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L'Enclume


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Man - I went to both last year and, as you'd expect, found them to be very similar food wise. I've thought the same of Simon's food for a number of years now, namely, when it's good it's very, very good, but when it's bad it can be a tad bland with a tendency to use process for process sake. To be fair, the positives always far out-weigh the negatives, but I've always come away with a quibble somewhere along the line. It's all subjective, but I think both Sat Bains and Viajante are doing a similar sort of thing much better at the present time. They seem to be hitting a different level in terms of overall consistency and depth of flavour.

Roganic is definitely a summer venue for me. OK, it's a pop-up so you have to give a certain degree of latitude, but it's tiny and claustrophobic with terrible acoustics. I would go again, but my advice is wait for a warm day when they can open up the shutter doors on the front and let the noise out whilst bringing the outside in.

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Man - I went to both last year and, as you'd expect, found them to be very similar food wise. I've thought the same of Simon's food for a number of years now, namely, when it's good it's very, very good, but when it's bad it can be a tad bland with a tendency to use process for process sake. To be fair, the positives always far out-weigh the negatives, but I've always come away with a quibble somewhere along the line. It's all subjective, but I think both Sat Bains and Viajante are doing a similar sort of thing much better at the present time. They seem to be hitting a different level in terms of overall consistency and depth of flavour.

Roganic is definitely a summer venue for me. OK, it's a pop-up so you have to give a certain degree of latitude, but it's tiny and claustrophobic with terrible acoustics. I would go again, but my advice is wait for a warm day when they can open up the shutter doors on the front and let the noise out whilst bringing the outside in.

Thanks Marcus, very informative. (I share both the claustrophobic feeling at Roganic and the praise for Viajante).

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So, is it L'Enclume you haven't been to yet? If so try and take advantage of their room deals, especially during off-season periods, where they can be really good value. Tie it in to a two nighter at Holbeck Ghyll (requesting their bay window table over looking Windermere) and you'd have a belter of a 2 night break.

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I`ve done both places guys.Ive done Roganic on opening day and Lenclume maybe 3/4 times a year or whenever the menu / season changes.I believe the Roganic venture was to give the Londoners a bit of a taster into Rogans cuisine and if they liked it then they would make the journey up north to stay over in the lakes and have the Lenclume experience.The two places are worlds apart in terms of placement.As for the food...well Simon spends time at both restaurants and has Mark Birchall running the flagship and Ben Spalding as head chef at Roganic...both extremely talented guys putting their own twists on Rogans style.

There`s quite a few bloggers posted their pics up from both places so one can compare rather easily.Ive got mine on my Cumbriafoodie blog also ( both restaurants )

In a nutshell , Lenclume is definitely the place to go , the village is totally chilled so its an amazing laid back weekend up in Cartmel.Sticky toffee pudding shop , a fine cheese shop , a couple of real English country pubs plus the Lenclume overnight and breakfast experience is definitely worth a shot.

One thing to note - I believe plans are underway to transform Rogan & Co ( in the village ) to a new style of restaurant serving Chef Rogans cuisine from the last 10 years....and believe me...this is some pretty crazy cuisine....Cep Bomb Ravioli , Cubes from Land and Sea , Cubism in foie gras , Egg drop soup , Surrealist Nitro slammer.....Oh yeah , we`re going to be getting the lot i believe....and you can bet ill be there as soon as it opens....I loved Rogans crazy years.

CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie
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One thing to note - I believe plans are underway to transform Rogan & Co ( in the village ) to a new style of restaurant serving Chef Rogans cuisine from the last 10 years....and believe me...this is some pretty crazy cuisine....Cep Bomb Ravioli , Cubes from Land and Sea , Cubism in foie gras , Egg drop soup , Surrealist Nitro slammer.....Oh yeah , we`re going to be getting the lot i believe....and you can bet ill be there as soon as it opens....I loved Rogans crazy years.

After I went I looked up some of the write-ups at the start of this thread. To be honest that "crazy years" stuff looked a lot more interesting than what I had! Now the restaurant has "grown up" (and calmed down) it feels the cuisine has converged with what you can get at Viajante/North Road/Texture etc etc, just with slightly different ingredients.

