A thee-AA Rosette restaurant just outside Carlisle has launched a new eight-course tasting menu that aims to showcase fresh produce from the restored vegetable garden of a historic stately home.
Pentonbridge Inn in Penton, near Carlisle, has revamped the menu as part of its philosophy of sourcing the best seasonal ingredients for its dishes. Netherby Hall, its sister company, grows much of the fruit, herbs and vegetables the restaurant uses in its dishes.
The walled garden of historic Netherby Hall has been restored to its former glory in recent years, including the rebuilding of its Victorian greenhouses, the restoration of its fruit and vegetable plots and the replanting of its flowerbeds to supply flowers to Pentonbridge Inn and the Lobby. Working closely with the Netherby Hall team, Chris Archer, Executive Chef at the Pentonbridge Inn, sources the ingredients that influence the seasonally inspired dishes on the tasting menu.
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Chris said: ‘Having the best quality, seasonal produce is an essential part of what we do at Pentonbridge Inn, and fruit, herbs and vegetables from the gardens of Netherby Hall are complemented by meat and fish high quality, ethically produced, which, as far as possible, is locally sourced.
“Working with the team at Netherby Hall, we are able to source quality ingredients at the right time, which helps us achieve our goal of ensuring our customers have the best possible dining experience in Pentonbridge.”
Pentonbridge Inn, which is in the countryside near the Scottish border, retained its Michelin Guide listing in 2022, having first been included in 2021. It’s Chris’ ultimate goal to win a Michelin star for the restaurant which was named Good Hotel Guide’s 2019 Caesar Newcomer of the Year and won the Editor’s Choice Award for Pubs with Rooms in 2022.
Chris, who has worked at Pentonbridge Inn for three years, said: “We always strive to be the best at everything we do and I think what we create here at Pentonbridge is really exciting.
“If you stay true to yourself as a leader and what you believe in, the rest will come with time.”
He describes himself as a traditional chef with a sense of presentation who loves old school techniques but enjoys experimenting with new flavors and techniques. His style of modern British cooking was honed working in Michelin and AA Rosette star restaurants across the UK, including Winteringham Fields, Midsummer House and The Cottage in the Wood, near Keswick, where he took on his first role leader in 2014.
While in Cumbria, Chris has established strong relationships with local suppliers including Bells Fishmongers in Carlisle, Cartmel Valley Game and Winter Tarn Dairy, based in 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 are very lucky to have some of the UK’s best produce on our doorstep in Cumbria.
“The new menu allows us to showcase the quality of these ingredients, while emphasizing the close connection between the gardens of Netherby Hall and Pentonbridge Inn.”
Netherby Hall, where they source 75% of their ingredients for the tasting menu, is a Gade II listed mansion set in 36 acres of gardens and grounds on private estate near Longtown. A multi-million pound investment by its owners has transformed the hall, creating nine luxury holiday apartments and cottages, as well as conference facilities.
It was during lockdown that the kitchen team at Pentonbridge Inn came together with the team at Netherby Hall, working in the gardens and continuing that relationship today.
Chris said: “At one time the walled garden of Netherby Hall would have been used to supply the kitchens in the main house and we are delighted that this tradition and legacy continues 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 have a gardening team to grow it for you is something. that some chefs can only dream of.”
The Pentonbridge Inn is open Wednesday through Saturday. The Restaurant with Rooms has nine stylish and comfortable rooms, 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 lunch menu is also available. Visit www.pentonbridgeinn.co.uk for more information.