Anyone who really loves food, quite simply NEEDS to have a visit to Knife and Fork for the most incredible dining experience you will ever have the pleasure to taste!
On a cold, drizzly November evening Mr Intolerant G and I drove to a little village in Oxfordshire and pulled up outside a large farm house with lights shining out the windows, little candles flickering on the fireplace, and laughter ringing from within.
As soon as we entered, we felt a warmth of friendliness, and beautiful aromas of food cooking and we knew we were in for a treat.
Knife and Fork, run by the talented chef Tanya, has been tantalising taste buds for over 3 years, and is a dining experience like no other!
Run from her home, Tanya opens her house (well her living room, dining room and kitchen) to up to 24 diners for each dining event. Currently they run on Friday and Saturday evenings 3 times a month, and are fully booked weeks in advance.
Having been handed a welcome glass of prosecco, we set about meeting the other diners, before exploring the dining room and then kitchen, where we learned we’d be sitting.
The quintessential backdrop of a farmhouse kitchen, with large dresser housing various jars of flour, teas, sugars and more, a sofa in the corner, a range busy working away, interspersed with industrial fridges, hot cupboards and island unit added to the magic.
It excited me immediately as a foodie, because we would get to see first hand where it all happened, and Tanya didn’t disappoint.
A diagnosed coeliac of many years, and with family members also coeliac, Tanya has adapted and honed her craft to cater for those unable to eat gluten, naturally cooking gluten-free. Other diners were dairy-free, vegetarian and more, and she adapted her set menu accordingly, so no one felt left out. For Tanya, just like me, it is ALL about inclusion.
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 and they looked lovely!
We then moved through to the kitchen table, whilst the other diners were seated in the dining room. They say company can make a night, and we were so fortunate to be seated with 2 wonderful couples. Within minutes we were all laughing and joking, and for the next four hours that’s how we remained. You would never have guessed we had only just met as we all got on so well!
Our food journey for the evening began with delicate little cups of velvet mushroom soup, with nutty undertones, a swirl of cream and finished off with a sprinkle of chives. All the flavours worked so well together, it was a fitting start to the menu.
It was swiftly 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.
We were then treated to Porchetta, crackling, butternut squash puree, tenderstem broccoli, garlic potatoes and velvet smooth gravy that packed a punch with flavour. Again, the ingredients married so well together. For the vegetarians, they had a vegetable bake, topped with pomegranate, and with the same tenderstem broccoli and butternut squash puree.
By this point we were feeling fairly full, the portion sizes being not overly generous, nor too small. They were well balanced and just right.
For the cheese course, we had the delights of Delice de Bourgogne, Per Las, black bomber, Teff crackers to Tanya’s special recipe, pear and ginger chutney (which would make the most perfect Christmas present for food lovers) caramelised walnuts which were so moreish we asked for a bowl to continue nibbling on, and celery to help cleanse our palates.
We just about had enough space for the dessert menu (second tummy specifically for dessert, right?!) 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.
By this point, fit to burst, we had coffee and some wonderful peanut truffles.
It was truly an experience like no other, the ultimate foodie experience, and one we will definitely have to repeat very soon!!