Maybe that's what happens when chefs grow up. I note that Paul Kitching also seems to have calmed 21212 down a lot from his Juniper days...

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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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.

One observation I'd make about Sharrow Bay. A number of components repeat themselves on the menu, e.g. a creamy risotto component in a couple of dishes or, as I've already mentioned, very similar saucing.

I think this is a feature of old school haute cuisine - think Escoffier giving your mother sauces as building blocks to work with. The idea of individually composed dishes with fewer shared components is something you see, I think, from nouvelle cuisine onwards.

Just an historical note.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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  • 1 month later...

It’s just on two years since we were last at L’Enclume and there’s been some changes in that time. The thirteen course menu was then priced at £70 and is now £89. But the food is now much “cleaner” in its flavours and preparation. Gone are the foams and slightly wacky presentations. In are much more straightforward flavours but, of course, still in interesting combinations. Frankly, it’s an improvement (in my view, of course). There’s been staff changes – a new sommelier started at Christmas and a waiter was working his first shift. Service remained seamless, however. This is a well oiled machine and you know you’re going to be looked after.

Vegetarians are well catered for by a thirteen courser, which can be cut down to eight. However, as omnivores we opted for the mixed thirteen courser (well, eight was never going to be enough for a couple of greedy so-and-so’s). Here’s the menu:

Onion cheese wafers, oyster pebbles, carrot lobster sacks.

Cod “yolk” with ham and radish, salt and vinegar

Dumplings of turnip in Westcombe cheddar, alexanders and rock samphire

Valley venison, shallots, mustard and fennel

Jerusalem artichokes, Ragstone cream, tarragon, malt

Roasted snow crown in beef broth, parsley and English cultivated mushrooms

Pink Fir cooked in chicken fat, crab and horseradish

Roasted monkfish in our spices, kiri squash, yoghurt and raspberry vinegar

Reg’s duck breast with chicory, duck sweetbread and mulled cider

Chestnut, honeyoats, anise hyssop, apple

Fig and malted cream, Williams pear ice

Sweet clover yoghurt with nuts, rhubarb, brown sugar

Aerated parkin meringue

To our somewhat surprise, there were no duffers amongst this lot, although we agreed the Jerusalem artichoke dish was our least favourite. It just didn’t seem to come together.

Stand-outs were led by the cod “yolk – in fact a cod mousse, coloured to effect and topped with a small sheet of ham jelly. Sweet, salty and slippery in the mouth. The roasted snow crown cauliflower was a masterpiece – intense flavour of the veg boosted even more by the excellent rich broth. The seemingly simple fried Pink Fir, sat on a little crabmeat, tasting of potato and chicken, the hint of horseradish giving a little bite. Inevitable, the duck was from Reg Johnson at Goosnargh and, inevitably, it was superb – just a couple of thin slices, perfectly rare – but the addition of crisped sweetbreads made it a lovely thing to eat.

Desserts were all very good, with perhaps the fig one winning a tight race. The fig sat at the bottom of the bowl, topped with the rich cream, itself topped with the pear granita. Truly excellent.

There was good coffee and petit fours to finish off.

Pretty much as Alan's experience last month - the odd dish slightly altered - but thoroughly enjoyable. I know that some folk don't feel this is better than 1* food - we'll just have to disagree on that, won't we.

John Hartley

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  • 4 months later...

I`ve been following the Lenclume gang around since the place opened almost 10 years ago. I`ve watched Simon Rogan evolve through many stages of cuisine , endless experiments and i have to say it`s been one hell of a journey.Simon has now levelled out and the new phase of Lenclume food over the last few years has been producing wonderful delights from the Cumbrian landscape , sea , lakes and mountains and also the very best of the regions farmers and suppliers. The menus have now been cut to just the one....roundabout 16 – 18 dishes and they`re decided upon each morning depending what`s available that day. Don`t go whinging if the diners on the table next to you have something different because i can guarantee you that you`ll have your own delights that they won`t be having.It`s all going on behind the scenes in the kitchen and its literally being picked seconds before it hits the plates....it really is amazing. I truly believe in my heart that no chef is cooking like this in the United Kingdom.... i was honestly buzzing for days after this meal.....yeah yeah yeah so i`m a sad so and so but it`s true.... i really did get off on this meal. For those reading this and thinking of going to Noma to eat....just forget it as Lenclume is our British version and really is running at world class levels , it`s just stunning.

