The cycle of life in the gardens and fields at Askham Hall dictates the menus
They work with the seasons to grow, source and preserve the produce from the gardens and surrounding farms and woodland. The cycles have always been there and each part of the year is anticipated keenly for the new ingredients it brings.
In the autumn they are busy harvesting the plentiful fruits including apples, medlars and plums. They also enjoying the game such as Red and Roe deer from the woods and moors as well as rabbit, partridge, grouse and pigeon, and of course all those wonderful mushrooms. At the same time, in the kitchen gardens the winter crops are coming into the fore, with all sorts of varieties of kales and root vegetables at the top of the list for ingredients.
As they move into winter they are able to use all the preserved fruits and vegetables they are busy conserving during the autumn. Whether they have been pickled, dried, salted or left to rest in the ground – preserving techniques all add a rich variety in flavour to the same ingredient. When spring stirs they are excitedly awaiting the first buds of wild garlic, which grows all along the River Lowther, and from thereon come all the glories of the growing season.
If you are wishing to book a table in conjunction with a room booking please contact them to check availability.
They have a limited number of tables available for non residents, please enquire.
Current restaurant opening times are Tuesdays to Saturdays from 6.30 to 11 pm. Bookings are taken from 6.30 to 7.45pm.
Restaurant terms and conditions:
A five course tasting menu costs £75 per person. A deposit of £35 per person is required to secure your dinner booking. This deposit is refundable if the booking is cancelled at least a week in advance. Your reservation can be moved to another date if you cancel 48 hours to 7 days prior. In the event that you cancel less than 48 hours prior then your deposit will be forfeited.
When making a booking, please inform them if you are vegetarian or have any dietary requirements as they need to know in advance so that they can prepare an appropriate menu for you.
The menu normally contains wild game and always dairy as this is engrained in the natural food provenance of the region and cooking style. This is their identity.
Therefore, they are unable to cater for guests with severe lactose allergies or those who require a dairy free diet.
In 2020 they achieved their first Michelin star. They are also known for their outstanding wine list.
Head chef Richard Swale grew up in this area of Cumbria and has a deep understanding of the seasons, wild foods and the produce that grows here from his childhood spent out shooting in the woods, fishing on the river Eden and looking after his own rare breed chickens which now roam freely at Askham Hall. Having developed a passion for cooking at a young age, he spent 12 years working away from the area honing his skills and developing his cooking style.
He spent 4 years working with equally renowned chefs John Burton Race and Anthony Demetre In London. With a further 2 years in France, as well as having various placements around the world including a stint at NOMA in Copenhagen and also with the famous 3 Michelin star French chef Marc Veyrat in Annecy who specialises in mountain plants and herbs.
Richard has gone on to refine his style. Since returning to his roots in Cumbria and now settled in Askham, he has rediscovered his connection with the ingredients he grew up with. He utilises the techniques he learnt on his journeys and brings out new interpretations on the way ingredients are used. Richard has been head chef at Askham Hall since they opened, he works closely with the gardening team to continuously develop and extend the kitchen gardens at Askham Hall to grow the wide range of seasonal produce they use in the menus. Richard was awarded his first Michelin star in 2019 where he received praise for his “innate understanding” of how to use the “fantastic produce” on Askham’s doorstep.
Where is Askham Hall located?
Askham Hall in Cumbria is situated in a quiet and picturesque village within easy access (about ten minutes drive) from Penrith and junction 40 of the M6, and only 45 minutes from Carlisle airport. Follow the brown tourist signs signposted Askham Hall Gardens.
What cuisine is on offer at Askham Hall?
British cuisine using locally sourced ingredients, contemporary fine dining.
The Front of House Manager or 'Maitre de Maison' is Nico Chieze. French born Nico is originally from the Loire Valley, where he grew up around good wine and food. He joined the team in June 2014 as ‘Maitre de Maison’, or house manager. He likens Askham Hall to the format of a small French chateaux where guests get to experience high end dining and very personal service in the setting of a beautiful house and gardens. This suits him perfectly. He fulfils the role of personal greeter and the person who is the main point of contact for guests throughout their stay at Askham Hall. He is also a classically trained sommelier and adds another layer of service to evening meals with his recommendations of suitable wines. When they were planning the opening of Askham Hall they had their eye on Nico for this role as he really is a one off who excels at this type of customer interaction and they felt he and the role were made for each other. They were lucky enough that he accepted their offer and the rest is history. He is now part of the key team with Charles Lowther (the owner) and Richard Swale (the chef), driving the business forward as part of a wave of new, exciting guest experiences in the Lake District.
Nico’s college training in France to study hospitality led him on a journey to become one the finest sommeliers this country has seen, several times winning sommelier of the year for Scotland and the North of England. This training in France got him jobs at several Michelin starred restaurants including Relais & Chateaux Cordeillan-Bages in Bordeaux, Hiramastu restaurant in Paris and the Relais & Chateaux Waterside Inn at Bray on Thames with Michel Roux Snr, not an easy job to get and then from there up to Cumbria to Sharrow Bay for 14 years prior to joining them at Askham Hall.