Under the guidance of Head Chef Richard Swale, the former home of the Earls of Lonsdale has been steadily building up its reputation for food and drink since it opened its doors to guests more than four years ago. From Saturday 17 March, the newly-styled restaurant will take on its own distinct identity, as part of a wider expansion at Askham.
The restaurant’s new name ‘Allium’ is taken from the striking purple flower which thrives within Askham Hall’s 12 acre gardens, alongside other varieties from the Allium family growing in the kitchen garden (onions / garlic) and the surrounding landscape (wild garlic). As well as representing a long-term change of direction for the ancient building, this trinity of alliums symbolises the restaurant’s desire to produce plates of food which are completely in harmony with nature.
The fresh interior and new-look menu are inspired by produce directly from the Lowther estate and the surrounding area, with ingredients including Askham home-reared chicken and Rough Fell lamb.
Allium’s launch co-incides with the creation of three new guest bedrooms in what was originally Askham Hall’s old stable block. The history of the building is immense, and the rooms will include original leather tack once owned by the 5th Earl of Lonsdale – best known as ‘The Yellow Earl’ – to make each one truly unique. The latest additions bring the total number of bedrooms at Askham Hall to 18.
Owner of Askham Hall, Charles Lowther comments, “The launch of ‘Allium’ gives Askham a restaurant with the distinctive identity it deserves. Our food offering has become the heart and soul of the business and we want to reflect that philosophy of living off the land alongside authentic flavour combinations, textures and colours. Allium is the perfect name to capture the essence of Askham and the food we produce through all our senses, both conscious and subconscious.”
He adds, “It’s also exciting to see the old stable block I remember from my childhood transformed into new bedrooms, with some unique mementos from my own family history adding a totally fresh dimension for overnight guests.”
Head Chef, Richard Swale, joined Askham in 2013, having previously spent four years working with John Burton Race and Anthony Demetre. His various international placements include a stint at the world-famous NOMA in Copenhagen and working with the famous 3 Michelin star French chef Marc Veyrat in Annecy, who specialises in mountain plants and herbs.
Richard says, “Allium is all about celebrating the relationship between our wonderful ingredients and how they are interpreted by our senses. We are on a journey of discovery, re-establishing old growing and preserving techniques as well as using modern cooking techniques to enhance flavour combinations.
“My culinary identity is inspired by people I have learned from who do this and I have adapted this knowledge to create a cuisine rich in intuitive flavour combinations, texture and colour for people to enjoy in the new-look restaurant.”
Open to non-residents, Allium at Askham Hall will offer a new six-course tasting menu on Saturdays from 17 March 2018. The restaurant will also be open for advance bookings everyTuesday-Friday, 7.00-9.30pm.