Castle Farmhouse, Clifton Road, Deddington OX15 0TP
Gold Winner 2018
Gold winner - 2017, 2016
Judges comments - September 2018
'Knife and Fork, run by the talented chef Tanya, has been tantalising taste buds for over 3 years, and eating there is a dining experience like no other! On three Fridays and Saturdays a month she opens her home (well, the living room, dining room and kitchen) to 24 diners for a 'dining event'. She is fully booked weeks in advance.
A diagnosed coeliac of many years Tanya has adapted and honed her craft to cater for those unable to eat gluten, but will happily cater for any other diet – nut free, sulphite free, low FODMAP, whatever her guests request. She is also hugely knowledgeable so no matter how extreme your restrictions, you would feel safe with her cooking for you. When you book she discusses your needs in detail with you and her set menus are planned around the diets of her diners on any given night. For her it is all about inclusion – she never wants anyone to feel 'weird' or left out.
Whilst sipping on our prosecco we were treated to sirloin steak with wasabi tasting spoons, which set the tone for the evening. Stunning melt in the mouth meat, with a picante hit of wasabi balancing all the flavours beautifully. For the vegetarians, they had delicate little quiches made with dairy-free feta, broccoli and chives – they looked lovely!
Our food journey for the evening began with delicate little cups of velvet mushroom soup, with nutty undertones, a swirl of cream (dairy free for those on DF diets) and finished off with a sprinkle of chives.
It was followed with a colourful dish of beetroot marinated salmon topping a bed of remoulade and dill. The salmon so delicately flavoured and almost caramelised, having been cured for 48hrs before being served to us. The love and attention to the ingredients was clear for us all to see.
Next was Porchetta, crackling, butternut squash Purée, tenderstem broccoli, garlic potatoes and velvet smooth gravy that packed a punch with flavour. The vegetarians had a vegetable bake, topped with pomegranate, and with the same vegetables. By this point we were feeling fairly full, the portion sizes being not overly generous, nor too small. In fact, well balanced and just right.
Leaving space for the dessert menu and my goodness it was divine. Melt in the mouth tart, similar to clafoutis, made with custard, figs and polenta base, on a bed of honey, sprinkled with toasted almonds, and accompanied with a vanilla cream and bee pollen – a dairy-free trifle for those on dairy free diets.
Finished off with coffee and some wonderful peanut truffles – dairyfree and gluten free Florentines for those on dairy-free diets.
It was truly an experience like no other. Ultimate foodie dining that, as a food allergic or intolerant person, you would never have thought you could have.'