We left the North Lakes full of optimism, another sunny morning served as a good omen for what was to come! We had high hopes that the weather would hold out given the unseasonably warm summer we had been experiencing up until that point on the British Isles. As we neared the summit of Kirkstone Pass however a thick blanket of fog enveloped us and our hearts began to sink. We were headed for the southernmost tip of the Lake District, where the rugged mountainous terrain gives way to a more gentle rolling countryside and where the historic village of Cartmel can be found. Owing to the rapidly deteriorating weather, it was perhaps no bad thing that we were destined for an afternoon indoors. We could not help but feel a little disappointed to find the picture perfect Cartmel, with its impressive church, lime washed and stone-built houses shrouded in mist. To begin with, we drove straight past the unassuming former blacksmiths that is L’enclume, the award-winning, two-Michelin star restaurant that has become a must on the global foodie pilgrimage.
On closer inspection we found a modest entrance that led into the rustic-chic restaurant. White-washed walls and minimally laid tables served as a fittingly sophisticated setting for L'enclume’s distinctive culinary style. You come to L’enclume for a truly unique fine dining experience and it does not disappoint. From home-made bread and oat cakes to the more mysterious bronzed caramel apple dessert called ‘Anvil’, everything is a reflection of chef Simon Rogan’s joyous approach to food, with dishes like cucumber, fresh cheese, mint and oysters awaking and tantalising the taste buds.
L’enclume is renowned for having one of the finest tasting menus in the country offering light, clean delectably seasonal dishes prepared with flair and passion. Each innovative offering represents the finest and freshest local produce with ingredients carefully sourced from Simon Rogan’s farm just two miles down the road. We were told that some ingredients may well have been delivered to the restaurant from the farm only minutes before they appeared on our table. We experienced twelve delicate courses in total starting with a summer fresh kohlrabi soup with lovage and then progressing onto a mixture of meat and fish dishes before rounding off with an impressive cheese board and not one, not two but three desserts!
The ambience, which is welcoming and relaxed, carries as much value as the food at L’enclume. In large part, this is due to the warm and friendly staff who have fun with the tasting menu, delighting in sharing their knowledge and enthusiasm for the provenance of ingredients and their flavours .
Given the stellar food, ambience and ‘no need to rush’ policy, all thoughts of the rainy outside world disappeared as we whiled away three wonderful hours eating, relaxing and chatting in the cosy hideaway of L’enclume.