Having always been excited by the prospect of eating at The Samling I must admit I had high expectations upon arrival for lunch last month. The experience however failed to live up to the hype and in comparison with similar establishments in the upper echelons of dining in the Lakes, didn't quite deliver. Although the food was exquisite and the service unmistakeably professional, the little things let The Samling down.
Upon arrival we travelled up the somewhat potholed driveway to a sign which simply said 'guests' - this did not however take us to the car park which was actually situated to the rear of the building. Furthermore, the car park unfortunately was full of what I can only assume were staff cars considering it was a quiet Friday afternoon in January. The interior, particularly the dining room, feels like it really could do with some attention - tired looking wallpaper, cheap shabby blinds and a definite lack of atmosphere do little to compliment the food. Possibly this is to focus your attention entirely upon the cuisine...just try to ignore the horrendous playlist coming from the tacky Ipod dock in the corner!
You may read this and feel that I'm nitpicking to the extreme but at the demographic The Samling are operating within and the premium remuneration they expect in return I just expected a more highly polished experience.
Despite this, I'm reticent to rate The Samling as 'average' as the food and service are completely faultless and I would be more than happy to return for the wonderful flavours alone. One last thing - £9.50 for a glass of rose seems slightly extortionate and was an unwelcome surprise on the the bill!
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