For the last bank holiday weekend, we took a road trip up to the Lake District. The journey was long and traffic ridden so we’re pretty happy that we had the foresight to book ahead for dinner at the Glasshouse in Ambleside the night we arrived. Recommended by friends who have visited the area, I was shocked to learn that the restaurant featured in Gordon Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.
On arrival we were relieved to find it still standing and heaving with guests (though it was a bank holiday). What threw me off initially, was how modern the restaurant was compared to the village feel of Ambleside. Loft dining and glass windows? Hmm…
The menu was consisted of 8 starters (£5-8) and a similar number of mains (£11-20). Nothing seemed too out of the box, but it read quite well. We started off sharing the Cumbrian air-dried ham rocket salad (£6) as well as pan-fried garlic prawns with courgette ribbons (£7.95). The salad was okay, Cumbrian air-dried ham sounding fancier than it tasted. Garlic prawns were actually cooked fairly decently and I really liked playing around with the courgette ribbons.
Our main of pork belly with apple and cream potato cake (£14.95) was tender but lacked crispy skin. Altogether though it was quite a nice main and was really really huge.
Our second main was the house fish pie (£13.50) which was much better. The potato top was nicely crisp, hiding moist, perfectly cooked white fish inside. Whilst I was a little surprised that the pie was served without any accompaniments, on its own it is still quite a large portion for one.
Overall I found both mains and starters quite a bit undersalted which is a shame as flavours could have been much better if there was a touch more salt.
We managed to fit in two quick desserts which proved to be the highlight of the evening.
Lemon tart with raspberry sorbet (£5.50) was really delicious, light and tart. Raspberry creme brulee was surprisingly light and creamy, but the almond biscotti on top was a little unnecessary and hard.
Overall, in our time dining out in Ambleside this restaurant is clearly one of the better options in town. Whilst it’s far from a kitchen nightmare, the menu is simple, and has the ‘comfort food’ appeal for the masses of tourists looking to rest their feet after a big day of hiking. They could do better with a touch of seasoning to their dishes, but as chefs, surely they should already know that?
The Glasshouse Restaurant
Ambleside, LA22 9AN