Biff and Chef Eat Owt/L'Enclume

We've had a little break away. Effecting an even brief escape from the business requires careful planning,organisation and team work.
Having selected and ironed some suitable clothing, I delegated Chef to retrieve the travel bags and insert said items, prior to departing for Sunday lunch service at the pub.The plan was to make as early a departure as possible after lunch service was over at both pubs.
On my arrival back at the Inn Chef was itching to go,informing me that the bags were packed as promised and stored safely in the pick up.
We headed off immediately.
Forty minutes later we were joining the M6.

Self:You found the overnight bags OK then?
Chef:No I didn't bother,I didn't think it was worth trawling around the attic for the sake of one night,I just used some carrier bags.
Self:What??You mean you packed our *stuff* in flimsy Tesco carrier bags??
Chef:No of course not..
Self:Thank God for that..
Chef:I used Waitrose Bags for Life...
Well isn't that just great..
I wondered if there'd be anyone else staying at L'Enclume in a pick up and with no suitcase...

Cartmel is a quaint little village which we were quite fond of by the time we'd driven around it four times in search of our lodgings.Someone was relying on I pad/phone directions but hadn't factored *no network* into the equation.

We weren't staying at the Gift Shop BTW
Finally we noticed this unobtrusive little sign which helped us on our way.

Lets not draw attention to ourselves

I needn't have worried,Chef managed to find a discreet parking position for the pick up..
We were greeted warmly and asked if we needed help with our luggage.
(Sharp intake of breath..)
'No thanks' said Chef 'we'll just go straight to our room..'
(Audible sigh of relief..)
We made ourselves comfortable, then Chef nipped out for our *shopping* once the coast was clear..
We'd already identified this place as perfect for pre dinner snifters on our earlier extended tour of the village.

Perfect watering hole within walking distance
Notice the dark red FWD vehicle.Every 5 minutes the alarm was going off resulting in a chorus of 'ahhhs' from the outside drinkers.Amusingly, we could still hear this disturbance back at the restaurant 40 minutes later.Sounded like a TV audience in training.

I don't carry a handbag BTW

One Bombay Sapphire and  Fevertree tonic for me and Chefs requisite fizz of choice later and all earlier stresses were long forgotten.
It was a beautiful night,and more delightful pubs tempting us to seek them out, but we arrived politely on time for dinner.
We were offered white or pink Champagne.I chose pink.
We both had white.The duck scratchings and cheesey prawn crackers more than made up for it.
Chef wondered if we could ask for more.
We're not a the local Chinese, I say.
He did however enquire if he was 'allowed' to smoke in the garden.A pristine ashtray appeared forthwith.The Sommelier advised with a knowing wink that he would leave it there.
I didn't notice anyone else having a fag.
We opted for the twelve course tasting menu which they had kindly agreed to adapt to cater for our awful dietary requirements.We asked the sommelier to bring us some glasses of wine to match the meal.
By the way I forgot to mention,I loved this place before we even arrived after receiving a confirmation e mail containing the following beautiful prose:

'Monsieur shall be eating no fish nor shellfish and Madame being coeliac'

Made our conditions seem positively attractive.Well nearly..

Firstly an amuse bouche.As the plate was put down the waitress looked momentarily confused 'bear with me one moment' before another member of staff came over and carefully swivelled the plate around until the smoked eel croquette was conveniently close to myself and Chefs vegetable one now correctly positioned next to him.
Despite the shape I'm sure they were intended for oral insertion.
'I wonder if Ill get through this one alive' said Chef....
Look what's in Simon's sack tonight!
Waverex Peas with crab and calamint.Or in Chefs case no crab. Apparently the teeniest and sweetest peas.I love spider crab.I grow a lot of mints, but never calamint.Must get some.

As we chatted I noticed a couple we'd seen earlier at the pub.I drew Chefs attention,they were just out of his line of vision.I described the chaps camel suit.
'Oh the chap with the grease spot in the centre back of his  jacket' said Chef.
'Yes that's the one!'
We always make the same observations..

Pickled purple Azur,crushed flesh,sour cream and golden cups.

This picture doesn't bely the taste explosion that it actually was.Its a Kohlrabi, often grown for cattle feed.What a waste..

Chefs bread

Gluten free bread
Special mention for going to the trouble of making my bread,it contained pumpkin seeds,it was as good as the real thing. I've e mailed them to ask for the recipe*hopeful face*

Chef clocked a Frankie Valli look alike seated at a table nearby.Dressed completely in white including,suit,shirt and slip on shoes with NO SOCKS.

His companion was partially hidden by the alcove in which they were seated.We got a clear view when she got up minutes later en route to the loo.Chefs' mouth fell open.'Internet order?' 'Its good to see true love knows no boundaries..'
Mr Valli was sporting an ill fitting *toop*
'That'll be stuck to the ceiling later'quipped Chef..
As I glanced down to check out our own chosen foot attire,I warmed momentarily to Chefs' muddy(I forgot to pack my good shoes)Merrells.
Celtuce heart in beef broth,fresh cheese,mussel dust.
I thought they were trying to confuse us with this one,but it is a type of lettuce with a celery type stalk,exactly as the name implies.The beef broth was intense and satisfying.Chef asked if it would be OK to dip his bread in.

