A MAGICAL CULINARY TOUR
An exotic Pan-Asian menu at Gilpin Spice had Simon Smith and his guests in awe, as they sampled a series of wonderful dishes
Gilpin Hotel and Lake House near Windermere is well known as an oasis of hospitality and culinary excellence! In the grounds lies a fabulous casual restaurant inspired by Gilpin’s Michelin-starred chef Hrishikesh Desai. Having gained great acclaim in the hotel restaurant, HRiSHi, Hrishikesh and the team had the dream of Gilpin Spice. The varied and exciting Pan-Asian menu is inspired by the heritage of Whitehaven’s spice trade and features the fabulous spices of the Indian subcontinent and across Asia. I recently had the pleasure of reading a publication from Gilpin describing the fascinating journey that the Gilpin team recently embarked upon to Kerala to discover many of the dishes, wonderful people and spices, bringing back new dishes for both restaurants – a culinary, magical mystery tour!
The restaurant is beautiful from the outside with classic water features and landscaping, welcoming you into the warm inviting space inside, which is fabulously furnished as you would expect from the team who have delivered the beautiful Gilpin Hotel and awesome Lake House.
A cold wet and windy Lake District day was easy to ignore from our table, which had a great view of the chefs cooking in what was the focal point of the room. Other rooms in the restaurant also reflect the stunning fusion of south east Asian décor.
The menu is tapas style and our waitress took great care in explaining how to decide how many snacks, small plates and larger sharing plates we would need, which was very helpful indeed.
Tasting menus based on the Keralan experience (including a vegetarian tasting menu) are another choice, carefully pre-chosen selections to help avoid arguments and perfect for parties just allowing everyone to enjoy the Spice experience!
It was Sunday and the homage to Sunday roast lamb Rassa for two people was a slow roasted shank served with Bombay potatoes, spicy aubergine, carrots and spicy gravy. It was the first item on our order!
The four of us chose our selections – it sounded like a banquet and it was – all superb! Flat breads, a ‘Study in Satay’ with chicken, beef, prawn and fabulous dipping sauces, were followed by an absolutely delicious Thai octopus, infused with chilli, ginger and tamarind. Bengal Tiger prawns in a red curry sauce were also exotic and fabulous.
Our waiter courteously suggested a welcome short break after which duck pancakes were served featuring soft and succulent duckling with five spice and fresh spring onion – a very special dish indeed.
Sharing the main courses, which included chicken tikka Delhi style, the Sunday roast and a vegetarian Keralan paneer and sweet onion Masala accompanied by Basmati rice, we agreed that they were all delicious. My favourite the paneer was outvoted by my friends with the lamb Rassa Sunday roast the winner!
Asian style desserts are not a strong point in my culinary experience, but mango and cardamom kulfi – an Indian style ice cream, semiya payasam kheer – a cardamom flavoured set cream and a Kafir lime cream mille feuille with rhubarb, ginger and apple compote were all delightful and perfect foils to the dishes we had eaten.
Teas and coffees finished off a wonderful, long lunch in this amazing restaurant.
My previous experiences of ‘typical Indian restaurants’ were happily replaced by a magical tour of Pan-Asian foods expertly created and flavoured. We had a great meal and will return at the earliest opportunity!
Crook Road, Windermere, The Lake District