Farm-to-table eating: top five UK restaurants
We've found five farm-to-table restaurants in the UK to enjoy local produce. From feasting on cured meats at Coombeshead, to enjoying a gourmet picnic at Soho Farmhouse, we've rounded up our favourite places.
The farm-to-table movement is taking place all across the UK, with local produce being used in new and imaginative ways. From Yorkshire to Cornwall, Scotland to Somerset, there are chefs smoking, curing and pickling produce, hens laying eggs that are freshly poached as well as kitchen gardens growing fruit and veg.
We've put together a list of our five favourites, including chic cabins, farmhouses and an indulgent lodge to rest after all the feasting.
As a guesthouse with its own restaurant you’ll need to stay over in one of Coombeshead Farm’s five bedrooms if you want to enjoy a farm-to-table dinner at this Cornish farmhouse. And you definitely should.
Run by Pitt Cue co-owner Tom Adams and April Bloomfield (of New York’s the Spotted Pig), the food here is exceptional. For breakfast there’s homemade yoghurt, bread, freshly milled oats and grains, preserves, butters, ham, bacon and cheeses, while dinner is served at a ‘feasting table’. It’s an apt description; produce from the farm’s smokehouse, curing and pickling rooms is served, dependent on what the farm is producing at the time.
For the sweet-toothed, dessert is given as much attention as the savoury dishes. Cream cheese mousse (made by culturing raw Guernsey cream) with fresh raspberries, perhaps. And, if you want to get more hands-on, look out for a planned series of guest workshops. These are set to range from whole-carcass butchery to breadmaking, pickling and curing lessons.
At this Danish-owned farmhouse in the Cairngorms (cue the building’s pared-back Scandi aesthetic) food is supplied not only from the kitchen garden but from the wider estate; guests can sign up for a catch-and-cook fishing experience or stride out on a hike through the surrounding hills to spot deer.
Start the day with eggs fresh from the estate’s hens, and granola topped with homemade apple and cinnamon compote. At dinner, expect the likes of hot-smoked salmon salad with fresh peas, asparagus tops, baby beets, watercress and horseradish; roast guinea fowl with smoked tomato coulis; or roast venison, also from the estate.
In between, head out on that catch-and-cook fishing experience with an expedition to Loch an t-Seilich to catch a few ‘brownies’ (brown trout) before taking them back to the kitchen where the chef will help you salt-bake your prize catch.
Set within 100 acres of immaculately groomed Oxfordshire countryside, Soho Farmhouse is a kind of grown-up version of Swallows and Amazons, the ultimate modern-day playground with 40 chic cabins to hide away in, a spa, a cinema, a boating lake, tennis courts and, of course, a relaxed but carefully thought-through choice of eating and drinking options, whether you fancy a gourmet picnic or a perfectly mixed Negroni.
The farm deli offers local cheeses and homemade pickles to enjoy from the comfort of your cabin. Breakfast, lunch and dinner are all served in the main barn, alongside sofas and log fires; try a farm cheeseburger topped with local pancetta, opt for Scottish salmon with farmhouse chard or, if you’re lucky enough to be there on a weekend, plump for one of the Farm Feasts or roast dinners.
The catch? Soho Farmhouse is a members club – you’ll need to sign up if you want to join the fun.
Amid 200 acres of North Yorkshire countryside the Coach House restaurant, part of the stylish Middleton Lodge hotel, focuses on locally sourced ingredients with a clear estate-to-plate ethos.
Dinner menus are inspired by the setting, with typical starters ranging from Yorkshire rabbit & pressed pork terrine to roast heritage carrot salad with goats curd and hazelnuts, and pea panna cotta with pancetta.
The cooking here has an unfaltering respect for ingredients; whether that’s cabbage, venison or truffle, everything gets the attention it deserves and there are no shortcuts or second-bests.
And that ethos is set to get stronger in 2018, when the restaurant takes a further step into the farm-to-table movement, with the opening of a dedicated kitchen garden.
Hauser & Wirth
When the Hauser & Wirth gallery, with its Piet Oudolf-designed garden, opened in the sleepy Somerset village of Bruton it was a game-changer. Not only did it attract a steady stream of high profile international artists but it also helped turn the village into a hotbed of creativity; it’s now home to several smart design stores and cafes.
Foodies are just as welcome as art lovers. At the gallery’s heart is the Roth Bar & Grill, an onsite restaurant. While the vibe is decadent and fun, the food is humble at heart, with a focus on sustainably sourced produce (much of it is sourced from the owner’s surrounding estate, Durslade Farm; the herbs are grown even closer to home – in the kitchen garden at the entrance to the gallery).
Look out for Somerset honey panna cotta, Godminster smoked cheddar atop a Wagyu burger or home-cured bacon with farm-fresh eggs. Roasts are served on Sundays and, as you’d expect, all the meat - native breeds such as Lleyn sheep and Oxford Sandy & black pigs - comes from the farm.