Food and Drink: Winner from the Roux stable: Emily Green raises a glass to the chef at the Brown Horse pub, in Cumbria

There is hotplate coffee served with UHT milk, and dry, shop- bought bread at the Brown Horse in Winster, Cumbria. There, however, ends any similarity with dismal British pub food. In every other respect, the food at the Brown Horse is a model of what, in the best of possible worlds, we might encounter in a no-frills local.

The chef is 36-year-old Steven Doherty. He worked for 12 years with Albert Roux, most of that time at Le Gavroche in Mayfair, the most venerable of Michelin-starred restaurants in Britain, and one of the few fancy-sounding names in catering worth dropping. Far too many grand restaurants employ large brigades, work them hard, teach them little, pay them less and even deny them the respect they might accord an expensive piece of machinery.

Albert Roux appears to be a different, rather paternal figure who believes in the strict demands and substantial rewards of the French apprenticeship system. From his fold have come the London restaurateurs Pierre Koffmann at La Tante Claire, Marco Pierre White at The Restaurant, and Rowley Leigh at Kensington Place.

Outside London, Roux-trained chefs include Nigel Raffles at St Benedict's Grill in Norwich, Paul Rankin at the Roscoff in Belfast, and Michael Hjort at Melton's in York.

All of these restaurants are above average, and at least three are excellent. Only two are expensive. Albert Roux should be knighted.

Eating at the Brown Horse, one might be tempted to conclude that the Roux influence is somehow Germanic. It is not. The presence on the menu of such dishes as roast pork with cabbage and apple sauce, Wiener schnitzel and apple strudel is the contribution of Mr Doherty's 'sleeping partner', a German named Rudy Schaefer. Where the Roux influence may be detected is in Steven Doherty's cooking of these dishes.

Other influences might appear random, but amount to a basic understanding of what the British like to eat: chicken ragout, onion soup, cannelloni, seafood crepes, steak and chips . . .

Mr Doherty says he learnt how to cure gravadlax in salt, sugar and dill from an American chef at Le Gavroche. As served at the Brown Horse, in generous slices with dill cream, it is delicious, if salty.

A green pea and ham soup was gutsy, simple and served hot enough to scald the mouth badly. The pink and tender roast pork was the best I have eaten either in a British restaurant or at home. The accompaniments cleverly spanned the tastes from sour to sweet: apple sauce, red and white cabbages, carrots. The spicing was deft: cloves and such, registering only subtly in the fruity apples; carrots tasting as if they had been boiled in stock and the cabbage seeming to have gutsy tones of vinegar and caraway. On top of the pork was crackling too tough to eat.

Apple strudel is almost never as light as the one served at the Brown Horse. By way of wines, Jennings, the brewery to which the pub is attached, offers decent Gascon numbers at pounds 1.50 a glass. The white is particularly good.

'We are still classed as a pub,' Mr Doherty says. This explains a rather odd arrangement. Guests ferry their own drinks from the bar, while waiting staff serve only the food. This would feel more natural if, in fact, the Brown Horse felt more like a pub and less like a spartan restaurant. The large, freshly decorated dining-room is distinguished mainly by warm south light that floods through its large windows. The only distinctive design motif is horsy - horses pictured in handsome drapes, horses on light fixtures.

The owners of the Brown Horse must understand that a certain austerity is refreshing after the tourist kitsch of nearby Bowness and Windermere. Prices, too, are lean. I paid pounds 18.60 for what could easily have fed two: two glasses of wine, four courses, coffee, VAT and a (voluntary) 15 per cent tip.

This sort of sensible set-up appears to attract an unusually high proportion of locals, for the groups nearest me indulged in deep discussions about the onset of the lambing season and the ins and outs of training sheepdogs.

The Brown Horse, Winster, near Bowness-on-Windermere, Cumbria (05394 43443). Vegetarian dishes. Open daily lunch (12noon-2pm) and dinner (6-9pm). Approx pounds 10- pounds 15. Cash and cheques only.

Alexis Sanchez has completed a £35m move to Arsenal, the club have confirmed
sportGunners complete £35m signing of Barcelona forward
Poor teachers should be fearful of not getting pay rises or losing their job if they fail to perform, Steve Fairclough, headteacher of Abbotsholme School, suggested
voicesChris Sloggett explains why it has become an impossible career path
world cup 2014
Ray Whelan was arrested earlier this week
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Arts and Entertainment
In a minor key: Keira Knightley in the lightweight 'Begin Again'
Arts and Entertainment
Celebrated children’s author Allan Ahlberg, best known for Each Peach Pear Plum
peopleIndian actress known as the 'Grand Old Lady of Bollywood' was 102
Wayne’s estate faces a claim for alleged copyright breaches
newsJohn Wayne's heirs duke it out with university over use of the late film star's nickname
Life and Style
It beggars belief: the homeless and hungry are weary, tortured, ghosts of people – with bodies contorted by imperceptible pain
lifeRough sleepers exist in every city. Hear the stories of those whose luck has run out
Mick Jagger performing at Glastonbury
Life and Style
fashionJ Crew introduces triple zero size to meet the Asia market demand
Santi Cazorla, Mikel Arteta and Mathieu Flamini of Arsenal launch the new Puma Arsenal kits at the Puma Store on Carnaby Street
sportMassive deal worth £150m over the next five years
Arts and Entertainment
Welsh opera singer Katherine Jenkins
musicHolyrood MPs 'staggered' at lack of Scottish artists performing
Life and Style
beautyBelgian fan lands L'Oreal campaign after being spotted at World Cup
Arts and Entertainment
Currently there is nothing to prevent all-male or all-female couples from competing against mixed sex partners at any of the country’s ballroom dancing events
Potential ban on same-sex partners in ballroom dancing competitions amounts to 'illegal discrimination'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice