Simon Rogan’s Cartmel flagship is a standard bearer for modern, naturalistic cooking and comes closer to self sufficiency than most
Few restaurants have made more of a mark on the UK’s culinary landscape than Simon Rogan’s Lake District flagship, its distinctive brand of modern yet naturalistic cooking having been replicated in dining rooms up and down the country with varying degrees of success.
Launched in 2002, this iconic restaurant is set within an old forge (L’Enclume means ‘the anvil’ in French) a few miles south of Lake Windermere. Immortalised in Steve Coogan and Rob Brydon’s BBC series The Trip, the dining room is sparsely furnished with a subdued colour palette so as not to distract from Rogan’s world-class cooking.
Diners can look forward to a procession of small, intricate dishes that have an organic look and feel despite the brigade not being adverse to modern techniques (there’s an adjoining restaurant called Aulis at L’Enclume where much of the development work takes place). Rogan’s £155 20-course tasting starts with an onslaught of snacks such as truffle dumplings; and pork and eel gilded with ham fat, before moving onto more substantial dishes including native lobster with broad beans and elderflower; and aged veal in coal oil with shallots and oxalis.
L’Enclume is close to being self sufficient, with the bulk of its produce grown on Rogan’s nearby 12-acre farm. The team also rears its own meat – including cows, chickens and pigs – and retains a full-time forager. Off the back of his success here Rogan has created a mini-empire with restaurants in London and Hong Kong, but standards at this Cumbrian gem remain sky high.