I now believe there is no point in going out for your average meal. I shall now save that money and wait patiently until I can have a super fantastic meal made by talented chefs who really care about what I am going to be eating.
Dining at L'Enclume was like no experience I have ever had before. The attention and care for detail is just amazing. The restaurant has its own 12 acre organic farm which produces most what you eat, everything else is sourced locally. Some as locally as the Cartmel Cheese shop which is just a 2 minute walk away. This means the menu changes regularly depending on the season. As someone who is fairly conscious about what they eat and put in to their body, this is my ideal scenario when eating out and I wish more restaurants were like this.
L'Enclume is a 2 Michelin star restaurant owned by Simon Rogan ( who also owns The French in Manchesters midland hotel and Fera at Claridge's in London.) It is set in Cartmel, which is the cutest village. When driving through the narrow streets to our hotel, I think I over used the sentence " oh my gosh.. Look how cute..." The restaurant itself looks one of the other houses in the village, understated and desirable. Grey stones and blue paint, which is a colour theme which runs through the restaurant.
We arrived at 8:30 pm . I think we must have been the last sitting for the evening. At first I wasn't too keen on where we were sat. It felt a little too close to the front door and the toilet. ( I am always super fussy about where I am sat in a restaurant - I like the atmosphere to be right.) but literally 10 minutes in to hour 4 and a half hour dining experience I didn't give it another thought.
The hosts think of everything. Coats taken on arrival, greated by your maître d', we were then offered a choice of drinks to get us started (ok yeah, not anything that other restaurants don't do but actually the way they were explained to us about being British really got us settled in and gave us an idea of what the restaurant was about) . We were then asked how we would be getting home and if we would like them to book a taxi for us, we were introduced to the sommelier and even a mention of my special (pesciterian) menu and how they had accommodated my requirements. You are literally greeted with warmth and kindness.
Our host, Sam Ward
I was super excited to open the envelope at the end of our table. It had a waxed seel and part of me wanted to believe it would be the envelope finally telling me I was a wizard - "you're a wizard Harry" ( Only true Harry Potter fans will understand this reference). The second best option was that it was telling me what I was about to eat. Tom and I eagerly compared our menus and it was nice to see that there wasn't actually too many dishes which differed as there was a nice mix of fish and meat dishes on the evenings menu. If you would like to see our whole menu, including pictures please click here .
We went for the wine pairing, which was such a good choice. You get a carefully selected wine to compliment each of your dishes chosen by your wine chooser (sommelier). I was surprised how much wine you got in each glass! I thought it would be a small drop but it was actually a nice amount to slip while we ate and waited for the next dish to arrive. My favourite wine of the meal was ... Gewurztraminer, Domaine Leon Boesch, 'Les Fous', Alsace, France, 2014. Perfumed, fruity but also slightly spicy. It was the nicest wine I have ever tasted so I will be on the look out for that in future or I might even source myself a few bottles to enjoy over the Christmas period. I also think it would be great to go to a wine tasting, I don't think I have ever discovered what my favourite tastes in a wine are, but now I know what to look out for.
The FOOD. It is going to be hard to me to talk about what I was presented with. Every dish was so unique, each time I tried the next course, I claimed it was my favourite before going on to the next favourite. I was stunned by the detail in the beetroot leaf, the veins of interqute veins of the leaf and the little dew drops looked to precious to eat, the oyster pebble which looked like stone but melted in my mouth, the scallop on its beautiful plate looking like someone had plucked it from the ocean perfectly somehow. It is hard to explain the tastes, the flavours, the textures and the presentation (the pictures I took really don't do the dishes justice). I don't think I will ever taste anything quite like it. My taste buds were bursting with pleasure, my mouth was watering in anticipation for the next dish. In the humble option of my taste buds, a lot of the food had a slightly earthy taste which suited them just fine! My favourite dishes were the scallop, the artichoke with truffle and ragstone and the grilled prawn, butternut and yoghurt curd. Oh, and the wood fired onions and smoked eel and the Lemon sole, leek and horseradish. Stop me now!
I am now on the search for beautiful plates like the plates they use in L'Enclume. Although there is no possibility I would ever be able to bring out the favours of what I'm cooking up quite like they did, nor would my presentation be quite the same as even when I am SO careful my servings normally look like a slap dash job by a school canteen.
At one point I felt the dishes were coming out slightly too fast, the meals were so delicious I very much enjoyed having the taste linger in my mouth for a little longer before moving on. That sounds so weird but I'm not sure there is actually any other way to explain it. After speaking to our waiter he explained that they base the timing on our speed, so I blame Toms fast eating for that one. The dishes then started arriving at a slightly slower pace, so I could savour every bite.
We were shown the development kitchen where the chefs work up ideas and perfect the dishes they will be serving in the future. With seasonal produce available, it must be a constant job to get creative and find exciting new flavours and pairings of taste. They also do a tasting menu for only a little extra in this kitchen which is in a separate building to the main restaurant. Parties up to 6 can enjoy a evening of tasting the new dishes, sitting at the chefs table allowing them to have a behind the scenes view of L'enclume. I'll book in for next week please!!
Rory - one of the experimental chefs at L'Enclume.
I would go back to this restaurant tomorrow if I could.
Thank you to all the staff in the resturant on the evening of 3rd December for making our evening wonderful.
All photos shot by myself. Please find my portfolio Here