Saturday, August 30, 2008

Drunken Duck Inn, Cumbria

Cumbria LA22 0NG Map

From the outside, the Drunken Duck looks like your average country pub, except that, despite its position - effectively in the middle of nowhere - there are an inordinate amount of people filling the bar and all the outside tables. So one may assume, quite rightly in this case, that the pub has a good reputation.

Inside, the bar is fairly narrow, but well laid out. The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable and they have a great range of wines and beers, the beers brewed at their own brewery which was initially set up to provide the Duck with its own beers and now supplies many other inns throughout the north of England.

The bar offers its own food menu, however it was the restaurant that we had come to sample. We visited twice, once at lunch and then for an evening meal a couple of days later so this review will be a mix of both visits.

So, lets start at the beginning. The restaurant is well laid out, with the tables far enough apart to allow quite a bit of privacy.

For lunchtime starters I had Goats Cheese with Celeriac Remoulade and Baked Pear. The celeriac was delicately flavoured with mustard and complimented the creamy goat cheese. Similarly, the goats cheese and pear were gorgeous. For starters at dinner, I had another cheese dish. This time it was a mousse with a fig chutney. It was nice, but nowhere near as good as the previous dish. My wife had scallops which she said were fantastic.

My main course on both days was fabulous. For lunch I had Pea & Mint Risotto. It was really good, the rice was cooked with just the right amount of bite and had a pea puree mixed into the rice as well as whole fresh peas. From the evening dinner menu I had Roasted Butternut Squash and Wild Mushrooms. As you know I have a bit of a mushroom fixation, so when this dish turned up I was in heaven. It consisted of two halves of a roasted butternut squash with the bulbs filled to overflowing with chanterelles and trompe-de-morte mushrooms in a lovely white wine sauce. It tasted as good as it sounds (provided I made it sound good enough) and the squash was wonderfully tender. My wife had a venison dish which she said was a little dry and overcooked. However, we saw others coming out that looked perfect, so I guess she was just unlucky.

Instead of dessert for dinner, we shared a cheese platter between us. This had eight different cheeses made from sheep, goats and cows served with various crackers, fruit and chutney. It was all very tasty and, along with a coffee, it ended the meal perfectly.

If you go for lunch, the menu prices are good value, in the evening it is a bit more expensive. If you're in the Lakes looking for a great place to eat, then a visit to the Drunken Duck is well worth fitting into your diary. As I mentioned at the beginning it gets busy so make sure you book ahead, especially for an evening meal.

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