Castle Farm Cafe
the kind of place that works a kind of magic
This utterly charming little oasis of rustic pastoral perfection nestling in the Midford hills may only be a short hop from Bath city centre (around 10 minutes by car) but, once you’ve arrived at your destination, it’s difficult not to believe that you’ve entered another time zone altogether, yet alone another place far, far removed from the cut and thrust of city life.
A gently sloping pathway leads you past a tangle of abundant vegetable and flower plots to your left, and breathtakingly beautiful views across acres and acres of lush, rolling countryside to your right. Suddenly, you’re on the patio area of a large barn, home to an inviting cafe and open kitchen that’s happens to be (and it very definitely “happens to be” – Castle Farm Cafe is nothing if not totally down to earth about how proceedings here roll) the ultimate backdrop for a really cool food/lifestyle magazine photoshoot backdrop, complete with upcycled vintage furniture, crockery and kitchenware; little pots of fresh flowers scattered hither and thither; toys and books to keep the little people busy… and all manner of fascinating knick-knackery to grab your attention at every turn.
Having said that, once your olfactory senses have been hit by the aroma of freshly cooked pizza comin’ atcha’ straight from the oven, and your gaze has been drawn to the chalk board ‘specials’ menu on the wall, and you’re drawn towards the excited buzz that’s going on around the massive salad being rustled up in the kitchen, nothing else can take your attention away from the action at the heart of the matter: what are you going to eat? All CFC dishes are vegetarian, while vegan and gluten-free options go large and the suppliers list reads like a roll call of the best local producers for miles around – tasty stuff indeed. But the big, good news from Castle Farm Cafe is that they’ve recently extended their opening hours to include Friday and Saturday evenings, and a programme of lively events and supper clubs promise all manner of exciting dates to look forward to.
When spring finally springs and eventually segues into a schedule of lazy, hazy summer evenings, we reckon that this little paradisiacal paradise will become a hotspot destination. But even on a frosty February Friday, it warmed the cockles of our hearts. On our most recent visit to what’s swiftly become one of our favourite staycation zones in the nearby vicinity, we opted for starters of sweetly nutty, uniquely earthy roasted celeriac soup and plump risotto balls oozing with punchy mediterranean influences served with a boldly garlicky aioli. Both starters were vegan, both were gluten-free… and both pumped up the flavour/satisfaction volume to 11. On from that, we took a stroll down pizza parade and went for a combo that included the Potato and Goats’ Cheese and the Marinara options. Potatoes, on a pizza – way too carb-intense, surely? Well… no, not here; not when the potatoes are sumptuous little sauteed slivers, and the goats’ cheese is soft and sweet, and the toppings are bathed in a rich béchamel sauce, and the whole melange is livened up by a generous smattering of parsley. Soporific: yes. Over-carby: no (well a bit, but in a good way.)
The Marinara, meanwhile, gave a sweet, rich, real tomato sauce a centre-stage spotlight, with capers and loadsa herbs groovin’ it all up and adding punchy twists of vibrancy to every bite. It’s good enough just like that, as it is (and ordering it “as it is” makes it a vegan treat, too,) but we chose to add more of the divine goats’ cheese that graced the potato pizza to the mix, bringing an extra-added dimension of complexity to the party. All pizzas are served on a homemade sourdough base, and although we haven’t plundered the full range yet (which we will, as the evenings roll along), we reckon that they’re all as perfect as ours were. We had ice cream for afters too, and it was just dreamy. Oh, and we had a very good bottle of organic wine – a bargain at just £18. In summary, Castle Farm Cafe is the kind of place that works a kind of magic whatever the weather. If they ever choose to open up camping facilities, we’re moving in for the weekend.
- Wheelchair access ,
- Dog friendly ,
- Gluten free options ,
- Baby changing facilities
Monday – Sunday: 9am – 4pm for breakfast, lunch & afternoon tea
Friday & Saturday evenings: 5.30pm – 9pm
SatNav it – Castle Farm Cafe isn’t easily accessible by public transport or on foot from Bath, but it isn’t very far out of town… honestly!
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