Lenclume , Cartmel – Rogan reaching dizzy new heights.

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

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.

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

Eel  smoked with potato and Ham fat

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

Cream cheese wafers – Simply stunning.

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

Asparagus with Bay Shrimp.

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan                The Lenclume breads – White , Pumpernickel and wholemeal.

lenclume , simon rogan cartmellenclume , simon rogan cartmellenclume , simon rogan cartmel

Cod “yolk” , Sage cream , salt and vinegar.

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

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.

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

lenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

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.

lenclume , cartmel , simon roganlenclume , cartmel , simon rogan

Sea scallop with spiced Strawberry , grilled Cauliflower and coastal leaves.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

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.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmelOk , 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.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

BBQ  leeks with poached marrow , English mace and egg yolk sauce.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

Lightly smoked bay Bass , Cockle juice , Courgettes and cotton Lavender.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmellenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

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.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

Iced chamomile , Spruce , Celery and black pepper….A wee taster to cleanse and prepare for the 3 desserts to come.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

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.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmellenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

Cherries with Meadowsweet , Hazelnut and Apple.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmellenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

Gingerbread and iced watermint.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

Coniston Oatmeal Stout ice cream , Blackberry  and Plum soda.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmellenclume , simon rogan , cartmelPicturesque 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.

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmellenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

lenclume , simon rogan , cartmellenclume , simon rogan , cartmel

L'Enclume on Urbanspoon

Late Spring Foraging , There`s lots to be had for the food lovers.

A Saturday morning out and about in the hedgerows and woods with a little call off at the beach on the way home for an ice cream.Must have taken all of an hour in all and this is just what`s available for the wild food forager right now….a total feast for free.As far as chefs go then there really isnt an excuse , its on everyones doorstep from city parks to coastal areas and woodland , we all have something nearby.All it takes is a decent guide book , google and a creative mind.            

                                                            WOOD SORREL

                    Mallow – Looks like huge leaves of Rhubarb growing wild.

As you can see from the leaf and stalk on my car , they`re huge and a few leaves and stalks will go a long way. Simon Rogan actually cooks these at Lenclume / Roganic and purees them down to accompany the Muncaster Crab dish below.

ELDERFLOWERS AND ELDERFLOWER BUDS – Now these ones are amazing , theres so many things to do with Elder.The buds can be picked and pickled and the uses for the flowers at this stage are endless.Cordials and desserts are definitely the way to go.

                                                       COMMON BISTORT

                                                     COMMON BISTORT

                                                WILD GARLIC FLOWERS

                                          WILD GARLIC OR RAMSONS

                                                        HEDGE GARLIC

                                                            HEDGE GARLIC

                                                            THE PIGNUT

                                                                   PIGNUT FOLIAGE

                                PIGNUT , STRAIGHT OUT OF THE GROUND

                                               PIGNUT , SKIN REMOVED.


                                                               HERB ROBERT

                                                             HERB ROBERT


                                                      GREEN ALKANET

                                                             COW PARSLEY

                                                        COW PARSLEY

                                                           STINGING NETTLE



 CLEAVERS – I remember having lots of fun with these as a child , throwing them at peoples clothes , they stick to anything…especially old ladies coats…yes , i was a bad child.Nowadays , they`re better used when they`re young shoots in salads.I cannot shout up for them in a positive way and have yet to see them on a menu.

                                               YELLOW ARCHANGEL


                                                       ROCK SAMPHIRE

                                                              SEA KALE

Simon Rogan – A Spring lunch at Roganic,London

I think most of you will know by now that i`m ever so slightly potty.I can only blame the Cumbrian air and breeding for that one.Last week i even amazed myself and decided on a whim to make a 14 hour , 700 mile round trip…just to eat lunch at Roganic in Marylebone.Car , train , tube , walk , Taxi , train , car and home again , all in the quest for some of Englands finest foods….So yes , totally nuts…but not as nutty as some people.I`m taking about the “Roganator” here , Simon Rogan the crazy chef from Lenclume in Cartmel.He`s a great lad really but he never ceases to amaze me with the never ending use of totally obscure ,wonderful and wild ingredients combined into his cutting edge cuisine.Chef Rogan is currently working behind the stoves of his London Roganic restaurant and also manages to do the same at his flagship Lenclume restaurant in Cumbria on Roganics closed days.Simon has always been known to use ever so slightly “strange” ingredients and since Lenclume opened its doors ten years ago i`ve been fed quite a few totally insane ones to be honest….Wild Roots , and shoots of every description ,  “Mad Barberry bark infusions” , Cep bomb raviolis , Fragrant Myhrr , Frozen sea water cubes ,BBQ Pig with Coca cola gel , ….Yep , over those ten years i`ve watched Rogan grow and flow through his sensible era, to his strange ….to his totally strange , back to the slightly sensible and now in 2012 chef has made his `one off` style of culinary creativity a huge success at world class level…but the man is still as nutty as the nuttiest fruit cake ( in Simons case his fruitcake is infused with Bistort , cow parsley and green Alkanet ).

