Former L’Enclume Chef and Head Forager Kevin Tickle Heads up the Kitchen at Forest Side
Andrew Wildsmith of Wildsmith Hotels is delighted to announce that Forest Side has launched after an extensive 18 month long and four million pound renovation. Forest Side offers a 20 bedroom, 50 cover restaurant with a bar and lounge set in a 19th-century Victorian hotel minutes from Grasmere in the Lake District, Cumbria.
Heading up the kitchen is Kevin Tickle, who was former sous chef and head forager at L’Enclume for eight years. He then undertook the head chef role at Rogan & Co for a further year, before he was approached by Andrew Wildsmith. Kevin’s menu will change daily according to produce available within the abundant 46 acres of forageable grounds and restored Victorian-walled kitchen garden.
Furnishings and artwork have been sourced locally complimenting Forest Side’s landscaped and wooded private gardens.
Whilst the hotel and its grounds have undergone a complete transformation, Kevin Tickle has been busy curing, preserving, pickling, distilling and lacto-fermenting during the last year, as well as planting the extensive Victorian-walled kitchen garden with no less than 120 raised beds.
A 70 square metre heated greenhouse houses ingredients such as micro greens, grapes and peaches, and a further two 30 x 14 foot wide polytunnels have been installed to grow edible flowers including violas, nasturtiums and dianthus. Expect additional home grown produce such as beetroots, carrots, leeks, lovage mint, oyster leaf and oxalis to name but a few.
Forest Side’s daily changing eight course tasting or à la carte menu will be dependent on what Kevin has available within the grounds, but expect dishes such as Venison pastrami, smoked juniper yoghurt, swede, Old Winchester and pickled allium flowers; followed by West coast scallop, parsnip, duck prosciutto and mead. Additional dishes include Cumbrian plaice, conifer, mussels, salsify and alliums; and desserts such as Scorched pear, malt and homemade ginger beer.
The restaurant, with its tall bay window occupying one wall, is decorated with muted tones of white, offering an airy, light feel. The tables have been made from Forest Side’s old floorboards and plenty of foliage decorates the room giving a warm and informal feel. The kitchen pass is open, offering guests a glimpse of Kevin Tickle and his team at work. Diners will also enjoy stunning views of the grounds, the forest bank and the fells beyond, giving a real sense of being a part of the Cumbrian landscape.
The gardens, currently in their first stage of planting, feature mostly ornamental plants but also include a small orchard and a wild fruit hedge. Additional fruit trees and bushes situated around the walled garden, will grow apples, pears, plums, quinces, mulberries, mirabelles, damsons and greengages. Soft fruits include loganberries, Japanese wineberries, honeyberries and gooseberries.
The gardening team, under head gardener Catherine Walsh, have also developed a planting scheme around the hotel, to provide scented plants that will fragrance the air in and around the property throughout the year, such as philadelphus, viburnums and daphnes.
Lancaster based Mackies Interior Design and Decoration has overseen the hotel interior with the in-house team. A great emphasis has been placed on bringing the beauty of the gardens into the homely hotel and many of the old materials from the original building have been recycled, including the floorboards which have been used to make the restaurant tables, chef’s pass and room signs.