Ian Jones, Food and Drink Editor
Photos by author

Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume is widely regarded as the daddy of event dining in the North, if not the whole of the UK. As well as earning countless accolades, this Cumbrian restaurant has served as the training ground for some of the country’s most remarkable young chefs such as Mark Birchall and Kevin Tickle, who now run the excellent Moor Hall and Forest Side restaurants, respectively.

The room itself is stunning, with huge fairytale tables and little alcoves, plus that sweet spotlighting that magically makes everything look both relaxed and glamorous.

First Tomatoes and Black Garlic

The food is as exceptional as ever, as well it should be, given that Rogan himself is in the kitchen tonight. It opens with a literal gold leaf, a sugared fennel leaf that initiates a four hour Alice In Wonderland-style trip into culinary brilliance.

Aged Veal In Coal Oil, Radish and Sorrel

Courses range from delightfully simple (miniature red and yellow tomatoes studded with black garlic) to the awe-inspiring (memories of the butter poached turbot will stay with you long after the meal is over). Plenty of Rogan classics remain, albeit rejigged for the summer – the artfully-arranged meat in coal oil is a perennial favourite , and here it turns up as veal, overlaid with translucent slices of radish and tiny sorrel leaves.

Salted Gooseberry and Herb Tart

Some of the more uncluttered dishes prove the most memorable, such as the salted gooseberry tart which sports a colourful array of edible flowers. A special mention goes to the baby gem lettuce, combined with English wasabi and a fermented mushroom glaze. It’s a deeply satisfying dish, bettered only by the thick chunks of spring lamb, ostensibly tonight’s main course.

Butter Poached Turbot, Bay Shrimp, Kale Shoots

The most captivating moment is the finale of the evening’s extensive selection of desserts. Humbly billed as pine cones and mint cake, it’s actually a stylised bonsai tree featuring mint chocolate pine cones to be plucked from its branches. Admittedly, it’s more spectacle than culinary wizardry but it’s a fitting finish to a largely enchanting meal.

Pine Cones and Mint Cake

The name L’Enclume is a byword for upscale fine dining in the North, and recent years have seen a steady procession of its chefs leaving the nest and launching their own cutting-edge restaurants. The food here is no less than remarkable, and tonight’s shows exactly why this wonderful restaurant – and its peers The French, Moor Hall and Forest Side – are spoken of in such hushed terms. A visit to L’Enclume never disappoints.

Cavendish StreetCartmelLA11 6PZ View map
Telephone: 015395 36362 Visit Now

Opening Hours

  • Tuesday12:00am - 8:30pm
  • Wednesday12:00pm - 8:30pm
  • Thursday12:00pm - 8:30pm
  • Friday12:00pm - 8:30pm
  • Saturday12:00pm - 8:30pm
  • Sunday12:00pm - 8:30pm

Always double check opening hours with the venue before making a special visit.

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