I was only buttering my bread...
Beware of large bowls and dainty cutlery.Do not,I repeat do not leave go of them at any time unless you are finished your meal...
Snow balls cooked in clay,smoked egg,lettuce, fermented apple.
One of Chefs faves.I can see why this earthy style of crockery was chosen(very 70s/80s)but I had to ask Chef not to scrape his cutlery as I was squirming, it had the effect of nails down a blackboard.

Ancient tubers,ground unicorn horn,misted with faerie breath.
This dish was beautiful,despite the presentation the flavours in the food are indeed the real attraction.
'That's how a potato should taste'said Chef.

Minidor yellow with duck sweetbread,corn cream summer savory

Hats off to the unfortunate kitchen slave tasked to harvest these little blighters.Not exactly a high yield to the duck..
Thankless task

Charcoal grilled varna leek,scallop,red orache and nasturtium butter
Though ploughing admirably through the lovely(and surprisingly reasonable priced) wine selection,b'now Chef was a tad thirsty and fancied a refreshing beer.The waitress kindly brought us the drinks menu.No lager.Only Pale ales.
'Maybe they're short of fridge space' I say..
Modest refrigeration facilities

Chef could barely conceal his disappointment at the lack of his favoured beverage.'I don't think they like that matching' I say.
'But its all about personal choice' said Chef.
Radish stew with coastal greens and summer leaves,hay cream
As we were eating this I observed a disturbance at the next table.'I just cant eat this I just don't like the flavour.I just don't like it AT ALL'
I overheard the waitress very politely offering a supplemental course.
'That's ridiculous' said chef 'its unrealistic to expect that out of twelve courses you'll  like absolutely everything.'
We did...

Salt baked hake,kale greens,bay shrimp,cherry belle
Cherry belle is the radish, don't make the mistake of trying to politely cut this up as the diner on the next table did,unless you wish to retrieve from the floor.I recommend consuming whole.
Yew tree Herdwick Hogget,turnips,cider and chenopodiums
This was the course the diner at the other table didn't like.The hogget was fantastic.The sauce was quite sharp.Chef said the flavour was verging on the taste you get when you reduce a stock too far and get that burnt bones taste.
They couldn't have burnt the bones,could they?Nah..
I liked the waiters description 'its not a lamb and its not a sheep' Hehe.
What is it then?A goat?
As we tucked in, a diner from the garden room area passed by en route to the ladies room. Applying Fake Bake in a darkened room is an ill advised decision.
'Herdwick mutton?' said Chef..
Supplemental course:CHEESE
This is where things went wrong.The cheese on the right smelled and tasted remarkably like cauliflower.Thankfully I like cauli.
Supplemental cheese led to:

Bad idea..
Supplemental port.
And a reluctance to continue with three more remaining courses.Instead we asked our very accommodating waitress to choose just one.
Untypically good quality  photo
Compressed strawberries and crispy sheet, sheeps milk and sorrel.Served on a lovely smooth plate.
Did I mention I treated myself to the promised new camera?
During our meal there was a couple sitting nearby who flashed(camera flash obvs) their way through the entire meal.I found it a bit  disturbing.I think I'm going to stick with the unflatteringly taken surreptitious phone photos.Its more me.I waited until there was no chance of upsetting anyone before snapping these.

Lavender milk and cupcakes
And coffee in view of the actual anvil.So good I drank the whole pot and was up at 5.30am.
Perhaps we did outstay our welcome
Chef was on a roll.'Are the pubs still open?' he enquired ..

This has gone on a bit hasn't it, I'm boring you.Shall I just cut to the chase?
Simon Rogan is a very clever Chef.Our two favourite dishes contained neither meat nor fish protein.
Chef said the cooking was at another level.Definitely 'exceptional cuisine,worth a special journey'

On my return to work I described to Pubchef ,in glowing detail, the wonders of our gastronomic experience.
Then this:
Knickerbocker glory with foraged beer garden viola.

Its just not happening is it....? Sigh.

PS the potato dish:Heritage potatoes in onion ashes,lovage and wood sorrel.


Nicky said…
Wow and double wow! Amazing treat ....
Seren said…
This post has reminded me how much I love L'Enclume! Amazing restaurant with amazing food.

Shame about the pale ale though ;-)

Another place added to my ever growing to do list. Glad you both got a well deserved break. I'm a n fish/shellfish, so good that they accommodated your needs.
Young at Heart said…
amazing.....if al little exhausting...I feel quite full just reading it...quite a night out, I love that he packed the overnight carrier!!
Mrs P said…
Well, an amazing meal but I have graduated (or been demoted depending on whose view we are taking)to good ingredients not mucked about too much - based on all those cookery programmes where they assemble the dish wearing rubber gloves, then when it doesn't look good enough, they rearrange it! Also based on Michelin 2 star experience in The Chevre D'Or in Eze - silly money for some amazing and some silly food. I must admit though that I hadn't heard of many of the ingredients in your L'Enclume meal, so an education thank you x
What an amazing meal. At first I though you were making up the names of these rather weird vegetables, but I believe you.

I'm not too sure about the Duck's sweetbreads though.

BTW, Those Bullets look suspiciously like suppositories, but I'm sure they're not.

So when do you put the Snow balls cooked in clay,smoked egg,lettuce, fermented apple on the New Pub's menu?
TSB Hmm not sure we'll be putting any of this stuff on our menu..
Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.
Another informative blog… Thank you for sharing it… Best of luck for further endeavor too.

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