I have had L’Enclume on my visits list for such a long time, so I knew I just absolutely had to make this my first visit of 2024 and finally rip the bandaid off and make the three and a half hour train journey, over two trains to get there. Arriving at Grange-over-Sands to the breath-taking scenery of the Lake District, the sun had just come up, and it was a blue sky, crisp cold winter’s day. Considering it had been raining nonstop for the past weeks, I hit gold on such perfect weather. 

My first stop was to drop my bag at L’Enclume, meet Paul, who is now Exec Chef, and he took me to the farm in Cartmel. Where I met John the farm manager and had an amazing time walking round with them both and understanding everything they have going on at what is clearly the epi-centre of the Rogan group. Paul swapped out my Isabel Marant suede boots for a good pair of wellies, and off we trudged around in the mud. It was so peaceful there too. Just beautiful and all that they are doing is, quite frankly, utterly outstanding. You can even book a table for an al fresco experience with the chef cooking on fire surrounded by herbs, in the summer months of course. Check out the highlight link above so you can see this whole experience.

Upon return, I warmed up, interviewed Paul for Season 3 of my chef podcast, you’ll be able to hear that in Spring. And then it was time to change and glam up for my three Michelin star lunch. My expectations high. I have eaten previously at Aulis in London, click to read that review, and right back at Fera, many moons ago when Simon was at Claridges. I take my seat in the gorgeous and very relaxed dining room. I sip on my glass of Drapier champagne, which was lovely, I haven’t had it before, and it was a great start. I also chose a wine pairing to accompany my lunch. This is my observation time and sadly one massive issue to flag right away, sorry guys, but it massively surprised me for a three star not to provide a stool for placing your handbag on. I was horrified watching other guests having nowhere to place their bag but the floor. Especially as there are such gorgeous wooden tables and chairs adorning the room, bringing out a small cute wooden stool for ladies to pop their, quite expensive let’s face it, handbags onto is the norm, even in one stars. So please get some stools in. Right, now that part is tackled, let’s talk food. 

All the snacks first. They were coming pretty fast so I actually slowed things down myself otherwise not only would I have been mega full within a very short space of time, but likely would have wrapped the entire lunch within 90 minutes, and I was there to enjoy the whole experience and not whittle through it. Once that was established, and noticed too, then the pace was better. 

You can enjoy the full video experience and descriptions on my highlight link too. 

Boltardy Beetroot, Horseradish vinegar and Mylor Prawn Tart, with juices infused with perilla. This was light and simply delicious. The raw prawn was so sweet, as was the beetroot and then the perfect bite from the horseradish yoghurt and the flavours just all worked together beautifully. The tartlet due to it being made from caramelised and dehydrated beetroot was truly delightful and stuck to your teeth, in a good way. The juice was a nice touch and added a clean finish.

Fritter of Duroc pig and smoked eel, Lovage and fermented Sweetcorn. I absolutely love pork and eel. It’s a perfect combo. The texture of the fritter was crisp and the lovage emulsion at the bottom was lovely.  

Corra Linn pudding caramelised in Birch sap, Stout vinegar, aged Corra Linn. I was introduced to this snack or a version of it at Aulis, and it is truly delicious. Croissant dough with cheese custard layered together, topped with the cheese. The ultimate ‘dirty’ snack. Sweet, savoury, sticky, cheesy goodness. 

Langoustines from Gairloch, Fig leaf oil, Buttermilk and Smoked Pike Perch Roe. Beautiful langoustines that had been brined and then rolled with fig leaves, topped with a fig leaf oil, and then a sauce made from mussel stock, buttermilk and pike roe. This dish reminded me of one I had many years back at Geranium, which makes sense as Paul did his time there. 

Orkney Scallop with Roe powder and Crown Prince Squash, Apple Marigold, Nasturtium flower, a beautifully cooked scallop, glazed in a house made XO sauce. The roe powder really made this dish something really very special.

Pink Fir Apple Potatoes cooked in Chicken Fat, Pickled Walnut and Park House Cheddar. The description says it all nicely, there was also the addition of a chicken skin crumb. The potatoes were the star of the show and very delicious. The serving of pumpernickel bread with rye on top was excellent. 

