Lake District restaurant run by former L’Enclume chef celebrates year of success

It’s been 12 months since one 17th-century former coaching house was transformed into a Lake District restaurant.

Kevin and Nicola Tickle opened the doors to Heft in High Newton one year ago after renovating and refurbishing to create a stylish and very popular addition to the Lake District’s fine dining scene. Heft has already earned the couple a place in the Estrella Damm UK top 50 gastropub list at number 33, and a listing in the 2022 Michelin Guide as well.

The business is just three miles down the road from where Kevin made his name during the eight years he worked at Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume. It was there he built on his childhood knowledge of Cumbrian plants and became Head Forager.

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He then went on to be head chef at Forest Side in Grasmere, which was awarded a Michelin star within its first year.

Kevin said: “We got the keys two years ago, just before the pandemic kicked in. We then spent the best part of 12 months, which included a couple more lockdowns and all that went with it, working on Heft, finally opening the restaurant doors on 21st July last year.’’

He added: ‘’It’s difficult to believe it’s already been a year. It’s hugely satisfying that people are getting to know about us and come here just to eat my food. Setting up and running your own business is a lot of hard work. But it’s great to be the boss and to be able to realise your dreams.

“Every chef wants their own restaurant, but the reality is it takes lots of hard graft to get there, but we’re fortunate that we have the support of a dedicated team and really lovely customers in the village, and from further afield too – we just want to say a big thank you to everyone who has supported us, tried our food and kept coming back.’’

Heft is a 17th century Inn run by the couple that features five guest rooms, a bar serving quality beers, carefully selected wines, accompanied by seasonal small plates and snacks, many of which will provide guests with an insight into their restaurant menus and a restaurant serving up Kevin’s unique take on modern British food using a wealth of locally reared and farmed produce in his dishes.

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