The Pentonbridge Inn has only been open 6 weeks but was creating a bit of a buzz long before its first customers arrived. Opened by husband and wife team, Jack and Cassie White - ex chefs at the two Michelin-starred Marcus at the Berkeley in London, the Pentonbridge Inn promises somewhere very special for foodies in the north of England as well as nine luxury bedrooms and a cosy pub for locals and visitors.
We arrived at the Pentonbridge Inn on a very wintery Saturday afternoon with slightly cold feet after the first real icy spell of the season. We were so thankful when we walked through the front door and were greeted by a friendly smile and a toasty warm reception. Instantly feeling at home, we eagerly made our way up to our room for the night, the beautiful Grayme.
The bedrooms at the Pentonbridge Inn are beautifully decorated, each taking inspiration from the surrounding Cumbrian landscape and are the perfect combination of comfort and style.
The Pentonbridge Inn is the kind of place you can go to truly switch off and escape. With limited phone signal (bliss) it's possible to switch yourself off from the bother of every day life although, if like me, you can't help but share your staycation on Instagram there's amazingly fast wifi through the Inn. In fact, the Pentonbridge Inn is not only super cosy it also has all of the gadgets you could possibly need to make your stay perfect. Simon loved the remote control that made a TV pop up at the foot of our bed and the computerised system that operated the window blinds - he's definitely going to want both for home now!
We made our way down to the pub and I was thrilled to discover two fires, loads of cosy corners and, amazingly, the place to ourselves. We must have timed it just right as by the time we'd settled into the best seats in the house (right by the cosy fire of course!) the bar had begun to fill up.
As we neared the end of our drinks our waiter appeared with the food menu for us to take a look at ahead of our reservation. This is always my favourite way to enjoy dinner, I love being able to properly look at the menu without any time pressure and it's so nice to head to the table knowing that our orders are already with the kitchen.
The Pentonbridge Inn offer an a la carte menu as well as a five course tasting menu with both changing daily offering the very best seasonal and local produce. With a lot of their ingredients coming from their Victorian walled garden at nearby Netherby Hall, the fruit and veg served at the Inn is fresh.
We decided to go for three courses (£40.00) and with orders placed we were shown to our table with a prime spot overlooking the kitchen. I have to say I love having a good nose in a kitchen when I'm eating out, being an awful cook I'm always curious to watch the experts create their dishes and watching them put together something that looks amazing always leaves me stunned.
Our meal began with a huge chunk of freshly baked bread, still warm from the oven it arrived with salted butter inside a copper dish that I immediately became obsessed with. I never knew it was possible to fall in love with a butter dish, but just look at it!
Our evening meal at the Pentonbridge Inn was one of amazing discoveries and we were off on an amazing journey right from the start with our little taster, the Pentonbridge's twist on pease pudding; a northern obsession that I have never understood until now! I've tried pease pudding many times since relocating to the north but this is the only time I've actually enjoyed it. Served piping hot the crisp coating was delicious - this is the way to serve pease pudding!
It's not often we go all out and enjoy three courses but we couldn't resist at the Pentonbridge Inn. We both chose the same starter - Hen egg, Jerusalem artichoke, cured Tamworth pork and Puy lentils. I loved the different textures of the dish and the flavours were beautiful. Wiping my plate clean I started to feel a little sad that this lovely little place is quite a drive from our home. Newcastle to Cumbria isn't too far to go for dinner is it?
With a small menu to choose from I picked something for my main course that I would never usually order. Lamb. I've never really got on with it and as a child I always whinged if Mum served up a roast lamb dinner. Served with violet artichoke, potato terrine, Ragstone cheese and olives, the lamb was served pink and I immediately realised where I'd been going wrong for all these years. It was full of flavour, so tender and by the second mouthful I was declaring that I loved lamb!
Second shock of the night, I despise olives, yet when I tried them with the Lamb dish they really brought an extra something to my meal and I eagerly ate the lot! I honestly couldn't get over how delicious the food was and how the Pentonbridge Inn had made me change my mind about foods I'd thought I didn't really like.
