Cumbria is home to two Michelin-starred restaurants as of the 2018 guide. There’s The Forest Side in Grasmere (a better meal in the UK you may struggle to find) and Hrisihi at Gilpin Hotel and Lake House which has Indian chef Hrishikesh Desai at the helm.
Their website is slightly annoying as they don’t have a menu. Upon request they email one over but it doesn’t have prices. Bit of a faff. A la carte is £70 for 3 courses and the tasting menu is £90, FYI.
(I’ve since noticed menus are now available via their website)
It’s suggested we arrive half an hour early for a drink in the lounge while perusing the menu. We sink into a soft sofa while eating canapés – a squid tartare in a squid ink cracker being a particular highlight. It’s cosy.
There are several small dining rooms all of which are touch old fashioned. There are empty salt and pepper shakers atop the tables. The atmosphere is hushed and service is a bit stiff. “Sir is having soup, Maddam is having fish.” “May I top up your wine?”
Then we eat dishes so delicately spiced and daintily presented and we fall in love with the place. From an amuse bouche of wild duck samosa to a plate of tandoori masala roasted prawns with a disc of caviar topped toast, the quality of the ingredients is top notch.
Norfolk quail comes 3 ways; crispy quail egg, slow poached quail leg and roasted breast topped with sesame seeds. A celeriac veloute is poured around it all which takes things up a gear.
Cornish turbot is topped with hand rolled macaroni drizzled with Wiltshire truffle emulsion. Wilted lettuce zings with lemon wile brown shrimps add saltiness. Artichokes provide texture. It’s the perfect balance of flavours.
Slow roast belly of pork comes with a pot of Chinese five spice sauce. There’s loads of it which is handy as it’s bloody delicious. There’s braised rib, fermented white cabbage and a wild mushroom raviolo.
For pud, a souffle is lightly flavoured with banana and comes with a Nespresso sauce and vanilla ice cream. HEAVEN. Coconut pannacotta is a stunning tower of coconut biscuits, roast pineapple, glazed raspberries and mango sorbet.
The Hrishi set up might be a tad dated but the food certainly makes up for it. The dishes are at the fancier end of fine dining and it costs a pretty penny but if you’re after something a bit different while in Cumbria then it’s worth checking out.
Would we go back? Yes.