A LAKE District pub and restaurant has won a coveted specialist award for its ‘Front of House Team’ at an annual industry awards ceremony.

The Punch Bowl Inn & Restaurant at Crosthwaite was recognised for its outstanding customer service at the 10th annual Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropub Awards in Maidenhead where celebrity chef Tom Kerridge was in charge of the food.

The awards are voted for by top foodies and hospitality experts, including food writers, celebrity and industry chefs, and pub guide editors and recognise the best of the UK’s foodie pubs.

The gastropubs shortlisted for the Front of House Team award had to show that teams working in pubs were pushing to make the customer experience as seamless and memorable as possible. Judges said staff at the Punch Bowl were friendly and knowledgeable with a sincere passion about the pub.

Owner Richard Rose, who received the award, said: “We were over the moon just to be shortlisted amongst such fine establishments at such a great event, but to come home with the award is incredible.

“We consistently strive to provide an outstanding dining experience at The Punch Bowl and to do this, the quality of the front of house service must match the quality of the food coming out of the kitchen.

“All too often in the hospitality industry, the front of house staff don’t receive the recognition they deserve as the focus tends to be on the chefs. But they are both equally important, so I was especially proud to collect this one on behalf of the whole Punch Bowl team – it’s their award, not mine.”

The Punch Bowl fought off strong competition from Michelin-starred The Star Inn at Harome in Yorkshire and The Dog at Wingham in Canterbury to take the much sought-after award to Cumbria.

Nicholas Robinson, editor of the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs, said: “It was a really tough competition this year but the Punch Bowl demonstrated the extent they go to in order to deliver an impeccable customer experience.

"It is an incredible pub with a team that has a real passion for hospitality and judges were wowed by their dedication. The dishes are well thought out and curated using the best ingredients available in the stunning area the pub is situated in."

“Gastropubs are an example of everything that is great about the UK food and drink scene and offer unique experiences while remaining focal points within communities. They are unique for many reasons, mainly because they blur the lines between pubs and restaurants, yet maintain the charm and atmosphere of a traditional pub.”

For more information on the Estrella Damm Top 50 Gastropubs awards, visit https://www.top50gastropubs.com/.