As far as Mr Rogan goes , he`s fed me everything….or at least i thought he had.I booked myself onto the London train ,packed my camera and away i went to the big city to sample the new Spring menu at Simons Marylebone restaurant.It was a gorgeous day , a good 10 degrees warmer than Cumbria and before i knew it i was being welcomed by the friendly Roganic team and into the window seat for my 13 course mini feast…..and my first experience of… ” Coal “…..and so on with the menu.

                                            Smoked Pork and Eel croquettes


                                 Onion biscuit , Nettle cream and Shallot jam.

          Roganic breads – Pumpernickel , Onion Thyme and Wholemeal with Ale.

                 Burnt cream of English mushrooms , Ramsons and Cheese drops.

         Grown up Egg yolk from the Golden egg , Celeriac , Sorrel and Garlic cream.

              Spring broth with Carrot dumplings , Sea kale shoots and Pearl barley.

 So this is where Chef Rogan managed to push the boundaries right over the edge again with his constantly developing cuisine…Cmon , “Coal” ….i seriously had my doubts here.Now before anyone asks , no , Rogan hasn`t bought a Cumbrian coal mine.What he`s actually done is to infuse the flavour of Coal into an organic Rapeseed oil.This is combined with raw diced fillet of Venison , scurvy grass , lightly pickled onion and  what appeared to be Broom flowers ( Gorse ). I have to admit , i was ever so slightly worried that Simon had gone completely AWOL here but hey…..it bloody well worked , infact the result was a total WOW , and one of the best dishes i have ever eaten from the hundreds of Rogan plates that ive sampled over the years.It took me back to childhood grass fires , wood smoke , BBQ coals, Oil products… I had one of my `closed eyes` moments and just didn`t want this one to end…..Amazing and i can say right now , hand on heart , a trip to Roganic just to sample this one dish would be well worthwhile.I`ll look out for more reports over the coming months , i`ll be interested to hear what other diners make of it.

                 Raw Venison in “Coal” oil , Mustard , Scurvy grass and Onions.

                  Crispy seaweed mashed Potatoes , Mace , wild Leek and Fennel.

               Cornish Lobster , Oyster , Apple , pickled Kohlrabi and coastal herbs.

                                                                                                                                                                                                    Grilled salad smoked over Embers , Truffle custard and Cobnuts.

                      Five flavoured Monkfish , Razor clams , Vinegar and Hazelnut.

          Herdwick Lamb flank, Sweetbread , Salsify , Hedge Garlic and Velvet caps.

                              Sweet cheese , Water celery , Artichoke and Malt.


                      Rhubarb  with Meadowsweet , cream cake and sweet cicely.

                   Rowan shoot milk shake with Lemon curd brioche donut.

                                  Bourbon biscuit and white chocolate ice lolly.

                                                              The Roganic team

I cannot urge you strongly enough to come up to Cumbria and give the Lenclume experience a go , it`s simply wonderful.If Cartmel is a little too far to travel then go give the Spring menu a shot at Roganic.The food is very similar so at least its a chance to sample Simon Rogans cuisine and have a little taster of what`s happening up at the Mothership restaurant.Thanks also to the team for the constant smiles and awesome service.

Please click HERE to see the full photo package from my Roganic lunch.

Please click HERE to see a recent Lenclume meal from Cartmel.

Roganic on Urbanspoon

LENCLUME – An Autumn lunch by Simon Rogan.

