Restaurants that are completely vegetarian are often viewed as a poor dining choice by non vegetarian diners, but the Quince & Medlar at Cockermouth in Cumbria has such fabulous vegetarian food on offer, that is has definitely bucked that traditional view.
The Quince & Medlar has twice been the winner of the National Vegetarian Society’s restaurant of the year award and it’s easy to see why. Perched at the top of a hill, the restaurant is at the end of a higgledy-piggledy terrace of buildings that were probably once domestic residences. Once inside, there is a cozy, warm and intimate atmosphere, thanks to plenty of small alcoves and nooks that have been cleverly fashioned from what was presumably several rooms years ago, but which have now been partly knocked together. A blazing fire added a very welcome touch on the perishing cold winter’s night we were there.
Food was hearty, wholesome and each course was very well presented, but the chef didn’t rely just on presentation, as everything was bursting with flavour and it all came in portions that were big enough to satisfy most appetites. After a couple of light starters, we tucked into main courses of hearty bean cassoulet and parsnip and cheese roulade, each accompanied by a generous bowl of seasonal fresh vegetables which were cooked to perfection. Everything was piping hot when it got to the table and service was smooth, efficient and friendly without being overbearing. For two courses and a nice bottle of wine, we paid just under £60 and felt it had been good value for money.
We almost didn’t make it to Cockermouth, as our trip was very shortly after the horrendous floods of 2009. Lots of people did cancel their plans, but we decided to go ahead with our visit, hoping to do our bit to support the locals as they tried to recover from the devastation and keep their businesses going. We are very glad we made the effort, Cockermouth is a lovely little town and the Quince & Medlar is a restaurant well worth visiting.