The team behind the latest addition to Carlisle’s eating out scene today said they had been inspired by the city’s positive spirit and outlook.
Newly-opened Fells Restaurant promises guests a first-rate dining experience – and wants to build a reputation equal to that of the city’s established favourites.
Fells is a standalone, contemporary British restaurant in the Cumbria Park Hotel. The Scotland Road hotel was bought in March by property investment company Sterling Woodrow with a pledge to upgrade the customer offer.
The first part of that plan has been realised with the opening of the 82-cover restaurant serving a high-quality menu made from mainly locally sourced produce and ingredients, seven days a week.
The owners have brought in a new management team, hired Adrian Wood, former head chef at Ravenstone Manor and Brossen Steak House, near Keswick, to set up the kitchen and given the function room, which is now home to Fells, a vibrant, designer-inspired makeover.
General manager Trevor Dawson said it was an exciting time to be opening in Carlisle.
He said: “There’s money being invested in the city, there’s massive established industry with the likes of Pirelli and McVitie’s and the re-opening of the airport is huge because that will bring more people up this way.
“I think we’ve opened at exactly the right time as the city seems to be re-inventing itself and we want to be part of that.”
Mr Dawson, who has more than two decades experience in the hospitality industry in the UK and Europe, said that reaction to the new venture had been extremely positive.
He added: “From the opening night the feedback has been that, firstly, they didn’t know we were here, and secondly they’d been here before and this was a completely different standard. The word is getting out there.”
Head chef Mr Wood, who was also catering lecturer at Carlisle College and worked at Underscar Manor in Keswick, said they were determined to continue developing.
He said: “We wanted the restaurant to be good from the word go and in six months’ time to be just as strong. We don’t want to dip on that quality.
“What we do is from the heart. This is a new place in town and we’re setting a standard. We want this to be a place to go in Carlisle.”
While the owners are keen to establish something new in Stanwix, the name of the restaurant itself is a nod to the past, called as it is after Robert Fell, who designed and built the distinctive townhouse buildings in 1787.
Soon-to-be installed new signage for Scotland Road is set to help create a buzz about the new venture.
PHOTO: Fells head chef Adrian Wood, chef de partie Lincoln Abrahams and sous chef Michael McGregor