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patented linoleum floor covering, and was patented in 1877. It is effectively made from a linseed based putty that dries and hardens gradually over several years, giving it great insulating properties. A favourite with royal palaces and stately homes, it can even be found in the Whitehouse and was chosen to decorate six of the staterooms on the Titanic. In the bar, the walls are adorned with a

bright and colourful Victorian style wallpaper, depicting painted exotic birds sitting on branches within in a large aviary. A large bird- cage chandelier hangs from the ceiling and palm plants in large pots help to create the garden room feel. Tis room is delightful and, like the Lincrusta wall covering in the hallway, is designed to give the hotel a sense of period. Next to the bar is a large, light filled lounge with a broad and deep original stone fireplace, French doors that lead out to a patio and the gardens beyond, and an eclectic range of comfy sofas and armchairs, arranged in clusters. A patinated silver metallic style wallpaper with a reflective tile effect adds lustre and provides a warm sheen to the room. It is a beautifully restored property,

designed with passion and great affection.

Te designers were Mackie’s of Lancaster, a Morecombe based interior design firm who have since closed the business with the owners keen to pursue other creative adventures. Founder James Mackie is actually an accomplished musician, having been an early member of the pop group, the Selector, and then becoming the keyboard player for Madness - a far cry from designing country house interiors! Te part of the hotel that is getting the most

attention is the restaurant, and deservedly so. Te food here is brilliant and is putting the hotel firmly on the map for serious foodies. Te Head Chef is Cumbrian born Kevin Tickle, who worked under Simon Rogan at L’Enclume in Cartmell. Like L’Enclume, virtually all ingredients are seasonal and sourced locally. Vegetables, fruit and edible flowers from the restored Victorian kitchen garden, meat from local suppliers and herbs, mushrooms and berries foraged from the estate. Kevin and his Sous Chef brother, Martin, are both keen foragers and even engage in the slow art of birch tapping, to obtain the sap which is used, amongst other things, to make syrup. Te menu is inspired by the Cumbrian landscape

and dishes, that are determined by the daily availability of fresh produce, can include West coast Seaweed broth, kohlrabi, surf clams and marsh herbs; Venison pastrami, smoked juniper yoghurt, swede, corra linn and pickled allium flowers; Pablo beetroot, ragstone, sourdough crumpet, hazlenut and sunset velvet and puds including Scorched pear, malt and ginger beer or Rhubarb, burnt butter and sweet cicely. Every dish brings new and rare flavour combinations that are both intriguing and delicious. Te restaurant has 50 covers and is an informal, pleasant space in neutral tones with no stand out design features. Te table tops are made from reclaimed timber from the original floors and the chairs, in brown leather, are a good size and extremely comfortable - perfect for enjoying a leisurely 10 course meal. Wines and spirits have been carefully

chosen, using a number of small lesser known producers and distillers. Te wine is stored in a basement cellar which can be seen by guests through a glass floor panel in the corridor above. Tere is a good selection of locally sourced gins, including Forest Gin from the Peak District and Bedrock, which is distilled in the Lakes. Te hotel intends to create its own branded gin in the near future. Forest Side is a gem of a hotel. Te food,

the interiors, the location and the friendliness of the staff are all worthy of top marks. Tis is Wordsworth and Wainwright country. Te place for poets and ramblers. And whilst the hotel has managed to avoid the obvious clichés - other hotels in Grasmere are less subtle - there are coffee table books that celebrate the life and works of these sons of the Lakes. What is lesser known about the Lake District is that it is fast becoming a centre for sophisticated food and fine hospitality and Forest Side is a prime example of this. Forest Side Hotel, Keswick Road, Grasmere, Cumbria. Tel: +44 (0)15394 35250

GS Magazine 27

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