Gluten free? Yes
Sometimes the restaurant trade moves so fast that I struggle to keep pace. If you wanted an example of the ephemeral impermanence of existence, you could do at lot worse than to keep tabs, as I try vainly try, on which chefs are cooking where.
Case in point: Pentonbridge Inn, just outside of Longtown in Cumbria. It was only late last year when, to a fair harrumph of fanfare in the trade press, husband and wife chefs Jake and Cassie White, ex of Marcus Wareing and Hélène Darroze, left the bright lights of London for the rather less likely venue of Penton, just a few hundred yards south of the Scottish Border. There was some excited chat on the part of the owners about the possibility of Michelin stars, of improving local food supply chains and even of Longtown becoming a notable “food town”.
This last statement drew a sustained eyebrow-raise from me. I’ve driven through Longtown many times. Let's be charitable: Cartmel it ain’t. Still, the food at Pentonbridge sounded like serious fun. Great, I thought. I’ll pop in for lunch sometime. So we did, a couple of weeks ago on a trip back from The Lakes, but neither Jake nor Cassie were anywhere to be seen. For whatever reason they’ve departed the business inside of a year (they left in May ‘for personal reasons’), to be replaced by Gary McDermott who had previously slung his knives at Carlisle’s Rickerby Retreat and most recently as head chef at Grasmere’s Lancrigg Hall.
I heard the White’s food here had been superb, but now I’ll never know. What I can however tell you is that, happily, Gary’s isn’t half bad either.