Greens in Grasmere is something of a surprise. For a relatively small village a walk through Grasmere will offer a surprising number of places to eat and a reasonable variety of choice. Among these Greens doesn’t really stand out, set behind a group of exterior tables with canopies to the side of the road. My suggestion would be that you take the trouble to walk around and give it a look especially if you have dietary requirements of the kind that can be a struggle to satisfy among the usual array of pubs, cafes and restaurants. Greens offers dairy free, gluten free, vegetarian and vegan options. Their menu notes that they always use gluten free bread and cakes, use sunflower margarine and soya spread. It also boasts that there are always at least two vegan savoury options available while the staff are willing to discuss your needs if you do have restrictions on what you can eat and they may be able to meet them. This is unusual. There is no shortage of restaurants through to cafes who are willing to help if they can, but many of these don’t really have a proper understanding and some wouldn’t know the difference between cheese and it’s vegetarian counterpart. Greens on the other hand are willing to discuss nut free options if you need them and they are unusual because of the awareness their offerings display in addition to the variety of options available. This doesn’t mean that Greens in one to avoid if you don’t fall into one of these dietary groups because the food here is tasty and there is probably something here for everyone to enjoy and this awareness shows a care for food that I think most people would like to see in the place they choose to eat. This is also indicated in other ways too. Greens bake all their own cakes for example and appear to take some care to source the ingredients for these and all the dishes they offer. Many places boast of locally sourced produce these days but how many list their suppliers in the back of the menu? Your meat for example will have originated with Garsides of Ambleside, while your desert may have come from English Lakes Ice Cream in Kendal.
On our visit I tried the vegetarian version of ‘Toad Out of the Hole’ for £7.95 which proved to be very tasty with a vegetarian Cumberland sausage with home-made Yorkshire pudding, creamy mash, vegetables and lovely onion gravy. The portion size was reasonable and it was well prepared. The menu here is divided into Light Bites – Salads – Hot Food – Sandwiches and Baked Potatoes – Wraps – Home Bakes and Treats – Hot Puddings – Gluten Free Puddings – Cold Drinks – Beers and Wines – House Wines – Coffees – Teas – Hot Chocolate or Frothy Milk and a choice of four iced drinks. There is also a shorter children’s menu available.
On arrival it was fairly busy and we were lucky to wait only a few minutes to see a table being vacated. This was cleared quickly and after ordering our drinks arrived in a little less than 5 minutes while our meals arrived in 12. We spent this time chatting and looking through the magazines available in a small rack by the door (a simple offering mainly of home/fashion magazines and walker’s magazines).
Among other points of note – dogs are welcomed (some people may not like this but I do and would argue that I’d rather eat in the presence of someone’s well controlled pet than a bored but lively child) – orders are taken at the counter and there is external seating that can even be used in light rain because of the ample canopies over the tables. The view isn’t outstanding, being a village roadside, but better than some here and in a slightly less bustling part of Grasmere, perhaps because it’s not on the main initial thoroughfare as people leave the main car park. The staff was friendly and attentive which are always welcome.
All in all I would say Greens is well worth seeking out in Grasmere especially if you have any unusual dietary needs. It’s a nice spot that demonstrates a good level of care when preparing the offerings on their menu and certainly somewhere we would head back to next time we visit. One minor caveat would be a suggestion to avoid the table for four nearest to the door if it’s not warm or it’s windy. Every time someone enters or leaves brings a draft of cold air and for some reason when we visited the door had been wedged open slightly with an antique iron that I had to move for this reason. This is a minor point though.
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