Saturday 25 January 2014


I realised that, according to google naps, L'enclume was only 2 hrs 45 mins away. Why not, I thought? We dug out our DVD  of the Trip and put ourselves in the mood for a road trip. 

It was all very straightforward. No complicated booking system, no counting 60 days backwards, no deposit and no problem if you had to cancel (obviously giving as much notice to the restaurant as possible, as it's only polite). I came off the phone thinking I was obviously too used to London restaurants. I did phone a week before our trip just to check we did indeed have a booking as there was no confirmation text or email either.

It was quite a stress free day. The drive went well and Cartmel is indeed lovely. I liked the laid back atmosphere of the restaurant finding formal dining a bit of a bore these days. The staff were chatty and personable too.
The food was very pretty and there were quite a few herbs we had not tasted before. The combinations seemed designed to enhance the flavours of the main ingredient. The potato dish stood out, as did the hotpot and the venison tartare. I had made the mistake of asking for a substitution feeling a bit squeamish at the raw venison. How wrong I was. It was lovely.
The only disappointing dish was the fish ostensibly because it was cold. As you can see the herbed butter stayed solid and had it melted it would have obviously added flavour and richness to the whole dish.
 I had a lovely time and there is no doubt about the exceptional level of technique, quality of ingredients and level of service we experienced.

Monday 20 January 2014

Pig and butcher

Family friendly, good atmosphere, fresh seasonal produce, butcher on site. What more can you ask for


We picked meatmission as I knew you could book. They showed us through to the back which suited us well as we had Noah with us. We loved the art and took lots of photos. This did not however distract us from the fact it took them ages to take our order and even longer to bring our food. We had a clear view of the kitchen and saw them crank out plenty of food. It turns out they forgot to process our order but once it was put in it came out pretty quickly. To make up for it they gave us free tokens for the photo booth which we loved! 
The food came out on a big tray which is great for sharing. I was underwhelmed by the monkey fingers. The batter was too thick and greasy. Same for the fried pickles, the batter separated from the pickles in a greasy clump. The burgers were good and I probably liked it more than my patty and bun burger.

Ottolenghi breakfast, Islington

I had watched a programme where  Yotam Ottolenghi made Shakshuka in Tel Aviv and was only a little disappointed that this Ottolenghi version didn't have any meat in it. Nonetheless it was delicious.
So too, was the cannellini bean stew with bacon and chorizo. Both hearty ways to start the day. 
To contrast the cinnamon brioche was rich, buttery and decadent. Even more so when slathered with the house made hazelnut chocolate spread and two types of house made jam. 
Almond croissant 

Cinnamon brioche
Chorizo eggs and beans

Thursday 9 January 2014


We dared brave the lines with Noah in tow one lunchtime. I think we timed it quite well going later on in the lunch service. We only waited 5 mins before we got a table in the very busy and cramped restaurant. We had to try the confit chicken wings but I found the BBQ sauce overpowering and couldn't really enjoy them. The fries were good but too thick for me. My smokey Robinson was a gloopy savoury mess of a burger, juicy and tasty.
HI was very pleased with his Big Poppa special that had guacamole, habanero  salsa, wahaca cheese, and spicy red pickles.

Quality chop house

I liked this place and more importantly so did Noah. I was very taken with the original woodwork, tiling etc and the glimpse into the past it allowed. 
The food was maybe not as good as it could have been if we had ordered differently.
HI's chop and a glass was a disappointment as the chop had a lot of fat and not much meat, although it looked very fine.
The fried fish with aioli was good for Noah if a bit greasy and the devilled pig skin was a fancy version of crackling.
The standout was the brisket with stinking bishop and tomatoes. This I could have eaten plates of. The other surprise was the black cherry Eton mess with cocoa nibs. A completely new version and very successful.
I would like to go back and sample the menu more widely.