As Sally said to Harry: ‘Yes, yesss, YEEEESSS!’ That’s pretty much how it feels to be handed a vegan menu at a restaurant that is smack in the middle of meat-eating country where it’s all about chops, cheeks, shoulders and shanks.
And we really are talking meat-eating country here. Ullswater in the Lake District to be precise, where shaggy red-haired longhorn cattle graze the fells and sheep sport luminous orange wool; a safeguard to help farmers find their flocks in four-foot snow drifts.
Should I have even been there among the sheepskin throws and black pudding with everything brigade? Hell yeah.
Am I losing readers here? I mean, should I have even been there among the sheepskin throws and black pudding with everything brigade? Hell yeah. Vegans want to change the world and I love them for it. But we have to inhabit it while that happens and give people, businesses and organisations the chance to do things differently, and be celebrated for it. I reckon anyway.
So when I planned a short midweek stay at the newly-refurbed Another Place Hotel on the banks of lovely, old-fashioned Ullswater, I was more than ready to settle for chunky chips and some veg cobbled together from the sides menu.
The chef, it seemed, had other ideas. My travel companion had called ahead a week or so earlier to announce that vegans were on their way. Still, there’s no way of knowing what, if anything, an establishment might do with this information. (Although one always has one’s fears.) Here the team not only rose to the challenge, but positively pole-vaulted over the bar of expectation.
I’m no food critic and this is not strictly a food blog. I salute those who have the self restraint to photograph, enhance, hashtag and publish every morsel that comes their way, but I’m a purist and prefer to get my mandibles round my scran faster than a buttered bullet. I did, however, capture some highlights in homage to the chef and his staff who made me feel like a very special vegan indeed.
White onion soup * coconut yoghurt bircher * DIY-vegan waffles with maple syrup (you get your own flippable waffle iron and digital timer for the love of Mike!) * salt-baked celeriac on spelt risotto * seared field mushrooms on pickled aubergine with pillowy mountains of kale and truffled leeks on the side….
- If you have a sat nav, punch in CA11 0LP and start the engine.
- If you have a cellular communications device call 01768 486442 and book.
- If you are in the SAS, point your blade of grass at grid reference NY450232 and start marching.
Remember to phone ahead and tell them you are vegan…oh and take your cossie; there’s an infinity pool to die for.
Another Place, The Lake