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L'Enclume


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Had the 12-course menu at L'Enclume last night, absolutely superb! Only one 'meh' dish, the rest delicious. Stands outs were Wervereux peas and crab sacks, some duck scratchings, and salt and vinegar 'crispy rice' with cod yolk and cream of egg and bacon, and a dish of hogget with cider sauce was a revelation.

Compared to Sat Bains a couple of months ago we far enjoyed our meal at L'enclume more. No disservice to Sat as our meal was good there but last night at L'Enclume just hit more spots with us! Will write up a review of both SB and last night when I get chance.

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  • 2 months later...
  • 1 month later...

Was the annual Michelin results last week and it seemed that all the Lenclume fans were totally pissed off that the team never got that second star.I decided to head there for a nice lunch , its only an hours drive away for me.The lunch was meant to be a light one but ended up as a 17 course feast....with lots of bread.As always , fantastic and cant wait to go back again when they change the menu in the next couple of weeks.

Here`s the pics from my meal there , Enjoy.

DUCK SCRATCHINGS

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AVOCADO AND STICHLETON BISCUIT

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BEETROOT AND MOZZARELLA , CUCUMBER AND DILL

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COD "YOLKS" AND WILD WATERCRESS , GARLIC , SALT AND VINEGAR.

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ENGLISH TRUFFLE PUDDING IN TRUFFLE BROTH , PUFFED BARLEY AND FENNEL.

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SMOKED BESSY BECK TROUT WITH OYSTER , TROUT ROES,AND PICKLED VEGETABLES.

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ROYAL KIDNEY COOKED IN CHICKEN FAT , CRAB AND HORSERADISH.

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JERUSALEM ARTICHOKES , ST TOLA , TARRAGON , MALT.

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PLAICE FILLET AND WHITE VIENNA BAKED IN SALT , KALE GREENS AND RAZOR CLAMS.

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SUCKLING PIG , PARSNIP AND APPLE, WILD CHERVIL AND GROUND IVY.

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CHESTNUT, HONEY OATS , ANISE , HYSSOP , APPLE.

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BLACKBERRIES AND HONEY CAKE , OPAL PLUM ICE.

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QUINCE WITH BUTTERMILK , ICED AND CRISPY DAMSONS,SWEET BRACKEN AND ROSEHIPS.

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MILKSHAKE.

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AERATED CHOCOLATE WITH KENDAL MINT CAKE ICE.

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RASPBERRY MERINGUE

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CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie
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  • 4 weeks later...

Thanks for the piccies. Amazes me that Simon keeps missing out on the second star.

On the back of the experience both Jay Rayner & myself had (independently I might add) it's far from a 2* restaurant.

When it's good, it's very good, The Beetroot & mozzarella is a worthy 2* dish.

But the carrots & milkskin was wrong, 25% of the carrots under cooked, over seasoned & fried bread which tasted like stale popcorn.

Glad I've been, but will be looking elsewhere for a top end experience.LEn-Icecream.jpg

Edited by Chef Hermes Blog (log)

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Ouch :shock:

Yet reading your blog, you seem to like most of the dishes.

Yes it was a good meal, but not great.

Going to 2* level is a massive jump & the consistency just isnt there. Hence why I cant understand 5AA rosettes (competing with international cuisines highest chefs).

The meal I had the following night at Martin Wishart was outstanding and with the minor blip of a canape being served on a tin foil disc beat L'Enclume hands down on every front.

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But, what did it taste like?

The Martin Wishart canape? Really good, it was a fishcake.

I know you're going to make the point 'Well what does it matter what it's served on', but when pushing for 2M* (which I believe he is) EVERYTHING counts. It's the attention to detail.

Unfortunately the lighting wasn't great in the restaurant so the pics aren't as good as they should be.

I refuse to use flash, in consideration of other diners.

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I'm off to L'Enclume for the first time for my 50th birthday later this month, and am really looking forward to it (although not so much after reading your review, Chef Hermes ... I hope I enjoy it more than you did).

Anyway, just a couple of questions for those in the know - how often do they change the menu (ie. will the menu currently on their site be the one we get?), and do they offer a wine matching option yet? There is little or nothing on the site about the wines they have.

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I know you're going to make the point 'Well what does it matter what it's served on', but when pushing for 2M* (which I believe he is) EVERYTHING counts. It's the attention to detail.

How do you know that? Surely its what's on the plate, not what plate it's on.

El Bulli served us dishes in plastic cups and wire mesh plates!!

