The Old Stamp House Restaurant is at the heart of the Lake District village of Ambleside, housed in the former office of William Wordsworth, who was the Westmorland Distributor of Stamps for a time.
This intimate 28 cover restaurant tucked away in a quiet corner of Church Street, first tentatively opened its doors in 2014. The brothers behind it head chef, Ryan Blackburn, and restaurant manager, Craig Blackburn, set out to offer a unique glimpse into the food and cultural heritage of Cumbria.
The restaurant showcases a unique food culture long influenced by the landscape, and though many don’t realise it one also hugely influenced by its seafaring trade with distant lands in the Americas, Caribbean, and India.
Historic Cumbrian dishes make full use of a huge array of imported spices such as pepper, mace, ginger, sugar and rum brought to these shores through the historic coastal ports of Whitehaven and Maryport, the latter synonymous with the iconic White Star Line of Titanic fame.
These historical footnotes are central to Ryan Blackburn’s food. By utilising the traditional he seeks to innovate and create the unconventional, all the while referencing the rich food culture of his surroundings.
Ryan’s food not only celebrates his surroundings, it celebrates the farmers who rear the animals he uses, the fishermen who land his fish and seafood and the artisan producers who craft and nurture his ingredients.
And unsurprisingly this clever innovation and celebration has brought a host of plaudits, including the Cumbria Life Restaurant of the Year and the Lancashire Life Dining Experience of the Year leading to them securing the ultimate recognition, their first Michelin star in October 2019.