England on a plate


Want to eat out in style this summer? Helena Lang shares six of her favourite restaurants from London to the Lake District

Lime Wood
Angela Hartnett and Luke Holder run the kitchen at this gloriously indulgent hotel in the New Forest. Book an outside table for lunch and sip a glass of Kentish Gusbourne Blanc de Blancs while you eye up the menu. The set lunch is a steal at £19.50 for two courses with coffee (or £25 for three) and might include roast salmon with baby gem lettuce, English peas and yoghurt followed by elderflower jelly with elderberry cream. Or you could share the smokehouse board or antipasti board – the hams and salami are smoked on the premises and fly the flag for British charcuterie.

Reform Social and Grill
Tucked away in Marylebone village, central London, is the Mandeville Hotel – home to Reform Social and Grill. Leather banquettes, dark wooden furniture and excellent service create a comfortable club atmosphere but although head chef Sergio Neale’s menu focuses exclusively on the best British produce from small-scale farms and producers, the execution is contemporary and faultless. Recommended are the starter of black pudding Scotch egg – crispy on the outside, gloriously runny on the inside – served with a smear of home-made real ale ketchup and the main course of tender lamb chop, lambs’ kidneys, and mint and caper sauce. Round off with Neale’s twist on a jam roly-poly with custard. The set lunch menu is excellent value at £17 for three courses.

Gilpin Hotel
Deep in the heart of the Lake District among rolling hills lies this beautiful, family-run hotel celebrating all that is best about Britain: warm hospitality, rooms and public areas decorated with great flair, and exquisite food made from the finest Cumbrian produce and west coast seafood. Starters include Morecambe Bay potted shrimp served with soused white cabbage, and textures of tenderstem broccoli, Stichelton blue and crispy cod cheeks. Sharing platters for the main course include best end of Cumbrian hogget roasted with black garlic, rosemary, sea salt and lemon – delicious. My favourite dessert? A sherry trifle that’s almost, but not quite, as good as my mother’s.

The Peacock at Rowsley
Fat wallets are required at this country-house hotel par excellence located in a Derbyshire village – the starters hover around the £13.50 mark and main courses start at £33.50. This isn’t the place to take a friend down on his luck. But if you’re prepared for a hefty bill the food is faultless, with chef Dan Smith creating beautiful plates from hearty ingredients. Kick off with salsify, onions and poached quail’s eggs, move on to belly pork, creamed cabbage and cider fondant – and leave room for strawberry parfait, egg custard and doughnuts.

City Social
Jason Atherton’s latest London opening sits on the 24th floor of Tower 42 at 25 Old Broad Street in the City and oozes sophistication, from the cocktail bar to the elegant menu. The food is a glorious celebration of British produce: Kentish spring vegetables, Mrs Brown’s black pudding, line-caught Cornish sea bass, Dorset John Dory, English berry chutney and beef from the Lake District. The style is refined and the service first class. Enjoy panoramic views as you dine.

The New Angel
John Burton-Race moves his famous restaurant from Dartmouth to Notting Hill, into what is a revamped former gastropub. This is smart French cooking using the finest British ingredients and will be hard to beat. Highlights include confit of Scottish salmon served with Wye Valley rhubarb, tomato and basil press, as well as pan-fried fillets of John Dory, Devonshire crab-stuffed courgette flower, sorrel, Jersey royals and shellfish cream. Finish with raspberry and white chocolate soufflé.

About author

Helena Lang

Helena Lang

Helena has been the restaurant columnist for Director magazine since June 2012 and is a Food and Beverage consultant. In addition she is Editor-in-chief of Sainsbury’s magazine, the most widely read glossy monthly paid-for magazine on the British newsstand. Always a lifestyle journalist Helena has worked within the fashion and features departments of some of the UK’s top lifestyle titles including Cosmopolitan, Red and Psychologies magazines.

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