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Cavendish St, CARTMEL, LA11 6PZ

5 rosettes

Anyone who follows Simon Rogan will know that he's a chef who never stands still. He's always working on the next project, whether that be a new dish, a new restaurant, growing a new kind of vegetable, experimenting with a new ingredient picked from the wild, expanding his farm (it now spans 23 acres across five different sites) - the man is constantly on the quest for new discoveries, new opportunities, excitement and, ultimately, perfection. So it's no surprise then that in a year when he opened two new restaurants (The French by Simon Rogan at The Midland in Manchester - see entry, to be joined at the hotel by Mr Cooper's House & Garden in September 2013), he's made a huge investment of money and energy in revamping the mothership, L'Enclume. As we go to print, work is underway to vastly extend, strip out and replace the kitchen, while the dining room is getting a top-to-toe facelift which will ultimately preserve all of the period character of the 700-year-old former forge but with a much more polished feel. Part of the project involves knocking down the wall dividing the kitchen and the restaurant to create a semi-open kitchen, allowing diners to get a good insight into the culinary action on the other side of the pass. You can bet that once all the work has been done, the place will still have the same pleasingly unpretentious feel as before, with lots of natural materials in the design (stone floors and walls, bare wood tables), and friendly, charming and totally on-the-ball serving staff. They're all very well versed in the menu, which is a good thing when you consider that a meal here is a succession of dishes all made up of multiple, often unusual, components. At the heart of everything is Rogan's true passion - super-fresh ingredients, many picked just hours ago at his organic farm nearby, or foraged from the local countryside. Livestock are also reared on the farm, and what Rogan doesn't produce himself he sources from trusted local suppliers; you can be assured that only the very best will do in his kitchen. The freshly baked breads get things off to a highly promising start, and every dish that follows simply bursts with fresh, powerful flavours and vibrant, natural colours, with edible flowers often used to stunning effect. Modern cooking techniques are used aplenty, but natural flavours are never, ever compromised, and dishes are judged to a tee. Cod 'yolk', sage cream, pea shoots, salt and vinegar demonstrates the level of creative genius at work here, while valley venison - a sublime piece of meat - comes inventively with charcoal oil, mustard and fennel. Sea-fresh hake is partnered with the most carroty-tasting grilled carrots you'll probably ever experience, along with Manx queenies (precision-cooked) and celandine. Mussels come in their own juice (a fantastically rich flavoured one) with cabbage and leek, and Reg's guinea hen is partnered with turnip shoots, potato, offal and scurvy grass (a member of the cabbage family) - this is healthy high-end dining. Sea buckthorn, buttermilk, liquorice and butternut is an inspired dessert, full of intere

Further information

Tel: 015395 36362
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Open all year.
Days closed for lunch: Mon-Tue

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Modern British
Chef: Simon Rogan, Mark Birchall
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

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