Restaurant Review: Fallowfields in Oxfordshire
Roving Reporter Natasha Heard road tested the Oxfordshire food retreat
Luxury travel and food writer Natasha Heard road tested the Fallowfields Country House Hotel
Oxford may be known for its spiralling steeples, centres of learning and grumpy detectives, but it’s also maintained a reputation in the restaurant industry as something of a culinary hot-spot, with a host of Michelin stars to prove it.
However, there’s a new name on the lips of food lovers in the city of Matthew Arnold’s dreaming spires, and that’s Fallowfields – a rather unique and interesting hotel and restaurant, set in the Oxfordshire countryside.
Fallowfields is an elegant hotel in the rustling green countryside, hidden away from the world in a pocket of glorious peace, offering exquisite food in its award-winning restaurant.
Head chef Shaun Dickens aims to ‘bring you a dining experience that showcases our ethos, a passion for the freshest of food, where care is intrinsic and absolute dedication to the quality and taste of the finished product is paramount.’
The ambitious head chef’s bold words are every bit true, and the hotel gives you a hard fought dining experience sumptuous enough to make you want to return every day.
Largely self-sufficient, the menu at Fallowfields offers something different each day, depending on what has been growing in the kitchen garden or smallholding outside.
During my time at the country house hotel I was lucky enough to sample a variety of cuisine, including the tasting menu, which is rapidly growing in fame. Expect canapés and a chef’s appetiser to set you off on your journey of discovery before the menu takes you from Chile to France to South Africa on your wine tour, and from rich, deep and meaty to sweet, light and tangy on a slaloming ride for your taste buds.
Personal highlights of the tasting menu included the confit salmon (served with vanilla, pink grapefruit, compressed cucumber and watercress), the terrine of foie gras with garden rhubarb chutney, ginger and toasted brioche, and the pan roasted halibut with oxtail, broad bean, tomato and shallot fricassee – a delightful mixture of flavours that leaves my mouth watering at the very thought.
Each item on the menu has been carefully considered and prepared then cooked to perfection to give the utmost quality and experience to the diner, and every dish is accompanied by a wine impeccably matched.
The hotel itself offers just ten delightful rooms which have been beautifully decorated to make your stay a relaxed and comfortable one. It provides a perfect tranquil escape to the countryside, yet is only a 20 minute drive to central Oxford, and visitors are encouraged to explore the grounds and also take part in regular outdoor pursuits.
It’s a genuine joy to be a part of something before everyone else does, so I’d strongly recommend experiencing the joy of Fallowfields before the whispered secret of this part of the world becomes the talk of the town further afield.
Address: Faringdon Road, Southmoor with Kingston Bagpuize, Oxfordshire, OX13 5BH, UK