“If you didn’t know better, you could wander the charming village of Cartmel - all soft limestone cottages and wiggly lanes clustered around its medieval priory - and not know that it shelters one of the Lake District’s finest restaurants. The two-Michelin- starred L’Enclume and its handful of village rooms are deliberately low-key so that they remain true to their location. Chef-owner Simon Rogan was one of the pioneers of foraging and local sourcing and this is reflected in the style of his restaurant-with- rooms: flagged or wooden floors, creamy-plaster walls and exposed beams with spare furnishings in natural materials - wood, linen, wool - and subdued colours.
Although the bedrooms, clustered in cottages or in a townhouse overlooking the village square, have carpets and over-long curtains to add softness, they follow a similar simple yet smart style with feature black walls, Ercol-style armchairs in country colours and bold Lakeland photographs. Nespresso machines and Bose sound systems add a sense of luxury. They’re comfortable, calm and unfussy.
You’ll need deep pockets for the restaurant’s 20-course Tasting-menu- only meals (there’s a shorter option at lunchtime, and a sister bistro-style restaurant, Rogan & Co) but you won’t regret it. The courses are tiny but exquisite creations showing off the chefs’ (around 12 at any one sitting) skill and creativity. It’s not about theatricality but about teasing out the astonishing flavours of local produce - the restaurant has its own farm. There is a fabulous wine list to match; the Coravin wine system allows you to try glasses of wine that you might normally eschew as being too expensive by the bottle.
The staff are professional yet down-to- earth; the atmosphere wonderfully relaxed (no stuffy formalities). A place to unwind and treat yourself.”
Written by Helen Pickles