L’Enclume in Cartmel, Lake District

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Last weekend me and hubby had the most amazing treat.  We went to L’Enclume in the Cartmel to celebrate our wedding anniversary.  We got married on 27th December so we usually celebrate some time the following year.  This year hubby surprised me with an envelope containing a sample menu for L’Enclume.  As this appears on my 40 things to do before 40 list I was absolutely thrilled!

L’Enclume is open for lunch and dinner, except on Mondays when it is closed. At lunch there’s a choice of two tasting menus, the smaller set lunch for £49 or £130 for the large tasting menu.  The large tasting menu is the only option for dinner and this is currently around 17 courses!  Wine pairing at dinner is an additional £70.  It was most definitely a treat.

I don’t think I have the ‘food critic’ skills but I can try and explain to you what we had and what wines they paired with it.

We were asked to arrive at L’Enclume for 6.45 as the meal would take at least 3 hours to serve.  In fact we left the restaurant at around 10.45 having had probably the best meal we have ever had.  So what did we have…

The first six courses were small dishes/snacks and served quickly, every few minutes or so. To start there was an oyster “pebble”, a beautiful macaroon style dish with a liquid oyster filling. This was followed by a beetroot cracker with horseradish snow.  I absolutely loved this and the horseradish snow tasted exactly as it sounds it would.

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Chicken dumpling followed this with luxury breadcrumbs (and just look at the presentation) but perhaps my favourite of these six was the Smoked Eel with ham fat.  This was exquisite – so exquisite there is no photo!

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Cooked to perfection scallops with strawberry vinegar and yarrow followed but it was the Duck Gizzard with whey onions and tunworth that took your breath away. Served in little pockets with an appearance of soil and plant. It was divine.

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With our Broth of artichoke, Westcombe, Hen of the Woods, came our first wine pairing a Chenin Blanc, Testalonga, El Bandito “Skin Contact” from Swartand, South Africa 2014.  The ‘broth’ was intensely flavoured and  expressed to be delicious even by the husband who apparently hates artichokes!

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I think it was at about this stage we were given some ‘chocolate’ bread. Now it wasn’t actually chocolate at all, as all the ingredients are grown in the UK and if possible on their 12 acre farm, but it tasted like it. It was in fact a malted bread.  My husband literally hasn’t stopped talking about it since we came home as being the best bread he has ever EVER tasted.

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Valley venison, charcoal oil,mustard and fennel, served with the most incredible sweet jelly (melt in the mouth) jewels was divine.  A Nerello Mascalese, Vino di Anna ‘Palmento’ Sicily, Italy 2014 accompanied it.

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Raw langoustine, apple and walnut, grilled langoustine, black pudding and parnsip was another dish we couldn’t wait to dive into and so no photos to show.  This was accompanied by a Chardonnay, Howard Park, ‘Miamup’ Margaret River, Western Australia, 2014.

This was the dish I was least looking forward to when I looked at the menu as I don’t really like root vegetable that much but the Aynesome carrot with scurvy grass, crispy onion and red mustard was as equally delicious as everything on the menu. Paired with the Viognier, Yves Cuilleron, Les Vignes d’a Cote Vdp Collines Rhodaniennes, France 2014 (2014 must have been a good year) it was a total treat.

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The Brill (above) in poultry juices, lovage, yeast flakes and fermented mushroom (the chef really does say exactly what’s in each dish!) was extraordinary and pairing it with the Viura, Marques de Murrieta, Capellania, Rioja from Spain 2010, was really really interesting and very very light.

The main course (so to speak) was a Huntsham Farm Longhorn beef which had been cooked for 72 hours at very low heat. With brussel sprouts and smoked bone marrow, every mouthful just melted in your mouth.  This was paired with a stunning red Luis Pato ‘Vinha Pan’ Vinho Regional Beiras, Portugal 2010.

Then came time for pudding!

A delicious rhubarb and gingerbread tartlet arrived, shortly after followed by a dessert of poached pear, topped with pear ice and toasted oats. Lovely refreshing flavours from the poached pear and the toasted crunch of the oats.

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Caramelised pumpkin, brown butter and almond. Woodruff, apple sorrel and yoghurt, followed by Rocks!  All further incredible desserts.

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And we hadn’t finished with the wine pairing. Two further dessert wines (although one was in fact a cider) Domaine de l’Ancienne, Jour de Fruit Portugal 201 and The Somerset Pomona, Somerset, England. You can work out which was the cider, although in fairness it was a cider brandy!

The meal was beyond incredible. We loved everything about it.  The waiters were attentive, chatty but not intrusive, never stuffy and very welcoming.  L’Enclume we would love to return.  Maybe to try the Aulis Development Table.

NB: We pid for our meal in full at L’Enclume and were not asked to write this review. We just loved it and I wanted to write about it.

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