Cumbria Crack

Award-winning Lake District Chefs launch new ‘pop up’ restaurant

The Queen’s Head

Two award-winning Lake District chefs are coming together to create a brand-new culinary experience this autumn, at a newly revamped 17th century inn recently acquired by the owners of the acclaimed Askham Hall.

The Queen’s Head in Askham re-opened its doors following a major refurbishment earlier this year, to form part of the new  ‘Askham Collection’ – centred around Askham Hall, a 13th century stately home turned 3 AA rosette-rated restaurant with rooms.

Head Chef at Askham Hall, Richard Swale

From next month, the Head Chefs of sister establishments, Askham Hall (Richard Swale) and The George & Dragon at Clifton (Gareth Webster), are launching a new weekly ‘pop up’ restaurant to further expand the Queen’s Head’s existing ‘home grown’ menu using produce from Askham Hall’s kitchen gardens and estate farms.

The collaboration follows the success of one-off themed nights, with The Queen’s Head’s now offering an additional five-course menu every Friday night, starting on 6 September with a Vegetarian menu.  That’s followed by fresh monthly themes including English-style Tapas (October), Game (November) and Festive Fayre (December).

Sample dish: ‘goatfish nicoise’

Meanwhile, resident sommelier Nico Chieze will match wines from Askham Hall’s extensive collection of more than 500 wines from France and Spain – a selection that recently saw it being recognised as a top global destination by Wine Spectator magazine.

Richard Swale says, “For me, this part of Cumbria is the land of plenty and the food on offer really reflects our overall philosophy of living off the land. Introducing this new pop-up restaurant is a way of expanding our ethos of authentic ingredients, growing and cooking, which celebrate the seasonal life cycle of the gardens and fields around Askham Hall.”

Head Chef of The George and Dragon, Gareth Webster

Gareth Webster adds, “The new ’pop up’ restaurant will complement The Queen’s Head’s existing daily menu of healthy, hearty meals. Friday night diners also have the option of choosing selected pub favourites, from Shepherd’s Pie, handmade burgers and mac’n’cheese, to modern British tapas-style charcuterie, mezze plates and cheeses, with seasonally-led desserts to finish.”

Bookings from the pop-up restaurant are available to both external diners and guests staying in one of the Queen’s Head’s six refurbished rooms.  Prices start from £45 per person, with a two-night stay to explore the gastronomic delights of either Askham Hall or The George & Dragon on the second night costing £225 per person.

About the Chefs

Richard Swale joined Askham in 2013, having previously spent four years working with John Burton Race and Anthony Demetre. His various international placements include a stint at the world-famous NOMA in Copenhagen and working with the famous 3 Michelin star French chef Marc Veyrat in Annecy, who specialises in mountain plants and herbs

Meanwhile, Gareth Webster has worked at notable establishments throughout his career, including the Chester Grosvenor Hotel, where he progressed to become Sous Chef before moving to Cumbria 14 years ago.  He has also been Head Chef at several other Lake District properties, including The Pig and Whistle at Cartmel and The Wheatsheaf in Brigsteer.

A wider Health and Wellbeing ‘Hub’

The newly-designed Queen’s Head is part of a wider vision to create a new health and wellbeing hub for the Northern Lake District, in conjunction with Askham village’s newly-established ‘Health Barn’. The 18th century rustic barn offers treatments and workshops, including the only flotation tank of its kind in Cumbria, as well as naturopathic nutrition and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).

Guests at The Queen’s Head are also being encouraged to sample local adventure, from the challenge of wild swimming and mountain biking to family activities and more gentle guided walks with the Lowther Estate’s deer stalker.

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