Menu first for luxury Cumbria hotel to mark World Vegan Day

ONE of Cumbria’s leading hotels has introduced a full vegan menu as an extension to its successful restaurant and bistro offering.

Chef Ashley Wood devised the dishes after general manager of the Abbey House Hotel and Gardens, John Horton, was approached by a friend who spoke passionately about a lack of vegan options in the area.

The menu will be officially launched on World Vegan Day, November 1, and will form an ongoing element of the offering at the hotel’s award-winning Oscar’s restaurant.

Ashley, who joined the Abbey House team six months ago, said: “We wanted to achieve a menu which would make vegan diners feel as special as those who eat from our main menu.

“In some respects, it was like learning to cook again as the team and I set about creating a variety of dishes, then fine-tuning them until we achieved the right flavours.

“I’m really pleased with what we have created. I genuinely think the dishes on the vegan menu are fantastic and offer an exciting alternative to many of the usual dishes made to cater for this sector.”

The Abbey House Hotel recently underwent a £3.5 million revamp which included a major investment in the dining facilities.

Oscar’s has since become a firm favourite with diners looking for everything from business lunches, to meals with friends and family in a high-end but relaxed atmosphere.

Among the dishes on the new menu is a Morrocan vegetable and mixed bean casserole, a Thai butternut squash laska and a pumpkin meringue pie.

The menu was inspired by Rosie Hawkins who suggested the hotel should consider catering for vegans when she was arranging her dad’s wedding.

She said: “I used to work for the hotel and I suggested to the manager John, who is now a family friend, that he should consider catering for vegans, as veganism is growing rapidly and there is a need to cater for them.

“I came into the hotel to test the food and I thought it was great. With vegan menus, you can usually guess what will be on them, but this was very different.

“The dishes were very imaginative, they tasted great and the presentation was beautiful. I’d definitely recommend the food to fellow vegans and will certainly be going back again.”

As many ingredients as possible are sourced locally by the team at the Abbey House - something general manager John Horton is passionate about.

fruits of the kitchen team’s efforts will tempt more than just vegan diners: “We wanted to create something that was so inspiring, even guests who are not vegan would be tempted,” he said.

“The team have done an excellent job. The dishes really are delicious and I look forward to welcoming vegan customers to Oscar's Restaurant and bar to try them out.”