A New Dimension
At Gilpin Spice, Tom ‘Westy’ Westerland is curating some stunning new pan-Asian dishes. Tedd and Liz Walmsley visit this iconic Lake District destination
Liz and I were thrilled to get the call to ‘test drive’ some of the new dishes on the menu at Gilpin Spice – it’s a love affair dating back seven years since the opening of the restaurant when we were lucky enough to be among the first guests to eat this delicious pan-Asian cuisine. We’ve felt part of this culinary journey ever since and this clever concept has created a second dining option at this award-winning, iconic Lake District destination.
First impressions are always around the casual laid back vibe. Relaxed, sophisticated and beautifully decorated, we’d expect nothing less from the Cunliffe family and Spice just gets better and better each time we visit. Greeted at the door by the effervescent Daniel, we chose a quiet corner table so we could take in the whole restaurant – the open kitchen with the option to sit ‘up close and personal’ and become immersed in the action is also a great option and makes for a true dining experience.
Recently, the incredibly talented Tom ‘Westy’ Westerland has taken over at the helm of Spice and is in the process of curating some stunning new dishes, which were on the menu for us. I asked him about the new menu and the story behind the dishes: “I’m absolutely loving the challenge of combining fantastic Cumbrian and British ingredients with the incredible flavours of Asia. For me flavour is key, and the spices and Asian flair bring a whole new dimension to the food we cook. We’ve had great fun doing loads of research and development for all the new dishes hitting the menu and we can’t wait for everyone to try them. Come and see us!”
We sometimes forget that Cumbria has a long tradition and association with spice – think for example about potted shrimps, Cumberland sausages and its famous gingerbread. Whilst these new dishes take their inspiration from across Asia, the essence is very much the same and a wonderful homage to the history of the area. So, what of the dishes – a return to small sharing plates that evoke discussion – believe me when I tell you the dishes were so good. Westy simply gave us a selection to try and suffice to say, they were all divine. My standout plates were probably the Loch Duart salmon chirashi. The textures of wild rice and salmon, combined with yuzu ponzu was simply sublime.
Closer to home was the Herdwick lamb rump boti – tender and juicy meat with a coriander yoghurt, chutney and cumin granola, which took this dish to a whole new level.
This Michelin listed, two-AA Rosette restaurant is first class and should be on everyone’s list to visit in 2024 – make the effort to drive from the Ribble Valley and find yourself transported into a truly authentic Asian experience.
Gilpin Hotel & Lake House
Windermere LA23 3NE