Seaweed Custard, Beef Broth and Roasted Bone Marrow, Caviar, Poached Maldon Oysters. I LOVED this so much, the only thing it could have done with is N25 caviar but that’s personal preference. The custard was sublime, a brilliantly executed dish. 

Fuseau artichokes, Crosnes and Welsh Truffle, Broth made from Artichoke skins and Truffle Juice. I just saw the crosnes at the farm which made eating this so much more special an experience.  A clean and earthy dish. There was a balance and cleanness of the flavours, but then lots of little extra flavours that brought comfort and delight too, such as the purée with miso, roast chicken, smoked bacon, truffle shavings. Just heaven. 

West Coast Monkfish tail, glazed and grilled over Binchotan, King Oyster Mushroom, Red Baron Onions – LOVED THIS. Just when I thought the seaweed custard could not be beat, out came this dish. Lots of texture from cooking the fish this way, it had been aged for 12 hours too and glazed with Shio Koji and a sauce made from the trimmings of the fish. This was an utterly perfect dish in every way. 

By now I was pretty full but sat up well and prepared myself for my lamb dish next. I actually saw a Herdwick lamb on the drive back with Paul from the farm. My first time seeing one as I had pointed out it’s remarkable dark grey coat and black face, and learnt it was a Herdwick Lamb. I had only ever been exposed to them on my plate fully cooked and knew that they tasted delicious but had never been privy to seeing one before. Every day is a school day.

Dry aged Herdwick lamb loin from Sea View Farm, Fermented Yellow Beans and Sauce infused with Fennel Vinegar.  Lamb bones sauce. This came with Lamb Sweetbreads, Ramson Honey,

Pickled Primor Garlic, emulsion of Black garlic and a Burnt Leek Ash. Very nice lamb loin, roasted to perfection, the yellow pea purée from peas preserved in the summer was very good. The crumpet cooked in lamb fat was utterly delicious, I slathered the sweetbreads on top, had a lovely picnic and immersed myself in complete lamb indulgence. 

Frozen Tunworth cheese, Malt Crumb, preserved Blackcurrant and crystallised Lemon Thyme. I loved the malt crumb, really very good cheese dish, it ticked all the flavour profile boxes and the frozen cheese melted in your mouth upon every bite.

Concord pears with rosehips, Caramelised Cobnuts, Meadowsweet. I loved this and a cider pairing which worked beautifully. Delicious biscuit, and the yoghurt sorbet infused with meadowsweet. And meadowsweet tuille and oil. Clean and all cleansed my palate nicely too. 

“Anvil” Caramel mousse with Miso, Apple and Spruce. This is their signature dessert and a tribute to their building’s past, as a blacksmith. Anvil in French is L’Enclume. Their miso was made from last year’s pea and broad bean harvest. Beautiful. 

And to finish, the cutest little bites. Woodruff, a little ice cream cornet with white chocolate and elderflower ganache. A Kendal Mint Cake ice cream stone. Caramelised Quince Tartlet with pineapple sage oil. Pinecone Praline Chocolate. I took a bite of each and I was done, couldn’t fit another bite in.

To summarise. The wine was absolutely exceptional. The sommelier here deserves an accolade for such a beautiful selection and an utterly spot on perfect pairing. In fact, I would go as far to say, one of the best pairings I have had in years of the eight years of doing my visits and reviews now. Nailed it.

I adored every single dish.  

Service wonderful. Super hospitable. The most delicious journey through their menu paying homage to the land they so carefully tender and cultivate the ingredients from and showcase them in this way. There is nowhere else quite like this and it’s what makes it all the more heart filled and special.

A relaxed, happy, family vibe. I will return, likely won’t be until next year, but I really want to see the farm in full bloom, and also to the menu experience with all the ingredients in season at that time, I am certain you could go at any time of year and have a memorable experience. If you haven’t been, go book and I would most certainly next time stay longer to enjoy and explore the surroundings better too.

#mymuybueno #mymuybuenochefs #mymuybuenovisits #eatlivelearn

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Justine Murphy