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I'm off to L'Enclume for the first time for my 50th birthday later this month, and am really looking forward to it (although not so much after reading your review, Chef Hermes ... I hope I enjoy it more than you did).

Anyway, just a couple of questions for those in the know - how often do they change the menu (ie. will the menu currently on their site be the one we get?), and do they offer a wine matching option yet? There is little or nothing on the site about the wines they have.

Believe they do offer a wine flight option but didnt see a price for it when I was there.

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....

How do you know that? Surely its what's on the plate, not what plate it's on.

El Bulli served us dishes in plastic cups and wire mesh plates!!

OK, what you might have to understand is the difference.

Martin Wishart is a classic fine dining restaurant in every sense of the word.

El Bulli is/ was a niche restaurant & didn't simple arrive at 3M* by serving food in plastic cups (I'm assuming this is the microwaved espuma sponge).

People complain that they dont know what Michelin is about, but if they actually listen/read what they(Michelin) say then it might be clearer.

How can Michelin put the Hand & Flowers at the same level as LMQS? Simple

They are graded for their respective categories, as the guide actually says.

So to serve a canape on tin foil would make it stand out like a sore thumb at somewhere like LMQS or Martin Wishart, but probably not out of place at El Bulli.

For 1M* it is becoming more & more apparent that they are embracing individual styles rather than puree/foraging/chemical type approach which has become rather generic.

Edited by Chef Hermes Blog (log)

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How can Michelin put the Hand & Flowers at the same level as LMQS? Simple

They are graded for their respective categories, as the guide actually says.

I don't have a guide to hand but I though it was 1 star was excellence in it's category. 2 star is something like worth a detour. And 3 star is just great.

And they are peoples opinions, plus a bit of PR in new markets for the guide, Japan, HK, etc, which explains what individuals might class as discrepancies. I think.

I could also be wrong but I suspect someone with two stars might have a reasonable idea how it works ;-)

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I could also be wrong but I suspect someone with two stars might have a reasonable idea how it works ;-)

And other than the 2 places I've mentioned & somebody else talking El Bulli who is saying which restaurant is 2M*?

Compared to other 2M* places I've eaten L'Enclume falls short. This opinion is based on:

a)places I've eaten

&

b) 20+ years in the industry some of it in 1M* places & 2years training under one of the youngest 2M* chefs the UK has had.

If people want to continually say its worth 2M* thats fine. But at least base it on more than a comparison to one other meal you've had. Some of my contributions are actually based on conversations with senior inspectors not rumour & speculation from people that think they should have a star. Access not normally given to the food public.

Edited by Chef Hermes Blog (log)

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  • 1 month later...

Happy new year folks and here`s my first report of 2012. Lenclume and the Winter menu.I originally planned to take my son ( he`s 15 ) for a little `light` lunch down in Cartmel....it turned out to be a 16 course cracking meal. Chef Simon Rogan i was told was taking a hard earned xmas break with his family and Mark Birchall was at the stove as Lenclumes Head chef. Mark has just returned from his Roux scholarship prize of 3 months working at El cellar de Can Roca in Spain.Watch out for some exciting treats once he gets back into the swing of things in chilly west Cumbria.

Here`s the 16 courses -

Crispy Duck Scratchings.

Onion , Cheese wafers

Oyster Pebbles

Carrot Pork Sacks

Lenclume Bread

Grilled Salad smoked over embers , Isle of Mull cheese , Truffle custard and Cobnuts

Valley Venison , Smoked salt , Chicory and Fennel.

Roasted Snow Crown in a rich Beef broth, Crispy Parsley , and cultivated Nameko

Native Lobster and pickled Beetroot , Apple and Bittercress.

Halibut with Trout roe sauce , Celeriac and Chestnut.

Roasted Monkfish in our spices , Roasted Kiri Squash , Yoghurt and Raspberry vinegar.

Randolph`s Lop suckling pig with Northern Mead , Vintage vegetables and Nasturtium.

Yew tree farm Herdwick Hoggett in Mulled Cider , Brussels sprouts and Red Cabbage.

Sea Buckthorn and anise Hyssop , Liquorice and Butternut.

Fig and Malted cream , William Pear Ice.

Fresh Cheese ice cream with Sweet Brackens , Rosehips and Hazelnuts.

Aerated Parkin Meringue.

All in all...Another wonderful meal at Lenclume and fingers crossed they`ll go from strength to strength during 2012...."Simon Rogan".... Watch this space , I`m quietly confident.

