The Old Stamp House

£££££

Set within the building that once housed William Wordsworth’s stamp distribution business, The Old Stamp House is run by chef Ryan Blackburn and his brother Craig, who oversees front of house.

The restaurant is a love letter to the area’s bountiful produce, showcasing west coast fish and shellfish, lamb from Coniston and cured meats from Waberthwaite. It also explores the area’s seafaring history by making full use of imported spices such as pepper, mace, ginger, sugar and rum, which all once arrived into the ports of Whitehaven and Maryport.

The brothers were born into a family with deep roots in Cumbrian hospitality. Prior to launching The Old Stamp House, Ryan worked locally at The Cottage in the Wood and Holbeck Ghyll, and for Martin Wishart in Edinburgh, so he knows his stuff. His six-course tasting menu lets the produce do the talking with categories including The Lakes, The Fields, The Fells and The Hedgerows. The menu changes regularly, but a dessert that showcases Grasmere’s famed gingerbread usually rounds things off.

The 28-cover restaurant is rustic and low-key and split over two small rooms. In 2018 the Blackburn brothers opened a sister restaurant called Kysty that offers a more informal style of eating than The Old Stamp House.

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