A tasting menu is among the new concepts guests will be able to look forward to at the traditional Overwater Hall Hotel, which is tucked away just 15 minutes from Keswick.
The country house set in 18 acres of gardens and nursery woodland on the way to Ireby been able to open its gardens and are offering light lunches and afternoon teas for visitors Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays from noon until 5pm.
Owners Adrian Hyde, his wife Angela and Stephen Bore have been at the hotel for almost 30 years now. Adrian is the chef, while Angela and Stephen look after the front of house.
As it reopens, the hotel has invested in patio heaters, a huge fire pit, giant umbrellas and piles of blankets in a bid to ensure that guests should not be deterred by the weather.
The hotel will be reopen fully on Monday May 17, which is when the new taster menu is due to begin.
Chef Adrian has been offering the same popular menu, with just a few minor tweaks, for many years. But now he is keen for guests to sample something quite different.
Adrian said: “As we reopen from the COVID nightmare, I want to give our guests a new, exciting and extended dining option by writing and cooking a completely separate tasting menu.
“The idea is to offer a completely different menu made up of eight or nine dishes, produced alongside our traditional menu.”
The menu would focus as much as possible on local/English and seasonal produce – and would run for around four weeks at a time.
It would only be available on a per table basis on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, depending on demand.
The hotel will also be developing a wine flight to accompany the menu.
- The menu could typically include:
- Duck liver parfait with seared goose liver.
- Smoked duck breast, pickled wild mushrooms.
- Confit scallop with asparagus, tomato gel, bee pollen.
- Carrot, orange and ginger sorbet.
- Quail with ras al hanout, apricot and cinnamon couscous, pickled lemons.
- Miso soup with lime leaves and king prawns.
- Venison loin; juniper sausage; haggis croquette.
- Potato dauphinoise, manuka baby beets.
- Chocolate and avocado ganache with raspberry.
- Maple syrup baked Crofton cheese with lavender and thyme served with charcoal crackers.
Angela, Adrian and Stephen are friends who met at catering college and bought the hotel in 1992.
They have a very loyal staff.
Dawn Pattinson and Karen Courtier are talented local girls who assist Adrian in the kitchen and have been at the hotel for many years. In fact, they have been there during most of the present ownership.
Rene Kiszel-Kohari is the third member of the kitchen team and is from Hungary.
Rene’s wife Katalin, also from Hungary, is the assistant manager.
During lockdown, the owners have been working within the hotel, mainly redecorating bedrooms but also giving the bar and restaurant a new look.
Stephen said; “We wanted to retain the traditional ambience and looks of a country house hotel, with fine fabrics and carpets and good quality table linen. It is what we are, after all.
“But we have made some subtle changes to the decor and lighting in the restaurant to give it a more up-to-date feel.”
Overwater Hall Hotel is one of the most prominent mansions in the area.
It is a Grade II listed structure, designated as a building of architectural and historic interest.
The house was built in 1840 for Joseph Gillbanks, who had made his money in Jamaica and was originally known as Whitefield House.
He incorporated an older 18th century building, which appears to have been built by John Gaff in about 1785.
The house was sold by the Gillbanks family in 1929 to Frederick Gatty, a textile merchant.
After Gatty’s death in 1951, it was bought by Charles de Courcy-Parry, who had achieved notoriety in 1920 when he shot Percy Toplis, known as The Monocled Mutineer.
De Coursey-Parry went on to become a journalist who wrote under the name of Dalesman.
The house was acquired by Henry Hays in 1957 and then became a hotel owned by Monte Green in 1967.