Wednesday, August 26, 2015

L'Enclume @ Cartmel, United Kingdom

Cuisine: British
Charged Price: GBP55 per person
Visited: 25 June 2015
Food: 9/10
Atmosphere: 8/10
Value for money: 8/10
Services: 8/10
Scale: [1=poor ---- 5=average/standard ---- 10=outstanding/exceptional]

L'Enclume at Cartmel, which is in Lake District area and not far from Windermere, is definitely a place worth detour if you happen to be in the area. Cartmel is a historic small village and L'Enclume is an old house converted into restaurant headed by Chef Simon Rogan. Within the dining hall, clients can still feel the touch of original structure whilst the relaxed contemporary additional decoration provides comfortable environment. I love the fact that there is a small part which can accommodate around 5 tables in the glasshouse overlooking the garden of L'Enclume: pretty relax indeed.

What I would like to emphasise further is that L'Enclume in Cartmel is not just a destination for dining. The village itself is also beautiful. A slow walk around the village before or after a meal there is not a bad idea at all. In addition, service here is as wonderful as its environment. Staffs were friendly and attentive. As for knowledge wise, they were pretty much clear about explanation of each dish.

L'Enclume @ Cartmel, United Kingdom

the old building on Cavendish Street of L'Enclume

converted contemporary interior

seats in the glasshouse

L'Enclume may be a destination for British food. However, dishes are not quite classical, there are modern technique and twist incorporated in each dish. The restaurant also owns an organic farm within a close range which provides vegetable for the restaurant.

During the meal, in-house sourdough was the bread of the meal. It was nice as in good standard sourdough. The nice twist is that it was served along butter and pork fat. Yes, pork fat. Flavourful indeed. I have to say that this is a nice little touch. If you ever use pork fat to stir-fry vegetable, you will realise the difference in the taste. We often use pork fat in the family and I love it.

For wine list, the range is quite wide with moderate marked up. Some are priced at higher multiple whilst some are in acceptable range. During the meal, I went for wine by glass instead with one on white and one on red. The price for wine by glass is usually of course more expensive but there are interesting ones to try. For white wine, I had Domaine des Huards Cour-Cheverny Cuvee Francois 1er Vieille Vignes 2009 (90/100) at the price of GBP8.00 per glass. This is an organic and biodynamic wine produced from Romorantin grape. It showed excellent apricot, peach, and honey notes with mild peppery touch. Medium body on the structure. Lively, refreshing, and delicate. A wonderful Romorantin wine from Cour-Cheverny in Loire, it is. Pretty nice table wine that is worth stocking up if you could find in market. 

To follow the organic and biodynamic range of white wine, I chose to go for Domaine Genoux Chateau de Merande La Belle Romaine 2012 (89/100), at GBP9.00 per glass, for red wine. This is a 100% Mondeuse Noire, which is a rare ancient red grape from the region of Savoie Arbin in France. It was light ruby in colour like those of young Pinot Noir. The present of tar, spices, and ripe red fruits aroma were lovely. Medium on the body with fine tannins grain. I believe it is accessible young. Another nice table wine. 

sourdough with butter and pork fat

Domaine des Huards Cour-Cheverny Cuvee Francois 1er VV 2009

Domaine Genoux Chateau de Merande La Belle Romaine 2012

At L'Enclume, you can forget the typical a la carte choices. There are only tasting menus here. During lunch time, they also provide less courses choice. As in my case, the 6-course lunch was priced at GBP45.00 per head. You may choose for higher level which should be around 15 courses more or less depending on the day.

The first course was Cod 'yolk' with Pea Shoot, Salt and Vinegar (8/10). It was creamy and fatty with crunchy texture of pea shoot which was fresh indeed. Flavour was fairly subtle but just a bit too much on saltiness. It was then followed by Salt Baked Carrot, Westcombe, Cured Pork and Savoury (9/10). This was one of my favourite dish of the meal. It was a very very carrot dish. Carrot soup was being poured onto below grilled carrots. This small bite dish was coupled along with starchy texture ball and cured pork. The sweetness of carrots balanced well with saltiness of cured pork.

Cod 'yolk' with Pea Shoot, Salt and Vinegar

Salt Baked Carrot, Westcombe, Cured Pork and Savoury

The last one for the first half was Short Horn, Charcoal Oil, Mustard, Apple and Celeriac (10/10). Hey, this was an excellent beef tartare. It was lean but tender. The perfume of charcoal oil was wonderful. Mustard was light and paired perfectly with celeriac.

Short Horn, Charcoal Oil, Mustard, Apple and Celeriac

The final course of savoury was being guinea fowl: Guinea Fowl, Broad Beans, Beetroot and Blackberry Vinegar (9/10). Fowl is typically not my kind of preferred ingredient. However, Simon Rogan and the team made it deliciously. The texture was tender and juicy. The pate served along with added even more flavour to the dish. Sweetness of beetroot, beetroot puree, and blackberry vinegar added complexity to the picture. The last touch of broad beans gave the firmer texture. Brilliant.

Guinea Fowl, Broad Beans, Beetroot and Blackberry Vinegar

For the last two dishes, they were dessert. The first one was lighter and fresher: Almond, Pear, Caramel (10/10), whilst the second one was more fulfilling: Yogurt, Rhubarb, Sorrel and Flowers (9/10). The almond and pear was my kind of dessert. The almond was a creamy ice-cream whilst pear was fine granita. The burnt caramel in contrast provided both texture, aroma, and taste differently. Minor details were then almond flakes and pear pieces. Tremendous dish, it was. For the last one, it was just so beautiful. The overall impression was like having yoghurt with musli for breakfast but a superb light breakfast. Yoghurt mousse was well prepared and balanced out with rhubarb compote and granita which were sweet and sour. Some might dislike rhubarb but trust me, you can forget the old story of yours. The refreshing aroma of flowers was from the restaurant's organic farm.

In brief, this is a must visit restaurant in Lake District. Don't miss it.

Almond, Pear, Caramel

Yogurt, Rhubarb, Sorrel and Flowers

L'Enclume @ Cartmel, United Kingdom
Cavendish Street
Cumbria, LA11 6PZ
United Kingdom

Open Hours: daily from 12:00pm - 01:30pm for lunch (except Monday) and 06:30pm - 09:00pm for dinner
Tel: +44 (0) 153 953 6362

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