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Awayday restaurant review: The Gate Inn, Yanwath, Cumbria

Jonathan Schofield gets away for the day and finds a superb M6 stop off in Cumbria

Written by . Published on January 13th 2010.

Awayday restaurant review: The Gate Inn, Yanwath, Cumbria

I love serendipity as much as the next man: that happen-chance circumstance that turns into magic.

THE fish and mussel stew sang a song of happiness that reverberated around the Lakeland fells like a yodelling Wordsworth discovering there were more drugs than just laudanum and alcohol.

So out from the city on a postcard Lake District day of snow covered peaks my dad, my brother and myself decided to call in for lunch at the Yanwath Gate Inn. We did this for no other reason than we were passing and we were hungry. Cute on the outside you could sense the pub was going to be good as soon as you walked in. You could smell it.

There was something about the low beamed ceiling, the artful bric-a-brac, the real fire, the papers strewn around which reeked of care and thought. It also helped that there were three handpumps on the bar all with Cumbrian ales I'd scarcely heard of and never tasted. I've missed out: the Loweswater Gold at 4.3% was a star, golden and fresh, but full bodied and a real winter warmer.

Lakeland beef rump

We sat in a window seat and studied a menu which also felt right. It was full of dishes that seemed well...solid. Virtuous. Big. Home-grown British food with the odd nod to other cuisines but made up of sturdy flesh ingredients from the nearby fell farms.

We started with oysters all round (£2.50 each), a protein pick-me-up for the mains to come.

I looked at the wine list and grabbed at the chance to take a glass of Massaya, a red from Lebanon at £5.50 a pop. This was a great follow-on from the ale, equally crammed with complex rich flavours, a perfect complement for big home-cooked British meat dishes.

My intention was to jump all over the venison, but then I saw the specials board and the fish and mussel stew (£14.95). Suddenly I wanted that. It came with home baked bread, with a stock of leek and cider and charmer of an ingredient I couldn't immediately spot but which was revealed, of course, as fennel. There were mussels, salmon, hake and scallops in generous quantities. I could have eaten three bowls of the thing.

My brother had the Cumberland sausage and ‘Yanwath Gate’ black pudding (£9.95) and my dad went with the slices of Lakeland beef rump (£10.95). The former came with mash and something described as Cumberland gravy and the latter came with Mescalun salad, new potatoes and red onion marmalade.

The sausage and black pudding dish was an absolute picture, crowned by tomatoes and surrounded by broccoli and carrots in its sea of gravy. My brother thought the Cumberland sausage had the best flavour he'd ever come across in these pork, herby and peppered beasts, and the black pudding was one of the best he'd tasted too. My dad loved the beef rump and the spuds but, being a traditional 82-year-old, found the concept of people 'putting all these leaves on here' disturbing.

We missed out on the cheeseboard which took a fraction too long to prepare as we had to get on. I'll be back for it though. The cheeseboard contained Blue Whinnow, Crofton, Croglin, Eden Valley Organic Brie, Lake District Extra Mature Smoked Cheddar and Chevington. All of these from Cumbria apart from the latter, with cow, sheep and goat varieties for £8.95 with biscuits and apple and chutney.

This lovely inn from 1683 which takes its name from being a toll gate is a gem. Go if you get chance. It's absolutely worth an excursion out of the city en route into either the Eden Valley or the North Lakes. Or maybe for breaking a journey up to Scotland. It feels the part, looks the part and its food tastes the part. There's even Gate Cottage, a self catering two bedroomed cottage, if you decide to stay over. But why'd you'd want to do any self-catering is anybody's guess.

On the way out I spotted a Good Beer Guide, opened it on the pub's entry and discovered it was the Cumbria Food Pub of the Year. It wasn't a surprise.

The Yanwath Gate Inn is two miles off the M6 at Junction 40. Turn right from the motorway and at the next junction take the A6 towards Shap. At Eamont Bridge, turn right at the mini-roundabout (B5320 - signposted Yanwath and Ullswater). Continue along this road for about 1 mile and the Yanwath Gate is on your right.

Rating: 15.5/20
Breakdown: 8/10 food
3.5/5 service
4/5 ambience
Address: The Yanwath Gate Inn
Nr Penrith
CA10 2LF
01768 862386

Venues are rated against the best examples of their kind: fine dining against the best fine dining, cafes against the best cafes. Following on from this the scores represent: 1-5 saw your leg off and eat it, 6-9 get a DVD, 10-11 if you must, 12-13 if you’re passing,14-15 worth a trip,16-17 very good, 17-18 exceptional, 19 pure quality, 20 perfect. More than 20: Gordo gets carried away

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AnonymousJanuary 13th 2010.

Can somebody review The Drunken Duck please?

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