This weekend took us to the quaint village of Cartmel in the gorgeous English Lake District. Good company and several culinary delights were waiting for us here, with dinner at Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume being the main event.
We had a family celebration to do, and can you think of a better place to do this than a restaurant that has held 2 Michelin stars since 2012, was awarded a perfect 10 cooking score and topped the list of the UK’s best restaurants in 2014?
Exactly. That’s what we thought too.
I have great memories of the Lake District as that is where the Hobbit proposed to me 2 years ago, so I was thrilled to go back; it is such a pretty area, with rolling green hills, mirror lakes, and lovely villages. Some bits are more touristy than others, but the sights when driving around are just breathtaking.
Our first stop was at the Inn at Whitewell; a gorgeous country-pub.
We did not stop for food this time as we had done that before, but we nipped out to see the Stepping Stones in ‘Little Switzerland’, as Whitewell is called locally.
We were very lucky with the weather; the clouds appeared to be hand-painted by Bob Ross himself and the abundance of green made me feel like I stepped into a scene of ‘the Hobbit’. (Yet height-wise, I would be have to be an Elf then, I suppose 🙂 ).
We continued our journey to Cartmel as we had booked a very nice room which we wanted to take advantage of, plus we wanted to explore the village before the rest of our party arrived.
Not only can you book a table for dinner at L’Enclume; they offer accommodation as well within a stone’s throw away from the restaurant.
Not all rooms are in the same building; our room was above the local coffee shop overlooking the ‘main’ square of Cartmel, which gave it quite a homely feeling.
The bed was wider than it was long.
(my suggestion to turn 90 degrees was dismissed by the Hobbit. )
A bath that was very Tall People Proof AND which had a window in the roof above it to look at Bob Ross’ cloud paintings in the sky, whilst having shoulders and knees under water at the same time, which in itself is pure luxury.
All amenities one would expect were present.
We then went to have a look at where our main event was going to take place the next evening, but I had to stop in the local souvenir shop first.
The Hobbit was not patient enough and went ahead to L’Enclume, and I followed shortly after (with a new necklace, oops).
The lovely 800 year old rustic building looks very well maintained and has loads of character, inside and out.
I love how they have really managed to bring the outside in; both in the produce they work with to create the daily changing menu (the majority of which is grown on Rogan’s own farm), and in the décor as well.
You will not find any formal white linen here, but everything breathes ‘nature’:
wooden tables and chairs decorated with pebbles and a wooden candle holder. ^The conservatory (where we had requested to sit, and were granted that privilege) is flooded with natural daylight and the huge windows make it feel like you are having dinner in the green garden along the stream.
In the other area of the restaurant, the rustic beams in the ceiling give that typical warm and cozy atmosphere, while plenty of light still floods in and where the connection with nature is made by bringing plants and flowers in.
We went for the 17 (yes, that is right, seventeen) course tasting menu with wine pairing. I would not be able to choose from this selection so I’d rather have someone who is knowledgeable to do the choosing for me.
Out of respect for the restaurant and our table guests, I did not take any pictures of the food, as that can get a bit annoying I suppose, especially with 17 courses to go.
It just wasn’t the right setting, so you are going to have to take my word for it that the food was exceptionally good and that the presentation was exquisite.
Even in presenting the food, they managed to connect the outdoors with the indoors.
We had dishes served on slate, in a nest of hay and on a rustic plate.
Other than this award, no white china was to be found anywhere, which really added to the ‘natural’ experience of the evening.
One final thing has to be said about the staff as they made our evening so much fun; not only were they professional and knowledgeable, each one of them also had a great sense of humor. They took their time to answer our questions and we had a bit of banter with them. Not often do you find that in a place of this stature; it tends to be rather formal and a bit distant in my experience, but not here; it felt very personal.
It was a wonderful experience, so if you ask us if we would go again:
we already have our next dinner lined up for December and we managed to get the last room for the weekend we are going.