“We need to get there early,” D warned, “They get queues out of the door at lunchtime.” I was sceptical, but nobly got up when dawn was barely cracked in order to breakfast before nine (no way was I going to miss out considering the extortionate price we paid to stay in an unremarkable Ambleside hotel) and even more nobly restrained myself in the face of Cumberland sausages and a buffet table groaning with pastries. D was rather less controlled and found himself still rather sausage laden come noon, but, nevertheless, we arrived at The Drunken Duck on the dot of twelve and were the first people through the door. This was good as it ensured Himself got his pick of the seats (close to the fire, no draught, good position for people watching), but nearly went horribly wrong when I suggested waiting a little to order food, seeing as how it was empty and all. His expression became increasingly pained as the clock hands crept round to quarter past and people began to drift in – whether this was a digestive issue or not was unclear – but I capitulated and ordered and then lo and behold, the floodgates opened and by half past the little pub was heaving.
It is not hard to see why. The Drunken Duck is situated just ten minutes or so outside of Ambleside town centre but it could as easily have been in the Middle of Nowhere just behind the Back of Beyond. They have an outside terrace with amazing, undulating views – a wonderful place, I would imagine, to sit and sup a pint during the height of summer.
Inside is hardly less pleasant – a crackling fire, tasteful clutter, and, above the well stocked bar, a beautiful canopy of green grey dried hops.
We were off for some serious dining that evening and so had to be restrained while ordering from the lunchtime menu. I went for a Reuben sandwich, D for the ploughman’s. The latter arrived at the table bound up in a checked cloth which is the kind of little detail that always makes me smile. My sandwich was delicious – top quality sourdough bread and a good balance of filling and the constituent parts of the ploughman’s were all excellent, if a little fridge cold at first.
Across the way, the thick cut chips (which we bravely avoided) looked and smelled wonderful. Basically, this was everything you could want from a good pub lunch served in a comfy and cosy environment. Can you tell that I loved it? Another place that I am eager to revisit one evening so I can sample their more formal menu. And another place that you, gentle reader, must seek out if you ever find yourself in that part of the world.
The Drunken Duck Inn
Tel: 015394 36347