Travel: Our perfect escape to tranquil haven of 315 Bar and Restaurant...
I've literally never been this relaxed in my entire life.
I’m floating on a cloud (in reality, a hydropool massaging water bed) and I’m not sure I could prise my eyes open if someone bellowed ‘fire!’
The only sounds I can hear are the lilting spa music, the lapping of the water and the bubbles popping gently by my ears. True bliss.
The hubby and I are at 315 Restaurant & Spa in Lepton. Nestled in the beautiful Yorkshire countryside, just outside Huddersfield, it’s a true escape - and its spa menu reflects that. With packages to suit everyone from those in need of indulgence (half day spa, with breakfast or afternoon tea included) and even one designed for busy mums (the School Run Spa Day, from 9.30am to 2.30pm, including lunch and a mini treatment). We’ve opted for a half day couple’s retreat, and on this peaceful Thursday afternoon, we have the spa to ourselves. We’ve spent the last two hours rotating through the delicious salt steam room, bio sauna, rain dance shower and hydropool, giving toxins the boot and enjoying some lazy quality time.
After a cat nap on a couple of sun loungers in the relaxation area, we decide it’s time to perk up a little, and head to the spa’s Woodland Lounge to order hot drinks and play cards on the picturesque decking in the sunshine.
315 recently indulged in a big expansion, adding the spa and additional suites at the beginning of the year, and it was a clever move for the already popular hotel and restaurant. Our suite, just a few doors down from the spa, is the very definition of luxury escapism, with enormous bed, a giant shower, sitting area complete with giant flat screen TV and all the amenities you can imagine needing - including electric curtains. Oh yes. The sliding doors of our suite leads out to a private sitting area with a couple of comfy chairs.
After our afternoon of relaxation, we dress for dinner and head upstairs to the beautiful dining room. Dinner is a treat, and with head chef Jason Nielson at the helm, we expect nothing less.
For starters, we opt for seared scallops on a squid ink risotto, dressed with a herb puree; and confit chicken terrine, with mushroom pate and baby leeks, served with toasted brioche, and farced with maple syrup lardons of bacon. The scallops are soft and melt in the mouth and the biting flavour of the risotto is the perfect complement. The chicken and pate is full of flavour and sits beautifully on the brioche.
For our main course, we choose the fillet of beef, which comes topped with a herb crust, brown cap mushrooms, cherry tomato confit and hand cut chips, served with a Merlot wine sauce, and the breast of duck, served with spring onion rosti, rhubarb and ginger puree and confit duck spring roll. The beef is pink and tender and the hand cut chips are hot, tasty and delicious to sink your teeth into. The duck is moist and tasty, with a tang that is perfectly ofset by the rich flavours of the rosti, and the earthy beans and peas. The spring roll adds a perfect bite.
The sticky toffee pudding is too much to resist for dessert - hot, gooey and just light enough to finish every bite, beautifully paired with homemade vanilla pod ice cream. We round the evening off with a nightcap in the bar and a chat with the friendly staff, and head for our suite full and sleepy.
The next day, we’re booked in for a Cookery School Experience with Jason - something we’ve both been particularly looking forward to. The classes allow foodies (and people who watch Masterchef and think ‘I could do that!’) to jump straight into the action of 315’s kitchen, becoming sous chef for the afternoon to the main man himself. We arrive at the kitchen at 4pm and Jason introduces us to the ambitious three course menu we’re going to create: cold chicken balotine starter, poached sole farced on a red pepper sauce rosti potato for main, and a mango and pear strudel with a vanilla cream for dessert. I’m already salivating.
Jason guides us every step of the way, allowing us to chop, wrap, sautee and stir almost everything ourselves. He’s a fountain of knowledge, and is only too happy to offer hints and tips for us to put into action in our own kitchen.
At 7pm, our family arrives and take their seats in the dining room. We serve them each carefully prepared course, sit and eat with them, then between each course we are collected to head back to the kitchen, don our aprons and plate up the next course - allowing the precise, and optimum, number of minutes between courses, as set out by our head chef.
The food is spectacular - if we say so ourselves - and it’s wonderful to be able to see for ourselves how everything is created. It’s also a pleasure to spend time with Jason; an absolute gent who has some great tales to tell and clearly has a lot of passion for the haven he’s created here.
When it’s time to leave, I feel recharged, refreshed, relaxed and ready to take on the world again. 315 please hold our room, we’ll be back.
315 has no shortage of packages, events and menus to suit every taste. Visit www.315barandrestaurant.co.uk for more details on the spa, restaurant, accommodation or cookery ezxperiences.
Call 01484 602613 to make your booking, or to speak with the venue’s events team. Follow @315info on Twitter.