Although it was tempting to crash out in the cosy pub for another round of drinks we decided to head back up to our room. All of that food had made us feel very sleepy and the temptation to snuggle up in bed with that amazing TV was too much to resist. As we settled down for the night it wasn't long before I was out for the count and I had a fantastic night's sleep in our huge bed and didn't wake until my alarm went off the following morning.
Showers were a joy in the morning, the bathroom was lovely and warm and I loved using all of the complimentary Noble Isle toiletries. Once I'd finished having a good pamper I wrapped myself up in a huge fluffy towel and then spent a little while wondering if I could just go down to breakfast in it, I was that comfortable!
Clothes finally on, we made our way down to breakfast where we settled down at a table offering the most beautiful views of Scotland. Staying at the Pentonbridge Inn really made me realise how close we are to Scotland and how we really should make more effort to visit.
Breakfast at the Pentonbridge Inn was incredible! We have enjoyed a lot of breakfasts in our time, but the one we had that morning was on another level and I don't think we'll ever find one as good, they really did get it spot on.
Perfect for the foodie, a never ending flurry of surprise dishes arrived at our table from the kitchen and we loved that each table got something different. Just as we'd find ourselves looking enviably at something our neighbours had been given a moment later something even better would show up at our own table.
Our feast began with homemade granola and fruit salad served with Greek Yoghurt and fresh juice. Each table had a different juice and ours was a deliciously zingy grapefruit juice. I've never found the thought of fruit at breakfast overly exciting but the Pentonbridge had managed to cram all sorts of goodies into the bowl including pears, raspberries, passionfruit and blueberries all topped off with some Greek Yoghurt it was the perfect start to our breakfast and left me thinking that I might recreate it at home.
Settling down with our cups of coffee we had a little chat with a lovely couple on the table next to us. Celebrating their ruby wedding anniversary they had treated themselves to a weekend stay at the Pentonbridge Inn and were excitedly telling us about how the Pentonbridge had gone out of their way to make them feel special and that their tasting menu the night before had been the best food they'd ever had. I was so happy hearing their stories, I love when a hotel goes out of its way to make each guest feel welcome and special.
It wasn't long before our next course arrived at the table, French Toast hot from the kitchen with a jug of sticky syrup.
We knew what was coming for our third course as we'd chosen our cooked breakfast the night before. There's no breakfast menu at the Pentonbridge Inn so you can choose whatever you fancy! The kitchen have decided they don't want to restrict guests and so, as long as they have the ingredients, they will whip up whatever breakfast you fancy!
I decided to go for smoked salmon and scrambled eggs on toast and Simon went for a Full English. The portion sizes were so generous, in fact they were the biggest breakfasts we'd ever seen. Don't ask me how but I managed to polish mine off and sneak a few pieces of black pudding off Simon's plate, he's not a fan and as it was the best black pudding I'd ever had I wasn't going to let him waste it.
You'd think after all that food it would be time to finish but there was one final treat to come from the kitchen. Toast served with salted butter and homemade marmalade that was still hot! Wow!
I could honestly write an entire blog about how amazing the marmalade was, it was my first time trying proper homemade marmalade and I could suddenly understand why Paddington Bear is such a fan! Despite being ridiculously full I had to eat both slices of that toast just because I wanted to eat every last bit of that delicious marmalade.
Our perfect staycation at the Pentonbridge Inn was over and we were both feeling so sad. We've stayed in a lot of really lovely hotels this year and both agreed that The Pentonbridge Inn was one of our favourites. There's no doubt that we will be back - our stay was so good and we really loved the food and our chats with the staff.
As we checked out and gathered up our bags, the lovely receptionist gave us a parting gift - a very generous jar of marmalade with compliments of the kitchen. The Pentonbridge Inn like to give their guests a gift for the road and it seems my love for the marmalade had been noticed. Such a lovely touch!
If you're looking for a picture perfect stay in the Cumbrian countryside I highly recommend you book a weekend at the Pentonbridge Inn!
Find the Pentonbridge Inn at:
Penton, Carlisle, CA6 5QB
01228 586 636
We were guests of the Pentonbridge Inn and received a complimentary night's stay with dinner, drinks and breakfast in exchange for this honest review.