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Cavendish St, CARTMEL, LA11 6PZ

5 rosettes

Perfectly in tune with the Lake District village surroundings, L'Enclume looks at first sight like the solid 700-year-old blacksmith's forge it once was (the name is French for 'anvil') - but in the hands of Simon Rogan it has morphed into a world-class culinary destination. On the inside, things aren't much different: the sparse interior is all whitewashed walls with minimal adornment, polished stone floors and unclothed tables. If you want to put up for the night, the operation comprises classy bedrooms in three buildings around the village. Most kitchens these days claim to supply their kitchens from the local larder, but few achieve the level of control over the ingredients' provenance that is achieved here: much of what's on your plate will have been picked a short while ago at Rogan's six-acre organic farm nearby, or foraged from the local countryside. What he doesn't produce himself is sourced from trusted local suppliers - now that's what you call 'cuisine de terroir'! The service team are on hand to help with the multi-course (we're talking double figures here) menus, dealing with the inevitable queries on their more idiosyncratic contents, giving advice with charm and professionalism. With inventive cooking of this ilk, the kitchen needs its gadgets, but everything is done here for a reason rather than mere effect, and respect for the produce remains amid the high-tech treatments. Humour and technical brilliance are there from the off in the canap?s - 'oyster pebbles' are soft meringues filled with oyster cream; smoked eel with ham fat arrives surrounded by hay under a smoke-filled cloche, before the meal proper starts with white turnip with 'Marans hen's egg' and nasturtium leaves, a dish of explosive flavours. The colours on the plate make a startling impact, quite beautiful at times, and the flavour combinations are uniformly clever, as in the onion ash, lovage and wood sorrel that accompany minuscule potatoes. Elsewhere, lightly-smoked venison comes with crystallised balls of charcoal oil, mustard mayonnaise and strands of fennel, while turbot is grilled over spruce and matched with salsify, a single plump mussel, shellfish oil and sea vegetables. Sweet courses might deliver green strawberries with pea-sized globes of apple marigold custard and beech leaves, or meadowsweet with cherries, cider and flowers and iced tea. Matching wine to flavours such as this is a challenge that the sommelier team approach with passion, championing lesser-seen grape varieties, biodynamic wines, and always keen to support English producers. If you can't make it to Cumbria, by the way, then the Rogan empire has spread its wings to the The Midland Hotel in Manchester, where there's a brace of dining options - The French and Mr Cooper's House and Garden - and has found its latest home in Fera within that grandest of old dames, Claridge's.

Further information

Tel: 015395 36362
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Open all year.
Days closed for lunch: Mon-Tue

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Modern British
Chef: Simon Rogan, Mark Birchall, Tom Barnes
Number of seats: 50
Accessible for wheelchairs.
Steps for wheelchair: 1
Disabled toilets.
Vegetarian meals available.
No children under 10 yrs D.
Parking available.

L'Enclume, Cartmel


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Follow signs for A590 W, turn left for Cartmel before Newby Bridge
Nearest station: Grange-Over-Sands

Local information for LA11 6PZ

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