The Plough Inn is a little stunner. It offers beautiful rooms for the few who are lucky enough to stay, and a traditional bar and restaurant for resident guests and locals. The concept is smart casual and the food is polished. My perfect combination.
One sits amid a riot of mismatched tables and chairs. The dining room gives the impression of a continually evolving home, albeit one whose owners have impeccable taste and entertain a lot. The aforementioned tables are large and well-spaced with rustic scrubbed surfaces. The log fires will welcome diners on chilly evenings. The ambiance is warm and friendly all year round.
The bar area is a gin-lover’s paradise. That theme continues, as one might notice that the table vases are in fact gin bottles. There are local beers for those looking to try some less potent beverages. Jars of pork scratchings might indicate the most popular snack here, although I would go for a dish of peanuts with my Brockmans Gin.
Good as one would hope to find in any sophisticated city
Dinner at The Plough Inn is a treat. We arrived early and had the restaurant to ourselves. It started to fill at around 7pm and many of those folks seemed to be regulars. No surprise there, as the food is as good as one would hope to find in any sophisticated city.
The menu is eclectic, offering something for every taste. It’s a seasonal menu so always something new to try at any time of year. Don’t miss the Wildflower Sourdough with bacon butter. Be warned though – this is addictive and might take the edge off the appetite for plates still to come!
My guest had a salad as his starter. Violet, artichoke and mozzarella with soft herbs was light and aromatic but the candied lemon dressing was the unique star. This had great citrus tang and flavour.
Chargrilled squid with padron pepper, chorizo, garlic butter and artisan bread was my first course, and it was a delightful presentation of a seafood which very often has the charm of a chip shop reject. The Plough’s chef showed skill and imagination.
Beef, onion and stout pie served with summer greens was my companion’s main dish. This was comfort writ big! The proper double-crust pie was substantial and flavourful. It reminded one of why we should be proud of these dishes. Yes, traditional, but what’s wrong with that? A rectangular triumph perfect for hearty appetites.
Local Cumbrian braised lamb neck fillet with roasted broccoli, courgettes and pearl barley was my main dish, and this was another substantial plateful. This had the most lamby flavour of any such dish I have had in a long while. The vegetables were the perfect choice of garnish, but I rather regretted having that last slice of bacon-buttered bread. Come hungry!
White chocolate panna cotta with tonka bean and hazelnut ice cream was our finale and this proved to be an appropriately light dessert after a generous and inspired dinner. Folks in Cumbria are lucky to have fine dining in a casual restaurant on their doorstep. All that, and Lake District views too!
The Plough Inn
Cumbria LA6 1PJ
Phone: 015395 67700