It must be a ‘thing’ at L’Enclume, but both times Jamie and I asked for our photo to be taken – once at our table and once in the kitchen – L’Enclume staff photobombed us! Which I found hilarious. It’s also testament to the fact that it may be a double michelin starred restaurant with impeccable food and service, but the staff don’t take themselves too seriously, which I love.
I did wonder when we entered L’Enclume whether the service would be too stuffy as we were immediately fussed over by some serious seeming waiters. It was only as the evening wore on that I realised that these guys were quietly quirky and fun.
We took our seats and were presented with a fancy wax sealed envelope with the menu in. Beautiful branding by the way, oh and the plate was stunning too.
We opened the menu which revealed seventeen courses! None of which made any sense to me – not that that was a problem. But first things first we needed to focus on booze. I sensibly declined the wine flight as I knew that would be bad news for everyone. However Jamie was game, and opted for eight wines matched with eight of the courses. I stayed safe and had a glass of english sparkling wine from Kent which was light and scrumptious.
The food commenced with one of my favourites of the evening: smoked cod roe and parsley served on a pebble with some flatbreads for scooping it off. Fishy, seasidey and delicious – the excess of parsley giving it a very unique flavour. And I loved scraping it off a pebble. My only beef was that the waiter removed the pebble before I scraped all the cod roe off! I was too intimidated by the fine dining atmosphere to complain though.
I won’t take you through all the seventeen courses or this could become a very long blog post. However mouthwatering theatrical course after course appeared, each subtle and intriguing and a work of art. The most dramatic course was called ‘Humphrey’s Pool’ on the menu – which obviously tells you nothing. The waiter appeared with a bunsen burner and glass bottle contraption on top – there was a broth in the bottom part and seaweeds and seashells in the top. The broth was magically cooked up involving broth going up and down the bottle. Next it was poured on to a wave shaped plate of seafoods. I’m not quite sure what I was eating but it tasted fine, and that’s all that mattered!
Towards the end of the meal we obviously got to the puddings. It’s hard to pick a favourite when everything tastes so good – but Holker yoghurt, rhubarb and sorrel did it for me. Not only did it look exquisite with little flowers sprinkled on top, but this was a dynamite flavour – an extremely posh rhubarb crumble with a moussy sweet cheese topping (which I assume was the yoghurt). Divine!
Words are failing me when I try and sum up the evening – it was a very special meal and there many elements at work that made the night sing. The waiters were brilliant and genuinely very friendly – subtle, knowledgeable, polished, but as I discovered with the photobombing – not too polished that they’ve lost their sense of fun. The setting was charming – it was minimalist but not too minimalist – lots of touches of nature and art thrown gently into the mix with a bit of driftwood here and a shell art work there and delightful hand made asymmetrical crockery. The decor felt contemporary but lovely and tactile and natural too. And obviously the food from start to finish was an adventure – each course surprised us and piqued our curiosity – with each mouthful you were greeted with a new flavour sensation. So L’Enclume thank you – you’ve nailed it!