|In a word: Heavenly|
|Food: Organic, succulent and seasonal. Inspired flavour combinations create a lasting impression|
|Service: Lacking a little finesse in their communication|
|Presentation: Stunning- food, location, interiors, exteriors|
|Ambience: Just perfect; quiet enough for a romantic meal, busy enough to not be over heard whispering sweet nothings!|
|Location: We visited the farm and HQ in the Gloucestershire Cotswolds|
|Value for money: £50 a head for a three course meal with a few glasses of booze|
|Worth a visit?: Yes. Go now, flee the city and lap up the beautiful English countryside and the fantastic food on offer|
This place is beautiful, I mean really stunning. And the food…just delicious. And organic. And I had possibly the best dish I’ve tasted since our visit to La Chassagnette in the South of France in 2010. BIG call! The combination of the baked fig starter, company ethos, beautiful farm and the location made for one winning combination!
Need I say more?
So you might have heard of Daylesford, It’s a farm (two actually, one in Gloucester the second in Staffordshire), with a presence in all the smartest areas of London with farm-shops and cafes in Pimlico, Notting Hill, and Marylebone. If you can’t make it into town, you can pick up their products from the Selfridges and online at Daylesford.com and Ocado. Daylesford also have a sister farm in the South of France, Château Léoube, where they grow their own wine…I’ve already put in my leave request for this one!
My first experience of Daylesford was in the form of the highly nutritious and well balanced lunch from their Pimlico cafe: sausage roll with their amazing raw slaw (recipe here). I fell in love instantly, repeating this lunch most days, occasionally swapping the sausage roll for a fish cake. I then discovered their delicious soups, in-house butcher, fresh veggies, treats and other produce; smitten.
I had planned a weekend away at a beautiful Medieval manor house in Tysoe, Warwickshire, which I soon discovered was a mere 30 minute drive to the Daylesford HQ just outside of Kingham, Gloucestershire. Before I knew it, I’d booked us in for dinner on the Saturday night, and the rest, as they say, is history…
As we drove up to the farm and I instantly fell in love; the set up here is perfect; Daylesford have managed to incorporate their shop & deli, outdoor pizza bar, café and restaurant, flowers, plant and outdoor-type-garden-things shop, along with Bamford’s Haybarn day spa and shop into the farm. Driving past, you’d hardly know all this was there – minimal advertising, it’s a word of mouth thing, and very low impact on the surroundings.
Perfectly English, perfectly welcoming, perfectly perfect.
Now onto the important stuff.
The menu at Daylesford is completely seasonal, influence by the best of what is available on the farm and sourced locally. The specials menu showcases the freshly caught selection on offer that day. You can check out Daylesford’s latest menus online here.
We rocked up a couple of hours before our reservation to have a poke around and check out the farm shop (which unfortunately had just closed at 6pm!), so we took a walk up to Daylesford village, around the church, up to the gates of Daylesford House and then back to the farm to soak up late evening sunshine in the yard enjoying a seasonal berry Bellini from the Pizza Bar before embarking on dinner.
I love figs and intrigued by this savory take on the fig, we both opted for the Baked fig, curd cheese and red wine salad with flax crackers. Oh my goodness, this was amazing – I can still taste it in my mouth now. Light and clean tasting curd cheese against the juicy warmth of the fig sat in a deep, almost mulled red wine sauce. Possibly the tastiest thing I’ve eaten in a looooong time. The last time I had something so good would have been on honeymoon in the South of France at La Chassagnette, the combination of flavours transported me straight back to this region.
From the specials board, I opted for the wood-oven roast duck on a bed of Thai salad. The duck was thick, fatty on the outside, pink in the middle and super succulent. The sauce and lightly stir-fry vegetables was a good contrast to the duck and helped balance the dish. I imagine the gaminess (thick and meaty) isn’t to everyone’s tastes, but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Having spotted it in front of someone in the yard, he chose the Rotisserie chicken from the Pizza Bar. This beautifully cooked chicken came with mixed salad, seasonal veggies and a salsa verde mayo. No complaints whatsoever on this one, although I’m not sure I was offered any to try…
He loved the Baked Alaska with fresh raspberries sauce. I wasn’t so into it, don’t get me wrong It was nice, but I was having too much of a good time with my dessert…
I did really, really enjoyed the Cotswold honey mousse with poaches peaches – the mousse did it for me- light with a really subtle flavor, just delicious. Unfortunately, I didn’t get on with the poached peaches, which were hard, too hard to cut through with a spoon, which was a real shame. I thought the delicate flavour of the mouse would have gone really well with something sharp and seasonal, like red currents.
To top off a beautiful evening, we had the opportunity to chat with the chef, Ivan, who took the time to talk us through a little bit about Daylesford’s ethos, the farms and their produce, the kitchen and menu, and the Cookery School.
We loved the whole experience of visiting Daylesford, so much so, that we came back the following day for a wander around the farm shop to grab some bits from the deli and have pizza and cocktails from their Pizza Bar. Unfortunately for you, the pizza came and went well before I remember to take a photo, so you’ll have to trust me on this one, it was delicious!
The service at Daylesford overall was great, however, once we’d been seated for our meal it did feel like there was little communication between the wait staff as to whether our order had been taken or our bill requested. It wasn’t a deal breaker whatsoever, just wasn’t as slick as I would have thought it would be.
The farm is houses in weathered Jurassic limestone, trimmings painted in a soft mint green. The cafe / restaurant is a beautifully refurbished barn, you walk through the entrance into a reception-cum-bar which leads you on into the main dining area with the open kitchen at the far end. The centre piece of the kitchen is the wood-fired oven and stove, it’s a real feature; you get to be completely distracted from your dining partner’s conversation watching the chefs create magic in the kitchen!
Food is well presented, but you won’t spend too much time looking at it.
Value for money:
Standard London prices for food that is organic, seasonal and crafted into amazing dishes in an environment that you won’t forget. We came away with satisfyingly full bellies and £100 lighter after a three course meal for two with a couple of drinks each, I’m pretty happy with that.
Daylesford near Kingham, Gloucestershire, GL56 0YG
Tel: 01608 731 700
Farmshop and café hours:
Monday to Wednesday 9am – 5pm
Thursday to Saturday 9am – 6pm
Sunday 10am – 4pm
Last cafe orders, 30 minutes before closing. We cannot take bookings for lunch.
Open for Supper Friday and Saturday evenings, 7pm till late.
Supper Bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org
Pizza bar hours:
Friday & Saturday 12pm-9pm