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Burlington’s is the fine dining country restaurant at The Beech Hill Hotel and Spa, helmed by head chef Lukasz Zebryk. The hotel itself is a stone-built house built around the turn of the 20th Century, which overlooks Windermere and offers stunning views. The original property has been expanded over the year to encompass 57 rooms and suites. There are plenty of outdoor seating areas spilling down the hill towards the two jetties, and from Burlington’s, you can see the lake in all its tranquil glory.
We visited Burlington’s during a stay in the hotel (review forthcoming) on a crisp but clear winter’s evening. We started off with canapes in the bar area, where our drinks orders were taken. Befitting the time of year and the old country house style, there was a roaring fire and deep, comfortable sofas to sink into. The canapes were brief and tasty, as you’d expect, and went nicely especially with the beer (the saltiness being offset by the refreshing bubbles and malty taste).
Once our table was ready, we were escorted through into the restaurant itself, which was up a few stairs and swooped around the side and on to the back of the hotel. The restaurant wasn’t busy, so all the diners benefited from window seats with lake views – and what a view it was! The bare trees over the lake were like black brushstrokes; the water a silvery mirror. Scene set, we were ready for the sumptuous dinner to follow.
For starter, I opted for the slow and sticky pork cheek, served with apple puree and a coil of shaved pork crackling. The pork cheek was tender and flavoursome. The highlight, though, was the vegetable vermicelli, which absorbed the sticky sauce and was packed full of flavour.
The second starter: duck and damson chipolatas with subtle but fruity flavours. Served with a carrot crush and beetroot relish, we found the carrot was best eaten separately so as to avoid overwhelming the flavours of the sausages. But the carrot served as a sort of palate cleanser, so I’d recommend eating it before the sausages, and then enjoying the sausages and relish together for the full range of flavours to come through.
For my main, I ordered the veal sirloin steak with dauphinoise potatoes, fabulous wild mushrooms and a creamy green peppercorn sauce. This was the highlight of our meal. The veal was tender and succulent, cooked perfectly (I had mine rare but you could have this medium-rare without losing any of the juiciness). There’s some debate about how veal should be done, but my advice is that beyond medium it becomes rubbery and loses much of its flavour – this was a perfectly done veal steak. The peppercorn sauce was also delicious, adding a creaminess that complemented the meat well.
My companion opted for the slow roasted pork belly. Belly pork is a tricky thing to get right – too many restaurants serve up a huge chunk of fat with hardly any meat. We didn’t have this problem. The chef delivered just the right amount of fat and a generous amount of meat. Served with sage mash, apple relish and red wine fumeti, this was a well balanced and interesting dish.
For dessert, I kept it simple with a vanilla creme brulee with citrus shortcake. This was light and fragrant, and rounded out my meal well.
My partner, who fancied the cheese but didn’t want to go wild with the whole cheeseboard, chose the cheeseboard taster option. This was just enough to satisfy after an indulgently good dinner and the cheeses were great. A wonderfully creamy and savoury end to a great meal.
Two courses cost £26.95, three courses cost £34.95 and five courses (starter, main and dessert with palate cleanser and coffee) cost £39.95.
The Beech Hill Hotel, Newby Bridge Road, Windermere, Cumbria, LA23 3LR / beechhillhotel.co.uk/eat.