Restaurant launches tasting menu showcasing produce from restored kitchen garden

A NEW eight-course tasting menu at a Cumbrian fine dining restaurant will showcase quality fresh produce from the restored kitchen garden of a historic stately home.

The three-AA Rosette Pentonbridge Inn at Penton, near Carlisle, has launched the new menu as part of its ethos of sourcing the best seasonal ingredients for its dishes.

Up to 75 per cent of fruit, herbs and vegetables used by the restaurant are grown in the gardens of its sister business, Netherby Hall, which is just a short drive away.

The Walled Garden at historic Netherby Hall has been restored to its former glory in recent years including the rebuilding of its Victorian glasshouses, the restoration of its fruit and vegetable plots, and the replanting of its beds to supply flowers to Pentonbridge Inn and the Hall.

Chris Archer, Head Chef at Pentonbridge Inn, works closely with the garden team at Netherby Hall to source the ingredients which influence the seasonally-inspired dishes on the set tasting menu.

Chris said: “Having the best quality, seasonal produce is an essential part of what we do at Pentonbridge Inn, and the fruit, herbs and vegetables from the gardens at Netherby Hall are complemented by high welfare, ethically produced meat and fish, which as far as possible, is sourced locally.

“By working with the team at Netherby Hall, we’re able to source quality ingredients at the right time which helps us towards our goal of ensuring our guests have the best possible dining experience at Pentonbridge.”

Pentonbridge Inn, which sits in countryside close to the Scottish border, retained its listing in the Michelin Guide in 2022, having first been included in 2021.

Chris’s ultimate ambition is to win a Michelin star for the restaurant, which was named Newcomer of the Year in the Good Hotel Guide’s 2019 César Awards and picked up an Editor’s Choice Award for pub-with-rooms in 2022.

Chris, who has been at Pentonbridge Inn for three years, said: “We’re always striving to be the best in whatever we do and I think what we’re creating here at Pentonbridge is really exciting.

“If you stay true to yourself as a chef and what you believe in then the rest will come in time.”

Chris describes himself as a traditional chef with a flair for presentation who loves old school techniques but enjoys experimenting with new flavours and techniques.

His modern British style of cooking has been honed through working at Michelin-starred and AA Rosette restaurants across the UK including Winteringham Fields, Midsummer House and The Cottage in the Wood, near Keswick, where took on his first head chef role in 2014.

During his time in Cumbria, Chris has established strong relationships with local suppliers including Bells Fishmongers in Carlisle, Cartmel Valley Game, and Winter Tarn Dairy, based at Morland, near Appleby. He also sources pork from nearby Askerton Castle and Cumbrian beef and lamb from Steven Airey at Ayside, near Cartmel, in south Cumbria.

He said: “We’re very lucky to have some of the best produce in the UK on our doorstep in Cumbria.

“The new menu allows us to showcase the quality of those ingredients, while also highlighting the strong connection between the gardens at Netherby Hall and Pentonbridge Inn.”

Netherby Hall is a Grade II* listed mansion set in 36 acres of gardens and grounds on a private estate close to Longtown, near Carlisle.

A multi-million pound investment by its owners has seen the creation of nine luxury self-catering holiday apartments and cottages, as well as conference facilities.

During lockdown, the kitchen team from Pentonbridge Inn worked in the gardens at Netherby Hall, establishing the working relationships with the garden team which continue today.

Chris said: “At one time, the Walled Garden at Netherby Hall would have been used to supply the kitchens of the main house and we’re pleased that that tradition and heritage is continuing through the link with Pentonbridge Inn.

“It’s one thing to find a supplier who produces great fruit and vegetables but having the ability to pick and choose what you want, and then having a garden team to grow it for you, is something some chefs can only dream about.”

Pentonbridge Inn is open Wednesday to Saturday. The restaurant-with-rooms has nine stylish and cosy bedrooms, all named after the Border Reiver clans for which the Borderland region around the pub was known.

The eight-course tasting menu costs £95. A five-course set lunch menu is also available. Visit www.pentonbridgeinn.co.uk for more information.

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