Monday 14 April 2014

Rogan & Co, Cartmel.

I've not been to Rogan & co before, Simon Rogan's other restaurant in Cartmel. I get the impression that previously it was just simple bistro food, looking at old reviews anyway. That has now changed with the recent appointment of Head Chef Kevin Tickle and a refurbishment. Apparently, Mr Tickle has been an important part of the L'Enclume kitchen for the last few years, and now with the expansion of the Rogan 'empire' to Claridges, he's been given full control of Rogan & co.
So we were very excited to visit on Friday, we were going to Cartmel just to eat there. Mrs Bacon had taken the day off especially. That gives you an idea of how seriously we take our food!
It was a beautiful day too, the drive up from Manchester is all part of the anticipation of eating some seriously top class cuisine. After a brief wander with the dog, down by the stream that flows next to the little restaurant, we went in early to make sure we had secured our favoured seat by the window. As we were driving, it was a glass of white wine each to start, but the one I chose wasn't actually to my taste. So they brought over all the bottles they had of white by the glass, for us to sample all of them to decide. Like a little wine tasting. Such a nice touch and really great service. We loved it already.
Onto the food. We were having the new 10 course taster menu Chef Kevin is developing. Everyone else in the restaurant was ordering a la carte. So without further ado. To start; Snacks; Black Pudding beignet with mustard emulsion. I could just eat these all night. If you opened a tapas bar just serving just this you'd be onto a winner. The other, a light cheesy amuse-bouche; Westcombe cheese cracker, cheese snow and pickled onion was perfect too.
Heritage potatoes, herb emulsion and caper. Simple and lovely, the humble potato as the star, very L'Enclume in its style as you might expect. The quality of all the products especially the veg is always superlative.
Sea Kale, St. James, onion and crispy buckwheat. Mrs B's favourite, she loves her greens. Me, slightly less so.
Potted rainbow trout, soured cream, watercress and alliums.
Superb bread and the best butter I've ever tasted.
Hedgerow spring offerings with roast ox tongue and smoked bone marrow. I was a little disappointed with the ox tongue, I expected more depth of flavour and tenderness like the one I had at The Parkers Arms recently. Or, possibly a lambs tongue, we've had some lovely ones at the Sticky Walnut.
Butter poached brill, kohlrabi, bay shrimps, scurvy grass and charred leek. Beautiful. What I love about tasting menus is the opportunity to eat dishes I'd never have ordered a la carte.
Suckling British Lop, mead glazed carrots and hedge garlic. Possibly my favourite dish. One cut of pork was a little bland, but the other two were just right, especially the part with the crackling, so juicy.
Rowan shoot, preserved plum and buttermilk. All three of the puddings were very strong we thought. I couldn't choose between them.  
Rhubarb, elderflower wine, brioche and brown butter.
Sheep's milk ice cream, hazelnut, sorrel and acidic yoghurt. 
In the end, an impressive meal. There were no weak courses at all. I personally would have preferred one less dessert and an extra meat course, perhaps some lamb or mutton, because I know how good the local product is. Comparing it with a recent meal at The French, it was just underneath in terms of having the 'wow' factor, but it's obvious that Chef Kevin Tickle is a star in the making.

Although the influence of L'Enclume is obvious and natural, make no mistake, this is the real deal. It's seriously good food, literally from the ground up. Foraging is of course an important part of the whole ethos of L'Enclume and something that this chef does a lot of, which shows in his cooking. It will be very interesting to see how Chef Kevin Tickle develops his own style in the years to come, as I don't think it's beyond possibility that we could see two Michelin Star restaurants in Cartmel in the future. 8.5/10. 
Sammie enjoys Cartmel.
To see the photos in high resolution click here.
The 10 course taster menu will be priced at £65.
I negotiated it for £55 each (plus service, wine etc) as it's still in development.
Our bill came to £134.70 for two.

Rogan & Co. on Urbanspoon


  1. Beautiful , a great taste of a Cumbrian Spring. Nice photos too.
    For those who find Lenclume a little out of reach then this is the place to head for.

    1. Definitely, especially the a la carte which is great value for food of this standard.