L'Enclume is famous for its multi-course tasting menus, drawing on very locally sourced and foraged ingredients. They're not cheap, but they are always good value; they're multi-course but are never over-facing.
But sometimes I'm a little short of cash and/or time, which is when one of the less well-known features of this excellent restaurant come in handy: the set table d'hôte lunch at £25 for 3+1 courses (3 advertised, plus an amuse). And you still get the brilliant bread that has had London foodies' tongues wagging at the new sister restaurant, Roganic.
On this occasion, my amuse was a porcelain sack filled with a layer of (cucumber?) jelly, then a very light beetroot mousse, all topped with a buffalo mozzarella snow and some pretty powerful dill flowers. Quite delicate, yet precise flavours, though I wasn't convinced by the texture of the mozzarella snow as it melted on the tongue to that not entirely pleasant mouthfeel that frozen cream has.
The starter proper was one of the best jerusalem artichoke dishes I've ever had. A cream of Ragstone cheese, topped with malt formed the base for cylinders of jerusalem artichoke and some crisps made from the artichoke skin. As ever, it looked beautiful. Though immediately, there's a surprise: it's cold. I can't remember the last time I had cold jerusalem artichoke, and when it was put down on the table, I don't know why, but it looked like the artichoke component was hot, or at least warm! It was a really lovely dish with a perfect balance of flavours. I can't help wondering what it would be like if, say, the skins had been hot. Would that add another dimension, or just spoil it?
Main course was a great piece of hogget (sheep over one year old), with various greenery stuff, including something called ground ivy. Cue slightly alarming moment: isnt' ivy poisonous? No, not this one. According to the usual internet sources of varying authority, it's a hedgerow plant, somehow related to mint that's been used in cheesemaking as an alternative to animal rennet and in brewing as an alternative to hops; though they say it's also poisonous to horses. I'm still alive. Another nice dish.
Dessert was one of those not overly sweet desserts that I particularly like and which L'Enclume does so well. Wild blackberries, gently poached, served with a beetroot sorbet, beetroot meringue and an utterly dreamy buttermilk set custard.