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AA Notable Wine List 2016-17
AA rating

About this rating

Restaurants are awarded from 1 to 5 Rosettes for culinary excellence. One Rosette restaurants are highly recommended in a local area and five Rosettes have reached the pinnacle of culinary excellence at a world class level.

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Cleverly conceived Lakeland cooking from a modern master

AA Inspector

At a glance

Vegetarian menu
Private dining
Wines by the glass

If certain chefs have become associated inextricably with certain locations, Cartmel is certainly Simon Rogan's. A mere slip of a Lakeland village, it was modestly geared up for tourist traffic before L'Enclume transformed it into the northern equivalent of Berkshire's Bray or Cornwall's Padstow. A brace of Rogan establishments sits side by side on the river, and it's here at the 'Anvil' – a former blacksmith's forge – where his culinary output reaches its peak. The place itself has resisted all inclination to put on any decorative airs and graces. Roughcast whitewashed stone walls and the low-hanging beams give evidence of the centuries-old venerability of the building, as do the carefully preserved old furnaces, and the plain modern undressed tables and uncovered floor create a neutral surround for the fireworks to come. Rogan sources primarily from within the Cumbrian locality, his 12-acre smallholding pouring forth organically cultivated vegetables, fruit, herbs and flowers for the lengthy rollcall of small but perfectly extraordinary dishes of which the many-coursed menus are formed. The preliminary canapé items alone seemingly go on forever, each a little masterpiece of stunning intensity and constructive ingenuity, including a Maran (French hen's) egg and mushroom in stout vinegar, and the mind-blowingly potent smoked cod roe with parsley on flatbread. Eventually, after perhaps nine of these little teasers, the individual courses might start with aged veal in coal oil, its miraculous tenderness sharpened with piercingly fragrant wood-sorrel, before native lobster is served in an early summer outfit of broad beans and elderflower. Those edible flowers make a further discreet appearance in the form of nasturtiums to garnish butter-poached turbot and courgettes, while the treatment of the Goosnargh duck that follows seems almost traditional, its cherries underlining the sweetness of the meat, while smoked beetroot emphasises its earthy richness. All stops are pulled out for the dessert array, when pinecones and cornets make texturally entertaining finishing touches after the likes of raspberry and sweet cicely tart, and blackberry mousse with oats and buttermilk. Lunch offers a shorter version of the tasting menu if you're really pressed for time, perhaps taking in a rooty turnip broth garnished with hen-of-the-woods mushrooms and pork fat, with a main course of loin and croquette of Cartmel Valley venison, sweetly underpinned by beetroot and a pear cooked in beeswax. It all adds up to some of Britain's most exciting and cleverly conceived cooking, served by impeccably knowledgeable staff, including a great sommelier who oversees a magisterial wine list that covers the known vinous world in exhaustive detail, with mature vintages and benchmark producers in virtually all regions.

Also at this location

Opening hours

  • Closed: 25–26 December, 2–16 January
  • Days closed: Monday
  • Lunch served from: 12
  • Lunch served until: 1.30
  • Dinner served from: 6.30
  • Dinner served until: 9.30

Chef

  • Chef(s): Simon Rogan, Tom Barnes, Marcus Noack

Food and drink

  • Cuisine style: Modern British
  • Vegetarian menu
  • Wines over £30: 500
  • Wines by the glass: 30

Price guide

  • Credit cards accepted

Accessibility

  • Wheelchair accessible
  • Steps for wheelchair: 1
  • Accessible toilets
  • Assist dogs welcome

Facilities

  • Seats: 50
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 6
  • On-site parking available
  • Off-site parking available: On street

Additional information

  • Seats: 50
  • Private dining available
  • Private dining seats: 6

Getting here

Follow signs for A590 west, turn left for Cartmel before Newby Bridge

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Nearest train station

Grange-Over-Sands
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