, with refined flavours and with out the overbearing earthiness typically related to trout, elegantly paired with a salsa verde and accompanied by salt baked and pickled kohlrabi, elevated with a contact of mirin-pickled trout roe.

This was adopted by a pleasant BBQ native lobster dish the place the tail had been barbecued and glazed with fermented honey earlier than being topped with some cured pork collar and positioned on a remoulade made out of the lobster claw and Summer season peas, completed with a sauce made out of the lobster heads. The {photograph} doesn’t do it justice, however it introduced an exquisite medley of tastes.

Subsequent up was a really delicate tartare of Lakeland Dexter fillet, diced and dressed with smoked beef fats, with slightly whipped bone marrow butter at its base. There was some salt-baked celeriac operating all through and it was topped with beer vinegar gel and oxalis, earlier than being completed with Exmore Oscietra Caviar which has a nutty, hazelnut cream flavour.

Maybe probably the most shocking dish for us was a set Summerfield custard base topped with Ratte potatoes from Northumberland, confited in smoked eel oil, with items of smoked eel with an exquisite richness and chanterelle mushrooms, all topped with a sauce made out of the eel trim and potatoes with slightly whey, and completed on the desk with shavings of black truffle.

Poached North Atlantic cod with barbecued Shetland mussels adopted, accompanied by coastal herbs (monk’s beard and sea aster) and nasturtiums from the backyard and completed with a scrumptious buttermilk and mussel sauce.

A really native dish – in each sense – adopted. It was Penrith aged Texel lamb with a salad of grilled backyard brassicas (kale, purple sprouting broccoli) from the backyard, dressed with ramson oil. This was arguably some of the advanced dishes and got here with a pate made out of the lamb loin and shoulder, the latter having been marinaded with mint, yoghurt and anchovies, and served with a few of The Forest Facet’s personal hung sheep’s yoghurt. Subsequent to that is the barbecued lamb stomach, and all of that is completed with a wealthy lamb sauce with a confit of lamb’s tongue, pickled pink mustard seeds and pickled onion capers.

At this level, we may select an non-compulsory, extra course of cheese provided by The Courtyard Dairy close to Settle. It seemed very tempting certainly however was actually greater than we wanted, so we as an alternative moved on to slightly refresher of cucumber pickled with lemon verbena, toasted oats and lemon verbena sherbet.

A candy cicely bavious full of strawberries from the backyard concluded the eight programs. These had been compressed in their very own juices to accentuate the strawberry flavour and have been accompanied by a strawberry sorbet underneath a strawberry tuille. And in case that wasn’t sufficient, it was completed with a decreased strawberry juice!

Breakfast within the morning was in the identical eating room, with an preliminary that included contemporary fruit salad (pictured), Forest Facet’s personal granola with vanilla yoghurt and berries, and pink grapefruit with ginger and backyard mint.

The choices that adopted included a full Cumbrian breakfast along with your selection of Lakeland free vary eggs, Cartmel Valley smoked salmon, scrambled eggs and crumpet or, what I selected and loved very a lot, the smashed avocado, toasted seeds, tomato chutney, poached Lakeland free vary eggs and rye toast.


Grasmere is without doubt one of the centralmost villages within the Lake District in north-west England, so The Forest Facet enjoys an enviable location, surrounded by the majestic peaks and rolling hills of the Nationwide Park. The enduring Langdales are inside straightforward attain, in addition to the lakes of Grasmere and Rydal, Thirlmere simply 4 miles to the north and the northern tip of Windermere, England’s longest lake, simply 5 miles to the south.

The village holds a profound reference to the famend poet William Wordsworth because it was right here that the poet, most well-known for his poem ‘Daffodils’, spent a lot of his life, dwelling at Dove Cottage and Rydal Mount and discovering inspiration within the surrounding pure magnificence and serene landscapes of the Lakes.


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While there are numerous well-known walks to take pleasure in within the space, some might be carried out from the doorstep of the lodge – so, earlier than dinner, we took the chance to do the round stroll to Alcock Tarn, nestled within the hills, the place you may take pleasure in beautiful vistas that embody the hovering peaks of Fairfield and Heron Pike.

Different good touches

On arrival in our room was the ‘cake of the day’ – two delciously indulgent complimentary treacle tarts, and a style of issues to come back!

The Forest Facet can also be devoted to the safety of pink squirrels and common readers with an distinctive reminiscence might recall that six years in the past, as a part of an project for Hertz automotive rent, I referred to as at The Forest Facet to pattern a canape of the invasive gray squirrel, a non-native species that’s culled in a bid to assist the reds survive. The Forest Facet actively helps native conservation efforts the place the way forward for the pink squirrel could be very fragile by inviting friends to donate to the Grasmere Crimson Squirrel Group.


Rooms at The Forest Facet, to incorporate an 8 course dinner, mattress and breakfast, begin from £519.

The very best bit

It’s troublesome to decide on a ‘greatest’ when every little thing seems so seamless, however for those who’re to pick one factor from a keep at The Forest Facet, it could undoubtedly must be the gastronomic expertise. Right here each chew is a journey and a revelation of the best components expertly assembled by Paul Leonard and his staff.

The ultimate verdict

Regardless of its very central location inside the Lake District Nationwide Park, The Forest Facet gives a tranquil escape the place time slows and senses awaken. This Michelin-starred restaurant with rooms is deservedly common not simply domestically and nationally, but additionally internationally, and can go away you feeling rejuvenated and give you a culinary expertise that you just’ll keep in mind fondly for years to come back.

Disclosure: Our keep was sponsored by The Forest Facet.

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