I promise, I’d not gone anywhere… it’s just December and January aren’t really times when you spend that much money. That and also, I’d been at college a lot and thought “well, if I’m training to be a chef, I should probably avoid talking about places, because if I’m not entirely complimentary, maybe nobody would employ me”, but I’ve come to realise, that whilst I am a decent cook, I’d make a terrible chef, however, so once this course has finished, that’s it. I’ll just apply for jobs that have nothing to do with professional kitchens.
Anyway… Sara and I decided to go on a microholiday to Cumbria, so we could visit Grasmere and Cartmel, shove our faces full of gingerbread and sticky toffee pudding, let me lick the door handle of L’enclume, because that’s about as close as I was likely to get, and then come home full of unhealthy but delicious confections. However, our
hotel hovel in Kent’s bank was terrible, tiny, dirty, and also, a twin room, not a double, and we spent so much time trying to sort it out, to no avail, we didn’t have time to get to Grasmere, so it sadly had to be cut out of our microholiday, however, we spent the first day in Grange-Over-Sands, which was lovely. We bought chocolate at both of the chocolatiers, and then had fish and chips in the evening at Fish Over Chips, where I ordered a portion of plaice, and got served what could only be described as half a whale. Delicious, though, and cooked to perfection.
But I digress, delicious as the fish and chips (oh, and the mushy peas were some of the best I’ve tasted) were, this blog is about Cartmel, and how we decided to eat at Rogan and Co.
When we arrived at Cartmel after a 2.7mile walk from our hotel, we were pleased to see that we had arrived on the day of the monthly food market, so we started off browsing, and then the heavens opened. We ran for shelter in a tea house and had a spot of breakfast. We continued mooching around the village, and I spotted Rogan and Co. Oh, how lovely it would be to eat there, but it was a bit out of my budget… we continued walking around the village, bought puddings from the village shop, and I suggested going to the Pig and Whistle, because that’s as close as I felt I would come to eating at L’enclume in the near future. We walked up, took a look at the menu, and though it looked fairly priced, we noted that we could eat at Rogan and Co. for the same price. Oh go on then, you’ve twisted my arm.
I was a bit nervous about going into a top restaurant in my wellies, but not a single eyebrow was raised, I guess they’re used to this, what with it being Cumbria, and therefore naturally being soaking fucking wet all of the time.
We were sat near the rear of the restaurant, I suspect because they wanted to hide me and my common wellies from anyone passing by (I don’t really suspect this), which suited Sara and I fine, because we could pull faces at each other and not feel like we were spoiling anybody else’s time there.
They asked if we wanted water, sparkling or still. Sometimes I forget that still water in bottles is actually a thing. It’s just wet and clear stuff and it all tastes the same, I kinda resent getting charged £3 or so for a bottle of stuff that comes through the taps at a much cheaper value. I noticed other tables got offered tap water, we didn’t. Hmm. Oh well.
Canapés arrived on a rock, because rocks are cheaper than plates in the Lake District, because there are a lot of rocks. This is science, reader. They were cool little cheese wafers, with “Branston pickle” (really? a shop bought ingredient or their own made sweet pickle?) and cheese powder.
Sourdough mini bread loaf, with what I assume to be whipped butter, sprinkled with salt. I assume that because it was quite fluffy, which gave it an almost margeriney quality. I prefer my butter to be thick and buttery and fat tasting, and make me feel unhealthy. Because feeling like a fatty boombatty is awesome.
We both had the same main course of Roast Cod, with Salsify, Cockles, Fermented Garlic and Sea Beets. We were both drawn to this, having both never had salsify before, and seeing it all over Masterchef, wanted to try it. Phwoar! It’s good stuff, and I’ll be cooking with it in the future. Also, how the heckydeck did I grow up on the seaside and never have cockles until now? Madness. This dish was glorious, and I was pleased I saved a slice of the sourdough bread to mop up the sauce like the pleb that I am.
Sara had for her pudding, Poached Rhubarb, Rhubarb Ice Cream, Brioche, Elderflower Wine and Brown Butter Tuilles. Here’s a thing, I’ve never eaten rhubarb before. Remember when I went to Northcote Manor? Where I’d never eaten plums before and loved them? It was kinda like that. I tried this, and it was actually delicious. I’ve just been a fussy fruit shirker for all of these years. I’m sure it’ll be the same for my dessert, too…
It’s pretty, isn’t it? Meadowsweet Mousse, with Apple… erm, apple about 3 ways, Hazlenut and Wild Chervil. I’ve never liked apples, apart from as juice or cider (cider is juice, right?). I could have gone for the Iced Yoghurt with Honeycomb and Granola, but thought I should push myself and order something I wouldn’t normally try, on the basis of the Northcote Plums. I wish I hadn’t, I just don’t think apples and I get on. This doesn’t reflect on the cooking at Rogan and Co, it’s just me, I’m the fussy bugger. Still, I ate all of the apple, because I didn’t want it to go to waste, and I didn’t dislike it, I just didn’t love it. Apples taste strange. The meadowsweet mousse, however. OOFT. A bucket of that, please.
To finish off, we had tea and coffee , because Sara doesn’t function without coffee, and I quite like tea. Our brews arrived with Chocolate Macaroons with a Sea Buckthorn filling. Sea buckthorn was all over Great British Menu a few years ago where they had to cook with entirely British produce, and a bunch of chefs made some apparently horrendous puds with this little yellow berry, but the chefs at Rogan and Co have made deliciously chewy macaroons with a strange, completely alien, yet familiar filling. Why did we only get one each? I could have done at least two more…
…so, where is this place’s Michelin star?