We'd both had bouts of illness and were forced to cancel our reservation once, so when it came time to our weekend away, we were in desperate need for a treat.
The Old Stamp House is in a cave like downstairs, a series of small adjoining rooms. Simply decorated yet still cosy, apparently this was the former work place of Cumbrian poet William Wordsworth, at the time 'Distributer of Stamps', hence the name.
We began with Black Pudding Bon Bons, Cumberland Sauce. Great little bites, I can imagine the same thing but with the sauce inside, giving you an explosion of liquid as you bite into it.
Yewtree Farm, braised shoulder, seared loin and crispy breast, cheese gnocchi, broccoli purée. If you've never tried hogget before, you have a real treat coming. It's just so rich in flavour, you can see why Simon Rogan is so fond of using this 'young sheep' (it's older than a lamb, not yet mutton). Easily one of the dishes of the year, just so bold and powerful. Again, the devil is in the detail, the green broccoli purée, a lovely accompaniment.
The food here is well considered and accurate, using local ingredients to full effect. It was a place I could imagine taking my parents to. As none 'foodies' I know they too would appreciate the food which is an extremely superior version of traditional Lakeland cuisine if you like. Perhaps you wouldn't come here for mad innovation but who needs that when the food is so enjoyable? (And that is now available elsewhere in the town, more of that later).
The bottom line is that Chef Ryan Blackburn really knows how to cook. He understands flavours that work and how to deliver them perfectly on the plate, simply and without fuss. It's a guaranteed dead cert this place and at these prices I really couldn't recommend it highly enough.