This was my second trip to Rogan & Co in the village of Cartmel , Cumbria. Chef Kevin Tickle has now settled into place and after much staff discussion a new Tasting menu has been introduced. This consists of 8 courses for £65 ( plus a few little extra taster courses) and will be changing constantly as each season progresses which is good news. Running along side of the Tasting menu is the a la carte menu. I had a little preview of this one during my visit and the first thing that hit me was the pricing……WOW. For food cooked to this standard and of this quality i think the vast majority of diners will be more than happy. Top marks for the pricing here guys , it`s absolutely perfect for those wanting a beautiful meal in very relaxed surroundings.
Things are taking off in a new direction now as Rogan and Co develops into a unique restaurant within it`s own right. It has been operating now for a number of years, just plodding away in the village contently at a steady pace. Rogan recently appointed Kevin Tickle as the new head chef and John Strange started as the restaurant manager. Decor and kitchen were upgraded and a new menu and approach structured. I personally feel that it was akin to letting a Greyhound out of its trap. The changes are quite dramatic , the staff are all hungry for success and i think that before long , diners will be travelling to Cartmel just to eat at Rogan & Co and the food of Kevin Tickle. I mentioned last time about the wonderful package plan – Friday dinner at Rogan & Co , Saturday dinner at Lenclume , and Sunday lunch at the Pig n Whistle. Now that`s got to be the ultimate foodie weekend , what a treat…..and yes , im plugging it , I`m a local and i`ve been a customer here since Lenclume opened its doors. I know only too well the smiles it can put on visitors faces.
So on with the food and the new Tasting menu at Rogan & Co. As i said , there wil be tweaks and changes to the menus as things progress but at least this will hopefully show the style and quality all around of what`s going to be coming your way.
Home made Butter and Sourdough Bread – They sure have cracked this wonderful stuff…Best Bread I`ve eaten for a long time. The problem is though…Theres 10 courses to go….absolutely deadly , so good it`s impossible to keep off.
Westcombe Cheese cracker , Pickled Onion , Cheese snow.
Bessy beck Rainbow Trout – House cured with Fennel, fresh Cucumber, Dill and sour Cream – This dish i can only describe as `Summer on a plate` , Refreshing , light , stunning to the eye and highly aromatic.
Ox Tongue Salad – Roasted Ox tongue and grilled Tundra Cabbage with valley offerings and smoky Bone Marrow cream. – It was like eating the finest piece of melt in the mouth Steak. Paired up with the smokiness of the Bone marrow cream this one made for a beautiful combination of flavours.
Diver caught Isle of Skye Scallops – Seared Scallops with sea Fennel, Wild Blaeberry , Roasted Cauliflower puree and barbequed Cauliflower – One of my closed eyes moments. I love Scallops cooked in any way but this one hit my magic button right away. A classic heavenly marriage of Cauliflower taken to another level after being Barbequed and then pureed …oh wow. Just to top that off it was then given another level of tart sweetness with a syrup of Wild Blaeberries ( Blueberries ) which are currently in full fruit on the lake district mountain tops.
Wild brill – Brill cooked in Brown Butter with Oyster and Dittander cream, grilled blood red Holland Onions and Kohlrabi. This was my favourite course of the day.Perfectly moist fish with the gently cooked cubes of Kohlrabi.The flavours were basic and simple and the only chemistry here was the natural flavours of prime seasonal produce.
Cartmel Valley Roe deer – Crusted Almond and Juniper Venison haunch, Pablo Beetroot and rainbow Chard. – An extra complimentary course here for lucky old me. This one was a recipe in progress so i gave it a little road testing to air my views. The Venison was well cooked and tender , a nice subtle game flavour came through and paired up nicely with the Nut crumb coating. Baby beets , Crispy heritage Beetroot and a smooth sweet puree of Beetroot accompanied the Venison and it was a really enjoyable dish to eat slowly and savour every mouthful. Personally i would have liked to have seen the addition of something carrying a degree of tartness just to add that finishing touch and complete a hit on the senses of Savoury , Sweet , and Sour ( my trips to Asia rubbing off on me )
Dexter Beef – Beer fed Dexter rib with grilled young Cabbage, Hen of the woods and Sea Rocket dressing
Toffee Malto , Molasses gel , Pineapple Weed ice cream.
Poached Gooseberry – Gooseberries poached in sweet wine with Apple Marigold, Apple mousse and crumble ice cream – Now C`mon guys , my immediate reaction was an open mouthed one as soon as i spotted the `suspect` leaves. I know Mr Rogan loves his twists on the normal and Chef Kev Tickle is a master of the foraging but serving `Ganja` leaves on a dessert…..Whaaaaat ? I asked my server what they were….She laughed. I asked the restaurant manager what they were….He laughed. Surely not. Anyways , during my drive back home i only ended up buzzing off the meal and not the crazy herbs. After a quick a search on google it turned out to be an Apple flavoured herb called Tagetes Minuta or Mexican Margigold.
Yorkshire Strawberries – Macerated Strawberries with Sheep’s milk ice cream, wild Sorrel and Hazelnut biscuit – English Strawberries and Cream on Steroids , I don`t need to say anything more than this.
The dishes below are taken off the new alc menu at Rogan & Co and an example of the very attractive pricing structure in the restaurant. The thing that puzzles me is that the food here is clearly running at Michelin star levels so why can`t other restaurants of a similar nature offer food for prices like this ?
Cartmel Valley Pigeon – Grilled pigeon breast, creamed kale and savoury, blackcurrant and chamomile sauce. £7
Pigs Trotter – Crispy pigs trotter with confit potatoes, broad beans and mugwort cream sauce. £7
Bessy beck rainbow trout – House cured with fennel, fresh cucumber, dill and sour cream. £8
Wild brill – Brill cooked in brown butter with oyster and dittander cream, grilled blood red Holland onions and kohlrabi. £22
Line caught Cod – Seared cod loin and icicle radishes, coastal greens radish and anise broth. £21
Mead Glazed Carrot – Sugar snax carrot glazed in mead, St James cheese, barbequed sea kale and walnut dressing. £16
Yorkshire Strawberries – Macerated strawberries with sheep’s milk ice cream, wild sorrel and hazelnut biscuit. £8
Raspberry Mousse – Raspberry mousse with mascarpone ice cream, elderflower jelly and crispy brioche. £7
Smoked Cherry – Cherries smoked over oak, walnut cake, artichoke ice cream and caramel. £8