The Priest Hole, Ambleside

A Sunday night calls for a Sunday roast. The Priest Hole is somewhere we’ve never been able to get into before – always really busy. Tonight was their last night of service for a couple of weeks, as they take a New Year break.

The Priest Hole Restaurant and Tea Rooms are part of Kelsick Old Hall, one of the oldest buildings in Ambleside, and they retain many of the original features, some of which were discovered during some renovation work.

In recognition of great wealth of local beers (there are over 40 breweries in Cumbria now) The Priest Hole have a range of local beers to drink with your dinner, with proper descriptions and tasting notes. Although you might not be expecting such attention to beer detail in a venue like this, it is a pleasant surprise to find it. Tonight we had some Oliver’s Light Ale, from down the road in Coniston, and some more Hawkshead ale, Jingle Fells, from down the other road in Staveley. Oliver is a gentle pale ale, whilst Jingle Fells is a festively spiced ale.

Which went rather well with my venison. I’m a bit picky when it comes to roasts, particularly because I’m fairly happy with the ones that I serve up on Sundays. So I strayed away from the roast menu, and had this venison instead, with an interesting berry gravy – the tartness of those raspberries really cut through the richness of the venison. The roast shallot could have done with some caramelisation to bring out the natural sweetness.

It turned out to be a wise choice, Mrs MOFAD’s roast beef was not all that exciting.

A special mention must go to our waiter, who was the resident beer expert, and we discussed local ales, breweries and drinking spots for a fair amount of time. Friendly and knowledgeable.

The Priest Hole is worth a visit if you’re looking for classic British meals accompanied by some of the best local ales. Lots of interesting things on the menu besides the roasts.

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