High Newton

Serious, high-brow sustainable cooking, but done with a smile


Heft owners Kevin and Nicola Tickle are no strangers to the countryside in which their restaurant sits. Cumbria-born chef Kevin grew up on the Furness Peninsula on the county’s Irish Sea coast, where he was taught by his father to forage and fish, and Nicola is from a family that has continuously farmed the fells and valleys of the Lake District since the 1600s. Is is the couple’s connection with their environment then that makes Heft more than just a restaurant but actually part of its surroundings.

Kevin stepped down from his role as head chef at The Forest Side in nearby Grasmere in 2019 having won a Michelin star for the venue eight months after its launch to open Heft in a 17th century Inn. Here he showcases his singular take on modern British food using a wealth of locally reared and farmed produce.

Parallels can be drawn between Kevin’s style of cooking and those of other chefs occupying a patch of The Lake District, but he has also successfully managed to create his own identity and inject a sense of fun into his menus. A set dinner menu takes guests on a culinary journey of the familiar to the possibly very unfamiliar, paying great attention to provenance and sustainability on the way. Menu items include those playfully titled ‘onion, onion, onion, mint’, and ‘When Daisy met Bramble’, while another - ‘The course before the deer made with the waste bits’ - is unashamedly to the point. This is serious, high-brow cooking, but done with a smile.

Unlike other high-end Lakes restaurants of its ilk, Heft also has a very good value ‘Sunday Service’ menu that includes options such as dry-aged rib of beef or whole lemon sole. These can be augmented by a surprisingly large range of sides that include house made sauerkraut; chorizo macaroni cheese; Tunworth cheese and truffle mash; and fancy gravy as well as ‘top ups’ such as a ramson béarnaise, and a nasturtium and seaweed broth. It’s Sunday roast, but done the Heft way, and therefore very special indeed.