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Cavendish St, CARTMEL, LA11 6PZ

5 rosettes

Most chefs these days claim to supply their kitchens from the local larder, but few control their ingredients' provenance in the way that Simon Rogan achieves here: much of what's on your plate will have been picked a short while ago at his 12-acre organic farm nearby, or foraged from the local countryside. What he doesn't produce himself is sourced with diligence, usually from trusted local suppliers, so the cooking has deep roots in the Lake District countryside - the very definition of 'cuisine de terroir'. And that sense of being in tune with the landscape extends to the 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'). Thanks to Rogan's efforts and unique creativity it has morphed into a world-class culinary destination whose interior has an almost Scandinavian sparseness, all whitewashed walls with minimal adornment, polished stone floors and unclothed tables. If you want to put up for the night (so you can go for broke with the impressive wine list and revelatory wine flights, perhaps), the operation comprises classy bedrooms in three buildings around the village. The multi-course (we're talking double figures here) menus, including a veggie version, are interpreted by on-the-ball serving staff, which is essential when you consider that a meal here is a succession of dishes intricately constructed from multiple, often unusual, components. With inventive cooking of this ilk, the kitchen needs its high-tech gadgets, but everything is done here for a reason rather than empty effect, and respect for the produce remains paramount. These days, the Rogan empire extends 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 southwards to Fera within that grandest of old dames, Claridge's, so the business of delivering the goods on a day-to-day basis is in the talented hands of head chef Tom Barnes. Expect fun and technical brilliance from the off in the canapés: 'oyster pebbles' are soft meringues filled with oyster cream, while smoked eel with ham fat arrives surrounded by hay under a smoke-filled cloche. The meal proper starts with artichoke broth with Westcombe cheddar and hen of the woods mushrooms. Elsewhere, lightly-smoked venison comes with crystallised balls of charcoal oil, mustard mayonnaise and strands of fennel, while brill is poached in poultry juices and matched with celeriac, yeast flakes and fermented mushroom. Sweet courses might deliver caramelised pumpkin with brown butter and almond, or a thought-provoking ensemble of woodruff, apple, sorrel and yogurt. The sommelier team approach the tricky challenge of matching wine to off-the-wall flavours with passion, championing lesser-seen grape varieties, biodynamic wines, and always keen to support English producers.

Further information

Tel: 015395 36362
Please quote 'The AA'.
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Days closed: Mon
Dates closed: 25-26 Dec, 2-16 Jan

Restaurant information

Cooking type: Modern British
Chef: Simon Rogan, Tom Barnes, Marcus Noack
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
  • L'Enclume, Cartmel
  • 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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