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CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie
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Had quite fun lunch at both L'Enclume and Sharrow Bay over the crimbo break. As you can tell these are polar opposites in terms of style and culture!

L'Enclume had some high notes - the oyster rocks and the malt cream with pear ice were excellent dishes. However my overall impression was after fizzing with the canapees and earlier courses, the main dishes were much of a muchness. e.g. the snow crown in beef broth. It was a perfectly nice peace of roasted cauliflower with consomme and mushrooms, but there is a limit to what a man can do with a piece of cauliflower (at least in polite company).

One thing I have to say was that the portion control was absolutely miserly. OK it was a 12-13 course menu but normally in a degustation there is some progression so the main meat and fish dishes are larger (this adds some pacing to the meal). Here up until the puds everything was utterly thimble-sized. Call me a gourmand rather than a gourmet, but when I'm paying 89 notes I do like a nice feed.

The irony of course was Sharrow Bay was the opposite - incredibly time-warped mid-eighties fine dining (yes including a sorbet before the main) which appeared to serve everything with two sauces - the meaty one and the heavily reduced cream one. But I think as an overall experiences perhaps as (or more) pleasurable than Cartmel. Even on a gloomy day the views from the picture window were to die for.

In the end I'm glad I went to both, but I wouldn't drive all they way up from London for either.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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One thing I have to say was that the portion control was absolutely miserly. OK it was a 12-13 course menu but normally in a degustation there is some progression so the main meat and fish dishes are larger (this adds some pacing to the meal). Here up until the puds everything was utterly thimble-sized. Call me a gourmand rather than a gourmet, but when I'm paying 89 notes I do like a nice feed.

I had a similar reaction at Roganic (haven't been at l'E), and I'm not a big eater. For me, it's not so much a matter of total quantity in the meal, I can always stuff myself with bread at home afterwards, it's that if the portion in any single dish is below a certain level, I cannot appreciate it, there isn't any development, it's just a puff of flavour. A bit like for wine - couldn't appreciate it with a 0.20 glass, say.

In terms of quality, is there anybody who's been both at Roganic and l'E? How do they compare? If I really wanted to understand Rogan's cuisine, should I travel or is the London experience representative?

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For me, it's not so much a matter of total quantity in the meal, I can always stuff myself with bread at home afterwards, it's that if the portion in any single dish is below a certain level, I cannot appreciate it, there isn't any development, it's just a puff of flavour. A bit like for wine - couldn't appreciate it with a 0.20 glass, say.

Yes I very much agree with this thinking. A taste of a dish is just not the same as a dish.

That's the reason I often tend to prefer going alc to tasting menus. Apart from the fact it normally saves you about twenty quid, it means you can really appreciate the food.

I increasingly think the ideal format for a restaurant to show off is more a four/five course app - fish - main - pudding type formation rather than an 8-12 course degustation. When you start to load the diner with too many courses people get fatigued and the meal loses its pacing.

I think this is a particularly a problem with today's noma-esque type food where many of the dishes are conceptually very similar (ten different things stuck on a plate, normally with a bit of crunch and a sorbet/granita/snow thing tucked away sometimes).

J

PS And I'd like to know how roganic and l'E compare too. The main reason I've held off on trying Roganic was because I knew I was going to be visiting the mothership...

Edited by Jon Tseng (log)
More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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That's the reason I often tend to prefer going alc to tasting menus.

Something we do nowadays for much the same reasons. Of course,that only applies where there's a choice. For places like L'Enclume and Fraiche, where the tasting menu is what they do, then we're very happy to eat it

John Hartley

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Had quite fun lunch at both L'Enclume and Sharrow Bay over the crimbo break. As you can tell these are polar opposites in terms of style and culture!

Thanks for the comments John - interesting as ever. The Kropotkins did this same combo in late October. We're longstanding fans of L'enclume, although this meal was perhaps the weakest we've had there. We were underwhelmed by Sharrow Bay on this first (and probably last) visit, however. I'd seem some tempting pictures on here (hence the booking) and I did enjoy the lakeside setting and skipping back to the last century briefly, but the food just left us uninterested. The only thing I can remember (aside from the sorbets) was a grilled brill on a squash risotto that was pretty insipid all round.

Each to their own, of course! And in fairness I should note that it was busier at Sharrow Bay at lunchtime than L'Enclume in the evening, so the punters perhaps saw something we didn't.

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