The tens of thousands of people who attended the Taste Cumbria Cockermouth Food Festival last weekend were left in little doubt that Cumbria has an outstanding food heritage. The county is home to the Cumberland Sausage, Grasmere Gingerbread, Cartmel Sticky Toffee Pudding, and now it can add another accolade, being home to four Michelin starred restaurants. This is no mean feat when you consider that the county is the 3rd largest in England, but the second least densely populated.

The Michelin Awards 2019 took place on Monday, 1st October in London and it was during these awards that it was revealed that a fourth restaurant in Cumbria, Rogan & Co in Cartmel, had achieved one star. Foodies amongst our readers will probably be aware that this restaurant is run by Simon Rogan, who also runs the nearby restaurant L’Enclume. L’Enclume has once again retained its two Michelin stars, whilst the Forest Side at Grasmere and the Gilpin Hotel in Windermere have both retained their single star status.

We have taken a closer look at each of the restaurants to see what has made them worthy of such high praise.

L’Enclume, Cavendish Street, Cartmel

L’Enclume, Cavendish Street, Cartmel

Not only is Simon Rogan’s L’Enclume a holder of two Michelin stars, but it was also named as the best restaurant in Britain for four years in a row by the Good Food Guide. The restaurant is housed in a former ironmongers, and whilst many of the original features have been retained, Rogan has taken a minimalist approach to the décor. There are stripped back walls and floors, as well as bare tables, all to ensure that there is nothing to distract the diner from the food experience.

The experience itself consists of one of two tasting menus, either the 10-course lunch time only menu or the 20-course lunch or evening menu. The dishes themselves are a secret until your order is placed, when the waiter will then present you with a sealed envelope that contains details of what each course entails. Some diners prefer to leave the envelope sealed for an extra surprise. Each course is beautifully presented and uses only seasonal ingredients, many of which are grown in Rogan’s own farm.

How Easy is it to Book a Table?

Surprisingly, it’s not that difficult. The online booking system lets you check availability and if you don’t mind booking on a weekday it’s not that hard to find a time slot to suit with weekend slots being somewhat harder to secure.

Cost

The 10-course lunch menu costs £59 with wine pairing available for £49. The 20-course menu costs £155 with wine pairing from £80.

Rogan & Co, the Square, Cartmel

Rogan & Co, the Square, Cartmel

Sister restaurant to L’Enclume, Rogan & Co, is the holder of Simon Rogan’s newest Michelin star. Rogan & Co is housed in a 16th century building with exposed beams, whitewashed walls, and a roaring fire all creating a more relaxed and informal atmosphere to that found at L’Enclume. Like L’Enclume, the restaurant makes the most of seasonal produce grown on Rogan’s farm.

However, Rogan & Co offers a more traditional restaurant experience with a standard 3-course menu. That being said, the dishes are presented in the same beautiful style and every mouthful offers a myriad of different flavours that complement each other perfectly.

How Easy is it to Book a Table?

Like L’Enclume, Rogan & Co has an online table booking system and you can usually find a dinner slot available if you book around a week in advance. However, this is likely to change following this year’s Michelin star award.

Cost

Main dishes typically cost between £18 and £30.

Forest Side Hotel, Keswick Road, Grasmere

Forest Side Hotel, Keswick Road, Grasmere

Head Chef at Forest Side, Kevin Tickle, spent 9 years working under Simon Rogan at L’Enclume before moving to his position at the luxury Grasmere hotel. Rogan’s influence is clear with the restaurant also offering an exquisite tasting experience that uses the best of local and seasonal ingredients. Tickle is particularly keen on foraging.

A true Cumbrian born and bred, Tickle spent much of his childhood collecting elderflower and other ingredients with his Dad to create wine. Before he opened the restaurant at Forest Side, he spent months in preparation by foraging the nearby countryside for ingredients to pickle and cure, and he continues to ensure that the tasting menu on offer is informed by local and seasonal produce. The menus claim to be inspired by the Cumbrian landscape, and Herdwick lamb is certainly one of the stars.

How Easy Is It To Book A Table?

It can be tricky, as priority is given to hotel residents who can book onto a stay and dine package. See website for more information.

Cost

Lunch tasting menus cost between £40 and £80. Dinner tasting menus cost between £80 and £105.

HRiSHi at the Gilpin Hotel, Crook Road, Windermere

HRiSHi at the Gilpin Hotel, Crook Road, Windermere

HRiSHi at the Gilpin Hotel was first awarded a Michelin star in 2016 and once again the British-Asian restaurant has retained the coveted award. The Head Chef, Hrishikesh Desai, was born in India and trained and worked in France before moving to Cumbria. His dishes infuse the best of British produce with the exotic spices he grew up with, creating a taste explosion, mouthful by mouthful.

Morecambe Bass is combined with coconut and masala, whilst Scottish salmon is served alongside piccalilli and cucumber jelly. Diners can opt for a traditional three course meal, a tasting menu with seven courses, or a decadent and modern take on afternoon tea.

How Easy is it to Book a Table?

There’s an online booking system, but evening service at the weekends does tend to get booked up several weeks in advance.

Cost

A 3-course dinner costs £70 per person, the tasting menu costs £90 (£150 with paired wines), and the afternoon tea costs £22.50 per person (£38.50 with Champagne).