Despite Lancaster being the county city of Lancashire, its one of those places that I rarely visit. Its an impressive city with an ancient castle and also the home to an equally impressive university. So we were pleased to be invited to enjoy a stay at the Lancaster House Hotel and a experience a meal in the award winning Food-works Restaurant, the perfect excuse to venture a little further north.
Lancaster House Hotel is a comfortable four star hotel, situated very close to the university, its a little out of town but for me that's a good thing, and its easy to find, just off the A6 and well sign posted. Handy for the Southern Lake district, The Trough of Bowland or Lune Valley its ideal for town, country or coastal pursuits.
Boasting 99 rooms and 19 suites, the hotel is decorated in a comfy welcoming country style and is proud to serve local seasonal produce throughout the hotel to guests.Part of the English Lakes Group, Lancaster House Hotel features a pool and spa area, Sandeman's Bar (the Port and sherry people with whom they have a long standing partnership) and Food-works Restaurant, plus various function suites and conference facilities.
The other hotels in the Group are Low Wood Bay Resort Hotel and Marina on the shores of Lake Windermere, Waterhead Boutique Hotel and Dining also on the edge of Windermere, The Wild Boar Inn, Grill and Smokehouse situated close to Windermere and The Midland Iconic Art Deco hotel in Morecambe. Each hotel having its own unique personality.
We enjoyed our stay at Lancaster House, the young team were very welcoming and everywhere was clean and tidy and ensured that our stay was comfortable and relaxing, our room was a beautiful suite over looking the front of the hotel, it even had a Juliet balcony. The suite was spacious, tastefully decorated and the bathroom area was huge with a big tub and a generous raindrop shower and an impressive array of nice smellies for your ablutions.
I also like the fact that there was carafe supplied so you could collect refreshing drinking water from the cooler for your room rather than nasty plastic bottles, there was also an ice machine on the landing area too. The room has two (yes 2) wide screen televisions, one in the bedroom and one in the lounge area, the room was quiet and despite being someone who never sleeps very well in hotel beds, I had a good nights sleep at Lancaster House. Our only extremely minor niggle was in this day and age why not swap out one of the standard sockets for a usb combined socket so you can charge your phone whilst you sleep, plus its a bonus for your business guests who can make use of the free wifi.
Before our dinner reservation we availed ourselves with the facilities in the pool and spa area, the pool area is well organised and had a special area just for the little ones, plus a lane for the more dedicated swimmer and an indoor Jacuzzi. Just off the pool area was the steam room (out of order at the time of our visit but should be fixed now), the sauna (traditional Finnish wood style) and an outside a large spa pool. The hotel also has a well equipped fitness area, were Mr LF tried out a few of the machines to offset his forthcoming dinner in the Food-works restaurant.
The Food-works Restaurant decor is contemporary and we just loved the mural of traditional Lancashire Folk, this combined with teacup chandeliers and dark wood dining tables and modern stripped back tableware gives the restaurant a unique ambiance.
Before dinner we chatted with Damien Ng - Executive Chef at Lancaster House about his foodie influences (Gordon Ramsay), his careful sourcing of local produce for the menu and his favourite dishes to eat and cook (Lancashire Hotpot and any fish by the way).
The menu is varied and has something for everyone, plus lots of traditional Lancashire favourites including hotpot, Morecambe shrimps, parched peas and of course fish and chips.
I started with slow roasted courgette, stuffed with tomatoes and Lancashire cheese, with a tomato garlic sauce. This was tasty yet light and started my meal off very well.
Mr LF has to choose the Lancashire platter of Goosnargh chicken liver pate, Morecambe bay shrimps on a chive potato cake, Black pudding bon bons and parched peas. This was served with a good chunk of bread and butter and disappeared very quickly, Mr LF particularly liked the pate and the parched peas which reminded both of us of our childhood and eating parched peas dressed with malt vinegar at Bonfire parties.
My main of Sea Bass, samphire and balsamic reduction was delicious, Damian know how to cook fish perfectly, crunchy salty samphire with a sharp yet sweet balsamic drizzle to cut the meaty fish.
Our other main just had to be Lancashire Hotpot served with hot aromatic spiced red cabbage, tender lamb pieces in a tasty sauce, moist falling potatoes and tender carrots.
We followed with Sandemans sherry trifle, much to Mr LF's delight this was a traditional trifle with jelly layer, custard and fresh cream topping, good Sherry kick but the custard layer was a little disappointing and could have done with more vanilla to balance with the sherry notes.
My choice was Peanut butter cheesecake, a crunchy base with creamy cheese cake topping, not very peanut buttery but very tasty all the same, served with chocolate sauce and crispy crunchy shards of sesame toffee.
All in all a very enjoyable meal and of a very high standard, the service was attentive and efficient and the ambiance relaxed but with a special edge, we dined on a Saturday evening and the restaurant was almost full, so if planning a visit I would book ahead. the soundtrack playing was also a perfect complement to the decor / ambiance, its difficult to get right but we thought it was great.
Breakfast the following morning was served in the at Restaurant , there was a good quality buffet array of breakfast items, a nice range of hot and cold items were available. Special mention as well to the very good cup of tea served (in a lot of hotels it can be very wishy washy but not here) and I always find a cooked breakfast much more enjoyable if you don't have to wash up afterwards !
The hotel also has excellent Green credentials and is installing a 250W solar panel array, it also has 2 electric vehicle charging points and even has a loo in Africa twinned to its loo in the reception area.
Bookings via the website
We stayed and dined on a complementary basis, we were not compelled to write a positive review and all thoughts and views expressed are our own.