A discreet basement space in the small Lake District town of Ambleside may be a somewhat surprising venue for a fine dining experience, but The Old Stamp House is certainly making it work – but then again, this isn’t just any basement, but poet William Wordsworth’s former workplace, from which he conducted the role of Distributor of Stamps in the mid-1800s…
A couple of years back, award-winning chef Ryan Blackburn took up residence, serving dishes inspired by Cumbria, and drawing such crowds that even the lunchtime sitting is a sell-out.
Leave all decision-making in the hands of the chef and opt for the tasting menu (reasonably priced at £35 at lunch, and £55 at dinner), which takes the diner on a multi-course epicurean journey through Cumbria, through a myriad of textures, and across a landscape of fabulous crockery. Dishes range from black pudding bonbons to brown shrimps in a foam-like cauliflower puree to native Herdwick hogget; multiple dessert courses make for the perfect finale.
The attention to detail is phenomenal, in both flavour and presentation. In fact the only negative of the whole experience was the awkward waitress, who presented and explained each dish to us like an ambience-sapping robot!
Unusual and delicious, seasonal and local – it’s blatantly obvious to any diner that The Old Stamp House is deserving of all its accolades. Foodies in Cumbria need to get an advance booking in ASAP.
The Old Stamp House
Church Street, Ambleside, The Lake District, LA22 0BU
+44 (0) 15394 32775