I consider myself as a very fortunate guy as i manage to eat Rogans food every few months , i ate at Rognanic a few weeks ago and i was expecting similar food on this menu but everything was different....everything. Chef Dan Cox told me that the menu had only been put together an hour before lunch and the lads had just returned from picking at the farm and the local hedgerows .The menu was brought to the table and tucked away under a pebble , it was there if i needed to have a peep but i was just told to relax and let it flow.

I`ve already written plenty about Lenclume and Simon Rogan in the past so ill just shut up now and let the photos do the talking....and folks , just get over to Cartmel and sample the food , its running at the highest levels ever and apparently plans are in place to up their game even more.

Oyster pebbles

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Eel smoked with potato and Ham fat

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Cream cheese wafers

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Asparagus with Bay Shrimp.

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Cod “yolk” , Sage cream , salt and vinegar.

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Kohlrabi dumplings in Westcombe , Hyssop and Purple sprouting.

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Valley Venison , Charcoal Oil , Mustard and Fennel.

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Sea scallop with spiced Strawberry , grilled Cauliflower and coastal leaves.

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Cucumbers , Pineapple weed , frozen Lobster and Rat tails.

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BBQ leeks with poached marrow , English mace and egg yolk sauce.

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Lightly smoked bay Bass , Cockle juice , Courgettes and cotton Lavender.

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Reg`s Guinea hen and offal , Turnip and Elderflower.

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Iced chamomile , Spruce , Celery and black pepper.

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Cumbrian slate , Gooseberry , Apple and Lemon Verbena.

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Cherries with Meadowsweet , Hazelnut and Apple.

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Gingerbread and iced watermint.

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Coniston Oatmeal Stout ice cream , Blackberry and Plum soda.

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CumbriafoodieCumbriafoodie
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. . . .

Oyster pebbles

IMG_7041.JPG

. . . .

It all looks lovely, but please tell me about the oyster pebbles. They look like macarons with..?

We had the bigger tasting menu in May and shared most of the courses shown by Sped98. The oyster pebbles are light apple meringues filled an oyster essence. The leaves you see in the photo are oyster leaves and taste amazingly like fresh zingy oysters, just wonderful!

One of the most remarkable flavours were the little fennel bonbons in the venison tartare dish. The two little golden dome-shaped objects were delicate candy shells filled with the most intensely sweet and fragrant fennel essence. The flavour of these bursting over the tongue elevated this simple tartare to a thing of genius.

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  • 2 months later...

I took a birthday trip to L'enclume last week and thought I'd bump this back up the thread because they whole heartedly deserve it; it was, by quite some margin, the best meal I have ever eaten there and right up there in terms of overall experiences fullstop. I won't prattle on about each dish, save to say it bore some similarities to Sped's documented pics above.

There's real depth of flavour and consistency across the current menu- every dish landed in that rare, truly memorable, utter-belter class. However, what underpinned all this and really took me by surprise was the quality of the ingredients, most noteably the herbs and veg that's now coming out of their dedicated farm. I last went eighteen months ago and, from what I recall, I don't think it was providing as much of the supply; with one or two specially foraged exceptions absolutely everything that goes on the plate now comes from there.

Many of the herbs I'd never heard of or tasted before, but even then, those I had like the nasturtium, or humble runner bean(!), were elevated to a jaw-dropping levels.

I should also mention the lovely, relaxed staff and small, brilliantly sourced cheese board from UK and Ireland, which also surprised since it all came from the Cartmel Cheese Shop.

I can see why the GFG gave them 10/10 for 2013 and wish them all the best as the wider awards season approaches... Either way I'll be heading back sooner rather than later. It'll be interesting to see what Simon does as the Autumn season kicks in.

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Got to say, I just don't get the hullabaloo about L'Enclume.

Been twice, once in 2004 and again this year and apart from one or two standout dishes was completely underwhelmed.

I found the service particularly disappointing, with black marks too numerous to mention. No where near the standards of Martin Wishart or Tom Kitchin and not even in the same ball park as Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley.

