FOOD: Sister's fore-sight drove us to an excellent lunch at Carus Green Golf Club, Kendal
Carus Green Golf Club, Kendal
EVERY so often my quest to find a venue to review comes up against some unexpected obstacles – and this week's is a case in point.
I headed out to review a hotel near Kendal, which up until a few years ago had been a convent. But when my sister and I arrived, there was the tail end of a conference going on, no one having lunch and – for me – the place had as much atmosphere as an old people's home (or even old nuns' home). So we left.
We then decided to go to the Brewery Arts Centre restaurant in the centre of Kendal. But when we arrived, we discovered that we had the grand total of 68p in cash between us – enough to pay for about a nano-second's worth of parking in the car park, what with the town being just outside the Lakes.
We couldn't be bothered trailing into town to buy something on a card in order to get some cash back to feed into the machine; and as I didn't fancy trying my luck with the editor by presenting a parking fine as justifiable expenses for this jaunt – he's running The Mail, not the EU Commission – we got back in the car and took our leave from the second potential food review venue of the day.
I have to confess I scoffed at my sister's suggestion that we go to a nearby golf club. My excuses came thick and fast. "But we're not members. We're not wearing diamond-patterned jumpers. We're wearing make-up. We won't be able to talk loudly about three-putts on the 15th..."
"Don't worry, it'll be fine," said my sister, adopting the soothing tone of a doctor approaching with a very large needle. I'd trust my sister with my life – so decided I would trust her with taking me to a golf club for lunch.
We got back in the car – albeit with me mentally kicking and screaming – and drove off (if you'll pardon the golfing pun – there'll be more...).
And you know what? It was great. We pitched up (see?) at Carus Green golf club on the outskirts of Kendal, to find a very smart restaurant and terrace bar with stunning views.
I sidled in and asked in hushed tones if they served lunch to non-members, expecting to be frogmarched off the premises by an outraged Pringle-clad septuagenarian lady vice captain – but, no, my enquiry was greeted with a warm "of course we do", a large menu and the choice of a couple of free tables.
For the place was buzzing with people enjoying lunch, including a romantic young (in golf club terms) couple sharing long looks and a bottle of prosecco and whispering sweet nothings to each other – although for all I know they were discussing nothing more interesting than the size of his driver.
Lunch is served from 11am – and it's a typical pub/brasserie-style menu. Steaks and burgers are something of a speciality here, it turns out, but as it was lunchtime, we went for something a little lighter.
Nicola chose a salmon and prawn salad, while I opted for a lasagne and garlic bread. Two glasses of wine and a large bottle of iced tap water saw us through the short wait for our food to arrive.
The salad was packed with fresh flaked salmon and juicy prawns, while my lasagne was piping hot and stuffed with good minced beef. It was perfectly well executed for this type of food – and at £7 and £10 respectively, very good value.
The surroundings surprised me – everything was so smart, fresh and modern, and there was little of that 19th hole stuffiness you might expect from a golf club. Yes, the place was heaving with elderly men in polo shirts (and a fair few sporting hideous shorts and socks combos which, if my husband did that, would result in him getting a five iron wrapped round his head). But it was far more stylish than you'd expect from a golf club.
With cappuccinos and a luscious slice of Victoria sponge to share for afters, our lunch came to just £33.
We left via the terrace as we didn't want to barge through a speech being made to a group of male golfers just off the main bar (something about bunkers and sand wedges causing much hilarity) and, pausing to admire the spectacular view from the terrace, we took our leave.
You might not think of heading to a golf club for lunch (I certainly wouldn't) but this had been a most serendipitous and thoroughly enjoyable afternoon. Smart surroundings, spectacular setting and food that's definitely above par.
Open to non-members
Large selection of dishes Brasserie-style
Distracting TV in bar (picture on, sound off – pointless on both levels)
Men in shorts and socks