The Ryebeck Hotel – A food lover’s getaway on the banks of Lake Windermere – words Lee Taylor
The Ryebeck Hotel, on the banks of Lake Windermere, is in an extraordinary position overlooking the lake with gardens that roll down towards the water’s edge.
The Ryebeck is not your usual hotel. It was converted from a rather swanky holiday getaway probably for some rich mill owner to escape from the smoke back in the day. It still has that feeling of escape now reinvented as a getaway for contemporary folk. The Ryebeck is a small, plush but thoroughly laid back hotel that has a jewel in its crown – the food. It’s more like a food lover’s getaway with cool, sumptuous rooms attached.
It has that relaxed luxury feel that I love to just sink back and enjoy. It’s the sort of place where people get to know the names of the staff and vice versa so after a couple of days both are taking to each other on the kind of level you would never get in a chain hotel. The rooms we stayed in were front facing and had great views over the lake. They had a solid quality feel and lots of muted colour, an ample bed, easy chairs and lakeland tea and biscuits to hand should you need an accompaniment to the views.
It is in the glass fronted dining room and the adjoining kitchen though that the real magic happens. You know you’re in for a treat when the starters make you and your taste buds smile and so it goes with the mains and desserts. New chef Chris Lee has recently taken over with his philosophy of using the freshest local ingredients. These he uses to produce dishes such as Shetland king scallops, with celeriac and apple or the delightful belted Galloway sirloin steak, with watercress, rocket and tomato salad, braised onions, straw potatoes and Béarnaise sauce.
This is grown up food but none of that smoke and mirrors – there is substance too and all wholesome and delicious. It is contemporary British cuisine that draws influences from across the globe.
The owners have done great things here. Some of the bigger chain hotels often let themselves down with the food whereas The Ryebeck puts it centre stage. If you love The Lakes and have a passion for great food then this is a fine place to head to.
The Ryebeck Hotel & Restaurant, Bowness on Windermere – More information at ryebeck.com