Michelin star L'Enclume in Cartmel celebrates 20th anniversary
- Credit: Emma Mayoh
Simon Rogan celebrated 20 years since the launch of his first restaurant, L'Enclume, in Cartmel. We visit Henrock where he staged a number of dinners to mark this milestone
It has taken what anyone would agree has been a Herculean effort for those in hospitality to weather what the world has thrown at them over the past two years. They’re not on their own, of course, but it has been an admirable show of strength from those who, despite their own challenges of furlough, closures and ‘are we opening, are we not’, have kept going – and with smiles on their faces.
For all-round super chef Simon Rogan, this year there is even more to celebrate. Not only has his original restaurant, L’Enclume, been awarded a third Michelin star – the only one outside London or Berkshire and the first in the north to receive such a lofty accolade – but he is also celebrating 20 years of success with his Umbel Restaurant Group.
He is considered one of the original pioneers of the ‘farm-to-fork’ movement, he holds a clutch of Michelin stars, two Michelin green stars, the number one spot in the UK Good Food Guide, his very own 12-acre farm in the Cartmel valley, a thriving home delivery arm, and employs more than 200 members of staff in both the UK and Asia. He also responsible for nurturing the talents of some of the food scene's leading lights – think Mark Birchall at two Michelin star Moor Hall and Kevin Tickle – former Forest Side star holder now running supremely popular Heft.
The past two decades have been filled with accolade after accolade. Since that first restaurant in Cartmel, then more known for sticky toffee pudding and its races than a destination for some of the best food in the world – Simon Rogan has drawn up the blueprint of what is now the northern food scene’s remarkable credentials. This is the man who first started plating up some of his dishes using a baked bean tin to create a uniform result in his dishes.
It seems fitting that to mark this 20th anniversary year, he is marking this magnificent milestone with a series of events throughout 2022 – including a celebration of some of those formative dishes that have defined the Rogan experience over the past 20 years. Set in his newest UK venue – Henrock restaurant at Linthwaite House Hotel, on the edge of Bowness on Windermere – we dined on one of the special evenings with menus full of the dishes that have appeared on the chef’s menus since 2002.
We got to choose three courses from a selection of some of the best food that has even come out of a Rogan kitchen. Members of the hugely attentive Henrock staff were on hand to explain each dish to us – from where ingredients have come from to the stories behind each dish.
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My starter of roasted sea scallops from Orkney with oyster fritter, fennel and truffle was a favourite at our table. Every morsel – as you might expect when the master chef himself is in the kitchen – was one of the most wonderful forkfuls of food you’re every likely to try. It was the very first dish served to guests when L’Enclume opened 20 years ago. It is little wonder guests have kept coming back. Mains of roasted Goosnargh guinea hen, rillette of the leg with trompette mushroom, leek and artichoke and aged short rib of beef, with caramelised potato and bone marrow were the perfect palate pleasers and desserts of key lime pie, plated with discs of punch, zesty flavour, and a pineapple crème brûlée with jus of preserved black cherries – sunshine on a plate – was the ideal end to an unforgettable dining experience. What a way to mark 20 years of dining success.
With establishments now in the Lake District – L’Enclume, Rogan & Co, Aulis Cartmel and Henrock as well as Aulis Soho in London and Sulis, Organic in Hong Kong, Simon and his restaurants have been propelled to international prominence. What Simon has, and continues to do, is nothing short of remarkable. Long may this continue.
The dinner at Henrock was the first of many events planned to mark this milestone year for Simon Rogan. Other events include 20 trees being planted on Simon Rogan’s Our Farm to create a new orchard; the release of a L’Enclume photography book; a whisky released in collaboration with The Lakes Distillery; a bespoke commission cutlery range made for L’Enclume and a Home by Simon Rogan limited edition box.