The majority of the reviews of this restaurant are favourable, and with justification. Reading a small minority makes me wonder slightly what those writing them expected.
We had lunch on a snowy Wednesday in February. Getting into and out of Cartmel was a challenge but we were keen not to miss the chance to try L’Enclume, and were very glad we got through the snow.
The options on offer were a six-course lunch or a thirteen-course tasting menu. We had the six course lunch, which was hugely enjoyable, leaving us feeling that we had eaten well without over-eating.
Each of the courses was small but of high quality, inventive and impressive. The third course was meant to be a venison tartare but the venison had not arrived because of the weather so we were offered a substitute dish which actually suited us both better. The final savoury course was a dish of butter-poached hake with mussel cream and really intense carrots and brassicas-not huge, just right, perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious.
The two desserts were both outstanding, one being a sea buckthorn dish which I think formed part of Simon Rogan’s Great British Menu entry a while ago and the other a rhubarb, yoghurt mousse, nut and sorrel dish. My companion is not generally enthusiastic about this type of cooking, preferring plainer food, but she felt that this was really exceptional, and food which to her surprise she really enjoyed.
We drank with our meal an English Chardonnay, Gusborne, which was first rate. Service was spot on. We were in a conservatory looking out onto a snow-covered garden, which enhanced the occasion although it would I suspect have been equally delightful without the snow. The restaurant was not full but transport conditions were poor so hardly surprising.
Lunch for two was £70. With three glasses of wine, two coffees and petit fours it came to £107.76 before adding a tip. I felt it was a very fair price for a very good lunch, and would recommend the restaurant to anyone.
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