Review: Dove Cottage Tea Rooms, Grasmere

I’d never visited the Dove Cottage Tea Rooms despite having passed it hundreds of times on the road between Grasmere and Ambleside. It has recently been taken over by a Romanian team and I kept seeing their posts on Facebook showing very tasty looking food so I thought I would check it out. This wasn’t a very planned lunch so I didn’t have a camera with me, but luckily they have photos on Facebook so I have been able to steal images from there.

One of the things that you notice when you visit is that despite being a tea room, there’s a lot more on offer than the usual sandwiches and soups. There’s fish & chips, a wide range of pizza, and even a few Romanian dishes too. Thinking of myself as an adventurous eater I probably should have tried something a bit different, but I was in the mood for dough and opted for a Capriciosa pizza (ham, mushroom, olives and garlic toppings).

I was told that the pizza dough is prepared fresh every day in-house, much like their other breads, and it certainly was a good base; thin in the middle with a crisp base, and a well puffed up rim to hold onto which was soft with a satisfying amount of chew to it. It was nice to see ‘real’ ingredients sitting on top of the golden layer of cheese, often the ham on top of a pizza is of the reconstituted, spongy, shaped and formed variety (or maybe I spend too much time in dodgy takeaways), but this had the look, texture and taste of proper ham from a deli, and it’s that kind of attention to detail and not cutting corners that gives you confidence in a business. It was also unusual to be asked “do you want sauce?” when ordering a pizza, since to this Brit pizza is generally it’s own thing, but I am a saucy fellow and apparently that is the traditional pizza accompaniment in Romania so I gave it a go. As you can see from the top pic on this post you get a pot of tomato sauce with the pizza (possibly the same sauce as is on he pizza, I don’t know), it was really garlicky and perfectly seasoned, and it was good to have that option for dipping your pizza crust.

Drinks-wise, I went for a hot chocolate (I think the image above is a cappuccino, sorry). Usually hot chocolate is usually something of an afterthought when it comes to cafes, a re-hydrated scoop of powder from a big tub hidden under the counter; this is not the case at Dove Cottage. Made from real milk chocolate flakes this is a rich and indulgent drink… especially since I couldn’t bring myself to say no to the whipped cream and marshmallows on top.

It looks like they are also going to be open in the evening a few nights a week which is interesting because I’m not sure if any of the previous owners have done that in this location. They don’t have a drinks license at the moment which might hold them back a bit with the night crowd but maybe they allow BYOB (probably best to ask first before turning up with a bottle of wine!), which I’m sure would be attractive to some people in the village and tourists too. I’ll certainly be back with Her to try out some of the Romanian dishes.

Postcode for your sat nav: LA22 9SH
Located just off the main road at the Wordsworth Trust opposite the Daffodil hotel, ample (pay & display) parking is adjacent to the cafe.

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