L'Enclume, Cartmel

It was the boy's birthday on Sunday and therefore this called for an extra special foodie treat. After umm-ing and ahh-ing over several contenders mid last year I settled on booking, the now Michelin 2-Star L'enclume in Cumbria for the Saturday evening. 

Living in London meant this was a decent 4.5hr trip, we therefore stopped off in Derbyshire on the Friday for a family visit, some of mum's delicious grub and a cuddle with our daft boarder x poodle 'Alfie'. He's a lovable rogue, with minstrel like eyes and is simply adorable.

On Saturday morning we had a quick breakfast and hopped in the car to complete our journey in the gorgeous Spring sunshine. Restaurant L'enclume is situated at the most Southerly point of the Lake District National Park just inland from the Kent Channel. It is one of the most picturesque villages I have ever been to, and just so happens to be the home of Sticky Toffee pudding which I didn't realise until wandering around - bonus! Chef Simon Rogan lives within the Village and owns a Bistro- Rogan and Co, a 6 acre farm and a pub (The Pig and Whistle) as well as the L'enclume empire of hotel and restaurant.

The hotel has 18 rooms spread around the quaint village, all individually decorated and all very cosy. We chose the Garden Suite, shown below, as this gave us a small private patio, access to the garden, a HUGE bathroom and a lovely lounge area. 

Pictures from L'enclume website

We arrived and checked in at 3pm, unpacked our bags and had a wonder into the village in search of a pub showing the Grand National. Felling very 'non-local' wandering into one pub we then found ourselves in the Royal Oak Inn, which is a traditional country pub with a riverside beer garden serving local ales and food. 

Winning nothing, we drank up in search of some champagne to drink before our meal and a snack. A small village store called the Red Pepper sells kitchen ware as well as delicious wines, spirits, ales and every other type of booze imaginable. Some well known brands are sold, it however mainly focus' on specialist produce  we therefore ended up with a Normandy Cider, which is a 'sipping cider' and was to be drank 'more like wine'. Our grumbling tummies were settled at The Pig and Whistle, with a delicious white onion soup and a terrine. Both the perfect amount to tie us over till later on. 

Our table was booked for 7:30pm so after a long day we got back to the room, drank the cider and freshened up before the 50 yard walk round the corner. 

The main restaurant is gorgeously decorated in a Scandinavian contemporary style, keeping a lot of the original features of the building and adding a modern extension of glass on so you are sat in the garden, which luckily is where we were seated as it's so beautiful. No white table cloths and friendly chatty staff greet you as you walk through and sit down, which is something you don't often expect or see at a 2 Starred place, it was a very relaxed atmosphere from the word go - perfect. 

both pictures from the L'enclume website

We settled on an aperitif of English sparkling Rose as suggested by the sommelier 'James' and browsed the 17 course set menu that would be beginning shortly. Now, the menu here is extensive, and so much detail would go into this post as I have far too much to say you'd all get bored. So, I will show all photos and simply comment on highlights. 

For our wine we had a delicious bottle of Voignier for the duration of the dishes. 

Amuse Bouche(s):

Oyster pebbles. The leaves tasted exactly like Oysters if a little more sour.

Smoked eel with ham fat - our favourite of the nibbles absolutely full of flavour. 
Cockle, seaweed and horseradish

Kohlrabi, eggs and truffle - our least favourite dish of the evening due to the saltiness of the dish

Lichen, frozen ox, sour cream - delicious, the shaved frozen ox tongue was surprisingly punchy in taste

3 different types of bread with Churned butter. Onion and thyme, wholemeal and pumpernickel.

Onto the main event(s):

Cod ‘yolk’, sage cream, pea shoots,salt and vinegar. The salt and pepper rice a favourite from our Roganic trip still delivered the exact incredible flavouring

Westcombe dumplings, vegetable broth, beetroot and shoots - incredibly cheesy dumplings with the sweet beetroot broth worked perfectly together and I could have had a huge bowl of this pretty dish.

Valley venison, charcoal oil, mustard and fennel - tartar texture this was so pretty and the charcoal oil was a really unusual flavour but still very tasty.

Valley mushrooms, yellow pea and lettuce,smoked marrow and stonecrop - some really yummy flavours and textures, especially the sour stonecrop leaves. One of my favourites.

Mussels in their own juice,cabbage and leek. A really pretty spring like dish.
Artichokes with goats cheese, tarragon and malt. One of the restaurants staple dishes.
Butter poached pollock, carrots, Manx queenies and celandine - Mr D's absolute favourite of the evening (probably due to the butter poaching!), this was an absolute success, the scallops seasoned with their own row giving a deeper scallop flavouring.

Mutton from Lindal, kale,grilled celeriac and ramsons. The was my stand out dish. Here we both had a glass of red, Lirac 'Chapelle de Maillac' as suggested by the sommelier.

Sweets: Here we decided to have tasters of pudding wines and James kindly matched 3 different types with each dish.

Rhubarb, brown butter, sorrel and apple. The yoghurt shavings on top were absolutely incredible and tasted toffee like.
Coniston oatmeal stout with rye, pear and elderberry vinegar. 

Sheep’s milk, ginger bread, wild chervil and caramel. This was incredible, popping the sphere produced the sweet caramel sauce which complimented perfectly the sharp cheese and ginger. 

Sea buckthorn, sweet cheese and malt - a fun and innovative ending to a fantastic evening.

After this we didn't want the evening cut short and so ordered a measure of the most delicious plum Sake we have ever tasted. Finishing off with some (not needed) 10yr Tawny was a special occasion after all...we then meandered (or wall bumped in my case) back to our bolt hole for then evening.  

Not feeling as though we had drank the bar dry (how?!) the following morning we went for breakfast. There was a choice of continental or several cooked breakfast options served at the bistro. We both chose the Full English which luckily was a dainty portion of sausage, bacon, eggs (any way you like them), tomato, mushroom and black pudding. A perfect amount to see us through the journey home, perfectly cooked and top notch ingredients. 

Courtesy of of l'enclume breakfast
Overall this was such a special meal, one I don't think we will forget. It gained a 10/10 when I text my cousin, whom asked me to score it, on the way home as the whole experience was simply wonderful and set within beautiful surroundings. I cannot rate this place higher. If you can make the trip for an occasion then I urge you to do so. It is so fantastic I would go back in a heart beat and definitely for a 2 night stay. 

Address: Cavendish St, Cartmel, Cumbria LA11 6PZ
Phone:015395 36362

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