Dishes were certainly interesting, unique and technically accomplished but underwhelming and none had the knock out punch expected of a restaurant garnering the amount of plaudits L'Enclume has.

Edited by Tastymorsel (log)
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I found the service particularly disappointing, with black marks too numerous to mention. No where near the standards of Martin Wishart or Tom Kitchin and not even in the same ball park as Marcus Wareing at the Berkeley.

Dishes were certainly interesting, unique and technically accomplished but underwhelming and none had the knock out punch expected of a restaurant garnering the amount of plaudits L'Enclume has.

I suspect the service point is in the eye of the beholder - especially if you're used to big-city fine-diners you might not get the same white-glove treatment when you ventures outside the M25 (I remember being quite miffed by the casualness of the service at Chez Panisse, until I realised that was the point.

I thoroughly agree with you on the dishes though. Interesting but they didn't strike the knock-out punch is a good way to put it.

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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It's strange - I guess all of us have different views of what is good service. I certainly dislike anything too stiff, formal and humourless - it just makes me feel tense.

But it surprises me when you say that the staff were lovely and relaxed - we were there just under a year ago, and the last thing I could say was that they were relaxed - it took us about two hours to get them to take the rods out of their backs. It felt a bit like it wasn't a very happy work place. Having said that, when they did finally relax and smile, they were lovely.

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MacD, I'm not particularly fond of "stiff, formal and humourless" approach either. I do however enjoy a little friendly and welcoming conversation, perhaps a remark about the weather or an inquiry as to where you have travelled from.

I also quite like it when my glasses are not left empty and my napkin is relaid/placed on my table after I have visited the conveniences.

It's also quite nice to receive a goodbye and have your jackets returned to you before leaving the premises instead of having to search for them yourself. I eventually found them in a cupboard opposite the toilets where they had been literally thrown on to a clothes horse.

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on service, had an interesting experience at Le Manoir Aux Quats Saison a couple of weeks back.

they asked whether we wanted the dishes explained to us as they were presented, or did we want to be left alone? Basically they were asking how obtrusive did we want service to be?

which I found a very welcome innovation. something I've never seen before. as it happened we did want them to explain the dishes, but I liked that they understood not everyone wanted the same experience.

A meal without wine is... well, erm, what is that like?

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I just don't get all those that complain about service being too formal and complaining when the menu is read out to them. Surely knowing what you're eating is part of the overall experience and fundamental to the enjoyment of any meal.

In my view when diners are uncomfortable with this it says more about the diner than it says about the restaurant. I mean really what is so difficult and unnerving about listening to a brief description of what's on your plate ?

On my recent visit to L'Enclume only some of the ingredients of my meal were explained to me. According to the waitress "most people prefer being told just the main ingredients". At a restaurant using unusual and rare ingredients like L'Enclume this is akin to eating food with a blindfold.

Edited by Tastymorsel (log)
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they asked whether we wanted the dishes explained to us as they were presented, or did we want to be left alone?

They asked us the same last month. We said not to explain (as the "souvenir" menu left on the table was sufficiently comprehensive in its descriptions). But they explained anyway.

John Hartley

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on service, had an interesting experience at Le Manoir Aux Quats Saison a couple of weeks back.

they asked whether we wanted the dishes explained to us as they were presented, or did we want to be left alone? Basically they were asking how obtrusive did we want service to be?

which I found a very welcome innovation. something I've never seen before. as it happened we did want them to explain the dishes, but I liked that they understood not everyone wanted the same experience.

What? you mean they didn't call you' mate', show you their tattoo's & piercings, ask if you'd brought any vinyl to play and want to 'explain the concept' to you?

Madness, whatever next?

you don't win friends with salad

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Hmmm. IIRC GR @RHR used to be one of the most egregious offenders in the "yes and this is a caper raisin puree made with raisins picked under a friday full moon by a bloke called fulchert" stakes. Don't know if its improved since then.

My main objection to this is simple (same one as my objection to food photography):

WHILE YOU'RE FAFFING AROUND MATE MY FOOD IS GETTING COLD!!

(probably double important given the lukewarm / 60c limitations imposed by contemporary molecular/sous vide!!)

J

More Cookbooks than Sense - my new Cookbook blog!
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