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 Â£150. A veritable 'bucket list' chef's table experience.
Harden's survey result
“A mind-blowing experience!” – Simon Rogan’s converted smithy in a gorgeous Lakeland village remains the north’s pre-eminent foodie Mecca. A degree of “art and theatre” add to its appeal, but despite the potential to seem “show-off-y”, the dominant theme running through most reports is the “exceptional” combination of “hard-to-beat innovation” – producing “light, clean dishes, packing huge flavours” – juxtaposed with a style that’s “natural, and not at all pretentious for a restaurant of such high calibre”. Enthusiasm too for a “delightfully simple and clean-lined setting that puts you instantly at ease, along with staff who were knowledgeable but approachable”.
“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”.
L’Enclume Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Underwhelming and over-priced. Seems dated and lacking in atmosphere - lots of running around though."
"Deserves all the plaudits it ha s received. Immaculate"
"Fantastic, magical, extraordinary. The best UK restaurant we have eaten in by far. Worth the journey from Brighton to Cartmel, in fact I'd go twice as far."
"We dined on the 25th November 2017 and couldn't fault the experience food and service wise, some slightly overly "seasoned diners" led me to a 4 for ambience. Other than that slight issue the food, the wine and the entire experience was marvelous. If you can, do give it try. Cartmel itself is lovely too."
Cavendish St, Cartmel, LA11 6PZ
|Tuesday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm|
|Friday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm|
|Saturday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm|
|Sunday||12 pm-1:30 pm, 6:30 pm-8:15 pm|