We're off to Pembrokeshire, where the B4320 takes you on a wild ride through puddle-painted pathways. It's a journey so remote, even our brave steed (our party car, lovingly dubbed "Roger the Raver") nearly threw in the towel. But, ah, the reward for persistence is so deliciously worth it.
Prepare to tumble into the whimsical world of Paternoster Farm. If 'Field to Fork' were a fairy tale, this would be it. Nestled amongst the bewitching countryside, the heart of this working farm beats within its charismatic cluster of farm buildings.
Lose yourself in the farmhouse chic ambience of their eatery, crafted from a former milking parlour. The restaurant sports a countryside-chic vibe, where rustic meets boho. In the belly of this whitewashed wonderland, there's room for all at the communal dining tables, some slotted right into the old cow feeding stalls. How's that for a unique dining experience?
With animal skulls and wooden utensils acting as wall art, rustic farming equipment adding character, and storm lamps and candles casting a soft glow, you've got the recipe for the perfect rustic retreat. Swags of pampas grass dangle from rafters, adding a touch of whimsy to the scene.
You'll find the staff warm as a freshly baked loaf and welcoming as your favourite pub. The place hums with a cosy family vibe. Kudos to the kitchen queen, Michelle Evans, who rustles up an array of tapas-style treats with unruffled calmness, just like you've dropped by for a casual supper at her place.
Everything you'll feast on comes straight from the farm or its surroundings. Fresh catch of the day from the Pembrokeshire day-boats, local veggies, and all the meat reared on the farm. No more wracking your brains over what to order. Here, the menu is chosen for you. You just sit back, soak in the vibes, and let the culinary journey unfold. Remember, never question a farmer's wife on what you're eating. It's all part of the adventure!
Let's not forget the drinks. We started with a cherry spritz (hands down, the best spritz ever!) and a mezcal negroni that would make any mixologist green with envy. Delectable small plates rolled out next, featuring Solva crab, Pant ys Gawn cheese with homemade focaccia and their own honey, succulent Mangalitza porchetta.
Of course, I must give due credit to the unexpected showstopper – the humble cabbage, which underwent a culinary Cinderella transformation. A perfectly barbecued cabbage, kissed by the flame, its leaves charred just right to bring out a sweet, smoky flavour.
But oh, the journey doesn't stop there. The cabbage is lavishly lathered with a rich umami miso butter that seeps into its every crevice, creating an irresistibly savoury-sweet concoction. To kick it up a notch, a fiery sprinkling of crispy chilli steps in, adding a playful heat that has you reaching for more. All of this is perfectly balanced with a cool, creamy aioli that swoops in and soothes your palate. And to round it all off, a scatter of fresh coriander brings a refreshing zing to the party.
Quite frankly, the barbecue cabbage at Paternoster Farm is less a side dish, and more a star in its own right. A simple cabbage, morphed into a rockstar masterpiece - that's the magic of Paternoster!
For the grand finale, we tucked into a heavenly dessert of lemon-blueberry roulade, longanberry mousse & ginger shortbread.
Paternoster is a dining utopia where the gap between farming and feeding is deliciously blurred. It champions the future of sustainable farming, where every morsel has a story, and you're eating right in the heart of that story. Is this the future of farming? Only time will tell.
I'm a firm believer that all restaurants should offer transparency about the origins of their produce, much like how they declare calorie counts. Understanding the restaurant's ethos is part of the dining experience, and Paternoster is leading the charge.
Friends, make Paternoster your gastronomic pitstop for 2023. Whether you're a local or just passing through, it's well worth the detour. Not only is it a haven for food enthusiasts, but it also serves as a beacon of hope for farmers, illustrating the diverse potentials of the industry.
Just a little tip before I sign off – tables are limited and demand is high. They open Thursday to Saturday, so snag your spot quickly. Trust me, this is a culinary adventure you won't want to miss!
Follow the farm - Paternoster