Askham near Penrith. Allium at Askham

A Michelin star, four AA Rosettes, one of Harden’s top 100 UK restaurants for 2022 and a ‘real wizard’ in the kitchens as head chef. No wonder Allium is now ‘firmly on the gastronomic map,’ as The Times newspaper said in an article in early 2022.

That ‘wizard’ - quotes the Good Hotel Guide 2022 - is Richard Swale, a terrific champion of local produce whose CV includes the names of René Redzepi at Noma in Copenhagen, Marc Veyrat in Annecy and Anthony Demetre in London.

There’s certainly a rich and bountiful larder on Richard’s doorstep. The attractive kitchen gardens at Askham Hall - the property home to the Lowther family for many years - supplies vegetables, herbs, fruit and salad ingredients while the wider Lowther Estate produces Shorthorn and Dexter beef, Gloucester Old Spot, Tamworth and Saddleback pork and Boar goat meat. Take a look at the website for the full list.

As with the rest of the hotel, Allium has a pretty informal feel to it, a conservatory restaurant with views of the Grade II listed gardens, vibrant Spanish floor tiles and casual dining tables. A six course tasting menu is served on five nights of the week. 

That meal may include the likes of Lowther red deer tartare, truffled egg yolk and pickles; Skrei cod, mixed grains, Jerusalem artichoke and hazelnut; salt aged duck, duck liver, sour cherries, celeriac and chicory; and Tumaco chocolate, miso and caramel. Richard’s guinea fowl with truffle paste and salsify was once described by The Sunday Times as ‘divine’.

In 2018 Askham Hall was a finalist in the VisitEngland Awards for Excellence in the Taste of England category while in the Wine Spectator Restaurant Awards 2018, Allium was given a Best of Excellent award. Wine Spectator is an American lifestyle magazine. 

The hotel which has 19 bedrooms was Country House Hotel of the Year in the Good Hotel Guide 2022. ‘A gorgeous restaurant with rooms,’ said The Times in spring 2022. 

Allium, Askham Hall, Askham, Penrith CA10 2PF: 01931 712350, www.askhamhall.co.uk Allium is open to non-residents although advance booking is essential. Private dining available in the wood-panelled dining room.

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