Another great year for Simon Rogan and Lenclume in Cartmel Cumbria.The team seem to be going from strength to strength by the week lately. Their newly opened Roganic in Marylebone, London headed up by Ben Spalding has been receiving rave reviews from both  critics and diners alike.My meal on opening day was fantastic ( click here to view ). The latest plans for Simon up in Cumbria have been the farm purchase just outside of the village so watch out for some top rate dairy and garden produce in the near future.
Top marks also go to the fantastic Mark Birchall for winning the 2011 Roux scholarship prize.This has resulted in Simon temporarily losing his top guy at Lenclume for 6 months while Mark claims his prize – working at the restaurant of his choice.Mark chose El Celler de Can Roca in Girona , Spain….Number 2 on the worlds best restaurant list. Imagine the ideas Mark is going to be hitting Lenclume with…should be fun.
Another fantastic achievement for Simon and the team was their amazing score of 9/10 in the 2012 Good food guide.This placed them at Number 2 in the whole of the United Kingdom…wow , what a result. They also retained their 5 AA rosettes in the 2012 AA guide , the highest possible score. So after all of that fantastic news i just had to go and have lunch at Lenclume last week to see for myself what kitchen is currently producing. As always , innovative , fresher than fresh, ever so slightly whacky and as you can see for yourself below…Mind blowing food.My `light`  lunch consisted of the following ” 16 ” courses.

















To see all the photos from my Lunch at Lenclume then please just click HERE.

ROGANIC – Simon Rogan and Ben Spalding take on London.

Just by a stroke of luck i happened to be in London on the weekend that Simon Rogans new `pop up` restaurant “Roganic” was opening on a two week`ramp up` soft start.Even luckier for me that i was searching around for somewhere to do lunch on Roganics first day and happened to discover that i could book a table to eat at opening time on opening day…..First official diner to eat at Roganic.

The restaurant is situated on a quiet and really clean site in Marylebone ( Blandford street ) and as soon as Simon secured the property everything happened in a bit of a whirlwind, the trades were sent in to fast track the refurbishment.Chefs and staff were appointed and Simon Rogan added more craziness to his non stop life at Lenclume in Cartmel by taking on the weekly journeys between his London and Cumbrian restaurants until things were well firmly established.Ben Spalding would head up the kitchen at Roganic , a young highly talented chef with a great pedigree from a background in some pretty high end eateries – L`autre pied , The capital , Rhodes , Gordon Ramsay , Per Se ,
Fat duck and Le Manoir….wow , this guy has an amazing history.Teamed up with Simon then i had very high expectations of what they were capable of as a collective pair in the kitchen.I really don`t need to start writing volumes about the food at Roganic ,the photos simply speak for themselves and if they don`t tempt diners to eat there then
nothing will.The hedgrow and woodland herbs and flowers don`t grow on Blandford street . Simon can`t do what he does in Cartmel and simply walk outside the kitchen door to pick fat hen , Hedge garlic,Bistort , Sweet cicely and many more herbs so somehow they`ve managed to export them down from Cumbria as though they had been picked five minutes prior to being delicately placed on the dishes.

So enjoy my little journey through the food of Roganic and the 10 course tasting menu , encompassing the best of British organic produce with a Cumbrian twist.Oh and by the way , service was near perfection , fault free and the staff were all well educated on the food being served….including the Chenopodiums, Hyssop , Orache and Mallow buzz words i threw in at them.Sandia Chang ( Per Se , Noma and Marcus Wareing ) and Jon
Cannon ( Galvin ) head up front of House….Two lovely people , keep up the good work and good luck to a great future for Roganic.

Full set of pics from my lunch at Roganic – CLICK HERE or scroll down for highlights

Appetiser – Chick pea wafer, cream cheese with herbs.

Broad bean and Hyssop , fresh curds and beetroot

Yellow turnip baked in salt , smoked yolk , Blite and wild mustard

Sea water cured Kentish Mackerel , Orache , broccoli and warm Elderflower honey

Shredded Ox tongue , Pickles and sourdough paper

Flaky crab and Mallow cream , young Squid and cucumber

Vintage potatoes in onion ashes , lovage and wood sorrel

Roasted Brill , chicken salt , cockles and ruby chard

Cumbrian Hogget , Artichokes and Chenopodiums

Sweet cicely with strawberries , buttermilk and verbena

Warm spiced bread , salted almonds , Buckthorn curd and smoked clotted cream

Cherry marshmallow and cherry shot

Little treats with coffee.

Roganic on Urbanspoon