The Trough at Daylesford Organic Farm | Kingham (UK)

A true eco-fabulous lifestyle on display at Daylesford.
A shame that the café doesn’t showcase the organic food in an equally dazzling way!

Probably the most famous organic farm shop in Britain, Daylesford is a retail heaven of organic gorgeousness on the edge of the Cotswolds in Kingham, Gloucestershire (UK). They’ve come a long way since this first Daylesford café opened in 2002. No longer just a café, but more an organic mall, selling not just food and produce, but clothing, floristry and gardening equipment, homeware, yoga classes, spa treatments and lots of different workshops.

They’ve branched out, with four stand-alone farm shops with cafés in London on Pimlico Road, Brompton Cross, in Notting Hill and Marylebone. The modern British in The Wild Rabbit, just around the corner in Kingham and cottages for rent in the neighbourhood. And even their own organic vineyard Château Léoube in the Provence, France.

Founder of Daylesford, Carole Bamford, whose husband is the “B” in digger manufacturers JCB, is recognised as a visionary in organic farming and healthy food retailing. She certainly has style as everything look picture perfect and well thought out.

You enter through the farm shop, with its colour-coded fruit and veg, walk-in cheese room and inviting meat counter. We saved the special dog section and other stuff for later and went straight through to the restaurant. There is The Old Spot pizza bar and The Legbar, but we had lunch at the organic café The Trough, which is the main restaurant.

Executive Chef is Antony Ely, who joined Daylesford in June 2018. Antony previously worked at The Rectory Hotel in Wiltshire and Brakspear in Henley-on-Thames as their first Executive Chef to develop food sales across its four managed pubs.

The Trough at Daylesford Organic Farm opens 7 days for breakfast and lunch. Supper is offered from Monday to Saturday. Most of the monthly changing menu is organic and ingredients straight from their organic farms in the Cotswolds and Staffordshire. 3 Nibbles (at £4-£5.50), 3 Starters (at £8-£12), 2 Sharers (at £16-£17), 5 Mains (at £17.50), 6 Winter Salads (at £14, or £5.50 as a side), 5 Daylesford Signature (at £13-£17.50), Cheese (at £9-£16) and 4 Puddings (at £6-£8). There’s a Daily Specials board

We had lunch 6 weeks ago on a Sunday and both chose a starter and main from the menu.

Winter Salads
Winter Salads (£14)

There are six winter salads on the menu. You can go for one, but also have any three of them on one plate. Love the concept of offering that. On the right, hiding behind the kale is the Daylesford Ceasar, with Daylesford chicken, soft boiled heb’s egg, streaky bacon and seven seed toasts. On the left Winter Goddess, with calypso beans, sweet winter squash, chilli, ginger, coriander and toasted pumpkin seeds. And in the front Daylesford Slaw, with cabbage, carrot, beetroot, spicy toasted cashew nuts, chilli, ginger & tamari dressing. All felt really healthy. Nothing wow-ed me, but it certainly tasted fine.

Turkey Bone Broth
Turkey Bone Broth (£8)

Taste tantalising, deep flavoured broth with an excellent light feel to it. Spiced with ginger, spring onion, chilli and tamari. Ginger coming through nicely. Wonderfully done!

Crispy Pork Belly
Crispy Pork Belly (£17.50)

Pork belly was tender with nice flavour, but skin not really crispy. Was looking forward to some crunchy crackling, especially as it said Crispy Pork Belly on the menu. Cabbage with tomato was nice, Few slivers of mushroom didn’t play a part. Not much sauce on it and couldn’t call it red wine sauce. A watery disappointment. The roast potatoes just seen a hot pan and could have been a lot better. Not impressed with this dish from the specials board. 

Pumpkin, Lemon & Sage Spelt Risotto
Pumpkin, Lemon & Sage Spelt Risotto (£14)

Risotto was quite bland, really needed an oomph of something. More pumpkin puree than Parmesan cheese through the spelt risotto, not bringing that creamy mouthfeel that you want from a risotto. Lot of seeds and the pumpkin seed pesto mess with the texture even more. It may be on the menu as a Daylesford Signature, but I’m not a fan.

Service was friendly and efficient and more than enough staff to serve the busy café. The food however was a bit hit and miss. The salad was perfectly fine and the turkey bone broth was excellent. The mains did have issues and were quite underwhelming. Given the exquisite produce on display next door, I was expecting something more interesting.
I also feel the dishes would work better during spring or summer. In the cold (and wet) winter season you crave for more comforting food and the menu doesn’t really accommodate that.

I do admire the effort that has gone into it all. The look and feel of the whole please is just perfect. A true eco-fabulous lifestyle on display at Daylesford. Not seen anything like it. It’s just a shame that the café doesn’t showcase the organic food in an equally dazzling way!