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From Veggie Vestibule To Meat-Inclusive Manor

Diana Szpytma 30 November 2018
From Veggie Vestibule To Meat-Inclusive Manor

The Lancrigg Hotel and Kitchen is a beautiful Lake District restaurant with rooms set in 30 acres of mature gardens and woodlands.

The stunning hotel is situated in ‘Wordsworth Country’, one mile from Grasmere village in the tiny hamlet of Easedale. The hotel has a relaxed, informal feel and visitors are made to feel welcome and at home from the moment they arrive. The Lancrigg has ten spacious en-suite bedrooms that are all individually finished and named to reflect the history of the house.

The Lancrigg was visited regularly by poets such as Wordsworth, DeQuincy and Coleridge, and also has links with Charles Dickens, Florence Nightingale and Charles Darwin. As such, the Lancrigg is steeped in its own history, and has even named their unique rooms after the famous faces who have visited. There are great dining choices at The Lancrigg, from the stunning restaurant to their casual Poet’s Bar. The Lancrigg restaurant offers sumptuous food that is freshly prepared using only the finest local produce.

After undergoing an extensive refurbishment at the start of 2018, with both the design and main portion of build being revamped, another major change came about. New proprietor of The Lancrigg, Simon Wright (who handled most of the refurbishment himself), along with other members of the Lancrigg’s managing team, backed a decision to change the hotel restaurant’s menu. This isn’t fairly shocking you might think to yourself, as surely menu changes are common in such establishments. Well not on this occasion.

Prior to its refurbishment, the Lancrigg Hotel and Kitchen operated as a fully vegetarian establishment, which specialised in serving the best of vegetarian and vegan cuisine. However, after running The Lancrigg for over a year as solely vegan and vegetarian hotel, the management felt that the current climate would not keep them going for long and so transformed the menu and incorporated new items, which consist of a range of meats including Aberdeen angus fillet steak, pork fillet, and pan fried mackerel.

This change has not gone unnoticed by customers and guests to the Lancrigg. Commenting on the changes, owner Simon Wright has answered some questions that focus on how these changes have impacted The Lancrigg and its custom.

What was the aim for the restaurant when you took over the business?

The aim for the restaurant has always been to produce local, sustainable, and excellent food with a twist for our guests as well as the locals who come to join us.

Why did you decide to start offering meat dishes again, rather than keeping it strictly vegetarian?

We realised after running the Lancrigg for over a year as solely vegan and vegetarian that the current climate would not keep us afloat for long. It was a hard decision to make due to the history of the hotel being based in vegetarianism, but in order to survive we needed to have a fully inclusive menu. At The Lancrigg, we love to celebrate its history… from the décor right down to the names of the rooms. So we have however kept a strong vegan and veggie menu in honour of the history of the restaurant.

What impact has this transition had on the business?

At first there was understandable disappointment from some dedicated customers of ours, but many customers have been very positive, especially returning guests who might have family who eat fish and meat. We have also had many more guests join us who feel they are able to eat here now due to having more variety. What has been very positive is how many meat eating customers who have wanted to try the vegetarian dishes on the menu.

Has it turned away any customers?

Understandably, we have seen some customers not return to The Lancrigg since we added meat to the menu. This has only been a small number of customers though, and we do appreciate and respect their principles. However, with the addition of our meat-inclusive menu, we have seen more new customers joining us at The Lancrigg Hotel and Kitchen, which has been a fantastic boost to our business.

Has it impacted the chefs? How so?

The chefs were impacted, but only in the beginning. We were lucky to have a fantastic chef, Rob Stacey, who saw it as a challenge and created some superb dishes. Most of our chefs have been more than happy to work on vegan and veggie dishes as we have so much great local produce to work with. Our current Chef, Mark Batty, is passionate about local food and using the woodlands and orchard for produce. As owners, we decided to reduce our own meat consumption hugely in order to understand the product even more, and this has stuck with us to this day.

How has business been since the takeover?

Things have been on the up and up. There have been many changes such as refurbishment and adding our new Poet’s Bar and café, but we are seeing an incline in visitors who are getting to know about Lancrigg through word of mouth. We are happy to be known as a family destination now, where as previously we were not really on the radar for the start of many family walks.

How many covers are you doing?

On a busy evening during summer we can cover 20 – 30 people.

What are the future plans?

The future includes continuing to restore the building and gardens to their former glory. The gardens and woodland take a lot of maintenance, so we will be focusing on projects to allow this essential work to take place. Our play area will also have some developments, including new natural areas for exploring and discovering nature for families.

You can find out more about the hotel by visiting http://www.lancrigg.co.uk/.