Escape to The Lake Isle
1st November 2021
The Lake Isle truly came of age this year, reaching its 21-year milestone under the superb ownership of Richard and Janine Burton. Nicholas and Clare Rudd-Jones paid a lunchtime visit
Sometimes lunch is the perfect time to escape from it all, catch up with a friend or a loved one, step off the treadmill of the day for a couple of hours. And where better to do that than in Uppingham, such a gorgeous town to stroll through before or after the meal, and an absolute delight for browsing and admiring the buildings. Uppingham often feels like a stage set of what a perfect English small town would be like. As we walked along the High Street, the butcher stepped out to take a delivery, furling up his apron and gulping down some fresh air after a busy morning serving customers. Completely charming.
We were headed for The Lake Isle, one of our favourite places to eat in the region. And it was one of those bright, sunny early autumn days that suits the stone of the town so well. We were warmly welcomed by Victoria and led to our table by the window, where we both had a great view up and down the High Street. Service here is effortless, friendly and professional, so lunch can be as quick or relaxed as you choose.
Clare chose the set menu, and I went à la carte. In a time of rising food inflation, the set menu of £20 for two courses and £25 for three is exceptional value. Clare started with the ‘Breaded camembert, pickled mushrooms, celery, walnuts and black garlic ketchup’: comforting in the extreme, and the marmite ketchup gave it the perfect punch. Then she followed with ‘Grilled supreme of south coast plaice, sautéed new potatoes, courgette, fine beans, lemon and tarragon pesto’. This was a lovely generous portion with lots of super-fresh greens. The delicacy of the plaice was beautifully offset by the kick of the lemon verbena and coriander beurre.
‘And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.’WB Yeats
The homemade soups are especially good at The Lake Isle, and that’s what I started with. I chose the ‘Squash, honey and thyme soup’, which was nothing less than magic. For the main, I was feeling like something substantial, and opted for the ‘Assiette of Pork – bacon-wrapped fillet, belly and West Country hogs pudding, apple ketchup, sage ’n’ onion rosti’. An absolute cracker of a course, rich and delicious, and not something we would begin to contemplate cooking at home, so a good restaurant choice.
We shared a set menu dessert of ‘Sticky ginger parkin, poached rhubarb, vanilla ice cream, ginger wine fudge sauce’, and the generosity of the portion meant there was no table strife.
We went away relaxed and uplifted, just the ticket for a mid-week, middle-of-the-day escape. In the words of WB Yeats, whose poem The Lake Isle of Innisfree inspired the name of the establishment: ‘And I shall have some peace there, for peace comes dropping slow.’
16 High Street East, Uppingham, LE15 9PZ, 01572 822951, www.lakeisle.co.uk