’Casual dining,’ is the modest way in which this Ambleside stablemate of Michelin starred The Old Stamp House talks about itself. The restaurant critic Grace Dent, however, was somewhat more effusive in a review in The Guardian in 2021.

‘Kysty is a small, classy, imaginative, relatively inexpensive, self-effacing jewel in the Lake District’s crown,’ she wrote in Feast, the newspaper’s weekly food magazine. 

The restaurant, overseen by head chef Dan Hopkins, received a Michelin Plate in 2021 and then a few months later was placed at number seven in the UK in the ‘Date Night’ category in the Trip Advisor Restaurant Awards.

Opened initially as a cafe in 2018, Kysty now offers lunch and dinner, with a seasonal menu inspired by the Cumbrian landscape: Herdwick lamb and hogget from the fells, game from the Cartmel Valley, fish and shellfish from Cumbria’s coast and nuts and berries from local woods.

A two or three course lunch or dinner (dinner has more dishes to choose from) may include starters of wood pigeon, Thornby Moor goat’s cheese or Morecambe Bay shrimps while main courses could see Cumbrian venison, Yew Tree Farm Herdwick hogget, Arctic char or duck aged in a salt chamber. Gingerbread cheesecake is a big favourite for dessert. 

For those not familiar with Cumbrian dialect, Kysty -  the word rhymes with feisty not misty - means ‘overly discerning about ones food, or fussy’, as it says on one of the bistro walls. So, in the words of owners Gemma and Ryan Blackburn, ‘expect a dining experience here of the highest quality’. Or in the words of Grace Dent: ‘Kysty is a destination in its own right.’

Kysty, 3/4 Cheapside, Ambleside LA22 0AB: 015394 33647, www.kysty.co.uk Children’s menu available too. The Old Stamp House is not far away. Picture: Jenny Jones. 

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