I always forget how much I appreciate the extra days off we get over the Easter holidays, along with the copious amounts of chocolate. I got two easter eggs this year, I demolished them both by the end of Easter Monday – two reasons: it’s totally acceptable to have chocolate for breakfast, lunch and dinner on Easter Sunday, secondly I need them out of my life so I can pretend I never ate them and get back to healthy(ish) eating.
A couple of days before I ate my weight in chocolate I took the extended weekend as an excuse to get away for a few days. The decided destination was Oxford, not too far from home but a nice change of scenery and a chance to relax.
Relaxing was definitely ticked off the list with the hotel offering spa facilities and booking ourselves in for a back, neck and shoulder massage. Incredible food was also achieved on the first night when we took a visit to FallowFields, just outside the centre of Oxford in Kingston Bagpuize. A fine country house, restaurant and hotel that prides itself on serving the freshest ingredients and upholding to a ‘field to fork’ regime.
The house is enclosed and set just off the main road, we drove down a small driveway and parked up outside the front.
We walked through to reception where we were given a warm welcome and shown into the lounge. We sunk into a sofa and picked out a couple of cocktails; just how I like to start an evening.
Whilst sipping our cocktails we were given some menus to peruse. There is a tasting menu on offer, which proved popular in the dining room however we decided to go with our own options. With my indecisiveness that can take a while, luckily some amuse-bouche appeared before us to stop my dining partner eating their own hand.
Once I’d come to a decision and we had enjoyed our first taster of the standard of food we were going to indulge in we were taken through to the dining room and shown to our table.
The room is open with large windows to look out across the grounds. The setting is formal but the general feel is relaxed, the staff are professional but friendly so as you don’t feel intimidated – which can be the case with some fine dining experiences.
A selection of homemade breads was added to the table accompanied by butter, salt and seaweed butter.
Whilst we tucked into the freshly baked goods, the waitress brought over an artichoke palate cleanser in preparation for our starters.
Having already been impressed with what had been served, I had high expectations for the rest of the meal.
For starters we went for the Fallowfields quail and the beef and onion risotto.
The quail dish took elements from a full english breakfast with a gorgeous sweet sauce covering the quail. The beef and onion risotto was made up of braised flank, oat groat risotto, roasted onions and wild garlic. The beef melted in your mouth and all the textures complimented each other perfectly.
Next up were our mains; we had opted for the cornish cod and the marlborough estate venison.
Their pride in the food is made apparent through the presentation of all the dishes. The venison was paired up with parsnip, vanilla and pear – a winning combination. The cod was a delight, with cauliflower, glazed cheek and muscat grapes.
Having enjoyed two exquisite courses, we’d be foolish to not check if the puddings lived up to the same standard. As I sipped away at my wine we decided on the cheesecake and the chocolate and nut options.
The cheesecake with salt baked pineapple, coconut and mascarpone ice cream went down a little too easily. The chocolate and nut dish with chocolate delice, peanut mousse and barley ice cream was also a big hit.
We retired back to the lounge to wash it all down with a cup of green tea and were even offered a selection of homemade chocolates – being Easter it’d be silly to turn down chocolate.
All of the added extras show how much thought and attention has gone into making sure you have the perfect dining experience. The joining of flavours and ingredients highlights the passion for food in the kitchen. From the moment you arrive you know you are in for some exceptional food and it did not disappoint.
A highlight of the trip to Oxford and would highly recommend a visit.
Find out more here.