I`ve been following the Lenclume gang around since the place opened almost 10 years ago. I`ve watched Simon Rogan evolve through many stages of cuisine , endless experiments and i have to say it`s been one hell of a journey. Simon has now levelled out and the new phase of Lenclume food over the last few years has been producing wonderful delights from the Cumbrian landscape , sea , lakes and mountains and also the very best of the regions farmers and suppliers. The menus have now been cut to just the one….roundabout 16 – 18 dishes (£89) and they`re decided upon each morning dependant on what`s available that day. Don`t go whinging if the diners on the table have something different because i can guarantee you that you`ll have your own delights that they probably won`t have .It`s all going on behind the scenes in the kitchen and its literally being picked seconds before it hits the plates….it really is amazing. I truly believe in my heart that no chef is cooking like this in the United Kingdom, i was honestly buzzing for days after this meal…..yeah yeah yeah so i`m a sad so and so but it`s true…. i really did get off on this meal. For those reading this and thinking of going to Noma to eat….just forget it as Lenclume is our British version and really is running at world class levels , it`s just stunning , as you can see in the photos below.
I consider myself as a very fortunate guy as i manage to eat Rogans food every few months , i ate at Rognanic a few weeks ago ( see here ) and i was expecting similar food on this menu but everything was different. Chef Dan Cox told me that the menu had just been put together an hour before lunch and the lads had just returned from picking ingredients at the farm and the local hedgerows .The menu was brought to the table and tucked away under a pebble , it was there if i needed to have a peep but i was just told to relax and let it flow.
I`ve already written plenty about Lenclume and Simon Rogan in the past so ill just shut up now and let the photos do the talking….and folks , just get over to Cartmel and sample the food , its running at the highest levels ever and apparently plans are in place to up their game even more.
This was probably the best meal i`ve ever eaten at Lenclume…. Enjoy.
Oyster pebbles – Delicate meringue filled with Oyster cream and apple. The leaves are Oysterleaf , a wild coastal plant with a mushroomy Oyster flavour.
Eel smoked with potato and Ham fat
Cream cheese wafers – Simply stunning.
Asparagus with Bay Shrimp.
The Lenclume breads – White , Pumpernickel and wholemeal.
Cod “yolk” , Sage cream , salt and vinegar.
Kohlrabi dumplings in Westcombe , Hyssop and Purple sprouting….OMG…i`ve never experience soft textured dumplings like these ones ever.They were like the worlds softest and most delicate Gnocchi , i must get this recipe. An absolute star dish and probably best dish of the day.
Valley Venison , Charcoal Oil , Mustard and Fennel.This one got many Ooos and Ahhhhs when i had the Roganic version , another amazing dish with the Charcoal oil scenting the venison with the most unusual flavour.Hopefully this dish will forever grace the menus of Rogan , its wonderful. A new addition was the little candied spheres of what i think was sweet Fennel , filled with a liquid centre.
Sea scallop with spiced Strawberry , grilled Cauliflower and coastal leaves.
Cucumbers , Pineapple weed , frozen Lobster and Rat tails…..ok so you`re wanting to know where the Rats are ….look below , its a minature radish.I`ll just point out here about the plates at Lenclume…..totally unique and custom made for the restaurant by a local potter.The dish below looked stunning on the silver plate.
Ok , so here we go….Rat tail radish , peppery and easy to grow , Chef Rogan must lie in bed at night fantasising over his veggie catalogues.
BBQ leeks with poached marrow , English mace and egg yolk sauce.
Lightly smoked bay Bass , Cockle juice , Courgettes and cotton Lavender.
Reg`s Guinea hen and offal , Turnip and Elderflower.Delicate little Elderflowers sprinkled over the dish added a complimentary perfumed scent to the rich flavours.I believe that this one won`t be everyone`s cup of tea , you have to like offal as the flavour dominates…. I like offal so it was a winner for me.
Iced chamomile , Spruce , Celery and black pepper….A wee taster to cleanse and prepare for the 3 desserts to come.
Cumbrian slate , Gooseberry , Apple and Lemon Verbena…. How good is this ? Rogan has invented edible stones that actually look like bits of Slate. Please dont even consider asking how they do this , i`ve really no idea….and what`s inside ? ok so i`ll tell a little secret , its a delicate Gooseberry mousse and it`s coated with a jelly coloured with the “burnt ash” of local Bramble leaves….How amazing is that ? Now i`m going to get in bother for telling.
Cherries with Meadowsweet , Hazelnut and Apple.
Gingerbread and iced watermint.
Coniston Oatmeal Stout ice cream , Blackberry and Plum soda.
Picturesque postcard village scenes from Cartmel.
The river literally outside the kitchen door.
The Old Raleigh sign now becoming part of the restaurant exterior.( The Lenclume windowsill cat wasn`t there this time )
Cavendish arch leading the way to the temple.
Aulis research centre where lenclume dishes begin life.