I’m ashamed to say that I’d never heard of Hare and Hounds before I was asked to review it on Thursday, and I thought I knew most of the best places to eat in the Lake District.

Hare and Hounds, Levens

Hare and Hounds, Levens

Nestled in the heart of the little village of Levens, you will find this hidden gem that’s perfect for curbing your lunchtime and evening mealtime cravings.

We were met with a warm welcome from Yvonne and Jamie who showed us to our table next to the floor to ceiling window at the front of the pub. Perfect for nosey eaters like me and a front row seat to the storm that was unfolding outside. There is nothing more satisfying than watching bad weather when you are sheltered from it in the warmth.

There was already a highchair at our table for my one year old so we could settle straight into looking at the menu and ordering drinks.

The restaurant was decorated exactly to my taste with slate floors and solid, wooden furniture- its location is undeniable when you look around. Nowhere does country chic like an upmarket Lake District pub.

The menu offers all the usual meals you would want from a pub, including damson bread, sausages and gravy, in a nod to the damsons that have been growing in the nearby Westmorland since the early 1700s.

What we didn’t expect was the sharing platters to start. There are three varieties: meat, vegetarian, fish and we opted for the fish one.

In hindsight this would have catered for us both as a midday meal on its own. The portions are generous and there is a huge variety to choose from- including; smoked mackerel pate, smoked salmon and prawns, fish goujons, little seafood pot, pickled fennel and tartar sauce, with a large helping of bread on the side. What a way to start the meal. Ideal for couples and people who simply can’t decide what to order from the starter menu. This caters for the most indecisive of diners.

My mum ordered the rice noodles in a ginger, soy and sesame sauce tossed with peppers, mange tout, courgette, baby corn, bean sprouts and pak choi with fresh lime and cashew nuts with a fillet of teriyaki salmon. She was delighted with her choice because she wanted something lighter and the sauce didn’t mask the flavours of the individual ingredients which it sometimes can.

I simply had to try the pulled duck burger – a beef burger with hoisin pulled duck, cucumber and spring onions, which I read wrong! I thought it would be just duck on its own- but there was a burger on the bun too. It defeated me, but something I had never eaten before, so it was well worth trying to finish it all. Perfect for burger lovers who enjoy a twist on a pub classic.

My daughter was able to pick what she wanted from each of our plates- Yvonne kindly gave us a side plate to give her items from our plates that would suit her palate. She even got her first try of curried leeks, which she loved- she never ceases to surprise me when it comes to food.

Sadly, we were both too full for dessert, but my daughter rose to the occasion and had a portion of the ice cream which is sourced from the local Handmade Ice Cream Company (the pub prides itself on sourcing only local produce). Both mum and I had a little taste and it’s clear to see why my daughter didn’t want to share. It was so creamy- I could have eaten a whole bowl if it wasn’t for my dairy sensitivity!

I took a few business cards and will be giving them out to all my friends and family who frequent the Lake District as this is a restaurant not to be missed. My mum is already planning a date in the diary to bring my dad as he is a huge fan of fish and will simply adore the platter.

Thank you very much to Yvonne and Jamie for making our visit to Hare and Hounds so relaxed and welcoming.

by for www.femalefirst.co.uk
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