L’Enclume (2* & 1# in the UK Good Food Guide) – Foraged Fine Dining – Lake District
The restaurant wars series on TV, showcasing L’Enclume’s Simon Rogan and Aiden Byrne’s new Manchester openings, inspired me to catalogue my experience at the restaurant at number 1 in the Good Food Guide. The little village of Cartmel is an unassuming, picturesque village but one that holds the biggest destination dining location in the UK.
To tell you about all 20 ‘courses’ would be tiring for both of us, a handful of highlights and pictures certainly preferable. Amuse bouches are numerous, from an oyster flavoured macaroon disguised as a pebble to a fresh scallop tartare with foraged shore herbs. A great showcase to both technique and the local ingredient/foraging philosophy.
These handful of pre-starters are followed by a number of main savoury dishes. If Rogan has a signature dish it would be raw Venison/Ox with coal oil. The oil is infused over hot coals to give a smoky flavour, unique and outstanding.
Two dishes, brill and duck both showcased perfect cooking of the main ingredient, the former with a earthy truffle puree, the later a rich jus.
Desserts are far from the norm at L’Enclume, to be expected from the man who won the Great British Menu dessert in 2012 with rosehip and atsina cress. These English ingredients featured with an mille feuille-esq anise hyssop cream creation.
I very much enjoyed my time in the Lake District, the execution and flavour combinations were almost flawless and often specific to the style of Rogan. I did however struggle with the parade of dishes, I am not against a tasting menu but circa 20 dishes means you will be unable to recall the majority and there almost isn’t enough of the ones you truly enjoy. I’ll always remember I had the pleasure of eating at L’Enclume, I might not remember exactly what I had but the overall experience in unparalleled
Restaurant website: http://www.lenclume.co.uk/sr/restaurant.html