Billing itself as a "unique and interactive dining experience going ‘behind the scenes’ of L’Enclume’s kitchen", Aulis has just six seats, is open only on Friday evening and Saturdays, and has one menu, at £150. A veritable 'bucket list' chef's table experience.
Harden's survey result
For 25 years we've been curating reviews of the UK's most notable restaurant. This year diners have submitted over 60,000 reviews to create the most authoritative restaurant guide in the UK.
“Worth driving the length of the country for lunch!” – Simon Rogan’s “beautiful old building in a stunningly romantic Lake District village” is “superb all round, and it’s not hard to understand why it’s such a powerful attraction” (the survey’s third most commented-on restaurant outside of London). “Every course is a conversation starter”, and the cooking delivers “pure theatre”; “the most indulgent, understanding, fun, exciting, tasty gastronomic journey ever – 17 courses so perfectly balanced, and so packed with flavour that it left me fully satisfied yet begging for more!” The year has not been without its challenges – ex-head chef Mark Birchall’s departure is noted by the odd regular (who feels the menu is more “stagnant” as a result), but Sam Ward’s promotion from his post as maître d’ has done little to dent the “impeccable”, “almost choreographed” service, and for most guests this is “an astonishing, clever, occasionally challenging, and brilliant” experience.
“At the top of UK gastronomy” (No. 3 in our Top-100 Restaurants this year); Simon Rogan’s converted smithy in a “hard-to-find” Lakeland riverside village provides an “exciting and unique” venue, “full of Cumbrian stone, Scandinavian furnishing and eye-catching art”. The “exquisite” menu is “ever-changing to reflect the seasons”; presentation is “worthy of a Turner prize”; and “no-one uses way-out ingredients to such eye-opening effect” (although nowadays “a foraging ethos now prevails, with no foams to be seen, thank goodness)!”. “Genuine” staff led by “star of a maître d’”, Sam Ward, “prove the English can do high-end service as well as the French or the Italians” (although the run-down of each dish can risk appearing as something of “a well-practiced spiel”). Stop Press – In July 2015, long-standing chef, Mark Birchall, quit to open his own restaurant.
“In the shadow of the ancient Cartmel Priory”, Simon Rogan’s “stunning” former smithy provides the setting for “an unforgettable and superlative experience”, but not a formal one; “the staff notice everything”, and the “adventurous but ungimmicky” cuisine is “constantly improving”.
Simon Rogan’s sheer “artistry” – “mixing innovation, tradition and local produce” in an “astonishing range” of dishes, delivered by “passionate” staff – produces one of the UK’s most “divine” culinary experiences, at this “beautiful and remote” former Lakeland smithy.
L’Enclume Restaurant Diner Reviews
"with personal service from Mr Rogan"
Cavendish St, Cartmel, LA11 6PZ
Fri D & Sat only